Wendy McCaw

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Wendy P. McCaw
Wendy Petrak

Palo Alto, California, United States
OccupationNewspaper publisher
(m. 1974; div. 1997)

Wendy McCaw is a businesswoman and the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Early life and career[edit]

She was born Wendy Petrak in Palo Alto, California, in 1951. 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, represented by attorney Evan Schwab, receiving a reported $460 million (U.S.) divorce settlement.[citation needed]

Santa Barbara News-Press[edit]

In 2000, McCaw purchased the Santa Barbara News-Press, one of California's oldest newspapers, from The New York Times for $100 million.[1]

In 2006, McCaw was accused of interfering with the newsroom editorial judgment at the News-Press.[2] Five editors and a columnist resigned over the controversy. A number of other publishers and editors have resigned since she purchased the paper in 2000 over differences with McCaw.[1]

In December 2006, McCaw sued Chapman University professor Susan Paterno over her article in the American Journalism Review that had criticized her management of the paper.[3]

As of 2016, staff at the newspaper had dropped from 200, from when she purchased the newspaper, to 20.[1] In 2016, the Santa Barbara News-Press endorsed Donald Trump for president, making it then one of only six newspapers in the country to do so.[1] According to biographer Tyler Sam, there was no question McCaw was "behind the endorsement."[1]

In April 2017, a federal judge ordered McCaw to offer reinstatement and around $2 million in back pay to former columnist Richard Mineards.[4]

In July 2018, after several administrative and court decisions against McCaw and the News-Press, the National Labor Relations Board announced it would seek $2.2 million on behalf of dozens of newsroom employees who were mistreated by McCaw. McCaw would be ordered to pay $936,000 to “make employees whole” for illegally hiring nonunion temporary workers, $705,000 in back pay for two employees whom she illegally laid off or fired, and $222,000 for employees whose merit pay she illegally suspended.[5]


McCaw currently resides in Santa Barbara with her fiancé, Arthur von Wiesenberger.[citation needed]

McCaw has called herself a defender of animal rights.[6] McCaw and her ex-husband Craig McCaw say they gave $3.1 million in donations in the 1990s to help return Keiko, the orca star of "Free Willy," to the wild. Keiko died shortly after. [7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "These Are the Only 6 Newspapers in the Country to Endorse Donald Trump". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  2. ^ Paterno, Susan (2006-12-01). "Santa Barbara Smackdown: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Turmoil That Engulfed the Santa Barbara News-Press after Owner Wendy McCaw and Her Top Lieutenants Flattened the Wall Separating the Executive Suite from the Newsroom". American Journalism Review.[dead link]
  3. ^ Mehta, Seema (2006-12-19). "Santa Barbara newspaper owner sues over critical article". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  4. ^ https://www.independent.com/2017/04/26/wendy-wont-appeal/
  5. ^ https://www.independent.com/2018/07/24/its-about-time/
  6. ^ "Wendy McCaw Official Site". wendy-mccaw.com. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  7. ^ "Interviews - Craig Mccaw | A Whale Of A Business". PBS. Retrieved 2016-11-02.

External links[edit]