Media Watch


Some people just have the newspaper bug. Within their respective newsrooms, they're easy to recognize. It's as if ink from the daily printing process coursed through their veins.

From the feedback on social media and numerous newspaper blogs, it's clear that Walt Nett had that kind of journalistic impact at every stop. He loved the journalism business, even if that business didn't always love him back.

Nett died last week at the age of 59 at his home in Lubbock, Texas. He spent much of his career in a number of positions in Tucson, and seemed to be a mentor pretty much every step of the way. His Tucson work included stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Weekly (where he was briefly this publication's Media Watch columnist), but many from a younger generation of journalists remember him through his role as an instructor at the UA.

He certainly had an impact on former Star city editor Steve Meissner, who put together a number of heartfelt tributes in Nett's honor, including this excerpt from

"I gave Walt the tough and odd assignments because he was gentle, but tough. He was also a good reporter, in my opinion.

"Walt Nett never gave up, even though life kicked him around like a crippled puppy. At one point he couldn't find a job, so he began tossing newspapers on people's front lawns.

"It filled out his résumé. Walt could write, edit, lay out a page—and he could even get the damn paper delivered. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to learn he ran the presses from time to time."


Southern Arizona was well represented in this year's Arizona Press Club honors. Atop a long list of honorees in a variety of categories, Adam Curtis of the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review earned a Community Journalist of the Year award, as did Curt Prendergast of the Nogales International.

Numerous contributors from area publications received accolades as well. The list includes 23 employees at the Arizona Daily Star and additional recognition for four contributors to the Star's La Estrella de Tucson publication; and six writers from the Tucson Weekly.

The Florence Reminder & Blade Tribune, 3 Story Magazine, and the Casa Grande Dispatch rounded out the list of area publications receiving Press Club awards.


Tucson's four major television news outlets were recognized in a variety of categories in the Edward R. Murrow regional awards distributed by the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Tucson stations are designated in the small market/region 3 category. Among that group, KGUN Channel 9 won accolades for feature reporting ("What Happened to Kay Read?") and for its website, which also received a national honor last year.

KVOA Channel 4 received a Murrow for investigative reporting ("Misrouted 911 Call") and news documentary ("Triumph Over Tragedy"), and KOLD Channel 13 was honored in the Reporting: Hard News category (the disappearance of Isabel Celis).

Arizona Public Media was recognized for feature reporting ("Battle of Picacho Peak") and for news documentary ("The 5 C's a Century Later").


Cumulus-owned country station KIIM 99.5 FM controlled the winter ratings race among Tucson's radio stations. KIIM delivered a 12-plus share of 9.8, more than two points better than closest rival KMXZ 94.9 FM (7.6) and KRQQ 93.7 FM (7.5).

But the biggest gainer was KTGV 106.3 FM, "The Groove," owned by the Journal Broadcast Group. It vaulted to 3.9 in the 12-plus category from its more familiar territory in the mid-2s.

Among direct competitors, Clear Channel news/talker KNST 790 AM turned in a solid 3.6 to KQTH FM 104.1's 2.0. Shortly before the ratings were released, KQTH tweaked its format to include a news block in the morning drive and moved local talk show host Jon Justice to an 8:30-to-noon slot.

In the battle of competing formats from unimaginative clusters that put generic radio options on low-power FMs, Cumulus-owned top-40 alternative KSZR 97.5 FM delivered a 2.2 share while Clear Channel country format KYWD FM 97.1 garnered a 1.7. However, the KYWD numbers improved from previous books while KSZR's ratings took a significant hit.

In specific demos, KRQ controlled morning drive among listeners 18 to 34. KIIM placed second in that window followed by hip-hop format KOHT 98.3 FM and new rocker KFMA 92.1 FM. KIIM made up the difference in mornings among the 25-54 demo, where it drew an average share of 11.5 compared to KMXZ's 8.6. KRQ was tied for second in the demo, followed by KLPX 96.1 FM and KFMA.


Friends and family of James P. Swope have scheduled a memorial service for him on Sunday, May 4. Swope, who died in January, hosted "Jim's Joke Joint" on KXCI 91.3 FM in the early 2000s and was a founding member of the Democracy Initiative, which pushed for changes in the management structure at the community radio outlet.

More information about the service is available through


In conjunction with the sale of Inside Tucson Business to 10/13 Communications, editor Mark B. Evans has left the publication.

Evans was hired in September 2013, replacing David Hatfield, who accepted a position with the Tucson Airport Authority. Prior to his stint at ITB, Evans operated community blog site, which he left several months before owner Gannett Co. turned it into an all-archives site that pretty much nobody accesses. Which is of little interest to Gannett because it continues to collect seven figures per annum from its role in a joint operating agreement with Lee Enterprises, owner of the Arizona Daily Star.

10/13 announced the purchase of Inside Tucson Business and the Tucson Weekly from Wick Communications two weeks ago.