Steven Buel, editor of the East Bay Express for the past five years, has admitted in an “editor’s note” that he put a fake byline on an article that ranked various reporters for the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and the Alameda Newspaper Group in case jobs are cut when the papers are combined under the same ownership. Buel writes, “The article was my idea and I’ll take responsibility for that, but I regret not killing it when the writer demanded no byline at the last minute. It was chickens*** for us to call people out by name when we weren’t willing to sign our own name to our criticisms. My fault.” The byline he used was “Jimmy Olsen,” who is well known to people over 50 as a member of the same news team that included Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Perry White.
In his editor’s note, Buel said he also blew it by not getting ANG’s comment on any of the stories the Express published May 31. That issue was devoted to the sale of the Knight Ridder papers in the Bay Area to Dean Singleton’s Alameda News Group. Buel said that, as a remedy, the Express interviewed ANG Executive Editor Kevin Keane in its May 14 issue.
Finally, Buel writes, “I am truly sorry that we did not call attention to some of the good work done by reporters at ANG. Since Keane arrived a few years ago, I believe the overall quality of its papers is improved. Many of their reporters do a fine job on tight deadlines, and some of their coverage — Douglas Fischer on our growing chemical “Body Burden,” Ian Hoffman on Alameda County’s computerized voting machines, Sean Holstege and Jill Tucker on the Bay Bridge welding scandal — has been truly noteworthy.”