Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Buffum's Stash #6: Farewell to Ann

Tower Topics, the old employe publication of the Beacon Journal, could poke fun at people. These two photos are from a Jan-Feb 1977 issue.

The occasion was a going away party for Ann Moritz at Gareri’s, a spaghetti house once on S. Main St, in Akron. Here’s the caption under Anne’s pholo:

“It;’s all right to use your fingers to eat your cake in Kansas and Akron, but in Boston it’s probably a Ann Moritz plunged right into her cake as she was toasted by newspaper employes on her departure from the Beacon Journal. Ann, a Kansas native and former assistant editor in the Metro and Life/Style departments, left Akron recently for a job on the Boston Globe. More than 50 gathered at Gareri’s on S. Main St. to say goodybe to Kansas Annie.“

Just got an e-mail from Ann who is now busy as a consultant and hope to get more info from her soon.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Rebecca Smith wed

Rachel West Smith, middle child of BJ veterans Tim and Jane Smith, got married at the Columbus Zoo on Aug. 6, to James Nelli, a computer programmer. Rachel teaches gifted 4th and 5th graders at Hilliard Schools on the west side of Columbus and James works for a software firm in the city. They met last year at a games convention. As part of the entertainment, zookeepers provided a 43-year-old turtle, a baby wallabie, a clouded leopard on loan from another zoo and a macaw (very large parrot) named Lapis -- something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. While the bride and groom were the main attraction, grandson Zebediah, 21 months, son of youngest child Bryan and wife Wendy, stole the show with a marathon dance session. Smith, who left the BJ in '86 for Kent State, now has all three of his children married off.

Click on the headline above to see wedding photos. Click on photos to enlarge them and use arrow keys to toggle the photos.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A note from Derf and Sheryl Harris

Former Beacon graphic artist John Backderf (aka Derf) was named Cartoonist of the Year in
this year's Altie Awards, passed out by the Assoc. of Alternative Newsweeklies. His cartoon
appears in over 50 alternative weekly papers nationwide.

Check out his web site at

John Backderf (aka derf) and Sheryl Harris

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Buffum’s Stash #5: What's in a name?

Even Tower Topics, the employee publication of the Beacon Journal, had an occasional problem with names. The caption on this photo in the Jan-Feb 1977 issue had only one letter wrong though. Can you spell the real name?

Hint: He is listed as one of our Blog contributors.

Send a postcard to Miller

Blog readers seeking to show their support for jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller are asked to send postcards to:
Attn: Judith Miller
Inmate No. 45570083
Alexandria Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314

Buffum's Stash #4: Color problem

There was no problem getting two homeless kittens adopted, but the reporter evidently had a problem with color. He did not know if they were black or half brown. The blog guy adds another color--yellow--to highlight the problem with this story in the Akron Beacon Journal on January 26, 1969.

Knight program to air in schools

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is teaming up with Channel One for a nationwide schools program Sept. 16 to promote Constitution Day.

The program, which will reach about 8 million students in nearly 12,000 middle schools and high schools, aims to improve awareness of the First Amendment.

Programming will be provided via Channel One News, at and through iPod downloads. The foundation's educational resource,, provides free lesson plans, teaching guides and related tools for teachers and administrators.
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Friday, August 26, 2005, page D1 ]

Friday, August 26, 2005

Buffum’s Stash #3: The Iron maiden

What a difference an edition makes.

Check these two photos published on page 2 on November 22, 1968 in the Akron Beacon Journal.

The same woman is pictured in both, but the captions change.

In the first edition she is referred to as an Iron maiden in some sort of all-metal fashion.

In the final edition she is correctly identified, I hope, as Gerry Van der Heavel, appointed press secretary to Mrs. Richard Nixon.

BJ artists honored

NABJ names Balogh,
Hagedorn finalists
in annual competition

The National Association of Black Journalists has named newsroom artists Dennis Balogh and Kathy
Hagedorn finalists in its annual competition. Balogh was honored for an illustration of the Tri-C Jazz Fest (shown here). Hagedorn was honored for an illustration of rhythm and blues singer Usher. Both works appeared as center spreads in Enjoy magazine; Balogh's on April 15, 2004; Hagedorn's on Aug. 26, 2004. The NABJ will announce final standings Oct. 15 at a banquet in Washington, D.C.

Beacon Journal editor honored

Debra Adams Simmons, vice president and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, was named the Athena Award recipient for the Akron area in an awards ceremony in Independence on Thursday night.

Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, Athena Awards are presented across the country by local host organizations for the Athena Foundation in Chicago. Northeast Ohio's host is Inside Business, a regional business magazine.

Inside Business publisher Michael Maleski said Athena nominees were submitted by members of the business community and readers of the magazine. Maleski said the Akron area recipient was a unanimous choice of the judges.
[Excerpted from news story in Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Friday, August 26, 2005, page D2 ]

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Black Keys playing Beachland

Akron’s own The Black Keys perform Friday [Aug 26] in a sold-out show at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland. The band features Firestone High School graduates Dan Auberbach and Patrick Carney, son of Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney and stepson of Beacon Journal reporter Katie Byard.

The first full-length live DVD of The Black Keys will be released by Fat Possum on October 4. In addition to an electrifying sold-out live performance captured at Sydney, Australia's Metro Theatre on March 18, 2005, the disc includes exclusive interview footage of Dan and Pat, a photo gallery, the video David Cross directed for "10 AM Automatic" and the video for "Set You Free."

Click on the headline above to go to the site which is full of information and message boards on The Black Keys.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Buffum's Stash #2 and a note from Geri

A note from Geri Coleman Tucker at USA Today prompts the use of the accompanying photo from the Jan-Feb 1977 issue of Tower Topics–another item from Charlie Buffum’s stash of BJ memorabilia

Here’s the note from Geri:

Hi Harry,

Just got an email from Ken Krause and learned you're a blogger. It's great to hear you're keeping the Beacon Journal fires burning.

I'm still at USA TODAY, where I'm a deputy managing editor in the Money section. Mike has his own media consulting business, which he operates out of our home in Springfield, Va. We celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in a week (Aug. 31) and just dropped off our one and only child, Christopher, to Marshall University in Huntington, WV, where he's beginning his freshman year.

We miss the old gang at the Beacon Journal and were especially saddened to hear about Roland Queen's death. From time to time we see Jewell Cardwell and Marily Milloy. Craig Wilson just wrote a long letter updating us on his daughters, his new wife, and his induction into the Mensa society. Carolyn White and Barb Lumpkins are members of our church and we're all still best buddies. Life is, relatively speaking, good.

Hope are you? Would love to catch up! Write soon.

Geri Coleman Tucker

Monday, August 22, 2005

Two old guys at lunch

What can be said other than these are two old BJ types having lunch together--proving once again that it is nice to be retired.

For youngsters who do not recognize them it is Tom Moore (at left) and Dave Boerner.

Both used to put the newspaper out.

Add your own comments.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Two more lost BJ types

Looking for a couple more lost BJ sheep:

Ann Moritz, last known at Boston Globe

Geraldine Coleman, last known at USA Today

Leave a comment here or send e-mail to

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Buffum's Stash #1: See line 11

Charlie Buffum said he was clearing away debris in preparing to move to another place in Manhattan. The debris which he mailed to me is a treasure trove of old photos plus clippings containing beautiful BJ bloopers. There is enough for a whole series of posts we will call "Buffum’s Stash" until someone comes up with a better idea.

No. 1 above is an historic prank by a BJ printer who actually was able to stick this slug in a story which was printed. Many BJ types for years have been trying to learn the date it ran and to see a copy. Well here it is.Just read line 11 highlighted in yellow in the enlarged section. The offending printer to my knowledge was never identified by the management. If you know, please e-mail:

And watch for more of "Buffum’s Stash."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Crutchfield shares vision of BJ in 2010

Jim Crutchfield shares vision of newspaper, in 2010

In half-hour presentations at 11 a.m., 6 p.m. and 11p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Publisher Jim Crutchfield shared his vision of what the Akron Beacon Journal and will look like in 2010. Greater integration with will be key, he said, stressing the Beacon Journal's role as a media company rather than a newspaper company.

"Credibility is really what we sell," said Crutchfield. To that end, news and information in 2010 will bedelivered in a continuous cycle that will involve,among others, the printed newspaper,, Beacon Journal Digital, CareerBuilder weekly magazine, Luxury Living magazine and "Beacon Buddy," a technology developed and named by John Vicars, information technology. Beacon Buddy will alert and link readers to the stories that interest them -- as soon asthe stories are published online. By 2010, labor costs will be in line with other newspapers (right now, the Beacon Journal is about 6 percentage points higher than comparable companies);revenue growth will be outpacing expense growth; and profit margins will have risen by about 10 percentage points.

Through advertising, trade deals on cable TV and partnerships with Cleveland sports teams, the newspaperwill have a greater presence in the Akron-Clevelandarea. Expanding market share northward will open opportunities to double revenue. Employees will understand how their roles make adifference in a workplace that will have become a model of pay for performance.A new phone system (scheduled for 2006), wireless access in the newsroom and interactive Web sites will have become the norm.

Among other changes, customers will be placing ads online, and advertisers will be selling items "not advertising" online.Through acquisitions and the development of new weekly and daily newspapers, there will be more products like 77 South to capture the smaller, local markets, freeing the Beacon Journal to focus on larger advertisersand major content initiatives.The benefits of the Mactive installation, which went live on Monday, Aug. 15, will have paid off, centralizing accounting and advertising data, giving sales staff more time for selling, and improving customer service in both departments. By 2010, sub-ZIP zoning software will have carved out 130 zones, giving advertisers three times the targeting capability than they had in 2005. Software toward that end was installed last week.Crutchfield followed up each presentation with aquestion-and-answer session.

Among other comments following the 11 a.m. presentation, he expressed sadness at the sale of the Detroit Free Press, but said heunderstood Knight Ridder's reasoning. He talked about a future in which technology would make news gatherers of ordinary citizens, citing the need for extra vigilance in the newsroom. He said he did not expect to see dramatic changes in staffing levels. [Reprinted from Hot Type]

Monday, August 15, 2005

Rebecca Strong wed in New Zealand

Rebecca Strong, oldest daughter of Cathy Strong and her former husband Percy, was married Saturday, August 13, 2005, in the tiny historic Pukekaraka St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Otaki, New Zealand.

Rebecca is a hydrographer and lieutenant in the New Zealand Navy and her husband, Lt. Dion Hewson is also a lieutenant in the Navy. They will go to Samoa for a week on their honeymoon.
August is mid-winter in New Zealand but the weather for the wedding was good. The church in Otaki is the oldest church in New Zealand and respectfully combines the Maori culture of 1850 and the Catholic culture of the French Marist missionary priests.

Because the couple both have Irish roots, Rebecca’s sister Penelope brought back some mead from Ireland and old them that couples used to drink the honey wine for the full moon (a month) after the wedding for fertility which is where "honeymoon" came from.

Penelope, 23, is a real estate agent in West Palm Beach, Florida. The youngest sister, Amanda, 21, is a journalism student at Massey University. The bride is 26.
The photo of the three sisters was taken in Cathy Strong’s living room minutes before they left for the wedding.

Cathy’s sister, Janet Mullins of Bainbridge Island, Washington, attended the wedding. Cathy, a former Beacon Journal reporter who has had a successful career in the media in New Zealand, is now a journalism lecturer.

Please click on the headline above to see more photos. Click on the photos to enlarge them and click on the arrows to move around the photo album.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

KR shares up on buyback

Shares of Knight Ridder Inc. rose Friday after the company said it would accelerate the repurchase of 10 million shares of its own stock, but the move also led two credit agencies to lower ratings on the newspaper publisher's debt.

Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service both dropped their ratings on Knight Ridder's debt, and Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for its own rating to negative from stable.Fitch said its downgrade reflects an unexpected increase in indebtedness from the repurchase at Knight Ridder while the publisher's results continue to be pressured. Moody's also cited the stock buyback, and both agencies expressed concern about a general long-term decline in newspaper irculation.

Fitch downgraded Knight Ridder's senior unsecured debt to BBB from A-, which is still two levels higher than speculative grade or "junk" status. Moody's downgraded the company's rating to A3 from A2, the fourth-lowest investment grade level. Lowered credit ratings can increase a company's borrowing costs.

San Jose, Calif.-based Knight Ridder, whose 32 daily newspapers include the Beacon Journal, said in a statement late Thursday that it had already repurchased half of the shares it intends to take off the market under the current plan.In a private transaction, the company on Thursday bought back 5 million shares from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for $312 million, or $62.36 per share.

The remaining 5 million shares will be repurchased in the open market. Companies buy back their own shares in a bid to increase their value and to raise earnings per share buy reducing the amount of shares outstanding.With Thursday's transaction, Knight Ridder has bought back 8.3 million shares, of 11 percent of its outstanding stock, so far this year. It repurchased 12.6 million shares during the previous three years.

The company's board authorized the 10 million-share stock buyback program on July 19, in addition to the 1.8 million shares remaining from the previous stock buyback authorization.The announcement sent Knight Ridder's shares up $3.47 or 5.6 percent to $65.83 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have traded between $60.09 and $71.07 over the past year.

[From BusinessWeek online and other business publications]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

BJ Retirees lunch on August 10

It was the usual dozen at the BJ Retirees lunch on Wednesday. August 10, 2005 at Papa Joe’s Restaurant in the Valley.

In the top photo are Bob Pell and Ed Hanzel and wife.

In the bottom photo Carl Nelson talks to Watson Blanton and his wife. Dick Gresock is at left.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

KR to receive $262 million in swap

Knight Ridder Inc. will receive $262 million for selling the Detroit Free Press to Gannett Co., according to a regulatory filing made Tuesday.

Knight Ridder, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, and Gannett, the largest, announced the sale last Wednesday but did not disclose a price until Tuesday.

Knight Ridder disclosed the purchase price for the Detroit Free Press as well as other details about a separate set of newspaper exchanges in a filing made Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to the purchase price of $262 million, Knight Ridder said it would also get about $23 million in balance sheet adjustments in the Free Press deal, subject to final adjustments.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

VSP eyecare said I am not a member, how come?

I've been retired for 13 years and several years ago when last I had an eye exam it was free once a year through the BJ though glasses were not provided after retirement.

My wife lost her glasses and I need to have new ones too so I inquired with United Health Care and they said they only provide insurance in case of injury to the eyes. Contacting the BJ I was told that my insurer was VSP eyecare and all I had to do was give them my social security number.

I then contacted them through their web site and was told my sign-in was wrong. Then I called them and after giving my SS number they said they had no record of it or me.

Was the eyecare for retiries dropped in a contract in the last few years and shouldn't the provisions I retired under be the determining factor?


Knight Ridder bugs out of Detroit

Hear about KR bugging out of Detroit? A whole blog is needed to report on it.

Here’s the beginning of the official news release. Click on the headline to read it all.

SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire_FirstCall/ __ Knight Ridder and Gannett today announced an exchange of assets involving four of their newspapers and cash consideration.
In the exchange, Knight Ridder will receive from Gannett The (Boise) Idaho Statesman, and two newspapers in the state of Washington, The (Olympia) Olympian, and The Bellingham Herald. In return, Gannett will receive the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat and an undisclosed cash consideration.

The transaction is subject to regulatory review and will close once that process is completed, probably the first week in September.

Knight Ridder Chairman and CEO Tony Ridder said, "As we continue to review our portfolio of newspapers, other print products, Internet sites and investments, we are constantly impressed by the performance of our mid-sized and smaller newspapers -especially those in growth areas. This exchange gives us the opportunity to add three newspapers in robust western markets. Each one performs strongly; together, they will make a very solid addition to our existing lineup.

"Simultaneously, we feel keenly the loss of the Tallahassee Democrat. Its journalistic tradition in the state capital is deeply rooted; its people -- friends and colleagues for many years -- are talented and dedicated. We thank them and wish them well. We will miss them."

You can read more about the personnel changes in the news release above by clicking on the headline.

Here’s the graph on BJ type Mizell Stewart:

Tallahassee Democrat President and Publisher Mike Pate will remain with Knight Ridder in a consulting role through the end of the year, when he plans to retire. Vice President/Editor Mizell Stewart will remain with Knight Ridder in a role yet to be determined.

Editor & Publisher has a number of reports which can be found on their web site:
Jennifer Saba, an associate editor and analyst for Editor & Publisher filed a story headlined "Profit concerns likely driving Knight Ridder’s Detroit Pullout" which quotes media analyst John Morton:

"Knight Ridder has been promising Wall Street it was going to improve its profit margins," Morton said Wednesday. "One of the biggest drags on that was Detroit."
The grand old time when newspaper companies had sentimental attachments to properties they own is long gone."

As of 3:09 p.m. Wednesday, Gannett's stock was trading down $.28 from yesterday's closing price of $72.27. At the same time, Knight Ridder's stock was up $.05 from yesterday's closing price of $61.91.

And from Phila:
As the news spread across newsrooms at other big_city newspapers in the chain Wednesday, journalist reaction ranged from fear that their paper could be next to sadness for colleagues in Detroit to a faint hope that the move might free up more reporting resources.

In Philadelphia, executives moved quickly to calm any trepidation in the newsrooms of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News.

In a memo to staffers, Inquirer Executive Editor Amanda Bennett said she had listened to the conference call announcement with Publisher Joe Natoli. "While this is obviously a huge move for Knight Ridder, and for Detroit and Tallahassee, it has no direct bearing on us here in Philadelphia."

Philadelphia's Newspaper Guild Local President Henry Holcomb said he was inclined to agree.
"I can't see a direct connection," he said. "The Detroit situation has been a complicated situation for a long time, and I just don't see any sign that it means [Knight Ridder] is getting out of big cities or anything like that. ... I would tell our members it has no direct bearing on them."

Knight Ridder was in an "untenable different from any other paper I know anything about in the company," added Holcomb, who is treasurer of the national Guild's "Knight Ridder Watch" Web site that tracks developments around the chain.

P.S. "Knight Ridder Watch" still had nothing on its web site at press time–or my browser is screwing up

Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Knight Ridder publishes 32 daily newspapers, and, through Knight Ridder Digital, publishes 34 Web sites and operates the Real Cities Network of local news sites in more than 110 markets nationwide.