The Tucson Citizen served Arizona as a continuous daily record for 138 years.
The Arizona Historical Society houses some of the world's most extensive collections relating to the growth, expansion and lifestyles of the American Southwest.
So now that the Citizen doesn't exist, it seems that transferring the archives to a location known for maintaining material of this magnitude would be an ideal fit. Indeed, that's exactly what former interim editor Jennifer Boice and other Citizen employees wanted to do. They posed the idea to parent-company Gannett and the Arizona Historical Society earlier this year, once Gannett set an anticipated end date for the newspaper to close.
So what's the snag? About $100,000.
Gannett, which initially appeared interested in the idea, seemed significantly less interested once it received the Arizona Historical Society's initial June 18 proposal—asking for $99,224 to handle the archives. It wasn't until others got involved, including Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson and state legislator Daniel Patterson via e-mail, that Gannett acknowledged there was even an issue on the table.
In correspondences to Bronson and Patterson acquired by the Tucson Weekly, Kate Marymont, the person in charge of the archive process for Gannett, indicated there were a number of sticking points, including issues such as ongoing access, facilities, republication rights, digital rights and other copyright concerns. One other hang-up involved Gannett's corporate structure: News, information-technology, legal and digital teams are all involved in the process.
But those are largely smoke screens, it seems.
"If there are issues with copyright and access, all of that can be worked out," said Anne Woosley, executive director of the Arizona Historical Society. "We've done those kinds of things many times."
Indeed, Marymont all but said that back to Woosley in an Aug. 7 e-mail, which read in part: "We do not yet know what role the Arizona Historical Society might play in the preservation of this valuable content. The proposed charge to us of $99,224.00 is too steep for us to consider you as the primary repository. We continue to review how we might share some artifacts and archives."
Woosley told the Weekly, "When the whole concept of whether we would be interested in the whole archive was presented to us, it was also presented with: 'Give us a proposal for making this happen.' Having dedicated staff for a six-month period to get the material processed is the extent of the expenses. We did that. We were asked, 'Do you want the collection?' We said absolutely. 'Give us a proposal for what it would cost to make the whole transfer.' That's what we did.
"What's absolutely critical in the case of the Tucson Citizen is that the archive remains intact. Let us have the collection accounted for. Right now, the collection is in an open area of the Tucson Citizen newsroom. It's open to anybody walking through. In our experience, when collections are kind of put in the corner somewhere, they start becoming scattered. We want the collection to be safe. We want the collection to remain intact. We know we're the best organization to take it."
Brent Seebohm didn't even stay around long enough to see his creation, the Arizona Wildcat Sports Network, produce its first television broadcast.
Seebohm resigned Thursday, Aug. 13, from his post with IMG, the organization that manages sports-broadcast rights for the UA.
Seebohm, who also served as an associate athletic director at the UA and as the regional vice president of IMG College, likely took heat for brokering a deal that many view with skepticism.
AWSN signed locally with the Journal Broadcast Group, meaning the UA's sports television outlets would be KWBA Channel 58/Cable Channel 8 and KGUN Channel 9 for Wildcat sporting events—mostly football and men's basketball—that are not picked up as part of the Pac-10's other TV agreements.
The problem is that while the deal handles the issue of local viewership and includes a statewide agreement with KAZT TV in Phoenix, out-of-state alumni will have a tougher time finding games on television. While the UA also offers an Internet option, that's a viewing technology that hasn't been accepted by many sports viewers.
The deal was cut after IMG couldn't come to terms with Fox Sports Arizona or other broadcast groups. However, AWSN has brokered deals with California cable outlets in an effort to improve its coverage range.
Seebohm, who did not return requests for comment before our press deadline, arrived in Tucson in 2006 as part of Host Communications. IMG acquired Host in 2008.
Meanwhile, the UA and IMG announced broadcast teams for the upcoming season—and there are some changes to the vocal roster. Dave Sitton stays on as television play-by-play voice for football and men's basketball. Former UA offensive lineman John Fina will handle analyst duties for football games.
Bob Elliott is out of the mix as the men's basketball analyst; he'll be replaced by Corey Williams, who played for the UA in the '90s, enjoyed a professional basketball stint in Europe and currently operates the Tucson Summer Pro League.
Another former Wildcat player, Matt Muehlebach, will replace analyst Ryan Hansen on radio broadcasts. Hansen—who, in my opinion, was among the most insightful color commentators at the college level, and brought great understanding behind the coaching philosophies of Lute Olson, Kevin O'Neill and Russ Pennell to his broadcasts—will place his entire work focus on university fundraising endeavors. That said, if a change had to be made, the decision to opt for Muehlebach is excellent. He will sit alongside Brian Jeffries.
Glenn Howell will handle sideline reporting duties for the football television broadcasts, while Dana Cooper will act as sideline reporter for Wildcat football on the radio.