Friday, June 24, 2016

Another eye event for Mizell Stewart

Mizell Stewart
Former Beacon Journal managing editor Mizell Stewart III, managing director and chief content officer for Journal Media Group who joined the adjunct faculty at the Poynter Institute in St.  Petersburg, Florida, is dealing with a second detached retina.

Reports Mizell:

Doc said everything went well so long as I (literally) keep my head down for the next few days.”

Mizell is a four-time Pulitzer Prize juror and vice president of the American Society of News Editors, where he will become president at ASNE’s September 2016 convention.

Former BJ photographer Tom Marvin’s Taylor guitar is making sweet music in California’s Yosemite National Park with the sounds echoing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Coshocton’s Kay Ann Shaffer Marvin is with her husband, of course. So is their camper, which has thousands of miles on it in every state in America when Tom isn’t barn-building on their Guernsey County farm just north of Salt Fork State Park, near I-77 and north of Cambridge.
Their neighbor is Mark Kovach, known for being a BJ computer whiz.
Tom retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 2001. Later, he retired again, as transportation supervisor for Ridgeville Local School District where Kay was a school secretary. That's where they met. They’ve been married about three decades.
Yosemite National Park, protected since 1864, is 1,200 square miles of giant, ancient sequoias, and Tunnel View, the vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Tom’s children are Steve Marvin, a bank assistant vice president who lives in Cambridge; Brian Marvin, who lives in Worthington and is a Reynoldsburg police detective; Misty Bellon, a registered nurse living in Eunice, Louisiana; and Beth Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney, from Tom’s marriage to former BJ reporter and retired Hoover High School English and journalism teacher Pam McCarthy.
Perry High and University of Akron graduate Tom’s sister is Marty Marvin Stiner of Canton.
If he’s home, you can contact Tom at or (740) 498-7471. Their mailing address is 74321 Birch Road, Kimbolton, OH 43749.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher had a reunion with former BJ deputy Metro editor Arnie Rosenberg in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Arnie and wife Fran Sherman have two children, Amanda and Zach.
The Beachwood High School graduate, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, married a Beachwood gal in Fran.
He’s editor at Treasure Coast Newspapers, founder-president of The Center for Essay Excellence.
Arnie’s journalism trail has been varied.
The Ohio University grad was deputy Managing Editor at Newsmax, Metro editor-Palm Beach County at Sun Sentinel, assistant City Editor at the Denver Post, Editor in Chief at GIE Publishers, editor at The Sun Press, Sun Messenger, Sun Observer at The Sun News and a reporter at The Painesville Telegraph.
The Rosenbergs are no strangers to reunions. Fran had her high school reunion a year or so ago on Staten Island, New York.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Joe Tait with Jim Chones in the good ol' days
Ailing Joe Tait enjoys Cavs’ championship

PD and former BJ sports writer Terry Pluto has an excellent article on former Cleveland Cavaliers sportscaster Joe Tait, who is battling cancer.

Tait watched the Cavs’ history NBA title-winning on TV, not his customary viewpoint for decades.

To read Terry’s story, click on

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Selling newspapers a slam dunk . . . with right story

Who says newspapers can’t sell their product?

All you need is the first Cleveland major sports title in 52 years.

The Plain Dealer’s editions about the Cavaliers winning the NBA, ending a drought that began after Jim Brown’s Browns won the NFL, ran off 480,000 copies.

And had trouble keeping the shelves stocked.

The Beacon Journal printed 57,000 extra copies.

Hopefully, the BJ and PD won’t have to wait 52 years for a story that draws a demand for extra copies to be printed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

LeBron celebration Thursday at Lock 3

There will be a celebration at Lock 3 at 7 p.m. Thursday for Akron’s hometown hero, LeBron James.

LeBron James Family Foundation executive director Michele Campbell said James and his philantrophic organization are planning the event.

Cleveland will holding its NBA championship celebration on Wednesday. Akron will get its day in the spotlight Thursday.

Press credentials devalued with today’s technology

So presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump withdraws the Washington Post’s press credentials to cover his campaign.

So what?, managing editor Benjamin Mullin writes.

The rise of livestreaming and social media, an increasingly adversarial posture toward the press among political campaigns and a growing reliance on digital digging have combined to devalue the press credential, Mullin writes.

You can read his article by clicking on

Ex-PD publisher to run Philly newspapers

Former Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger has been named publisher and CEO of Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and

Egger succeeds Gerry Lenfest, who owns the company, as publisher.

Before the PD, Egger was an executive at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and in Tucson, Arizona.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Believeland !!!


Hot damn, the torture is over after 52 years.


LeBron succeeds Jim Brown as Northeast Ohio’s sports savior !!!
Dick Shippy’s widow passes away

Joanne Shippy, widow of the erudite BJ entertainment writer Dick Shippy, passed away Friday, June 17.

Joanne Shippy
Her obituary:

Joanne Griffin Shippy

Joanne Griffin Shippy, retired principal of Akron’s Voris Elementary School and a beloved mother and grandmother, died Friday, June 17, at Arden Courts of Bath. She was 87.

Joanne was born Nov. 17, 1928, in Albany, N.Y., to attorney F. Stanley Griffin and teacher Genevieve Shea Griffin, and spent her childhood in Clinton, N.Y. Her greatgreat- grandfather, Revolutionary War veteran Nathaniel Griffin, was among the first settlers of New York’s Mohawk Valley, arriving in 1790 after purchasing a tract of land from General George Washington and New York Governor George Clinton. In 1937, at age nine, Joanne represented the Griffin family as a featured participant in Clinton’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Following her graduation from Clinton High School, Joanne attended Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. It was in Evanston where she met her future husband, Richard W. (Dick) Shippy. They were married in 1950. The couple lived briefly in Clinton, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind., before settling in Akron in 1956.

Joanne served as an in-home instructor for the Akron Public Schools from 1958-67. She taught at Crosby Elementary School from 1967-69, Lawndale Elementary from 1969-72, and Robinson Elementary from 1971-76. She was an administrator at the school district’s Hilltop House diagnostic center for troubled children during the 1976-77 academic year. She trained as a “cadet principal” at Lincoln and Seiberling schools before being appointed principal of Voris in 1979. Many of her former students might fondly recall her donning the “Voris Vulture” costume, a bright-yellow bird suit, as part of the school’s annual Halloween festivities.

Although she retired in 1990, Joanne served as a substitute principal at several local schools over the next five years. She and Dick traveled throughout North America, Europe and Asia with friends and family members over the succeeding decade.

Joanne was preceded in death by her husband, in 2010, and son, Brian G., in 1974. She is survived by children, Kathleen T., of Akron, Kevin S., of New York, N.Y., and Richard A., of Cuyahoga Falls; as well as grandchildren, Emily, Colin, Alison, Rachel, Dylan and Graham.

The family will receive friends Monday, June 20, 4 to 7 p.m. at Hummel Funeral Home, 500 E. Exchange St., Akron.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to the League of Women Voters Education Fund,, P.O. Box 46, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44224; or Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, www.sta, 714 North Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303.

Joanne’s family extends its heartfelt thanks to the staff of Arden Courts of Bath, who provided five years of loving care to “Principal Shippy.”


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Diane Wright, who retired from the BJ Reference Library in 2008 after 23 years, is wearing a boot after fracturing her ankle. For good measure, she has several stress fractures.
Writes Diane: “No driving and in this boot for 4 weeks!!”
Diane and her travel companion Stanley Bassak had a lot more fun on Siesta Key, adjacent to Sarasota, Florida, where the late Bill Gorrell once had his rental complex that drew BJ printers by the dozens every year, and on Cozumel in Mexico.

At least the tree that fell on her property a while back didn’t land on her ankle. Or her.

Diane was part of the mass exodus from Ol’ Blue Walls that cost the BJ 345 years of service.

She is a widow living in Canton. Diane came from Martins Ferry, Ohio to the Akron-Canton area.
Former BJ executive secretary
Frances Sutphin passes away

Former Beacon Journal executive secretary Frances Sutphin passed away Monday, June 13.

Frances’ obituary:

Frances Sutphin

Frances Sutphin, 77, passed away on June 13, 2016 at The Merriman, Akron, Ohio.

Frances Sutphin
Fran was born to Guy and Ruby Carper on March 20, 1939 in Roane County, West Virginia. She graduated from Spencer High School with the Class of 1956 and was married to William Ronald (Ron) Sutphin in April 1957.

She and Ron moved to Ohio in 1965 and raised their family there. Fran was an executive secretary at Babcock & Wilcox as well as the Akron Beacon Journal. They were longtime members of the Akron Baptist Temple.

Fran was preceded in death by husband, Ron; an infant daughter, Anita; and an infant son, Mark. She is survived by her son, Craig (Patty) Sutphin; daughter, Crystal (Guy) Leach; grandchildren, Brian (Crystal) Sutphin and Amanda (Robert) Murray; greatgrandchildren, Ella Sutphin, Harrison Sutphin, and Grayson Murray. She was the oldest of eight children -- her brothers and sisters, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and greatnephews will remember “Sis” as the one who pulled them together so often and put family above all else.

Fran loved her family, her friends, and her flowers. She will be remembered by so many for her cards and her kindness.

Friends may call at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Rd., on Thursday, June 16, 2016 from 5 to 7 p.m., where a funeral service will be held immediately following at 7 p.m., with Rev. Ernie Kemppel officiating. Additional services will also be held on Saturday, June 18th at John H. Taylor Funeral Home, 406 Market St., Spencer, WV 25276 at 2 p.m., with visitation one hour prior. Interment at Clover Cemetery. Funeral home map, directions, and the Sutphin Family condolence book are available at the funeral home website.

Bacher-Portage Lakes 330-644-0024

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Former BJ reporter John Dunphy has beaten some pretty serious odds.

Wife Rebecca Allen reports that John got a clean bill of health after PET and CT scans checking for a possible return of his esophageal cancer.

That puts John among the 8% who survive for at least three years.
Dr. Lipham, his wonderful surgeon, says that 3 years is a big deal. In 90% of patients, if the cancer is going to come back, it will happen in the first three years. Very good news. John doesn't have to be tested again for a year.”
Actually, the statistics say 92% don’t make it that far.
John also is a former reporter for the Orange County (California) Register. Rebecca is deputy Features Editor at the OC Register. They live in Lakewood, California.

John is contributing editor at Southland Golf and seems to make it to the golf course nearly as often as I do. Not main can make that claim since I’m in senior golf leagues at Brookledge (on Mondays) and Kent’s Sunny Hill (on Fridays) and practice with my partner, Tom, Paula’s brother, at RiverWoods on Wednesdays when I’m in Ohio.

At The Villages, Florida, the golfing increases to 5 days a week, every week, for 4 months.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Economy killing middle class … literally

A byproduct of the eviscerating of America’s middle class: The suicide rate is at a 30-year high and up 24% since 1999.

The worst increase was for men and women between the ages of 45 to 64. Experts blame soaring joblessness, home foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Among those 75 or older, suicides have decreased because these categories don’t impact that age group nearly as much.

The suicides took a sharp spike after 2006, when the housing crisis and unemployment struck hard.

The report is in the June 2016 AARP bulletin. AARP stands for American Association of Retired People, but takes in some who are not in that category.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Iula Soapbox tradition continues

In 1954 BJ promotions manager Ralph Iula became All American Soapbox Derby director for the world race in Akron.

Jeff Iula
After 20 years, son Jeff Iula replaced his father as Soapbox Derby director. Jeff has served longer than anyone and still is Soapbox Derby president and a Cuyahoga Falls councilman.

Today, at the 70th running of the Akron local Derby, Jeff’s granddaughter, Zoe, won and qualified for the All American July 16 in Akron. It was the first qualification after five years of trying for Ralph Iula’s great-granddaughter.

The Iula Soapbox Derby connection continues.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dawidziak as Twain on Thursday

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak, who rivals Hal Holbrook nationally as a Mark Twain impersonator, will be at his craft again at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16 at the Fairlawn-Bath Branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

A year ago he performed Twain in the library of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Rudolph Stocker, who began at the New York Times in October 1965, finally retired May 18 at the age of 78, well beyond Social Security eligiblity. He is the last hot type setter at the Times with the lifetime job guarantee.

Rudy Stocker
BJ printers had that same lifetime job guarantee, the brainchild of John S. Knight, that allowed computers into Ol’ Blue Walls and ushered out the smoking hot linotype machines.

I remember the day that, as Newsroom makeup editor, I escorted the last hot-type in BJ history to the engravers alongside Composing foreman Don Baker and printers Carl “Red” Neston and Ed Fobean in 1976.

Red died in 2004, Don and Ed in 2006. Unlike the linotypes, I’m still smoking hot at damn near 84.

Rudy operated a steampunk linotype at the Times. But he was adaptable. With the Times in the computer age he set ads on a Mac, using InDesign and PhotoShop. Old dog learned new tricks, as many did as the BJ.

Rudy was in the secret 9th floor mini-Composing room the Times set up to put together its 1971 Pentagon Papers section, all done in secrecy.

Still, Rudy left the Times without a farewell party or speech. His decision.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Sad, undeniable numbers

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Job losses at newspapers are astounding.

271,800 jobs have been lost since 1990. That’s 59.7% of the 1989 total.

Magazines lost 36% of its jobs. Radio lost 27%.

Internet publishing and broadcasting rose from 30,000 to 198,000.

At the BJ, there were 250 in the newsroom when I retired in 1996. Today, there are fewer than 60. That’s a 76% job loss!

Friday, June 03, 2016

Will tronc re-naming trump Gannett takeover try?

Tribune Publishing, trying to avoid a takeover bid by Gannett, has changed its name to tronc (which it says stands for Tribune Online Content).

That’s to let the world know that it’s branding itself as a digital company while moving its stock listing from the more prestigious New York Stock Exchange to the smaller Nasdaq, which Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernie Madoff once was chairman or president.

All the Tribune/tronc directors were reelected but a substantian percentage of shares were withheld from the voting as a protest encouraged by Gannett.

Various large-percentage have filed lawsuits or pushed Tribune/tronc to take the Gannett offer which was $864 million.

Ironically, tronc (from the French term “tronc des pauvres”) in English is “poor box.”
USA Today next stop for Mizell

Former BJ managing editor Mizell Stewart III will join the USA Today Network as vice president of news operations. That means he’ll be heading up a team seeking to enable and elevate local journalism in more than 100 communities in America.

Mizell Stewart
Wife Valerie and Mizell will continue to live in West Chester Township, which is near Middletown and Hamilton and Cincinnati.
Mizell will work from USA Today’s McLean, Virginia headquarters.
Current BJ vice president and editor Bruce Winges succeeded Mizell, then the managing editor, as the top newsroom executive at the BJ in 2007.
Mizell went to the Evansville, Indiana Courier and Press as editor. Later, he became vice president/content of the newspaper division of E.W. Scripps and Journal Media Group managing director of content. 
Twinsburg native and Bowling Green graduate Mizell worked in Tallahassee, Florida before coming to the BJ in 2006.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Re-direct your cable bitching to Spectrum

Well, we can no longer complain about our Time Warner Cable service, which seems to be a favorite pastime of BJ folks.

Charter Communications swallowed Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and calls the three-way Spectrum, although all three are under the Charter Communications umbrella. I’m sure consultants/researchers were paid mucho dinaros to come up with that name.

Spectrum is the fastest growing TV, Internet and Voice provider in the United States -- #2 nationally with 24 million custmers from New York to California to Florida, which pretty much takes in all of America. Actually, 41 states. 9 states escaped.

So says the company press release.

Comcast, which we get at Paula’s home in The Villages, Florida, is #1, in customers and complaints.

Charter moved from St. Louis to Stamford, Connecticut. Maybe the City Arches cast too big a shadow onto executive office windows.

Charter began in St. Louis with three former Cencom Cable Television executives who decided to spread their wings.

In 1995 Charter gobbled up Cable South. In 1998 Dallas-based Marcus Cable. In 1999, Stamford’s American Cable Entertainment and nine other cable companies around the nation.

In 2002, four Charter executives were indicted for fudging subscriber numbers to look more attractive. It cost Charter $144 million.

In 2009, Charter filed for bankruptcy, reducing its debt by $8 billion and getting $3 billion more to play with.

In 2010, Charter paid $18 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over technicians’ wage and overtime claims.

Other acquistions were made in 2008 and 2013. Now it’s your turn, as a Time Warner customer.

No price change, Spectrum assures, “at the time of the merger.” A few days later, though, look out!

Plus, in 2007 Charter was labeled by PCWorld as having the worst customer service among the then-14 largest cable companies. Be forewarned.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pulitzer winners mostly white males

Whether you go back 100 years or the past decade, about 84% of the Pulitzer Prize winners are white and mostly male.

African-Americans have about the same percentages in this decade as they had in the 1970s and 1980s.

Women have gone from to 16% to about one-third. The total has gone from 5 in the 1970s to 52 in the past decade, mostly in feature writing and investigative reporting.

Former PD columnist Connie Schultz won a 2005 Pulitzer for commentary.

For the full article, click on
Scarborough out at Akron

Ohio’s Polytechnic University is dead and Scott Scarborough, who pushed for the brand, has resigned as University of Akron president after a disconcordant and disruptive two years.

Scarborough can choose to be a faculty member in the college of business administration or take a contractual buyout of $450,000. 

He must vacate the university-owned home by Sept. 27. He will receive $15,000 in moving expenses. All his presidential perks, including a vehicle stipend, travel expenses and club memberships, end on Sept. 28. 

Rex Ramsier, interim senior vice president and provost, will take over until an interim president is named.

Let the healing begin.

Fall enrollment is down and programs led by Scarborough flopped miserably. One cost 800K. The OPU push was killed, too.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher and husband Paul Fisher are celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary.

Betty has more more awards than I can keep track of – the Cleveland Press Club Ohio Excellence in Journalism competition (2008, 2009, 2010, 2015 firsts) and Akron Beacon Journal Excellence Awards (2005).

That’s more than a decade of collecting awards for her excellent work.

And more than two decades of Betty and Paul enjoying each other’s company, which is an even more remarkable achievement these days.