Monday, October 31, 2005

Retired editor Mike Dungjen dies

Milan "Mike" Dungjen

WADSWORTH -- Milan "Mike" Dungjen, 85, died Sunday, October 30, 2005, at his residence after a 5-year illness.

Born in Rittman on August 27, 1920 to the late Paul and Pelazia Zsivanovics Dungjen, Mr. Dungjen resided in Wadsworth since 1969 previously residing in Highland Park, Illinois. He served in the Army for 20 years in Europe during World War II and Korea receiving two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He was sports editor for the Sun Newspapers retiring in 1985 with 10 years service and was previously managing editor at the Medina County Gazette for 7 years. Mr. Dungjen was a member of Brunswick American Legion Post 234 and a former member of Medina Rotary Club and Medina Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Press Association and UPI Editor's Association and inducted into the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame. He was a volunteer at the Wadsworth Public Library for many years and enjoyed reading, photography, covering amateur sports and collecting western paraphernalia.

Mr. Dungjen is survived by wife, Anneliese "Chris" (nee Klaws) to whom he was married 50 years on August 20; sons, Michael of Island Lake, Ill., Steve and wife Ellen of Springboro; daughters-in-law, Gayle of Winthrop Harbor, Ill., Paula of Tangent, Oregon; 19 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren; sisters, Celia Dietrich of Escondida , Calif. and Mildred Butkovic of Sacramento, Calif.; special nephews, Ted and Donald Dungjen.

He was preceded in death by sons, William and Richard; brothers, Sam, Ralph and Joseph.

The family will receive friends Tuesday 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hilliard & Mullaney Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman Street, Wadsworth where funeral service will be held Wednesday 10 a.m., Rev. Ann Paynter officiating. Interment at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
(Hilliard & Mullaney, 330-334-1501.)

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH Monday, October 31, 2005, page B7, col. 3]

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pell urged to submit newsletter

Retired Beacon Journal printer Bob Pell has been editor of the Wadsworth Aerie #2117 Eagles newsletter for a dozen years. The four-page newsletter is puhlished six times a year. He has been lauded for his work and recently was invited to enter it in competition.

Here's the invitation Bob got recently:

Dear Mr. Pell,

The December issue of The Eagle Magazine will contain an announcement of the
2006 Eagle Bulletin Contest. I hope you will submit an issue of your
excellent newsletter, which has long struck me as one of the best that
crosses my desk. You and John Kernan do an excellent job.

Best wishes,

Pete Ehrmann
The Eagle Magazine

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Gaffney describes Cancun ordeal

Beacon Journal sports writer TomGaffney and his wife, Linda, are back home in Stow and he writes about their ordeal in a story on Page A1of the Beacon Journal on Saturday, October 29, 2005.

“Stow looked more like paradise than merely home Thursday,” Gaffney writes. “My wife, Linda, and I survived seven days with Hurricane Wilma and its aftermath in Mexico, but we'll never forget the hours we thought we wouldn't.

“We made it out, just as tens of thousands of other Cancun tourists have. But we left behind a scene of destruction. Some hotels and restaurants are gone -- as are the jobs that went with them for a Mexican people whom my wife and I had learned to love in five previous trips to the Yucatan peninsula.”

Their ordeal is an interesting story. As Gaffney concludes:

“Linda and I are home safely, with an unforgettable experience behind us. But it is impossible not to think of the untold thousands of Mexicans left with nothing.”

To read the complete story, we urge you to click on the headline above.

Messages for Tom Gaffney can be left at 330-996-3825 or or you can leave your comments here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Remembering Pat Englehart

Saturday, Oct 29, 2005 is the tenth anniversary of the death of Patrick T. Englehart who died in Ocala, FL, of T-cell lymphoma at the age of 70 in 1995. He lived in Ocala the last five years of his life since retirement in 1990. He was one of the most colorful and talented editors of the Beacon Journal where he coordinated coverage of the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State University which won the newspaper’s first Pulitzer Prize.

Four students died during protests against the Vietnam war.

Englehart was then state editor. He began his career at his hometown paper, the Zanesville Signal, in 1947. After his graduation from Northwestern University School of Journalism in 1952 he worked in Fairmont, WV, and Evansville, IN, before joining the Beacon Journal’s wire desk in 1954 under future executive editor and publisher Ben Maidenburg.

Patrick Theodore Englehart was born August 25, 1925 and was raised in Zanesville. He lived in Mogadore for many years and was a past president of the Mogadore Lions Club. He and was a member of the Village Charter Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, of which he was chairman.

His survivors were his wife, Marge, a former teacher, and four children, Peter, Phillip, Mary Pat and Andrew.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II. His ashes were placed in the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, a veterans cemetery.

Many had their favorite stories about Pat and some perhaps may leave their memories of him in comments here.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

BJ artists score on Creativity

In an international, best-of-industry competition that rarely features more than one piece of art for a single newspaper, Akron Beacon Journal newsroom staff chalked up six that will appear in the 2005 edition of Creativity Annual.

Two are by artist Kathy Hagedorn: a Premier section front featuring Rock Hall inductees and an Enjoy cover featuring Bobby “Blue” Band. Artist Rick Steinhauser and Tim Good, page designer, teamed up to produce an award-winning Outlook section cover. Steinhauser also earned recognition for a double-truck informational graphic about the new downtown library.

Artist Dennis Balogh and Edna Jakubowski, page designer, teamed up for a center spread in Enjoy featuring Robert Lockwood Jr. A sixth piece, featuring an illustration on home security, was done by former newsroom artist Jemal Brinson, who left the company last week to accept a position in Atlanta, Ga.

[Information and the Hagedorn illustration taken from HotType, a BJ online newsletter]

Update from Scott Bosley

That 1974 story on "Superdesk" brought a lot of good memories tumbling back! And it was fun to view on the blog the recent reunion photo of those 70's reporters in Columbus. What a crew of pros!

You asked for an update, so I'll give it a whirl:

After being JOA'd once (Detroit) and sold twice (New York's Journal of Commerce and The Post-Tribune in Gary), it seemed an appropriate time to move in another direction. And so I did in 1999 and am enjoying my work as executive director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

This move deposited us back in the Washington area where Carol and I had lived for awhile in the 90s and left us near our remaining families in eastern West Virginia. We live in Bethesda, Md., and I work across the river in Reston, Va. Our offices are in the American Press Institute Building where, until he retired as API president, Bill Winter was our landlord.

Our family is grown up and has expanded a bit. Son Jeff is a labor lawyer and litigator in San Francisco for Chicago-based Winston & Strawn. He and his wife have two daughters, Devin (3) and Megan (5), who are of course very special for us. They just live too far away! A few weeks ago I was on business in California and spent the weekend keeping up with the girls in their Larkspur neighborhood. Great fun!

Daughter Julie, after working several years in sports marketing with the NBA and the Philadelphia 76ers, went back to college a few years ago, got an MBA and is working in corporate relations for Kellogg's in Battle Creek, Mich. A side benefit is that she travels a good bit, and sometimes in our direction. So we we see her more often than the California delegation.

Carol is active in our church but, sadly, has been most active in elder care for the past several years due to the declining health of her parents. Her dad died in January after a long battle with cancer and her mother is now in a nursing home.

Last year, I had the special privilege of introducing Tom Melody, into the Legion of Honor at our common alma mater, Keyser (WV) High School. And I had a wonderful xperience, 60 years after D-Day, of joining my brother and tracing the steps of our dad off Omaha Beach and through Normandy to the small town where was injured. We were there, in Mortain, for the town's celebration of the battle in which the town was liberated. A very heartwarming experience.

It is fun, always, to bump into BJ friends. Bill Hershey was a star panelist at a program on Ohio politics when our ASNE board met in Springfield last year, I was able to join Marilynn Marchione for breakfast when she came to Washington for a conference and, occasionally, in my work I cross paths with Al Fitzpatrick, Tim Smith and current BJ publisher Jim Crutchfield. Jim was a colleague in the Detroit days I shared with John Dunphy, Lalrry Froelich and Jim Ricci. And, of course, I really caught up on things a few years ago when Charlene Nevada came through town for a conference. She needs to come back soon so I'll know what's really going on in Akron.

All good wishes,


Monday, October 24, 2005

Metro Desk organized

The following is reprinted from the Nov-Dec 1974 issue of Tower Topics, the Beacon Journal employee publication:

It’s Superdesk

City-State Desks Combined

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superdesk!

After months of planning and a hectic Sunday of shuffling desks around and getting telephones moved, the reorganized Beacon Journal local newsroom operation was launched on Monday, Nov. 11. Called the Metro Desk in formal communica-tions, it had been labeled Superdesk by the staff even before it became a reality.

Without getting too technical, the Metro Desk concept meant combining the City Desk and the State Desk, plus some functions of the Copy Desk, into one operation. Its purpose was to improve the quality of coverage in ,the more than 200 governmental units of our circulation area, and to show the reader in, say, Doylestown, that she or he has many of the same interests and problems as the reader in Kent.

Named Metro Editor was Scott Bosley, who had been City Editor. Tom Suchan was drafted from the Sunday Department to become asssociate Metro Editor.

And at the same time, a Special Projects Desk was established under Pat Englehart, who had been State Editor. Pat heads a team of reporters who specialize in trend stories, in-depth investigations and other special assignments.

Though bugs are still being worked out, the reorganized operation seems to be paying off. A story from one suburban city council meeting disclosed that the price of salt for streets was going down. Instead of the story appearing in one edition focusing on that city, a Metro Desk check showed that salt prices, were down all over the area, and a story was written which was directed to all our readers.

When the Chippewa School District rejected a millage on Nov. 5, and citizens went out to raise the money to keep the school open, Wayne County reporter Jean Peters, who normally would have had to cover that story as well as other activities in the county, was able to call on the Metro Desk's education team for help. The result: A more comprehensive, continuing story about the problems of one school district to which all parents and teachers in Beacon Journaland could relate.

And the Special Projects Desk gave you, for starters, an intensive series on the f-nancial problems and peculiarities of the Greenwood Villagedevelopment in Sagamore Hills.

And to maintain our level of coverage of purely local events in our many communities, a local News in Brief column was started, as well as a restructured Good Afternoon column by Fran Murphey. Both columns change with editions as needed.

"The change two years ago from seven editions to three made it impossible for us to cover the news as we had before," said Editor Mark Ethridge Jr. "And with the increasing mobility of people, we knew that their interests were broader than their own city limits or school district lines. The purpose of the Metro Desk is to serve their changing needs and demands.

"We hope, with the Metro Desk, to make the Beacon Journal not only as useful to our readers as before,. but even more interesting."

[Saturday, October 29, will be the tenth anniversary of the death of Pat Englehart in Ocala, FL, at the age of 70, where he lived for five years after his retirement.]

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gaffneys sidelined by Wilma at Cancun

Beacon Journal sportswriter Tom Gaffney and his wife, Lind\a, planned to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary at a luxury beach hotel in Cancun, Mexico, before Wilma struck and they ended up staying at a brothel. Gaffney tells BJ reporter Bob Dyer all about it in a call from a borrowed cell phone.

“We’re without power, without lights, without air conditioning...” he told Dyer. “They’ve handed us bags of food, like sandwiches. People have been eating Spam right out of the can, tuna fish right out of the can.”

Click on the headline above to read Dyer’s story.

Out-of-towners also might like to check the BJ online at to read other stories in Saturday’s edition including one about efforts by attorneys for Cynthia George to get her trial moved out of Summit County. If they are successful, it would be the first time in 25 years. The wife of Tangier owner Ed George is charged with conspiring with a lover and orchestrating the death of an ex-lover.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Let's hear it for Larry

Let’s hear it for Larry Froelich who is retiring at the end of this month. A retirement reception is set for Oct 28 for Larry at the Lexington (KY) News Leader. Froelich has worked for three Knight Ridder newspapers–the Beacon Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Lexington.

You can offer your congratulations by adding a comment at the end of this post.

Larry grew up on Walnut Street in Dover in Tuscarawas County, OH. He worked a couple of summers in advertising and news at the Dover Reporter. The editor was Harry Yockey, a great newspaperman and father of Nancy (Yockey) Bonar. When Larry graduated from college, Harry told him he could work for him until the military called. That lasted about 2-3 months. On the way back to Dover from a reporting job, Larry stopped at the draft board and found out he was on the top of the list to be drafted so he enlisted in a college option Officer Candidate School program and went to Fort Benning, GA

After graduating from OCS and Airborne, he remained at Benning and was PIO for The Student Brigade for about 5-6 months. Then he got a call from the Infantry School asking if he was interested in working in their Special Editing Section. Froelich wrote formal and personal letters and speeches for the two generals on base and was responsible for reviewing all documents for signature by either general that were headed for Third Army or the Pentagon. It was a pretty good gig because Froelich was holding down a slot that normally called for a major. But this was during the Vietnam buildup, and field officers were in even shorter supply than junior officers.

When he was approaching severance from the military, Harry Yockey told him he had a job if he wanted it. Froelich told Harry he would like to work at the Beacon. While he sat in the office, Yockey called Ben Maidenburg and the rest is history–Larry got a job at the Beacon.

Although his retirement will be on Oct 28, Larry will continue through Oct 31 and work a couple of days a week after a two-week break, he says, because the newsroom is so horribly short-handed: 25 positions empty or lost in the last five years

Larry’s oldest son and his family are coming from Detroit for the party.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Confused by Vancouver dateline

Marilyn Marchione, former Beacon Journal reporter, was back on the front page of the Beacon on Tuesday (Oct 18) with a story carrying the enticing headline:

heats up
sex life,
study says

I was confused at first by the dateline which was Vancouver, British Columbia. The story mentioned research in Minneapolis. The story failed to mention it, but the Obese Society was meeting in Vancouver and Marilyn was covering it as the medical writer for Associated Press. That gets her name above datleines from all over. In addition to explaining the Vancouver dateline, it would have been nice to mention (boastfully perhaps) that Marilyn was a former BJ reporter.

Click on the headline to read the story.

Monday, October 17, 2005

BJ reunion in Columbus

Report on a BJ mini-reunion in Columbus by Larry Froelich

We had a terrific BJ mini-reunion this past weekend in Columbus. Jim Ricci was the first to suggest the idea and then Mike Cull picked up the ball and helped make it all happen. So Friday, Ricci flew
in from L.A., Mike Clary from Miami and I drove up from Lexington. We met Cull and Suse at the Flatiron Bar & Diner over in the Arena Center area and spent the evening reminescing about that period of the '70s when we were all young and having a grand time at the BJ, chasing stories and raising hell.

On Saturday, the four of us went to the Michigan State-Ohio State game, which turned out to be quite a wild affair. Then afterwards we regrouped at Damon's to watch the USC-Notre Dame.

But it was Saturday evening that really made the whole weekend so rewarding. We returned to the Flatiron, and by this time Don Bandy had driven down from Akron, while Bill and Marge Hershey, John and Georgia McDonald, and Jim and Karen Toms had showed up. We spent the next four hours or so telling tall tales (it was impossible to muffle Clary, who had to regale anyone who would listen to stories of his athletic exploits on the fields and hardwood courts of Cuyahoga Falls High and Beloit College), and catching up on everyone there and others they'd remained in contact with over the years.

By evening's end, we all hoped we could "Do it again" in the future. I hadn't seen many of these dear old colleagues since I left the BJ in early '81 so it was a special weekend for me. And I think it was for the others as well.

Blog guy’s comment: Karen Toms shot this great photo. Do all these people look a wee bit older than I remember them? Thanks for the great blog post.

Jewell Cardwell as Murphey

The concern on the faces of Jewell Cardwell and Charles Buffum, newsroom employes, is not over a page one story. It's over whether Fran Whatshername would ever return from her eight-week trip half way around the world. During Fran Murphey's absence, Jewell aptly handled the Good Afternoon column. On Jewell's last day subbing for Fran she celebrated by showing up in a Murphey type ensemble, Oshkosh-Bi-gosh overalls and checked shirt.
[Photo from the Jan-Feb 1977 issue of Tower Topics.]

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Woeful views for a dreary Sunday

When Beacon Journal managing editor Mike Burbach puts a piece on A1 with the salutation “Dear Readers” you know it’s going to be a “Dear John” letter.

Ah, yes, it is the severing of our relationship with the funky Community Extra. It is now gone. Public Editor Mike Needs ducked his responsibility of explaining to readers because he did not have his regular Sunday column. It will catch up with him though, I am sure.

The TV listings will remain untouched (can’t mess with that), but the old Crime Watch which readers seemed to relish is now just a full page inside on Page B6 and weddings, anniversaries and engagements filled a half page of E-7. Let’s not forget, however, that the weddings, etc., is paid advertising. Crime Watch, if I remember correctly, was born about the time that the BJ quit wasting a reporter to work full time at the cop shop. Why keep someone there full time covering crime on a daily basis when you could send someone down once a week to pick up a stack of reports to list graphs and graphs of unimportant crimes such as domestic disturbances, loitering and stealing from Walmart?

The photo feature that appeared in Community Extra will now be printed on a slow news day in the local section–filling a space where news might have fit.

Do you remember other things that have gone by the wayside like Beacon magazine? The fancy new clock tower might have made the cover of the mag. And do you remember Tower Topics, the employee publication which was even mailed to retirees? We thought it was a bunch of company drivel back then, but today a few old copies pulled from dusty storage spaces are providing a lot of fodder for the BJ Retirees blog.

Ah, well. Those of us on Social Security will get a nice little pay increase next year even though a part of the chunk will go to payment of an increase in the Medicare insurance premium. But starting Monday the new bankruptcy law will require “pay back.”

There seems to be a lot of “pay back.” Let’s hope the two Mikeys don’t have to fend off too much of it from readers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

ID chart on June 1, 1983 photo

Craig Wilson, of course, kept an ID chart on the photo below and had it dated as June 1, 1983 which solves the date problem. It is difficult to put the two together in a large enough format to check the IDs since it was a crowd photo. Our suggestion is to right click with your mouse on this chart and save the image to your hard drive then go down and do the same with the photo. Then you can enlarge the two to as large as your printer will allow and compare. If you just want to enlarge this chart on the screen left click with your mouse and hit the + symbol to enlargeSorry. No easy way to do it here.

Knight Ridder earnings jump

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Knight Ridder Inc. on Friday said third-quarter earnings more than tripled as a big gain from the sale of several newspapers helped offset higher newsprint costs and weak advertising in some areas.

The media company, which publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Jose Mercury News, reported net income of $253.2 million, or $3.56 a share, compared with $76.9 million, or 99 cents a share, a year earlier.

The results included a gain of $207.9 million related to the sale of the Detroit Free Press and the Tallahassee Democrat. Earnings from continuing operations were 61 cents a share, compared with 93 cents a year earlier, slightly better than it had forecast.

Adjusted earnings per share were 67 cents, or 1 cent higher than the average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters Research. In early trade, the company's stock rose $1.28, or 2.3 percent, to $56.43 on the New York Stock Exchange.

While third-quarter operating revenue was up 2.2 percent at $723.8 million, costs rose 7 percent, partly due to expenses related to newsprint.

"That level of cost increase will not be repeated in the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Tony Ridder said in a statement.

The sharp rise in costs should moderate in the fourth quarter, Knight Ridder said, estimating that expenses would increase about 1 percent year-over-year.

Along with other publishers, including New York Times Co., Knight Ridder has turned to job cuts to trim costs. It recently announced plans to cut 100 jobs at its Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspapers.

Advertising soft spots took a toll in the third quarter. Areas that were particularly weak included retail -- hurt by soft advertising from department stores, home electronics and grocery and national technology and entertainment.

Advertising revenue for the quarter was up 3 percent to $571.5 million. But excluding newspapers it acquired during the quarter, the rise was just 1.8 percent.
[October 14, 2005]

Click on the headline to see a press release on the report on the Knight Ridder site

Dawidziak play at Akron Library

Akron-Summit County Public Library To Host the Premiere Performances of The Largely Literary Theater Company's "The Tell-Tale Play" A Two-act Collection of Poems and Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

The Akron-Summit County Public Library will host the world premiere of the Largely Literary Theater Company's "The Tell-Tale Play," atwo-act collection of poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Arranged anddirected by former Beacon Journal staffer Mark Dawidziak, the presentation will be staged in the MainLibrary auditorium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 20.

The production then moves to the Solon Center for the Arts for a7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, Oct. 28.

Designed for high school students and older, the Akron-Summit Library performance is free and open to the public. Three popular area actors ­ Tom Stephan, Sara Showman and Alex J. Nine ­ interpretPoe's works, telling the audience along the way about the writer's short but eventful life and career.

Perhaps best known for its acclaimed three-person version of CharlesDickens' "A Christmas Carol," the Largely Literary Theater Company specializes in faithful adaptations of great literary works. Its dualmission is to promote interest in literature and live theater.

Three of Poe's classic short stories are presented in "The Tell-Tale Play": "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Masque of the Red Death." Also included are three of his major poems: "The Raven," "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells." Other poems in the play are
"Alone," "Eldorado," "Dreamland" and "Spirits of the Dead."

The set for the Largely Literary Theater Company production is relatively simple. The lights go up on three lecterns ­ one covered in rich velvety material ­ arranged before a succession of black curtains. There are three chairs set behind the lecterns, with assorted pillars, candelabra and gothic set pieces establishing the mood. Thethree actors enter, dressed in period costumes, acknowledge each other,open their scripts, then Showman steps forward, stopping down stage andcenter, to welcome the audience.

Before the first offering, Stephan's interpretation of "The Tell-Tale Heart," the three actors take a moment or two to tell the audience about "Poe's brief, brilliant and tortured life." Born inBoston on January 19, 1809, Poe "spent only 40 years on this planet,"yet he "found the time to create the detective story and write a couple dozen of the most influential horror stories ever put to paper."

The popular image of Poe is that of a doomed genius, and thestereotype, we learn, certainly has its roots in reality. But the collected works of Poe span seventeen volumes and include not onlypoems, terror tales and mystery stories, but satire, essays, literary criticism and comic pieces.

"The Tell-Tale Play," however, celebrates Poe as the master of the macabre, making it an ideal Halloween theater treat. Parking is free inthe High/Market garage if you arrive after 6 p.m. For more information,contact the Library's Marketing Department at 330-643-9091.

The Solon Center for the Arts is located at 6315 SOM Center Road,Solon. General admission for the Oct. 28 performance is $12; $10 forseniors and students. For information on the Solon performance, call440-337-1400 or visit
The Largely Literary Theater Company was founded by Dawidziak andShowman in late 2001. In addition to "A Christmas Carol" (now in itsfourth year) and "The Tell-Tale Play," the company's repertoire includesan adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses"
and a two-act collection of Mark Twain sketches, "The Reports of MyDeath Are Greatly Exaggerated."

Dawidziak, the company's artistic director, is the TV critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. His nine published books include a novel, "GraveSecrets," and such non-fiction works as "Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing," "The Columbo Phile: A Casebook," "The Barter Theatre Story:
Love Made Visible," "The Night Stalker Companion" and "Horton Foote's
The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain."

For bookings, contact Dawidziak and Showman at the Largely LiteraryTheater Company: 330-923-8350 or at

Click on the headline to see company bios.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New tower truly a sign of the times

Print media just can’t cut it. You had to be there to see the bright 3-D, full-color, animated display screens of the $500,000 remake of the BJ clock tower which will beam out news and advertising. The headline on the A1 story in Thursday’s BJ said it:

New tower
truly a sign
of the times

Neither the newspaper nor came even close to capturing what we in the old days would have called the “razzle dazzle.” Cecil Santoferraro, an old printer who hated any editor’s attempts at fancy layouts, would have called it “jazz on jazz.” Bob Dyer who is a pretty good reporter and Paul Tople, a good photographer, just could not find the words or images to describe this new thing of beauty. Take away the bright lights and it is just a big cardboard-like tower even though Mike Ayers put a lot of thought into its design.

The tower itself represents the print media and the bright, ever-changing scroll represents what we expect today instead of boring newsprint. The event was covered by a couple of TV stations–including BJ partner Channel 5–with brief reports. Warner Cable’s Channel 23 weather girl Betsy Kling brought me back to reality with a weather forecaster’s view when she commented: “Hey, Time and Temperature. What more could you ask?”

Citizens today do not require much to satisfy them. I get daily Google news alerts on “Knight Ridder” and the news business which tell of cuts in newsroom staffs and lament the diminishing circulation because people do not read newspapers. The trend, they say, is to quicky, Ipod news. So if management does now screw up, the old tower might bring in a few advertising bucks.

There was a crowd at the 60-degree temperature event probably, for the most part, because of free food provided by the BJ. That might have been the chief reason many were there. But I did renew acquaintances with old friends who are still working in the trenches. It was never mentioned, but most of them are hoping they can make it to retirement before anything bad happens.

The Beacon Journal mascot, Browser, and Akron U’s Zippy pushed a big, fake red button to light the tower for the first time. They were joined by a cheerleader in a countdown. A DJ played Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.”

Earlier, Browser put his arm around Mayor Don Plusquellic as if to console him for what might happen.

The only glitch came when publisher Jim Crutchfield, who always comes off better in print than with a mike, made a goofy slip of the tongue reference to the City of Detroit when he meant Akron. Well. What did you expect? John Shively Knight?

To see Bob Dyer’s story and Paul Tople’s photos click on the headline above.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

14 at Retirees Lunch

There were 14 at the Beacon Journal Retirees Lunch on Wednesday, October 12, at Papa Joe's in the Valley. How many can you identify in these photos by Tom Moore?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

UnitedHealthcare faces proposed fine in Georgia of $2.4 million

UnitedHealthcare and its Georgia unit face a proposed fine of $2.4 million -- a record penalty for a health insurer in the state -- for not promptly paying doctors and hospitals, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said Monday. Oxendine said his Insurance Department staff recommended the penalty, and that he will hold a hearing Oct. 31 to rule on the matter.

Up to 80,000 claims by doctors and hospitals were not paid in a timely manner, he said. Georgia's "prompt pay" law states that insurers must pay a medical provider's claim within 15 working days, or explain why there is a delay.

United called the fine "a disproportionately high penalty" and said it disputed the Insurance Department's calculations. "We're literally baffled by the commissioner's approach," said Roger Rollman, a spokesman for Minnesota-based United.

"UnitedHealthcare of Georgia is a first-class operation," he said. "We think it's very odd that only UnitedHealthcare is being cited. ... We will respond forcefully to this."

United has more than 500,000 Georgians in its private health insurance plans.

To read more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, click on the headline.

[From a story on page D1, the Business Section, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 11, 2005]

Photo from 1979-1984

This photo of the BJ newsroom must have been taken sometime between 1979 and 1984 since those were the years Bill Winter (fourth from left in first row) was at the Beacon. Others in the first row (from left) were Paul Bailey, Karen (Chuparoff) Lefton and Art Cullison. Bailey died Nov 17, 1987. In the far right rear is the late Pat Englehart who died Oct 29, 1995. The photo was provided by Tom Moore. Click to enlarge.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Black and White and Read by Fewer

Here are some graphs pulled from an extensive article on the news biz by James Rainey, a Los Angeles Times staff writer. Click on the headline above to read the full story.

In a recent e-mail chat about the future of their business, several young New York Times reporters concluded with dismay that most of their friends don't subscribe to the newspaper.

At the San Jose Mercury News, hardened news hawks facing staff reductions have begun eyeing public relations jobs they once would have disdained.

Newspaper people across the country have descended into a collective funk over a run of bad news in recent weeks - culminating with announcements of newsroom job cuts in San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

The total retrenchment at half a dozen papers will amount to only about 300 editorial jobs, a paltry hit in an industry with $59 billion in revenue that employs some 54,000 editors, reporters, photographers and others.

But the buyouts and layoffs have dispirited many newspeople because they come at a time of steady declines in circulation and advertising.

Knight-Ridder - the second-largest newspaper chain by circulation, with 31 dailies and a total circulation of 3.8 million - recently said its third-quarter profit would decline by 20%. The onetime Wall Street darling saw its stock reach a two-year low. It closed Friday at $56.60, down 23 cents.

Polk Laffoon, vice president for corporate relations at Knight-Ridder, said journalists hear such numbers but sometimes still fail to understand the urgency of the pressures confronting publishing executives.

"An industrywide circulation drop of 1.9% for the six months ended in March was one of the biggest in recent times and continued a fairly consistent two-decade decline. Daily newspaper circulation has fallen nearly 9 million from its 1984 peak of 63.3 million, while the U.S. population has grown by about 58 million. The country lost 306 daily papers, 17% of the total, between 1960 and last year.

The bad news at the New York Times came the same day that Knight-Ridder announced the cuts at the Inquirer and the elimination of 25 jobs at the Philadelphia Daily News, a sister publication.

Days later, Knight-Ridder said that 52 editorial positions at the San Jose Mercury News would also have to go. That would bring the paper's news staff to 280, a 30% reduction from its peak four years ago at the height of the tech boom.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, a recent buyout offer was designed to trim 120 jobs, including some outside the editorial staff. That's about a 14% reduction in the paper's white-collar workforce, according to union representatives.

The Chronicle's parent, privately held Hearst Corp., simply wants to get the paper back into the black. The Chronicle has been consistently losing money since Hearst agreed to buy it in 1999. Last year, losses totaled more than $60 million.

Memorable Stories: Porter on marriage

After all these years, I just cannot imagine Mickey Porter writing a sensitive,
heart-warming piece, but here it is straight from Tower Topics Jan-Feb 1973:

Getting on the marriage go-round

The bride-to-be, as they say about those on the precipice, was radiant.

She smiled t-h-i-s wide as she filled out the wedding form a recent Saturday afternoon in the Life/Style Department.

Her future husband, a youngster in a dark suit, stood along the wall, seemingly a bi
t misplaced and baffled.

It was a picture we see here often - young folks planning their weddings, as giddy as they will scarcely ever be again, and with so much to learn.

They have courted and are about to be wed and they are blissfully together now. Their problems, they believe, are all behind them.

Which only shows, of course, their youth and inexperience, for they still believe, you
see, that marriage is an endless idyll of moonlight and roses.

We who have lived longer know better, but if we told them, they would not listen. They are too rapt, too transfixed by their emotions, and what we have to say does not apply to them.

And marrige, they are convinced, consists mostly of hugs and kisses and the Hollywood fadeout, and living happily ever after in a Shangri-la sort of place.

It's not, of course, it's vastly more than that, and the love between a man and a woman must be strong and sinewy to endure.

Marriage is morning sickness and midnight colic, and an asth-matic car that often will not start.

Marriage is furnaces that break and teeth that need fixing and an outbreak of ants in the kitchen.

Marriage is dirty dishes and dirty diapers and stubborn lawn mowers and bills, eternally, that must be paid.

Marriage is never having quite enough money to go around, and seeing something pretty in the store window that you cannot buy for your wife or children because the mortgage payment is due.

Marriage, too often, is living in the bargain basement - and buying your own luxuries with savings stamps.

Marriage is slowly saving - a dollar at a time, or a quarter - for something you really want. Only then the car breaks down, or the water heater develops a fatal illness, or the refrigerator gasps its last - and all the savings are gone in a twinkling.

Marriage is no simple thing, and there are no schools to teach you. But marriage is more than all of this - much more - else it wouldn't be so popular.
There is such a thing as true love, but it is an unknown to the kids who come in to fill out those forms, smitten with romance as they are; it is something that can be tempered only by the fires of time and hardship.

Marriage is dreaming together - sitting propped up in bed, late at night, excitedly planning ways and means of buying something - a color television set, say, or a fancy stereo - that you cannot afford.

Maybe you will never buy it; maybe the harsh light of day will absorb the illusions and sweep away the grand excitement.

But at least you have dreamed a common dream; the wondrous mirage was there for you both to see.

Marriage is standing shoulder to shoulder with your mate and facing the adversities of life together, and laughing together, and sometimes crying.

Marriage is having somebody you love above all others - and, just as important, somebody you like - always at your side, so that if you awaken from a bad dream deep in the night, you can reach across and there she is, and you realize with relief that you have only dreamed a bad dream.

And sometimes you can snarl at her, because you are in a bad mood, and she will understand and not be mad. And it's all something the youngsters with their bridal forms cannot yet realize, for theirs is the merest beginning of the fairytale, and not its end.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Clock tower puts Beacon in new light

"The term `Beacon Journal clock tower' has just become obsolete,” Bob Dyer writes in a BJ story Sunday which starts on page A-1 and fills the entire throw page (A12) except for a couple of ads. If you are inclined to read everything you every wanted to know about it, just click on the headline above..

Dyer continues:

This time, you're getting a lot more than a clock. This thing is a scoreboard. Or maybe a video game. We're not exactly sure yet.”

We can flash it, blink it or stream it. We can roll it, scroll it or hold it. We can change the colors. We can even give you full-color animation.

Yes, you'll still get the time and temperature, just as you have for the last 66 years. But our new $500,000 tower will also provide news, advertisements, event information and whatever else our mad programmers dream up.

The lower display consists of a four-sided message board, each side 12 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet high. That's where the news and ads will go.

The upper screens, 7 feet by 3 1/2 feet, will alternate between the time and temp, ``Akron Beacon Journal'' and the logo of the newspaper's Internet partner,

The big party:

The Beacon Journal will hold a coming out party from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday with free food and entertainment including BJ mascot Browser. One lane of High St. and one lane of E. Exchange will be closed to traffic to accommodate the bash.

Even Mike Needs is ecstatic in his column headlined "Bj tower changes, as do does journalism."

“The new tower symbolizes the technological promise for the future,” he concludes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Janet Frankston going to Newark

Is this a switch or not? You read below that Glenn Proctor is leaving Newark for Richmond. Now word comes from Janet Frankston, another BJ alum, that she is leaving Atlanta and going to Newark.

“Yes. Today is my last day at the AJC,” Janet writes. “Hard to believe I've been here for nearly six years. I'm not anxious to return to real winters. I think my blood has thinned in six years. I start my new job in November, so you can hold off sending e-mails until the end of the month. I'll be running the Newark bureau for AP.”

Perhaps this will somewhat compensate Newark for the loss of Proctor.

Proctor named executive editor at Richmond

Former Beacon Journal stalwart Glenn Proctor, an associate editor of The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., was named executive editor of The Times-Dispatch October 6.

Proctor, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, has spent more than 35 years in the news business, the past 10 at The Star-Ledger, where he was an associate editor, assistant managing editor and city editor.

He also served as an editor at daily newspapers in Rochester, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky. He worked as an editor and reporter for papers in Akron, Ohio, and Davenport, Iowa, and as a reporter for United Press International. He started his career as a reporter in West Chester, Pa.

Proctor worked briefly as a congressional press secretary and taught journalism for several years at Kent State University in Ohio.

Proctor succeeds William H. Millsaps Jr., who retired in July after 39 years at The T-D, including more than 11 as executive editor.

Publisher Thomas A. Silvestri said Proctor is "a firebrand on behalf of excellence in journalism. He is passionate about our craft. He is a mentor. He is a recruiter."

Proctor, 59, begins work Nov. 14, but he told staff members he will be spending time in the newsroom before his official start.

"This is a good newspaper that can be better. That's where we're going," Proctor said as he introduced himself to the news staff.

Proctor has some Richmond ties. Proctor's wife, Terri, was living here when he met her more than a dozen years ago. She was working as a legislative aide to Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.

The Times-Dispatch’s Point of View column by Michael Paul Williams was devoted to Proctor’s hiring as the first African-American to hold the job.

“You hear "Times-Disgrace" snarled at you enough as a young reporter and you come to appreciate the problematic history between this newspaper and Richmond's black community,” Williams wrote.

Proctor acknowledged that he is breaking new ground at The T-D.

"It's a great honor to be the first African-American" to head the paper's newsroom, Proctor said.

"I'm very humbled. But this is not about my facial complexion. . . . It's a great, great opportunity. We'll have a better T-D with our team. Not me. Our team."

To read the complete article from the Oct 6 Times-Dispatch click on the headline above.

To read the Williams column click here.

Clock tower party is Oct 12

The Akron Beacon Journal will throw a lunchtime clock tower party downtown from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m on Wednesday, Oct. 12.. The event will feature food, music and entertainment, including a visit from Browser, the Beacon Journal mascot. The highlight of the celebration will revolve around the first official light-up of the clock tower’s LED display.

The clock tower rejoined the Akron skyline Sept. 27 when Forest City Erectors used a crane to lift and swing the two final pieces into position. Electrical wiring for the new tower is in progress now. The rejuvenated tower reflects the art deco look of the 1930s but features the electronics of the 21st century. As such, downtown Akron will get not only the time and temperature but also a 24-hour stream of news and advertising via a 4-foot by 10-foot LED (light emitting diode) display.

Mike Ayers (graphic designer, community relations and marketing) looked at photos of the original building and came up with the design that sits on top of the building today.

[Info obtained from HotType]

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Buffum’s Stash #8: A spell spoof? Naw

This clipping from a BJ spelling bee report May 10, 1969 almost looks like a spoof, but it’s really a marvelous goof. Check the two words highlighted in yellow in the headline. It looks “Liek” the headline writer has his “Oown” disgraceful style. If you can see the yellow highlight in the second graph of the story, you will learn the bee was at the Johns S. Knight Auditorium. To add to the misery, the caption lists poor Beth Movens (center) instead of correctly (at left). You can see why the spellers in the photo are smiling.

Hagstrom named BJ ad boss

Bradford S. Hagstrom has been named vice president of advertising for the Akron Beacon Journal. Hagstrom comes to the BJ from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram where he is retail advertising director, responsible for $105 million in revenue and a 96-person staff. Hagstrom will assume his duties at the BJ on Oct. 31.

``Brad comes out of one of Knight Ridder's most successful operations and has an extensive and varied advertising sales background,'' Beacon Journal publisher Jim Crutchfield said. ``Brad is an innovative manager who I believe is the right person for the Akron Beacon Journal right now.''

Hagstrom is a 1985 University of Georgia graduate. e is a native of Glen Ridge, N.J., but grew up in Atlanta.He and his wife, Priscilla, have two daughters: Sophia, 3, and Olivia, 1.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Char celebrates end of 35 years

It was a time for family, colleages and friends at the farewell party Friday night, September 20, at the Posh nite club in downtown Akron for the retirement party of Charlene Nevada. Even Mayor Don Plusquellic was on hand along with Editor Debra Adams Simmons. (The BJ paid for the food). Char and Art Krummel were caught in this family shot with their beautiful daughter, Beth Meese. Beth’s husband Thad also was there.

Some oldtimers on hand were Chuck Ayers, Don Bandy, Bonnie Bolden and
Bruce Winges, Bob Dyer, Susan Kirkman, Pam McCarthy, Roger and Ann Mezger, Russ Mussara, Don Roese, Sharon “Farkle” Shreve, Paula Schleis, Sarah Vradenburg and Phil White. If I forget to mention someone important it is because I am old and forgetful or just trying to slight someone. (Please leave a comment.)

It took two parties to celebrate the end of Char's 35 years.

Here’s Ann Mezger’s report on the afternoon affair:

The newsroom gave Char her first sendoff of the day at 2:30 p.m. in the large third-floor meeting room in the northwest corner of the building. She was escorted into the room by education reporter Stephanie Warsmith and surrounded by other reporters and photographers who were acting like papparazzi and treating her like a real celeb.

I emceed the event and talked about working with Char for 33 years. I also presented her with a microfilm copy of one of her more notorious pages from October 1980. It told of a disastrous attempt to make a gingerbread house from a recipe in magazine. It got both both of us (I had assigned the story) in trouble with Paul Poorman, who said we were showing readers that our food writer didn't know how to cook.

Since no good going-away party would be complete without a special publication, Char was presented hers by Deputy Metro Editor Mitch McKenney and Susan Kirkman, AME for presentation. It was a tabloid, of course -- The Akron Beacon Urinal, with a cover story "Char and Alex: Splitsville." Other cover headlines: "Little Green Men Invade Akron; Holy Shit, Says Char" and "Mary Wyoming (Char's long-ago tabloid pen name): Box Wines Are Like Men. They're Best When They're Crisp, Fruity and Cheap."

Publisher Jim Crutchfield, Editor Debra Adams Simmons and Managing Editor Mike Burbach all talked about how the newsroom will be a less lively place without Char. Then reporter Doug Oplinger gave the first showing of his film "The Big Char and Little Art Show."

Char was given a large card created by artist Kathy Hagedorn, a gift basket and gift certificate from West Point Market (one of her favorite stores, and airline tickets (since she's a big traveler.) Then she made some presentations of her own: Since I was always borrowing it, I got her stapler. Since Katie Byard was always borrowing it, Katie got her
calculator. Reporter Kymberli Hagelberg got Char's collection of odd photos (presidential candidates in drag, etc.) and reporter Mary Ethridge, who's now the mad shopper, got one of Char's acquisitions from when she had that beat -- an obscene pencil.