Sunday, December 21, 2014

Using hacked information wrong? Not necessarily. How you use it may be.

It’s not the hacking that is inherently unethical, but what you do with it can be.

That’s the thrust of Kelly McBride’s post on, with North Koreas hacking and intimidation of Sony over “The Interview” movie the peg.

After all, the Pentagon Papers and the Nixon Watergate scandal came from sources that are not always in the mainstream. But national interests were at stake.

McBride wrote that, once you get the information by hacking or confidential informant or over the transom, the same rules apply:

Accuracy. Can you verify that the information is true?

Do additional reporting to verify the details. Repeating the information doesn’t absolve you of blame if it’s wrong.

Seek additional input or rebuttal from the relevant stakeholders. 

As a BJ editor, I told my reporters when they were working on an interview to talk to someone who doesn’t like that person because they’ll show you the other side of the story. And to check the disliker’s version with others.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Former BJ reporter/editor Webb Shaw’s Christmas present: Retirement.

Facebooked wife Katie Gaab-Shaw:
“Pop the cork! It’s “retirement day” for my husband Webb Shaw after 22 years with JJ Keller. From the early days at the Beacon Journal in Akron, to these last few as VP of editorial resources at Keller, no one knows better than your family how hard you worked these past 40 years. Pride doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel, and look forward to our next chapter.”
Take it from me, Katie: I’ve been at it 18 years, and it’s marvelous. I could never travel to 52 countries and 43 states and take 11 cruises if I still were at the BJ, where I ran to work every day because John Knight was such a fabulous owner and I had spectacular colleagues.
Webb’s father, the late Bob Shaw, was an all-American end on Ohio State’s 1942 national championship team coached by the legendary Paul Brown, who eventually guided the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.
 Later Bob Shaw was a tight end with the 1949 Los Angeles Rams and had a record five touchdown receptions in a game and was receivers coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 when they beat the New York Giants to win the NFL championship in what has been called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Even a broken neck didn’t keep Bob Shaw from resuming his NFL career.
Richwood, Ohio native and Fremont Ross High football star Bob Shaw – who also played basketball and competed in track at Ohio State -- was in “Brian’s Song,” the great, six-pack (as in Kleenex) movie about the friendship between Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, who died from cancer in 1970.
Webb’s mom was Mary, who caught Bob’s eye when she was selling candy as an usherette at the Ohio Theater while the Buckeye players were downtown to watch a movie.

Bob Shaw coached briefly at Cuyahoga Falls High School. w years as VP of editorial resources at Keller, no one knows better than your family how hard you worked these past 40 years. Pride doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel, and I look forward to our next chapter…..w years as VP of editorial resources at Keller, no one knows better than your family how hard you worked these past 40 years. Pride doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel, and I look forward to our next chapter…..
Carol (in green) and friend at Arms Family Museum in Youngstown (lower photos)

Carol-ing in a Youngstown museum
Beacon Journal Accounting Department retiree Carol Eubank took time off from her  Portage Lakes Kiwanis Club, Portage Lakes Historical Society and Greystone Building activities in downtown Akron to enjoy the Arms Family Museum in Youngstown.
Carol, a 1957 Coventry High grad who lives in Portage Lakes, was with Bev Fry, a Green High grad, and Pauline, whose last name I don’t have.
Wrote Bev:
Fun day at the Arms Museum in Youngstown with Carol and Pauline. All decorated with vintage Christmas decorations. Frosty joined us also.”
Greystone, the magnificent Arts & Crafts style residence of Olive A. and Wilford P. Arms is preserved a century later as The Arms Family Museum of Local History. On the first floor, in original period rooms, are examples of the Arms’ love of handicraft, medieval architecture and design and the natural environment.

The lower level and second floor feature exhibits that explore the history of people who have lived in the Mahoning Valley.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Phil Trexler was writing a story about the 42-year-old murder of a 12-year-old Portage Lakes girl.

What he found were notes from BJ reporters who covered the crime in 1962, including Lacy McCrary, who later went to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Bill Berger, later in the BJ promotion department and shepherding children to the national Spelling Bee.

Lacy, now 82 and retired, spends a lot of time in Colorado these days and he’s an Air Force Academy fan, agony and all. Perhaps because he studied at United States Air Force Academy

Lacy has been married since 1965.

Phil’s story is about how Summit County sheriff’s detectives hope that DNA can help solve the 50-year-old case. Authorities got Marion’s body in Hillside Cemetery exhumed for DNA to compare to a man who was the prime suspect at the time and today 67 years old and living in Akron.

Marion’s body was found near Killian Road and South Main Street in Akron.

To read Phil’s story about the 1962 murder and 2014 reopening of the investigation, click on  
Fire destroys Beacon building

Did the headline startle you?

Well, it did the same thing to Dave Scott, former deputy business editor and regional issues reporter at the BJ.

It was a “scary moment at the gym,” Dave said, because the TV “Screen said Beacon roof collapsed in a fire.”

False alarm.

It was a “Beacon Building,” but not the one owned by David Black’s Canadian company. It was an abandoned building on North Howard Street in Akron. Apparently someone or some firm with Beacon in its name. The building burned to the ground and is a total loss.

The structure went up in 1913 but hadn’t been used for years.
North Howard was closed in both directions between Cuyahoga Falls and Tallmadge Avenue.

No one was injured in the fire.

Last month Mark J. Price, the excellent reporter of historical events for the BJ, wrote about two Howard Street buildings collapsing in an 1891 disaster.

Two shops occupied adjacent three-story buildings on the west side of South Howard Street in downtown. The stores were south of the West Market Street crossroads of Hall’s Corners, an intersection that no longer exists today but served for a century as the center of the retail district.

The buildings housed Shepherd B. Lafferty’s Model Bakery, a dining hall, lunch counter and confectionery, and, next door, Herrick & Son, which specialized in “wholesale and retail china, glassware, crockery, stoneware, fruit jars and lamps of every description.”

Both structures were built after a major fire destroyed earlier businesses on Howard Street in 1852. A heavy wall separated the two stores.

No one was killed in the collapse of the buildings, except for a horse that had been hitched to a post in front of the stores.

Damage was more than $50,000 — about $1.3 million today.

Herrick & Son reopened two days later on Main Street in a vacant room at the Academy of Music. Lafferty reopened at a Market Street storefront.

The Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. bought the disaster site and built a grocery that operated for decades. The entire block came crashing down when Akron razed South Howard buildings for 1960s urban renewal.

Today, the site of the 1891 disaster rests near the parking garage at the back of the Federal Building.
Will America be hacked to death?

Instead of flying airplanes into buildings America’s enemies will try to destroy us by hacking our computers – at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, where we’re most vulnerable.

That’s thrust of a CNN article by Chris Frates and Curt Devine.

Sony’s capitulation to North Korea, without a shot being fired, is just the opening salvo.

There were almost 61,000 cyber attacks and security breaches across the entire federal government last year. Cyber incidents involving government agencies has soared from 34,000 in 2010 to 46,000 in 2013.

If the IRS is hit, billions of dollars in returns could be taken and the systems erased. Imagine the chaos that would cause.

Just ask individuals who have had false tax returned filed in their names, to get their refunds. It takes months for the victim to prove that they are the real person while the criminal spends taxpayers' money gleefully.

This despite federal government agencies spending $10 billion on information security.

The main problem: employees who click into phishing attacks. There's no patch for that.

The other problem: Hackers get off scott-free, with a few exceptions, so the reward is far greater than the risk.

Who would have thought that nerds would become a bigger threat to America than Rambos?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tampa still loves Black Keys

The Black Keys – retired BJ reporter Jim Carney’s kid, Patrick, and Patrick’s former Firestone High fellow noise-maker, Dan Auerbach – returned to Tampa on Tuesday after a four-year absence.

7,510 showed up at Tampa’s Amalie Arena, which began its life as the Ice Palace in 1996 and has a 21,500 seating capacity for concerts.

The Republican National Convention performed there in 2012.

Tampa Bay Tribune music critic Jay Cridlin drooled over the pair. To read his review, click on

The Black Keys moved on to Orlando’s Amway Center Wednesday night, then it’s Austin’s Frank Erwin Center Dec. 19, Tulsa’s BOK Center Dec. 20, Kansas City’s Sprint Center Dec. 21 before a break for the holidays till Feb. 6 at Los Angeles’ Musicares.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Newspaper dollar dirge drags on

Increase in circulation revenue is about the only bright spot for America’s newspapers financially. It’s up 3.7% to $10.87 billion.

Down are total revenue (2.6%, to $37.59 billion), advertising revenue (6.5%, to $23.57 billion), printed newspaper revenue (8.6%, to $17.3 billion) and niche/non-daily (5.8%, to $1.45 billion).

Digital advertising is up, but only by 1.5%, to $3.42 billion and 24% of that is from ads that do NOT appear in the owner’s newspaper.

While newspapers struggle, these media firms are awash in money

American media companies with bulging capitalization purses:

Vice (the company, not the bad habits) is at $2.5 billion, including $500,000 from the Knight Foundation.

Israeli-originated Outbrain, a content recommendation/native advertising company, plans a $1 billion capitalization next year.

Vox's total is $385 million.

Buzzfeed’s total is $850 million.

Market capitalizations among the traditional media companies, by comparison:

McClatchy — $337 million (considerably less than Vox).

Tribune Publishing — $584 million (more than Vox, less than Buzzfeed).

New York Times Co. — $1.93 billion (roughly twice Outbrain but not as big as Vice).

Time Inc. — $2.55 billion (still a little more than Vice).

Continuing the staff slash-and-burn of traditional media companies, the New York Times did a buyout deal  last week with 60-plus news staffers and will add some layoffs to reach a staff reduction goal of 100. 

Becky Dawidziak’s Cuyahoga Falls class project – a photo of her father, Mark Dawidziak, in a Dashiell Hammett/Sam Spade pose – made the PD and former PD TV/movie critic famous . . . again.

Mark does quite well on his own, with his books about Peter Falk (“Columbo”) and Jim Tully and his portrayals of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain (an eerily uncanny resemblance as BJ’s Mark ages and needs less and less white powder on his hair).

But Becky’s photo shed a film noir light on Mark. 

As Don Herron, who has been leading Dashiell Hammett tours in San Francisco ($20 today for 4-hour tour) since 1977, wrote: 

“I think she nailed it. Thanks, Becky.”

Herron leads tourists to addresses mentioned in Hammett’s crime novels – Sam Spade (“The Maltese Falcon), whose apartment was 891 Post Street; Nick and Nora Charles (“The Thin Man), played in the movies six times by William Powell and Myrna Loy; and the Continental Op (“Red Harvest and “The Dain Curse).

Humphrey Bogart played Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon” with such lines as the bird statue being “The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of” and “When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it” and “I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. If they hang you, I'll always remember you.”

Samuel Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961) was born in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland and died in New York City. Dashiel is the Anglicized version of the family’s French de Chiel.

Dashiel married nurse Josephine Dolan. They had two daughters, Mary Jane and Josephine.

Specific streets and locations in San Francisco are frequently mentioned in his stories, setting up Herron's profitable tours.

From 1929 to 1930 Dashiell was romantically involved with Nell Martin, an author of short stories and several novels. He dedicated “The Glass Key to her and she dedicated her novel “Lovers Should Marry” to Hammett.

In 1931, Hammett embarked on a 30-year affair with playwright Lillian Hellman.

He wrote his final novel in 1934, and devoted much of the rest of his life to left-wing activism, which caused Hammett to serve time in a West Virginia federal penitentiary where he was assigned to cleaning toilets.

The last four years of his life he spent with Hellman. Hammett died in New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital of lung cancer.