Friday, April 28, 2006

Guild urges probe on sale of papers

The Newspaper Guild on Thursday called on state and federal regulators to study the $1 billion sale of the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Herald and St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press to the MediaNews Group (with a boost from the Hearst Corp.)

"We believe that a common interest exists among McClatchy shareholders, employees and the communities served by the 12 Knight Ridder newspapers being sold by McClatchy Co.," Guild President Linda Foley said in a statement. "TNG-CWA continues to believe that the bid by The Yucaipa Cos. for all 12 newspapers is likely to deliver the best value and we call on McClatchy Co. to provide evidence that shareholder, employee and community interests are being best served by yesterday's announcement."

McClatchy Co. has pegged the valuation of the deal, announced Wednesday, at 11.5 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. The guild did not reveal the multiple its deal represents.

"The newspaper industry is already dominated by a small circle of ownership groups," Foley added. "Yesterday's news drew that circle even smaller."

Denise is a blogger now

I hope you might remember a post way back on Jan 4, 2005 about three young girls who used to visit my space in the BJ newsroom. The head on that post was “3 young visitors ‘all growed up’ ” .

I try to keep up on their latest doings. Denise Warner, one of the trio, will graduate from Columbia College with a degree in history on May 17. She's been working part-time at AOL since last summer, and will work there full time beginning in June. But first, as a graduation gift from her devoted parents, she'll spend several weeks in Europe. The proud parents, Debbie Van Tassel and Stuart Warner are still both hard at work at the PD to foot that bill..

We are especially interested because Denise is also a blogger, and her boss liked it so
well that AOL now links to it. Mom think it's quite good. "It helps me stay current with young interests and celebrity gossip - and it's a nice break from Darfur, Nepal and Iraq."

I’m a little far out of the loop, but I checked out Denise’s blog. So can you.

Check it out at:

Now to check on the other two girls: Audrey Hoiles and Naprie Kimbrough.

PA governor urges sale to Yucaipa

Pennsylvania governor backs Burkle bid for Philadelphia papers

Gov. Ed Rendell contacted a McClatchy Co. board member this month to urge the newspaper chain to sell The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News to an investor group headed by prominent Democratic donor Ron Burkle.

Rendell said in a brief interview Tuesday that he called Kevin McClatchy, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, about two weeks ago and asked him to pass on his support for Burkle's California-based Yucaipa Cos. L.L.C. to the McClatchy Co.

McClatchy Co. has agreed to buy Knight Ridder Inc., but plans to sell 12 of the 32 papers, including The Inquirer and Daily News. On Wednesday, it announced the sale of four papers to MediaNews Group Inc.

Kevin McClatchy is on McClatchy's board of directors. Rendell said he asked him to take this message to the board: "I said if all things are equal, it would be good if they can give it to Yucaipa."

The company, he added, "has a great track record of working with the unions, not trying to break the unions. And I think, in a city like Philadelphia, that would be the best thing for the Daily News and The Inquirer."

[Source: Mario F. Cattabiani, The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Next up for McClatchy

With four papers among the "Deserted Dozen" in the original Knight Ridder/McClatchy suddenly gone, to MediaNews Group, attention shifted today to Philadelphia where a number of investors have been touring the facilities of the Inquirer and Daily News all week.

Editor & Publisher said executives from a possible fresh suitor--the New York Daily News--are expected to meet today with investment bankers and managers at the two papers.

Marc Z. Kramer, chief executive officer of Daily News L.P., "and half a dozen of his colleagues are scheduled to visit the Philadelphia newspapers' Broad Street headquarters."

The Inquirer counts the Daily News as "among at least five entities that have expressed interest in the Philadelphia newspapers."

Another report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal said the U.S. Department of Justice still has some questions for The McClatchy Co. as it tries to wrap up its acquisition of Knight-Ridder Inc.

The Justice Department, which is checking for antitrust concerns in the acquisition, is requesting more information from McClatchy over its proposed acquisition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn., a paper that McClatchy officials already said they would divest. McClatchy already owns another daily paper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, in the area.

McClatchy officials say this is business as usual with its acquisition of Knight-Ridder. The company knew there would be concerns about owning two newspapers in the same market and had planned to sell off the St. Paul paper as part of the transaction.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

McClatchy sells 4 papers

Six weeks after announcing a deal to buy the nation's second-largest newspaper company, McClatchy Co. has agreed to sell four Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers to MediaNews Group Inc. for $1 billion.

The four papers -- three in California and one in Minnesota -- are among 12 that McClatchy has said it intends to sell because they don't meet its acquisition criteria, which include being located in rapidly growing markets.

The deal announced Wednesday increases the profile and reach of MediaNews, a privately held company based in Denver and run by William Dean Singleton. With financial backing from Hearst Corp., another newspaper publisher, MediaNews will wind up owning the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Singleton's interest in the newspapers had been widely known. The three northern California papers complement his existing holdings, which include The Oakland Tribune and the Marin Independent Journal. MediaNews owns a number of newspapers in geographic clusters, which helps reduce production and other costs and also allows for group advertising sales.

Knight Ridder was forced to put itself up for sale last fall following a revolt of its three largest shareholders, who were frustrated with the company's lagging stock price.

McClatchy announced a deal to buy Knight Ridder in mid-March for $4.5 billion in cash and stock, plus the assumption of $2 billion in debt.

Once the deal is complete, McClatchy will have eight additional Knight Ridder newspapers to sell: the American News in Aberdeen, S.D.; the Akron Beacon Journal; the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota; the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota; the Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer; The News-Sentinel in Ft. Wayne, Ind. and The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Click on the headline to read the full AP story in Business Week

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Making $$$ online

By Pete Carey
Knight Ridder Newspapers
SEATTLE - Two newspaper executives took time out from negotiations for the purchase of the San Jose Mercury News and three other Knight Ridder papers Tuesday to discuss the future of the newspaper industry.

Gary Pruitt, chairman and chief executive of McClatchy, and Dean Singleton, vice chairman and chief executive officer of MediaNews, agreed that newspapers aren’t headed for extinction despite the slow erosion of readers. The industry is holding up better than television and radio, which are fragmenting.

But the Internet is another matter.

“There is no bigger problem in our industry today,” said Singleton, who sources say is in negotiations with Pruitt to buy the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey County Herald and St. Paul Pioneer Press. Knight Ridder agreed to be purchased by McClatchy on March 13 in a cash and stock deal then valued at $4.5 billion. McClatchy is selling 12 of Knight Ridder’s 32 newspapers to help pay for the deal.

Singleton, whose company owns 50 daily newspapers including the Denver Post, said newspapers have to find a way to make money off the content they now put online for free.

“We have to get paid for it,” Singleton said. “We either have to come together as an industry or partner with Google or Yahoo or whomever. If we don’t get paid for it, we aren’t going to continue to be able to produce it.”

But Pruitt had some reservations about charging for online, risking the loss of readers.

“I don’t think it has to be charged. Broadcast did pretty well without charging,” he said.

The two were panelists at the American Society of Newspaper Editors annual convention, held this year in Seattle. Other panelists were Alberto Ibarguen, president of the Knight Foundation, and William Drewry, a newspaper analyst with Credit Suisse Securities.
Pruitt declined Ibarguen’s invitation to discuss negotiations for the sale of the 12 Knight Ridder papers. He did explain why he was selling them, though.

“We weren’t picking a journalistic all-star team. We would have kept San Jose and Philadelphia if we were.” The decision to sell them “came from a clear-eyed analysis, looking at all sorts of criteria,” Pruitt said. These included household growth rates, economic diversity, and retail advertising that is consistent with McClatchy’s strategy.

Singleton and Pruitt were optimistic about the future of the newspaper industry, and Singleton pointed out he’s installing new presses in Denver, Salt Lake City and Northern California, where he owns eight Bay Area newspapers.

“The whole story is local,” said Singleton. “National, international, have become commoditized,” but no one has been able to duplicate newspapers’ local depth. “It’s fun to send people to Iraq, we did our share, but it’s not nearly as important as covering social injustice in the local community, or covering immigration in the local community. That’s our game,” said Singleton.
(c) 2006, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).
Visit, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services. AMX-2006-04-25T22:30:00-04:00

Proud past, new dawn

“Proud past, new dawn” was the title for two sections totaling 30 pages in the Beacon Journal on Wednesday. There was reporting about the “past” with some memories from readers who sent in comments. There was one sentence and a small mug of Frances B. Murphey and sadly not a mention of Patrick Englehart–unless I missed it in my quick perusal. Page 1 fronts which won Pulitzer prizes, including the one on Kent State, were shown..

There were supposedly more comments from readers on but as is often the case it was difficult to find them once you logged onto the web site.

Oh, well! Visits to this blog were down slightly this week to 288–but posts are picking up today. We just passed the 13,000 mark on visits to the blog.

Do you remember the Coliseum?

Do you remember the Richfield Coliseum? Here'a a BJ gang at the grand opening. The photo and caption as posted was in the Nov-Dec 1974 issue of Tower Topics. You might need to click on the photo to enlarge it so you can read the caption if your eyesight is poor.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Backderf wins RFK award

John Backderf, who was on the BJ art department staff in 1995-99, has received an RFK award for cartoons published in 2005.

"The City" by Derf, a cartoon staple in weekly papers throughout the country, including The Village Voice, Cleveland Scene, Miami New Times, DC City Paper and Denver Westword, has been awarded a prestigious RFK Journalism Award for cartoons published in 2005.

Derf was previously the winner of the 2005 Altie Award for Best Comic strip, handed out last July by the Association of Alternative Newspapers. In 2004 he won a Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. No word yet on the coveted Buckeye Newshawk Award.

The RFK judges write the following: "The City" by John Backderf is a courageous editorial cartoon that pushes the boundaries of societal institutions. The RFK Cartoon Judges comment, "Derf aggressively attacks the institutions, ideologies and attitudes that create an environment for the continuing oppression and exploitation of the powerless. His outrage is directed not just at the cynicism and hypocrisy of the powerful but at the complicity of all of us who remain docile and passive subjects."

Nicknamed the "Poor Man's Pulitzer", the RFK Journalism Award is given annually to honor professional and student journalists, photographers and cartoonists who prod our consciousness and bring attention to the lives of the disadvantaged throughout the world.

Derf was born and raised in Richfield . In high school he received a 'D' in art for drawing too many cartoons in class.

For pithy quotes, contact Derf at 216-752-9389 or

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thank you from Tony Ridder

From: Ridder, Tony
Sent: Mon 4/17/2006 8:01 PM
To: Publishers - Ridder; Mohr, Tom; SSC All Shared Services Center Staff; Corporate-Miami; Corporate-San Jose; Scholz, Jane
Subject: A note from Tony Ridder


As many of you know, the Sun Herald was awarded a Gold Medal in Public Service by the Pulitzer Prize Board today. It is the most valued of journalism’s most distinguished prizes.

So many of you across Knight Ridder’s many companies and professions share a piece of this coveted prize because of the role you played in helping to keep the Sun Herald and vital in the critical days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated its community.

Editor Stan Tiner said it beautifully in his comments today:

"We knew we were not alone - and indeed our colleagues from every Knight Ridder newspaper from sea to shining sea came over the weeks ahead volunteering to live in the squalor of that unbearable September Mississippi heat to help us provide the information that was necessary for our shattered cities and towns to keep going in those critical days.

"Knight Ridder digital was working feverishly to keep the outside world informed through our joint teams reporting efforts, informing evacuees of the news of their hometowns.

"Not only did Knight Ridder provide a wonderful team of journalists and a support staff that stretched across every division, but employees everywhere dug deep into their own pockets, funds matched by corporate, to send over $600,000 in grant funds that shored the home team.”

I am extremely grateful and appreciative to all Knight Ridder people who supported Biloxi during this crisis. So many gave money to help employees who lost so much. So many spent time there or provided vital support from elsewhere.

We should all join the folks in Biloxi taking great pride in this accomplishment. It’s wonderful recognition of the very important role we play in all our communities. And it’s great validation of what we know to be the caliber of people who make up the Knight Ridder community.

Thank you, and congratulations to all of you.

Tony Ridder

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Beacon web site asks support

Akron Beacon Journal employees have started a web site asking support. It would be nice if all readers of this blog from our wide coverage area around the U.S. would sign with their hometown.

You can just click on the headline to go to the site at

The site contains photos of staffers plus stories, photos and comment from the Save The Beacon rally. Employees also are wearing buttons with the slogan "We Are The Beacon" to let the public know that the BJ is not just a newspaper but the people who produce it.

Of course, we all know it does not count for much in the scheme ($$$$) of things, but it would be nice if you took time to click the headline and show you support them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Knight Ridder earnings fall 53 percent

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - Knight Ridder Inc., the newspaper publisher being acquired by McClatchy Co. said on Monday first-quarter earnings fell 53 percent as stock-based compensation and sale-related expenses undercut profits.

Net profit fell to $28.4 million, or 42 cents a share, from $60.5 million, or 79 cents a share, a year earlier.

Stock-based compensation depressed first-quarter earnings by 5 cents per share, and sales-related expenses knocked 6 cents off the bottom line.

A 12 percent decline in national ad revenue also dragged on earnings.

Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn 59 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Operating revenue rose 4 percent to $740 million.

"The quarter was challenging," Tony Ridder, chief executive officer of Knight Ridder, said in a statement. "With total ad revenue up only 1 percent, and with the persistence of the soft revenue patterns across the industry for many months now (employment and real estate excepted), we continue to look to the second half for improvement."

McClatchy agreed in March to buy Knight Ridder for about $4.5 billion and would become the second largest U.S. newspaper chain.

McClatchy has said it plans to sell off 12 of its slower-growth newspapers, including the Akron Beacon Journal and San Jose Mercury News.

Shares of Knight Ridder fell 15 cents to $61.70 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Earnings down, but July date on track

Newspaper earnings down
Newspaper publishers McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and New York Times Co. reported lower first-quarter results Thursday as sluggish advertising, higher newsprint prices and other costs took their toll, it was reported in the Los Angeles Times..

Results for Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. came in well below analysts' expectations.

Shares fell as low as $45.38 before closing down $1 at $47, the lowest closing price since 2002.

The shares had already been under pressure after the company's March 13 announcement that it would buy the much larger publisher Knight Ridder Inc.

McClatchy earned $27.7 million, or 59 cents a share, down 14% from $32.3 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected 67 cents a share.

McClatchy's revenue edged up 0.4% to $282 million, with advertising revenue up 1.4% and circulation revenue down 4.5%.

Tribune Co.'s profit fell 28% on lower revenue, stock compensation costs and one-time charges. The results beat analysts' expectations but still reflected the difficulties facing newspapers, with revenue in that division down 1% and circulation down 3%. Tribune's newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Chicago Tribune. Net income fell to $100.7 million, or 33 cents a share, from $140.8 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier.

Shares of Chicago-based Tribune rose 18 cents to $28.20. The stock has fallen more than 28% over the last year.

New York Times Co. came in a penny ahead of analysts' expectations. But there too advertising was uneven, with the company's New England business group, anchored by the Boston Globe, facing headwinds from a weaker economy there and consolidation of several major advertisers.

New York Times Co. shares dropped 17 cents to $25.05. The New York-based company earned $35 million, or 24 cents a share, down from $111 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier, when it recorded a big gain from the sale of the New York Times headquarters building. Without that gain, earnings were 30 cents a share.

Analysts project Knight Ridder, which reports next Monday, to post earnings of 59 cents per share.

McClatchy on track for July
Meanwhile reported McClatchy Co. is "on track" for closing its acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc. (KRI) by July 1, Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said on a conference call Thursday.

As part of the acquisition, McClatchy is "moving quickly" on the sale of the 12 Knight Ridder newspapers that McClatchy didn't want to keep, Pruitt said. Without mentioning specifics, he said he is "gratified" by the bidding interest in the papers.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Char talks to Craig Wilson

This note received this afternoon from Charlene Nevada:

I just talked to Craig Wilson and he asked me to pass on to his old BJ buddies thanks for the talking tapes and other items he received after several strokes in January. He is back to reading books -- with larger type.

Craig is in Barberton Citizens Hospital and will have surgery for bladder cancer tomorrow. Craig sent me a postcard and advised me of his surgery as only Craig could explain it: "My 'coming out' party is set for Good Friday," he wrote. "The bladder goes because it has cancer. The prostate goes because it is close by and he (the urologist) can do it for no extra charge. I may be able to sell it. What is the classified category for used body parts?"

As you can see, Craig's humor can never be extracted. He expects to be in the hospital at least a week. I'm sure he would appreciate cards, tho Elizabeth says calls won't be a good idea at first.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Only 11 at retirees lunch

There were only 11 at the monthly BJ retirees lunch on Wednesday at Papa Joe's restaurant in the Valley. Tom Moore provided these photos.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pittsburgh Pirates connection

“Were you aware that Kevin McClatchy is the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates?” retired printer Calvin Deshong asks in an e-mail. No, but here’s the scoop on Kevin for those interested.

Kevin S. McClatchy (born January 13, 1963 in Sacramento, CA) has been the Managing Gene
ral Partner and Chief Executive Officer of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball since 1996. He has been a director of McClatchy Newspapers (founded by his family) since September 1998. From 1994 to 1995 he was President of the Northern California Sports Development Group and President of the Modesto A's, a minor league baseball team. Mr. McClatchy held various positions with McClatchy from 1990 to 1994, including serving as sales director at The Newspaper Network, Inc, advertising director at the Amador Ledger-Dispatch and sales representative for The Sacramento Bee..

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Retirements in 1989

Here’s a page from the Jan/Feb 1989 Sidebar to show the importance given to retirements in previous years. Two retirements were featured on the page.

Administrative secretary Helen Coy was honored on her early retirement with a reception in the JSK room. One photo shows Mickey Dimeff and Harold McElroy signing her card and another shows her getting a greeting from retiree Marge Lane. The photo pulled out of the page (at right) shows newsroom staffer Charlene Nevada sharing a laugh with Helen.

Featured on the same page was Donna Klever who hung up the telemarketing phone after 14 year of service and was honored at a luncheon Dec 30. She is shown unwrapping a new electric typewriter. It was wrapped in classified adverising newspaper print. I wonder if she still has that typewriter. Mine sits mostly idle, but is still working in case of a real emergency.

TV journalist Paul Rae dies

Ex-Akron bureau chief for WKYC described as `straight reporter'

Funeral services for broadcast journalist Paul Rae will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Bokas Funeral Home and Rose Hill Burial Park at 3653 W. Market St. in Fairlawn.

Mr. Rae, 57, died Friday at the Hospice Care Center in Copley Township after a brief illness.

Calling hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

A native of Toledo, Mr. Rae worked in radio and television and video production in Toledo, Detroit, Albany, N.Y., Washington, and Richmond, Va., before he became a producer for WKYC-Channel 3 in 1983.

He was named the station's Akron bureau chief in 1985, a post he held until late 1991. Later, he ran his own video-production company.

``He was a tremendous guy,'' said Leon Bibb, a news anchor for WEWS-Channel 5 who worked with Mr. Rae at WKYC. ``We got to know each other better by playing on the company softball team. ``We hit it off. We thought a lot alike about journalism and reporting and what television should be.''

Eric Mansfield, a WKYC reporter and anchor in Akron, said Mr. Rae ``had a good way of telling a story and making it so the viewer not only grasped the facts but grasped the emotion.''

Mansfield said he still gets mail for Mr. Rae and often looks at some of Rae's memorable stories, including a three-part series on the 20th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University.

A longtime friend and co-worker, WKYC videographer Larry Baker, described Mr. Rae as ``a straight reporter who gave you the truth.''

And Russ Siebert, University of Akron vice president of board operations, who knew Mr. Rae for 20 years, said he ``was a consummate professional.''

Mr. Rae was a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve.

He is survived by his wife, Vicki Rae, and children Joanna Rae of Cleveland and Noel Frazer of Akron.

[The full obit by Jim Carney appears on page B4, col. l, Akron Beacon Journal, Saturday, April 8, 2006]

Friday, April 07, 2006

Ex-BJ publisher Harte gets involved

Former Beacon Journal Publisher Chris Harte is a member of a group of private equity investors that have joined the bidding for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, according to industry sources.

The papers are among 12 Knight Ridder daily newspapers that McClatchy Co. wants to arrange to sell before it acquires the rest of Knight Ridder this summer.

The group, which includes Philadelphia firms as well as national firms that specialize in media investments, is "focused on Philadelphia, but potentially open to other papers," said Harte..

Harte declined to provide details of the bid or name other investors. Like Denver newspaper chain
MediaNews Group, union-backed private-equity firm Yucaipa Cos. and a group of Philadelphia investors headed by Brian P. Tierney and Bruce E. Toll, the private-equity investors have signed a
non-disclosure agreement giving them access to financial data.

Harte served as an assistant to then Knight-Ridder President James K. Batten in the early 1980s, and was for three months an assistant to Knight Ridder's current chairman P. Anthony Ridder. He was later publisher of Knight Ridder's newspapers in State College, Pa. and Akron. His career introduced him to many current Knight Ridder executives, including current Inquirer and Daily News publisher Joe Natoli.

He has spent the past decade as a private equity investor; his investments include papers in Maine, among other companies.

Click on the headline to read the story by Philadelphia Inquired staff wirter Joseph N. DiStefano

Copley studies purchase of BJ

Copley Ohio Newspapers, which publishes the Canton Repository and other area newspapers, is researching the possibility of purchasing the Beacon Journal.

David Greenfield, president of Copley Ohio Newspapers, said Wednesday that the company is analyzing the situation, according to a story by Gloria Irwin on the business section front ot the BJ today.

``We remain interested and we're trying to discern the value that the Beacon Journal might have'' to Copley, he said.

``Copley is interested in the long-term potential of this acquisition both for protecting our existing Ohio franchises and for the potential to improve the business and improve service to our customers,'' Greenfield said.

Other Copley newspapers in Ohio are the Massillon Independent, the New Philadelphia Times-Reporter and the Suburbanite weekly in southern Summit County. The parent company, The Copley Press Inc., is based in La Jolla, Calif., and also publishes newspapers in Illinois and California. The company was founded in Illinois by Ira Clifton Copley.

Advance Publications, the parent company of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, isn't saying whether it too is pursuing a purchase of the Beacon Journal.

Click on the headline to read Irwiln's story.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Yucaipa will get detailed info on 12

Yucaipa Companies will gain access to detailed financial information about the 12 Knight Ridder newspapers McClatchy is selling.

The Los Angeles private equity firm, allied with the Newspaper Guild in a bid for the papers, has signed a confidentiality agreement with McClatchy, the Guild confirmed Tuesday.

The agreement lets Yucaipa review Knight Ridder financial data on the papers ``as they come to market along with other interested parties'' according to Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild.

The reference to papers ``as they come to market'' suggests McClatchy may be selling the papers in groups or stages to different buyers, possibly believing it can obtain more money that way.

McClatchy is selling the papers to help finance its $4.5 billion purchase of Knight Ridder.

``It's a good thing that they're letting our advisers and Yucaipa have access to the financials,'' said Foley. ``That's what we were missing. It sounds like the process is moving forward.''

The Guild had lobbied McClatchy to allow Yucaipa to sign an agreement for access to the financial data that bidders who entered the earlier process to buy all of Knight Ridder already had seen.

A McClatchy spokeswoman declined to comment, and has not provided details on how the sale of the papers will proceed.

Click on headline to read full story in Mercury News

Do freebies mean end for paid newspapers?

When the Baltimore Examiner, America's newest daily newspaper, hits 250,000 stoops and driveways here today, it will boast a bigger circulation than the 169-year-old Baltimore Sun.

Of course, no one is sure what that quarter-million papers will really mean to advertisers because they will be delivered unsolicited and at no charge.

But as newspapers struggle to woo advertisers and keep readers in the Internet age, the Examiner stands out as arguably the boldest experiment yet in America's deepening flirtation with free daily newspapers.

The Examiner is the brainchild of billionaire Philip Anschutz, co-founder of Qwest Communications International Inc., a once-highflying telecom company that stumbled badly during the tech slump. Amid growing skepticism about newspapers' prospects, Mr. Anschutz, who declined to be interviewed, has become more involved in publishing. Two years ago he bought the 141-year-old San Francisco Examiner for $20 million. Then he bought a small group of suburban papers near Washington and effectively rebranded them as the Washington Examiner. Clarity has trademarked the Examiner name in more than 60 cities.

[Source: Joseph T. Hallinan, The Wall Street Journal, via Gene Parry, SPJ Press Notes]

Barry Bingham Jr. dies

Barry Bingham Jr., who led The Courier-Journal and Louisville Times to national acclaim and three Pulitzer Prizes before seeing his family’s media empire collapse in the 1980s, died April 2, 2006 at his Glenview home.

He was 72 and suffered respiratory failure, his family said.

Bingham, who was editor and publisher of the newspapers from 1971 to 1986, was known for an uncompromising insistence on ethics in journalism. In a biography of his family, Alex S. Jones and Susan E. Tiftt wrote that he “vowed to set the pace for the rest of the newspaper industry in the area of journalistic ethics. This was to be his greatest legacy.”

Click on the headline to real the full obituary in The Courier-Journal

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Just my opinion for BJ

The Beacon Journal has asked readers to let them know how the BJ has touched their life and what advice they have the the new owner. Here’s mine:.

From my earliest days of newspapering, I was told:

"The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

The famous quote is about a hundred years old and can be traced to the work of Finley Peter Dunne, one of the great journalists of the day, who wrote in the voice and persona of an Irishman named "Mr. Dooley."

"Th newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward."

Contemporary journalists have twisted Dunne's original argument that the power of newspapers was out of proportion, that they exerted influence where they had no legitimate business. They even had the arrogance to think they can afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

It is true that the worst journalism comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. It worries more about profit than newspapering. That is a breach of duty. We need journalists to get at the truth and to keep watch against greed and abuses of power.

Harry Liggett
March 1995 News Desk retiree

I hope fervently that the new owners will honor their bargain with us and mantain our current health benefits.

[Leave your thoughts in a comment below and it will be forwarded to Include your name, city and phone number for verification.]

More photos of the rally

Just click on the headline above to go to another photo album by Paul Tople showing eight more photos of the Save the Beacon Rally on Tuesday, March 28, 2006. Click on a photo to enlarge it and use the arrow keys to move around the album.

Other photos and a story were posted March 28, but Tople sent us a CD of photos he shot at the rally. Hopefully, we have put up a few of the best photos. There were 199 jpegs on the disk and Paul wasn’t even assigned to work that night.

An earlier album by Tople showed scenes from the newsroom meeting when the sale of Knight Ridder was announced along with the news that the BJ and 11 other papers would be sold off by McClatchy.

Monday, April 03, 2006

How has Beacon affected your life?

In preparing for new owners, the Beacon Journal wants to hear from you.

"Let us know how the Beacon Journal has affected your life--and what advice you would have for our new owner," the page A1 invitation says.

E-mail your thoughts to or send them to ABJ Memories, c/o Bonnie Bolden, Akron Beacon Journal, PO Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640, by Friday. Include your name, city and a phone number for verification.

The blog will forward any comments you send to

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Actual headlines of 2005

The year’s best (actual) headlines of 2005 passed on to us by Charlie Buffum.

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
War Dims Hope for Peace
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Local High School Dropouts Cut In Half
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Saturday, April 01, 2006

New Music Critic Named

John Richard Von Rhein of Pasadena, Cal., started May 3 as Beacon Journal music critic.

A '67 graduate of U.C.L.A. with a bachelor's degree in English, John enrolled in a graduate music program at California State College specializing in music history. He received his second
B.A. last year -- in music.

He was spot record and book reviewer for Coast FM & Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, Cal., and has written music and dance reviews for the Los Angeles Citizen-News,

John's hobbies include violin - he's played since age 8, and was a member of the Pasade
na City College-Community Symphony - reading, a n d record collecting. He owns over 2,000 classical recordings.

A bachelor, John eventually hopes to earn his master's degree in music.

You guessed it. This is our April Fool’s Day spoof. It, however, is actual copy from the April/May 1971 Tower Topics. The photo was googled from Hoofbeats, the John Muir High School (Pasadena, CA) Class of 1963 yearbook.

John today is the Chicago Tribune music critic. We sure could use a recent photo and an update of the last 28 years or so.