The Santa Barbara News-Press decision to stop publishing and file for bankruptcy protection, as first reported at, has made national headlines.

But in the mid-2000s, Craig Smith’s blog website was the hottest click in town. Smith was documenting the News-Press daily, with his cutting-edge citizen journalism website Craig Smith’s Blog (

Smith, who began his blog while reporting on the Michael Jackson trial, saw his fame skyrocket when he started to post tips and items about the Santa Barbara News-Press and the drama unfolding inside the community.

Craig Smith’s blog became a mandatory morning destination for anyone wanting the latest news and tips. To watch the podcast interview click here or on YouTube video below.

YouTube video

In the latest episode of Santa Barbara Talks with Josh Molina, Smith pulls back the curtain on his blog and talks about the stories he broke on his citizen journalism website.

“All of a sudden I am getting all this attention,” Smith said. “My source of information was originally just one employee there at the News-Press, but as I built a reputation as being a reliable source of information about what was going on in the building, other employees at the News-Press, or their acquaintances who had access to what they were being told, would reach out to me and give me things, give me leads, and tips and information about what was going on.”

Smith offers his views on the News-Press, and the news that it was seeking bankruptcy protection, and no longer publishing.

“It’s certainly not good news,” Smith said. “I take no joy in the fact that we have now lost our only daily newspaper in this town. Journalism is so important and access to the news is so important.”

Smith drops a lot of names in the podcast, including former editor Jerry Roberts, and former News-Press journalists Scott Hadly, Starshine Roshell, Melinda Burns, Melissa Evans, Dawn Hobbs, Barney McManigal, and community individuals such as attorney Barry Cappello, journalist Nick Welsh, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling, and so many others.

Smith explains how he got his news, and how the local fame and prominence affected him and his social status.

Smith, a local law teacher, also brings us up to speed on his life now, his two kids, and his job as a waterfront tour guide.

Joshua Molina is journalist who currently writes for Noozhawk and teaches journalism at Santa Barbara City College. He formerly covered City Hall for the San Jose Mercury News. Santa Barbara Talks is an independently owned podcast where Molina looks to bring together voices from all perspectives to discuss and provide solutions to the challenges related to housing, education, transportation and other community issues. Subscribe to his podcast here and consider a contribution here.