Wendy P. McCaw
Wendy McCaw is the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press.
She was born Wendy Petrak in Palo Alto, California, in 1952. She attended Stanford University where she majored in history and met Craig McCaw during their sophomore year. They married in 1974 a year after graduation. During their marriage they grew McCaw Communications into McCaw Cellular, eventually selling to AT&T in 1994. They divorced in 1997 with Wendy receiving a reported $460 million (U.S.) divorce settlement.
In 2000, Wendy McCaw purchased the Santa Barbara News-Press, one of California's oldest newspapers, from the New York Times. A defender of animal rights, Wendy McCaw gave millions in donations in the 1990s to help return Keiko, the orca star of "Free Willy," to the wild. In her editorials in the News-Press, Mrs. McCaw is a staunch defender of animal rights, arguing against whaling operations and a federally funded hunt to kill feral pigs on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.
In recognition of her work, Ms. McCaw has been the recipient of several awards including the 2004 Michael Douglas Philanthropist of the Year Award and in 2005 the Humane Society of the United States honored her at the Genesis Awards for "Outstanding Newspaper Editorials," citing "an unrivaled collection of 44 insightful, timely and reasoned editorials, exploring an array of significant animal issues in need of public attention and effecting change in the process."
Ms. McCaw currently resides in Santa Barbara with her fiance, Arthur von Wiesenberger, their cat and two donkeys.
In 2006, McCaw was accused of interference of newsroom editorial judgment, causing turnover in editorial leadership at the News-Press.
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