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THERE WENT THE JUDGE: Cibolo Creek Ranch Owner Recalls Scalia’s Last Hours

Scalia was just the latest newsworthy guest to visit the celebrity hideaway that covers 30,000 acres near the Chinati Mountains. Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts and Tommy Lee Jones have also partaken of its scenic vistas and luxury accomodations.

MARFA — John MacCormack reports: A first-time guest to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was animated and engaged during dinner Friday night, as one of three dozen invitees to an event that had nothing to do with law or politics, according to the ranch owner.

Just hours later, he would be found dead of sapparent natural causes, which media outlets were reporting Sunday was a heart attack.

“He was seated near me and I had a chance to observe him. He was very entertaining. But about 9 p.m. he said, ‘it’s been a long day and a long week, I want to get some sleep,” recalled Houston businessman John Poindexter, who owns the 30,000-acre luxury ranch.

When Poindexter tried to awaken Scalia about 8:30 the next morning, the judge’s door was locked and he did not answer. Three hours later, Poindexter returned after an outing, with a friend of Scalia who had come from Washington with him.

“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.

“He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap,” he said.Scalia,79, did not have a pulse and his body was cold, and after consulting with a doctor at a hospital in Alpine, Poindexter concluded resuscitation would have been futile, He then contacted federal authorities, at first encountering a series of answering services because he was calling on a weekend.

[Read the full story here, at San Antonio Express-News]

“Ultimately they became available and handled it superbly. They flew in by helicopter. They told me to secure the ranch, which I did until this morning,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Newspapers See More Bad News, as Jobs Decline

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It’s another bad-news story for the US newspaper industry: newsroom jobs slumped another 10.4 percent to the lowest level since tracking began in 1978.

The annual survey by the American Society of News Editors released Tuesday found newsroom employment dropped to 32,900 in 2014 from 36,700 a year earlier.

“If we project the recent decline forward, we’ll have one-half the number of daily journalists working in 2016 or 2017 as we did 16 years ago.”

The survey highlighted the ongoing hemorrhaging at traditional news organizations as readers turn to online sources of information.

But the results also showed some gains in large-circulation newspapers and some very small ones.

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“And this year’s loss happened in the best US economy in close than a decade. Daily newspapers have bled people in good times and bad.”

— Ken Doctor, a media analyst at the research firm Outsell

ASNE found the number of employees at newspapers with daily circulations between 250,000 and 500,000 increased by 13.98 percent.

Those with circulations under 5,000 had a 15.9 percent increase in the number of employees.

But the drop was a whopping 21.58 percent among newspapers with circulations between 100,000 and 250,000. Read the rest of this entry »


USA Today, Tacoma News Tribune Break Ranks, Refuse to Publish Official White House Photos

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Sorry, Mr. President, but official pictures won’t do

Karen Peterson reports: A photojournalist’s job is to document the news the way it really looks, not the way somebody wants it to look. Even when that somebody is the president.

During his presidency, Barack Obama has time and again closed the door to photojournalists trying to take pictures of him performing official duties. Instead, he’s had his own photographer take the pictures, which the White House distributes to the media. You can bet only flattering photos make it through.

That’s a break from the practice of previous administrations, which allowed greater access. It’s concerning to the nation’s largest press organizations and concerning to us at The News Tribune.

Last week, the American Society of News Editors and 37 other organizations signed a letter delivered to Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, protesting the lack of access. The letter listed seven news events handled this way from July 2013 to October 2013, including the president’s meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, and with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Read the rest of this entry »