Friday, June 30, 2006

Can't see the party photos?

If you cannot see the party photos, please try again tomorrow. The phone company was attacking my web space provider. I even had difficulty getting some mail. Sorry. They are great photos by Paul Tople, so please try again.

BJ wins seven awards

The Beacon Journal took home seven awards in this year's Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Awards in the 100,000-plus circulation division.

Firsts were won in the Best Public Journalism category for its Election 2005 Special Section and in the Best Web Site category, in which Linda Lyell and her staff won for their work with

Elaine Guregian took first in the Best Arts Profile category and copy editor Chuck Montague nabbed a first in Best Headline Writing for his headline, ``Quail to the Chief: Fancy Lunch After Swearing In.''

Entertainment writer Malcolm X Abram was named Best Critic in Ohio, and the Beacon's This City Reads! literacy project took home top honors in the Best Defense of Literacy category. In the Best Criminal Justice Reporting category, Craig Webb and Gina Mace tied for second for their series, ``Dark Secrets of Christopher Below.''

Thursday, June 29, 2006

End of an Era--time to 'party on'

The kid from Green Township that Bill Hershey recruited as a correspondent is carrying the torch for the flagship Akron Beacon Journal--the place where Knight newspapers started that soon will become the flagship of Black Newspapers.

Veteran reporter Doug Oplinger, as usual, stole the show with a commentary about his favorite newspaper and showed two home-made videos of some of the best of the BJ for an "E
nd of An Era" party for the BJ staff on Tuesday.

First there was the official 12-minute video made by Knight Ridder to review its 1974-2006 history. When it ended there was no applause, no comment–nothing like the uproar when Oplinger finished his presentation.

Oplinger, dressed in bib overalls ala Fran Murphey, said he remembered one of his first encounters, sitting between Pat Englehart and this woman (Fran Murphey) in overalls that the only thing he heard either say was “Go to hell.”

He told of the visit of Lyndon B. Johnson to see JSK. Bill Aylward was assigned to take LBJ in the elevator upstairs to see the man. “Wait!” LBJ said. “How should I approach him? What should I say?”

“Don’t bullshit him,”Aylward replied. Returning on the elevator after his talk, LBJ said “That was good advice ”

Oplinger’s videos covered years of Pulitzer prizes and the “good old days” which were not always perfect but often rewarding.

The party was in the distribution center across Broadway from the main BJ. There were maybe 300 or 400 attending but that’s not even a police estimate.

Everyone got a Knight Ridder key ring, a JSK poster, a Knight Ridder mug and a Knight Ridder booklet. There was ice cream, of course, and a cake with the years 1974-2006.

It was an “End of an Era” but no doubt the gang at the flagship will “party on.”

And on the headline above to go to an album of party photos by BJ photograper Paul Tople. Click on photos to enlarge them and use arrow keys to move about the album

Difference: Knight and Ridder

Wow. This blog made the Columbia Journalism Review. Reprinted here is the lead on the article and the touching concluding graphs.

Jun. 28, 2006 - 2:36 PM

Blog Report
Requiem for a Heavyweight

By Edward B. Colby
Knight Ridder is no more. For too many months now, we have witnessed the slow-motion implosion of that once-mighty newspaper chain, and yesterday at 4 p.m. it evaporated in its entirety with the stroke of a pen.

With that, what was once the nation's second-largest newspaper company went out of business, its various parts split asunder and parceled out to eight different owners.

Not surprisingly, bloggers who have cared enough to weigh in with final thoughts on Knight Ridder's downfall over the past few days have mourned what has been lost.

BJ Retirees, the blog for former employees of the Akron Beacon Journal -- the flagship of the old Knight Newspapers chain -- noted this:

Missing for the first time today from the front page was the old, familiar gray stripe across the bottom which proclaimed:

>KNIGHT RIDDER> Information for Life

Knight Ridder has ceased to exist.

But, writes Colby, we will leave the last word to blogger Douglas E. Jessmer:

"The Knight name will always be synonymous with great journalism; the Ridder name, on the other hand, may unfortunately be linked with selling out to investors," remarked Jessmer. (As for "the Bruce Sherman name, let's not go there.")

"Knight Ridder, I hardly knew ye, but I admired you from afar," he eulogized. "Rest in pieces."

Click on the headline above to read Colby’s article

Latest news on changeover

KR Web Site Gone. See full story

Just one day after McClatchy's acquisition of Knight Ridder, visitors to the Knight Ridder corporate home page are already directed to McClatchy's Web site. E&P reports that McClatchy, has in turn, taken the opportunity to freshen up its rather dated online look. Perhaps taking a cue from Knight Ridder, which had a very useful, concise Web presence, visitors no longer have to squint to go through the many links on McClatchy's rail.

The new site is clean and much easier to navigate. Visitors can check on any McClatchy newspaper (including former Knight Ridder properties it has retained) with a search box that scrolls states. Choose a location and a second box appears with the corresponding newspapers. Also featured prominently: the company's stock price. Knight Ridder's Washington bureau is already branded as "McClatchy Washington Bureau.”

McClatchy shares hit five-year low

The stock price for The McClatchy Co. fell to its lowest point in nearly half a decade Wednesday, just one day after the company completed its historic takeover of Knight Ridder Inc. McClatchy shares closed Wednesday at $39.00, down more than 25 percent since the merger was first announced in March.

McClatchy has not felt its shares dip this low since mid-2001.

S&P cuts McClatchy, Knight Ridder on acquisition See full story

NEW YORK, June 28 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Wednesday cut its ratings on McClatchy Co. () and Knight Ridder Inc. (KRI) , citing higher debt as a result of McClatchy's purchase of the second largest U.S. newspaper publisher.

"McClatchy's financial profile is weak for the ratings," S&P said in a statement. "However, the company's financial position is expected to improve to levels more appropriate for the rating as McClatchy focuses on debt reduction," the ratings agency said.

The company will sell newspapers as part of a plan to reduce debt taken on for the purchase. McClatchy expects to complete the sale of the two Philadelphia newspapers today and will use the $515 million in gross proceeds to repay debt of its revolving credit facility, S&P said.

The remaining six to-be-divested newspapers will result in gross proceeds of about $1.2 billion, S&P said.

S&P cut both McClatchy's corporate credit rating and Knight Ridder's senior unsecured debt one notch to "BBB," its second lowest investment grade ranking, from "BBB-plus." McClatchy's senior unsecured debt was affirmed at "BBB."

The outlook is stable, indicating an additional cut is not likely over the next two years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Reaction today at 32 papers

As the historic sale of Knight Ridder to the McClatchy Co. nears completion, the 32 daily newspapers in the deal -- a dozen of them soon to be passed to third parties -- marked the occasion in a wide variety of ways, from editors' notes to readers to free ice cream for employees. A wrap-up of how they marked the occasion was published in Editor & Publisher, including comments from Doug Oplinger.

Here’s the part about the BJ:

--The Akron Beacon Journal will hold a commemorative event today for employees. The Knight Ridder video sent to all papers will be shown, along with a video produced by Beacon Journal employees. Deputy metro editor Doug Oplinger said the video focuses on the newspaper's ongoing record.

"After John S. Knight died, this newspaper went on to win two more Pulitzers,'' he said. "Those may have been great old days, but we've gone on to better things, and there's no reason why we shouldn't continue to do that.''

Click on the headline above to read about other reactions reported by E&P

In other news, McClatchy Co. said it finalized its purchase of Knight-Ridder Inc. Knight Ridder common stock will no longer be traded, and shares of Knight Ridder common stock were converted into the right to receive $40.00 in cash and a fixed fraction of .5118 of a Class A McClatchy share. McClatchy will issue approximately 34.9 million new Class A shares to previous Knight Ridder shareholders.

Old, familiar gray stripe is gone

Missing for the first time today from the front page was the old, familiar gray stripe across the bottom which proclaimed:

>KNIGHT RIDDER> Information for Life

Knight-Ridder has ceased to exist.

For the record, there were 40 pages in the first edition of a new era:
A news 8 pages with full ad on A8
B local 8 pages half page ad on B8 with weather on top half.
C sports 6 pages with full ad on C6
D business 4 pages
E food 6 pages
Classified 8 pages

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Goodbye ad message from Tony

This full page advertisement was printed on page A3 of the Akron Beacon Journal on Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Today's edition of the Akron Beacon journal is the last that will be printed under the ownership of Knight kidder, the parent company that has owned this newspaper for the past 32 years.
Since 1974, when the company was formed, Knight Ridder has sought to preserve a low-key, yet meaningful, profile with our readers and their communities. You may know us best by the logo and tagline at the bottom of each day's front page: > Knight Ridder > Information for Life. That is, information that you need to live your life and information that, cumulatively, shapes your understanding of trends and events over time. Giving you this information, in print and online, has been our job and we have taken it very seriously. Our goals have been to provide outstanding journalism to the Akron area, to improve its quality of life through both the involvement of our people in civic issues and financial contributions to local organizations, to bring value to our advertisers and to be a first-rate employer. As we depart, we hope that we have scored well on all counts - and that, as a legacy, we leave you with a strong and engaged Akron Beacon journal. Certainly, it has been our privilege to serve you Going forward, the same local leadership team will continue to bring-you the Akron Beacon Journal. Its commitment to editorial stewardship, value creation, community involvement and employee well-being will not change. All of which leaves us optimistic about the future We have loved the Akron Beacon journal, and we have loved the Akron area, and we want nothing more than for both to thrive.

[Signed P. Anthony Ridder, Chairman and CEO]

The news was reported with the story by AP listed below. There also was an uninspiring editorial headlined About that Knight. Click here to read the editorial.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Knight Ridder shareholders approve sale

Knight Ridder's shareholders today voted to sell the company to Sacramento-based McClatchy, ending the 32-year run of one of America's premier newspaper companies.

The votes were tallied at the company's annual meeting at San Jose's Fairmont Hotel, a few steps from the company's soon-to-be vacated headquarters. Eighty percent of shareholders needed to approve the deal, and the company said preliminary tallies have overcome that bar.

``Our heritage, our values, our collaborative culture, our talented people, our distinguished newspapers, our online innovation and our place in our community have added up to something unique,'' said Knight Ridder Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Ridder, who became emotional toward the end his speech. ``Tomorrow, as new owners assume the mantle for what we have built, we should take pride in the strength of that legacy.''

The value of the deal, originally $4.5 billion in cash and stock, has fallen about 9 percent -- roughly $400 million -- since it was announced on March 13, after a sharp drop in McClatchy's stock, which was at another 52-week low this morning.

McClatchy and Knight Ridder executives hope to sign off on final merger documents by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

At that point, Knight Ridder, which was formed in 1974 by the merger of Knight Newspapers and Ridder Publications and grew into the second-largest newspaper chain in America, will cease to exist. The company won numerous journalism awards, including 85 Pulitzer Prizes.

Shares of both closed slightly lower: KRI $60.02 from $60.85 and MNI $40.45 from $41.60

Nothing posted as of this late hour on Click on the headline above to read Pete Carey's full story in the San Jose Mercury News.

Or read the AP story

Today's the day

Today’s the day. Shareholders meeting in San Jose are expected to vote to sell Knight-Ridder to McClatchy Co. Tony Ridder will have a farewell message in a full-page color ad and a video prepared by the company will be distribute to 18,000 employees at 32 newspapers. Today’s BJ story by Gloria Irwin says the Beacon Journal will hold a commemorative event Tuesday for employees and show the video.

These details are at the end of a story headlined Knight’s daughter in-law weighs in on sale. Cynthia Knight, widow JSK grandson Lanny Knight, has a home in Miami and Bath Twp.

“I was shocked and saddened that this marvelous empire that had begun here in Akron would no longer be,” she said. And guess what, she still reads a newspaper.

“My generation is still the generation that read newspapers and just were in awe of Jack’s editorials.’

JSK’s grandson, not a chip off the block, died in March 2000 at age 75.

Today is 06/26/06 Note the 666 in the date if you’re superstitious

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

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Mark Ethridge, son of the late Beacon Journal Editor Mark Ethridge (1973-1976) and brother of BJ business writer Mary Ethridge, made the newspaper’s “Book Talk” column today. The younger Mark, who was managing editor of the Charlotte Observer in 1978-79, is the author of “Grievances” a novel about “nut cases” who wander into newsrooms. Narrator is Matt Harper who works the night shift at the fictional Charlotte (NC) Times. “Grievances,” 280 pages hardcover, costs $27.95 from

Also in Sunday’s newspaper was Mike Needs farewell column as public editor. Instead we will get pieces from Editor Debra Adams Simmons and Managing Editor Mizell Stewart III who will take turns telling us about how decisions are made that shape the printed newspaper. Mizell notes in the first piece that “the position of public editor at the Beacon Journal will be no more.” He does not explain how that decision was made. Mizell says, however,
you can call him at 330.996.3860 or send e-mail to

Needs, who says he has lots of sticky notes left with ideas for columns he will not write, departs with a nice quote from another editor: “What we should be about is wide open and boisterous, unleashed and rambunctious, story-telling, mirror-holding, fact-imparting, truth-telling. That’s our history, and we should embrace it with gusto.”

Are you paying attention Debra and Mizell?

Finally, in Sunday’s newspaper Michael Douglas is trying to tell us something in a column with the headline “A Knight to Remember.” He writes:

“John S. Knight made his share of errors in judgement. He opposed the purchase of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Is he telling us that was a mistake? Here’s part of a quote from JSK about that:

“Well, I knew they had a run-down plant, with very poor equipment You could stroll through the plant and just see the disarray that it was in. I knew it would require millions and millions of new invested capital. I knew that the paper, on the daily side, was not at a very strong position in circulation and advertising.”

That might just be why McClatchy re-sold it.

Still want to read more? Just click:

About Mark

From Mizell

From Needs

From Douglas

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tony to join McClatchy board

Knight Ridder Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Ridder will join McClatchy's board of directors after the sale of Knight Ridder is complete next week, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Knight Ridder's agreement to be purchased by McClatchy allows the San Jose company two seats on McClatchy's board, but the identity of the second board member remains unknown.

Knight Ridder shareholders will vote on whether to sell the company to McClatchy on Monday in San Jose at Knight Ridder's annual meeting. If the proposal is approved as expected, final papers will be filed the following day and Knight Ridder will cease to exist.

An official announcement of Ridder's appointment to the McClatchy board will be made later that week, the sources said.

Ridder declined to comment. He will become a director at the company that decided to sell 12 Knight Ridder newspapers, including the Mercury News, after purchasing Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion. McClatchy is also assuming $2 billion in Knight Ridder debt.

He will be the second former Mercury News publisher on McClatchy's board -- the other is Larry Jinks, who was publisher from 1989-94.

McClatchy pays directors $35,000 per year plus $1,750 per day for in-person attendance at board of directors meetings, and $1,250 for attendance at committee meetings, according to the Sacramento news group's 2006 proxy statement.

Ridder will also have an option to purchase up to 3,000 shares of McClatchy stock.

Click on the headline above to read Pete Carey's story in the San Jose Mercury News

KRI dropped from Media Index

© 2006 The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Knight Ridder Inc. will be removed from the Dow Jones Media Titans 30 Index following the newspaper publisher's recent acquisition by rival McClatchy Co., Dow Jones said Friday.

News Corp., the media conglomerate owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, will replace Knight Ridder in the index at the start of trading next Wednesday, Dow said.

Standard & Poor's on Friday said it also removed Knight Ridder from its S&P 500 index.

Knight Ridder shares fell 49 cents to at $60.94, while News Corp. added 13 cents to finish at $19.72 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Reuniting with Bob and Linda

When Bob and Linda Page left Akron in 1973 their daughter, Michelle, was 4 and her sister, Gayle, was 2. They had a son, Rob, later. The children are all grown, out of college and married. Bob is now senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Crystal Lake, IL. Bob worked on the State Desk at the BJ and helped cover the May 1970 tragedy at Kent State. Here’s Bob’s e-mail on what has happened to him since then:

What a wonderful surprise to hear from you. It seems like worlds and lives ago since I worked at the Beacon Journal. I graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL (a northern suburb of Chicago) in 1977, but actually started pastoring my first church in Moline, IL in 1976. Since then I have served churches in Stromsburg, Nebraska (the Swede Capital of Nebraska!), Fargo, North Dakota (brrr!) and my current congregation in Crystal Lake, Illinois (a far northwest suburb of Chicago), where I have been more than 12 years. Two years ago I earned my Doctor of Ministries degree, also at Trinity. I am now 60 years old but not thinking a whole lot about retirement (which I notice most of the guys in your blog already enjoying).

My wife, Linda, and I are closing in on our 39th wedding anniversary. Our oldest daughter, Michelle, and her husband, Barry McQuarrie, both have their doctorates and are professors at the University of Minnesota-Morris (no children); my younger daughter, Gayle, and her husband, Mark Schanou, and our two grandchildren, Audrey and Reid, live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Mark serves a church as a children's and family ministries pastor; and there's a son, Rob (born 6 years after my departure from the Beacon Journal), who together with his wife, Suzanne, live in Vernon Hills, IL. They both work for Zurich Insurance Co. in Schaumburg, IL.

Every year on May 4 I especially think about my days at the Beacon Journal as I remember the Kent State shootings of 1970 and the awarding of the Pulitzer a year later. That has been a conversation piece throughout my ministry career.

Send e-mail to Bob at
or Linda at

The Evangelical Free Church of Crystal Lake
575 E. Crystal Lake Drive
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sprit of Innovation christened

The Spirit of Innovation was formally unveiled before at least 1,500 people at Wednesday morning's star-spangled christening at the Wingfoot Lake hangar. Despite Goodyear's efforts to keep the name a secret, it leaked Tuesday to an Akron radio station and a Cleveland TV station.

Matthew Harrelson, 35, a chemistry teacher at Hudson High School, and his wife, Kristi, 29, of Uniontown learned he won the contest a couple of weeks ago while they were vacationing in Virginia.

Goodyear had the winning name in its grasp less than five minutes after its online-only contest started at noon on April 11 -- though the company didn't know it at the time. All told, more than 21,000 unique names were entered and eventually whittled down to 10 finalists; the contest was set up in a way that prevented people from submitting duplicate names for the recently completed blimp.

As the winner, Harrelson gets to fly with the blimp for a day, while the nine other finalists get Goodyear tires. Goodyear has not released the other nine names.

Click on the headline above to read the story. There also were 18 photos at last count on the site.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Needs to become design editor

Starting Sunday, the duties of the public editor at the BJ will be handled by Managing Editor Mizell Stewart. You will notice his name and contact information will be contained each day on page A2. He and Editor Debra Adams Simmons will be writing regular columns in the Sunday paper that will discuss various decisions made by the newspaper.

Starting Monday, Mike Needs' title will be Design Editor.

Vincent Johnson dies at 95

Vincent H. Johnson, 95, died June 19, 2006.

Born in Ridgeway, Pa., on May 21, 1911, he was educated in the Akron Public Schools, graduating from Central High School and then the University of Akron in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. At the university, he was editor of The Buchtelite, the campus newspaper.

college, he worked for the Scripps-Howard Newspapers in Akron, Denver, and Indianapolis (1934-1938); was the executive secretary for the Builders Exchange of Akron (1938-1945); executive vice-president for the Akron Chamber of Commerce (1945-1948); assistant to the vice president and then president of the Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad (1948- 1969); and served as chief executive officer of the Akron National Bank. Additionally, he served as director for the AC&Y Railroad Co., Akron City Hospital, Akron National Bank and Trust Co., Akron Automobile Club, Akron City Club, Portage Country Club, and had been a trustee for the University of Akron.

An active alumnus, he was president of the University of Akron Alumni Association (1945-1946); president of the Akron U Hilltoppers (1950-1960); and was a trustee of Akron U Development Fund and Chairman of Akron University Associates.

The family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. THURSDAY at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd. Services are private for Mr. Johnson's family.

Click on the headline to read the full obit.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's time for video or CD on BJ

It’s time to produce a video or CD history of the Akron Beacon Journal. It could be done in a PDF format with text and photos and/or possibly include some of the mp3 (audio) clips of JSK's quotes. Good source material for the days before Sherman would certainly include Hal Fry’s 71-page book “Print It! 150 Years of the Akron Beacon Journal.” The CD like Fry’s book could possibly be underwritten by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

Fry’s book incidentally is still available I believe from the Summit County Historical Society for $6.95 plus tax. Contact the society for availability.

Summit County Historical Society
550 Copley Road
Akron, OH 44320
Tel. 330.535.1120

Retired printer Bendel recuperating

Retired BJ printer Russell Bendel. was diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery on April 10 to correct the situation and after removal of a portion of the large intestine, the doctor told him that all the cancer had been removed and the prognosis looked really good. .

Russ retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in January 1990 after 25 years' service. For the past five years he has been serv-\ing as a crossing guard at Isham School insuring that all the school children get safely across the street. He is now back on the job following his recuperation from the surgery.

He and his wife Marta, who is an employee of Buehler's, live at 133 N. Avon Ave. in Wadsworth. he is a long-time member of the Wadsworth Eagles Lodge.

[Information for the above was provided by Bob Pell]

BJ staff wins 17 awards

Reprinted in full for our out-of-town viewers:

Beacon staff wins 17 journalism awards
Columnist David Giffels takes three top honors;
Lin-Fisher, Trexler and Schleis also place first

By Beth Rankin
Beacon Journal staff writer
AKRON - The Akron Beacon Journal has won 17 awards in a statewide journalism contest sponsored by the Press Club of Cleveland.

The annual Ohio Excellence in Journalism competition, in its 28th year, is judged and organized by press clubs and newspapers throughout the country.

Columnist David Giffels took home three of the Beacon's six first-place awards, for general news columns, single essay and Best in Ohio: Column Writing.

Business writer Betty Lin-Fisher won first place in business columns and reporter Phil Trexler placed first in the breaking news ongoing story category. Reporter Paula Schleis placed first in technology writing.

Copy editor Jim Kavanagh nabbed a second place in Best in Ohio: Headline Writing. Two Beacon entertainment critics placed in the Best in Ohio: Reviews/Criticism category -- Malcolm X Abraham took home second and R.D. Heldenfels was awarded honorable mention.

Kim Hone-McMahan won an honorable mention in the general news multiple stories category, and reporter Bob Dyer took home an honorable mention in personality profile features. Other honorable mention winners included sportswriter Terry Pluto in the obituary category and a joint win by reporter Lisa Abraham and former reporter Stephen Dyer in the breaking news single story category.

Photographer Ken Love took home second place in the pictorial category.

The Beacon Journal staff won three second-place awards: breaking news single-day package, Election 2005 coverage and best section (for a sports section).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wit and wisdom of JSK

The Beacon Journal on Sunday devoted a full page to a transcript of an interview with John S. Knight on October 24, 1978–two days before this 84th birthday. The four-hour plus interview, reprinted on Page A8, was conduced by Dan Neuharth, son of Al Neuharth, then CEO of Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and founder of USA Today. Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., is a licensed family therapist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. A popular speaker, college educator, and award-winning journalist, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can click on the headline to read the complete interview on There also are a number or mp3 audio clips.

The quote I like best is to the question “Is there a better way to run a newspaper?”

I don't know. You see I'm a line man. I've never, I don't know anything about, and I detest the concept of running anything by meetings. I don't understand that. I belong to the 'Hey Joe' school. I pick up the first edition of the Beacon Journal in the morning and I see something, I run up in the newsroom and say, "Hey Joe, for Christ's sake, get that straightened out." See. I like that. I don't want to write somebody a long memorandum. Arrange a conference some time. Discuss it. I like the direct action. We don't get that any more. Don't ask me why.

[Neuharth also has written an article on the effect of Knight Ridder’s demise on the future of local quality journalism in the March 27, 2006 edition of USA Today. Click here to read that story]

Saturday, June 17, 2006

tr for add 13 and "30"

Retired BJ printer Bob Pell was taken to the emergency room on April 21 with a side pain and after two cat scans the doctor decided he had Myeloma on the spine. A spinal biopsy on April 7 confirmed the diagnosis and he underwent three weeks of radiation treatment. Bob’s wife, Peg, is also still getting dialysis three days a week. She takes the Medina County Transit System to Medina and then Bob picks her up so she can get home earlier. Because of all this, Bob has find it necessary to give up his job as publisher of the newsletter for the Wadsworth Eagles. Bob tells about old-time publishing in this final newsletter. Here it is:

I Found the Newsletter's "30"

About a quarter of a century ago when newspaper pages
were put together by skilled human hands, and not computers, large mechanical monsters card Linotype Machines produced the type. I am referring to the pre-1980's Akron Beacon Journal, where I spent nearly 35 years of my life and we had approximately 40 of those machines, some used for display ads and others used to set the news for the pages... one line at a time.

When edition time drew near an important story would usually break and it would come into the Composing Room with about 10 sheets of copy pasted together. The Copy Desk would cut the story into paragraphs and give each operator a piece of copy containing three or four paragraphs. At the end of the page where he cut it, he would write, "TR for add one" etc., until he had them all distributed. The Linotype Operator would set the paragraphs in type, turn a rule upside down (TR) and set the above "TR" line and the "add" number, then take it to the "bank" or "dump", depending on how much he wanted to impress his neighbors.

The Copy Desk would keep handing out the pieces of the article as each operator came up with his type and finally at the bottom of the last piece of copy was the figure "30", which signified the end.

You may be wondering why I am telling you all of this, but unfortunately I have found the "30" for my Publishing of your Newsletter. It is not something that I chose to do but something that could not be avoided.

I have thoroughly enjoyed publishing your Newsletter for the past 13+ years and had hoped to go on with it but it was not to be. Yes, it has been frustrating at times, but fun too. A big mistake can be fun too, if you decide to make it so... like the time I ran the picture of Irene Gibson and captioned it as "Irene Givens". That is definitely a sure way to verify that you members are reading the Newsletter. I now refer to Irene as Irene Whatzername.

John [newsletter editor John Kernan] and I have always worked well together, usually finding a way to agree on most of our decisions. We had one rule we stuck with: No religion or politics. This was a "fun" thing and we wanted to keep it that way. We would get together a few days just prior to completion of our upcoming edition and go over it carefully to make it as well of a publication as we possibly could. We were pleased with our product.

At our S. Lyman St. Aerie John and I were working together -- he as Secretary and me in my usual place as Treasurer. That is where I first met John and got to know him. Hey, I can hardly remember when I wasn't Treasurer. I am glad to tell you that Paula Sponsler has agreed to take over the publication of this Newsletter and I wish her the best and I know the cooperation with the Officers and Members is great. Well... maybe a nudge now and then. John Kernan has also agreed to stay on and work with Paula so I am happy this Newsletter will continue to exist.

Last, but definitely not least, I will be eternally grateful to all of you for the honor you bestowed on me by naming our new Pavilion the Bob Pell Sr. Pavilion. I am very proud every time I see that stone in front of the Pell Pavilion with my name on it. My more than thirty years as your Treasurer seems to have flown by so fast and now I am wondering where they went. Before being elected Treasurer, I was Inside Guard and Worthy Vice President. I ran for President but Charlie Hoezle beat me by five votes. You can't win them all!

It's been a fun 13+ Newsletter years. I am going to miss it..
.~Bob Pell -30-

Friday, June 16, 2006

Do all tech support guys have the same accent?

I couldn't get on the Internet at all this morning with my Windows XP PC, so I called SBC DSL tech support.

The guy with an accent from India talked me through various steps which worked before. But not this time. So he gave me the number of the Lynksis tech support.

The Lynksis tech guy, remarkably with the same accent from India, talked me through different steps and -- voila! -- the computer and the Internet get along like newlyweds.

Do you suppose the SBC DSL tech guy with an accent from India works in the same building, maybe the same room, as the Lynksis tech guy with an accent from India?

Heaven help all the American companies if the tech guys with the accent from India unionize and demand the same wages and benefits as American tech guys (if there are any left).

Calling all Knight Ridder alumni

One of our contributors called my attention to the blog for Knight Ridder alumni. The blog, which uses the same color scheme as this one, was started in November, 2005 about the time Sherman’s march for the sale of Knight Ridder became public. The nameplate calls it “A place where journalists can express their views about the future of the company to which they gave so much of their energy and talent.”

Chief contributor is James M. Naughton, retired editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer and retired president of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The blog includes the famous Open Letter from Knight Ridder alumni. The signers provide almost a Who’s Who of Knight Ridder journalists–not to say that us ordinary newspeople are not also loyal alumni.

The site reminds me of another of my alumni groups, Dennison High School alumni. The high school merged with another and is no longer existing by that name. Within fifty years or so, I figure, there will be no alumni left in either group. That’s why I sort of like one of the new BJ publisher’s thoughts that although publishers may fade from the scene the newspapers remain.:

You will find a link to the site for KR alums on the left. Check it out.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spouses break the tie at lunch

The attendance score was even with a half dozen printers and half dozen editorial types for the monthly BJ Retirees lunch at Papa Joe’s in the Valley on Wednesday, June 14. But Watson Blanton and Ed Hanzel brought their spouses along to take the edge for a better than average turnout of 14.

There was surprisingly little conversation about the BJ sale, but a little about pun heads which JSK disliked like “Custard’s last stand” for a story about a closing custard stand.

The envelope you might have noticed in Harry Liggett’s hand contains copies of old Tower Topics contributed by Bob Pell as fodder for this blog.

Printers at the lunch were Watson Blanton and wife, Joe Catalano, Gene Daniels, Ed Hanzel and wife , Carl Nelson and Bob Pell. Editorial types were Art Cullison, Tim Hayes, Harry Liggett, Sandy Levenson, Tom Moore and Don Roese.

Any of those just mentioned not shown in photos no doubt had their eyes closed or were otherwise not paying attention when Tom Moore snapped the photos.

Views from the publisher

Here are the chief graphs in a story by Gloria Irwin on today’s BJ business front

Canadian publisher David Black won't become the new owner of the Akron Beacon Journal until Aug. 1 or later because paperwork to complete the sale may not be finalized until then.

The newspaper will go from Knight Ridder Inc.'s hands to ownership by McClatchy Co., where it will remain for a few weeks, Black said Wednesday.

``I'm hoping August first'' will be the transfer date, Black said as he neared the end of a three-day visit to Akron to meet staff and tour the newspaper's facilities.

Black said he met with many staffers during his visit this week and learned ``how passionate people are about the newspaper.''

Staffers were as concerned about the newspaper's survival as they were about keeping their jobs, he said.

The new owner also met with officers of The Newspaper Guild, the union that represents some newsroom employees.

``I think, for the most part, it was refreshing to see an owner interested in growing the paper and making it better,'' said Paula Schleis, second vice chair of the local unit.

Black indicated he wants to increase coverage of community meetings, Schleis said.

In addition to meeting with staffers, Black met Tuesday with Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, a Democrat, and Republican Party leader Alex Arshinkoff.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Irwin.

Blogger Note: Please excuse the reproduction of the Lew Stamp photo stolen direct from newsrint via scanner.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rough row hoed in Bremerton

OK. It was a stupid idea. I have a newspaper colleague from long years ago who is retired in Bremerton, WA. Gosh, I thought, I will ask him what he can tell me about the Bremerton Patriot which is a very small Black Ltd. paper published weekly on Saturdays. Of course, the situation in Bremerton will not provide the least clue about how Black might operate in Akron.

The Patriot competes with the daily Bremerton (Kitsap County) Sun The friend does not subscribe but occasionally sees a copy.

“They have Reuters and little or no local news or advertising.” he writes. “I have no opinion of it although I can say from experience that the row hoed by a new newspaper challenging an established one is a very hard row indeed. And it really doesn’t matter how bad the existing paper is.”

My friend worked on upstarts in two Ohio communities that in his words “eventually succumbed to the apathy of the public.”

“We read the AP story with a lot of interest.” my friend continues. “I would have thought the Beacon Journal would be worth more than $165 million, but I guess newspapers aren’t such good buys these days. I wondered what the effect (this word was misused in a Bremerton Sun sports page headline this morning) this would have on your pension.”

Blogger Note: I found four local stories on the soapbox derby. Maybe I will ask Jocelynn Wright about all this when she comes to Akron July 22 for the big race.

Bremerton, home of the Navy's famous retired fleet, entertains visitors with modern art galleries, seafood restaurants, and harbor cruises. This port city was recently named one of the "most livable cities in the USA."

The Patriot was established in 1999. The Bremerton Sun, a Scripps newspaper first published in 1935, was so named to compete with the "Seattle Star" directly across Puget Sound. Four years later, the Sun's circulation surpassed that of its competitor. In 1940, John P. Scripps Newspaper Group obtained control of the newspaper. When it merged with The E.W. Scripps Company in 1986, the paper was renamed The Sun. In 2005, the newspaper was renamed the Kitsap Sun.

OK, so now how about Honolulu?

Is anyone acquainted with anyone working for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin to shed light on how reporters fare at that Black Papers Ltd. daily?

The Newspaper Guild was established in Honolulu in 1937. When founder Roy Cummings died on Nov 25, 2001 the larger Honolulu newspaper, the Advertiser, missepelled his name. Top minimum at the Black-owned Bulletin is $1,132. The Advertiser is $1,150, the Beacon Journal $1,046 and San Jose $1,180. Keep living costs in mind when comparing these salaries..

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A few quotes from Black

David Black was in town Monday to discuss operations with the Beacon Journal’s staff and managers. There were no closeup photos with Gloria Irwin’s story on the business front which was headlined “Beacon Journal buyer is focused on growth.”

A 3 X 4" photo of Black in the press room was used with the story and another 4 X 5" photo with the throw showed mostly the side of the building with Black, production veep Andrea Matthewson and three others unidentified walking along in miniature.

There’s not much to report. Irwin said as Black walked through the building he stopped often to meet and talk with employees. Retirees were not invited. Library clerk Diane Leeders was impressed. “Yeah. I got to shake his hand,” she exclaimed to co-workers. She said she had never met Tony Ridder.

Probably the most revealing quote from Black was in the last sentence of the story. “Knight-Ridder probably did need a shake-up,” he said.

Knight Ridder will cease to exist around June 27, but “the papers aren’t gone,” Black said.

Other quotes from Irwin’s story:

If you can’t do something good with this paper, you shouldn’t be in the business.

We have to do something about (profitability). Hopefully we’ll grow it.

Discussing a failed bid to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer and News , Black said, “Those editorial rooms need to be downsized. Costs have to be trimmed.”

In a related story, a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document filed by McClatchy on Monday revealed plans to sell the last five Knight Ridder papers for $450 million, according to Editor & Publisher.

Black Press has agreed to pay $165 million in cash for the Beacon Journal. The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., under a joint operating agreement, was acquired for $92.6 million by Ogden Newspapers. Schurz Communications will buy the American News in Aberdeen, S.D., for $28 million in cash. Forum Communications will pick up the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune and the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald for $70 million and $65 million respectively.

Only one paper, The Times Leader in Wilkes Barre, Pa., remains on the block.

Click on the headline to read Irwin’s story.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Adding a whale to the scene

David Black, the new boss, is due in town today, so it is time to add a whale to our menagerie of Akron icons. The logo for Sound Publishing, new owner of the Beacon Journal, can be found on the Black Papers Ltd. web site. This new icon from Puget Sound joins Browser, the Bea
con Journal mascot; the Goodyear blimp; and the University of Akron mascot Zippy, pictured here in the latest stainless steel version which reigns at McDonald’s on Exchange Street.

Also today we would like to join BJ columnist David Giffels in toasting assistant news editor Ted Schneider and copy editor Chuck Montague for 35 or more years of BJ service and metro editor Doug Oplinger, columnist Jewell Cardwell, editorial writer Steve Hoffman and artist Dennis Earlenbaugh for 30 years. They were honored at a newsroom luncheon in the John S. Knight meeting room. In earlier times their service would have been heralded in a glossy employee publication and at a big banquet with former honorees. High
postage, printing and dining costs put an end to that so past honorees, now retired, do not hear about it. Kathy Kochanski was putting out an electronic newsletter to keep us up to date but that too apparently has fallen victim to cost cutting demanded by Wall Street.

Click on the headline to read the Giffels column which concluded that after months of frustration over the sale Knight Ridder he may quit hearing about JSK turning over in his grave. May the old boss now rest in peace.

And perhaps a new Black Knight can fend off Wall Street.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

10th anniversary reunion

On Saturday, June 10, Paula and I stepped into the Falls Art Center on the Front Street Mall to view the bonsai exhibit during a break in Irish-American Festival musical performances. Only 18 days short of the 10-year anniversary of my retirement from the Beacon Journal, we ran into Art Krummel, retired as chief artist of the BJ, who had several of his bonsai efforts in the exhibit. Also Art's wife, Charlene Nevada, another BJ newsroom retiree; Bonnie Bolden, fellow West Virginia University School of Journalism graduate; and her husband, Bruce Winges. Bonnie and Bruce still show up at the BJ. What a surprising and joyous reunion!

Art handed me his calling card, which includes a miniature version of his painting of Point of Rocks, on the south end of Crescent Beach on Siesta Key, off Sarasota. BJ printers and others, such as Art and Charlene, vacationed for years at Poor Bill's, a rental that is maybe 100 feet from Crescent Beach and a view of Point of Rocks. Former BJ printer Bob Lewis, who stayed at the late BJ printer Bill Gorrell's place for many years, later purchased a home within 300 feet of Poor Bill's that Bob rented out and used himself when there was no one renting it.

Paula and I stayed at Sea Castle, on the beach and across the parking lot from Gorrell's former rental, in April. My late wife Monia and I spent a month at Sea Castle every February for five winters.

Art's miniature Point of Rocks brought back good memories. And the chance reunion gave me a chance to catch up on BJ folks and doings. A certain Canadian also was mentioned.

Today's BJ headline on the sale

Black Press a dark horse in Beacon race
Winner quickly seized lead, despite public focus on Advance

Jim Mackinnon joins Gloria Irwin for an analysis of the Beacon Journal sale in an A1 story in Sunday’s newspaper. They note that speculation had been running high that Advance Publications, the PD owner, would be the bid winner. Indeed, 1590 WAKR Akron’s news authority reported that only the ink had to dry on the sale.

McClatchy’s Gary Pruitt chuckled late last week after he was told that an Akron radio station reported the rumors of Advance's ink needing to dry on a contract. ``Dewey beats Truman, huh?'' he said, referring to the infamous Chicago Daily Tribune headline blunder of 1948.

[The winning bidder, David Black of Black Papers Ltd., is scheduled to visit the BJ on Monday.]

Click on the headline to read the analysis story.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here's the word from Linda

Here are the headlines for a Gloria Irwin piece on the BJ business front on Saturday.

Union sees bright side of KR sales

Newspaper Guild says employee ownership may happen someday

Newspaper Guild president Linda Foley's goal of creating employee-owned newspapers was outbid in the recent auction of Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers, but she said Friday that she believes the strategy may work in the future.

The Guild supported private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. of Los Angeles in bidding for the Akron Beacon Journal and other papers sold off as part of McClatchy Co.'s $6.5 billion takeover of Knight Ridder. Yucaipa had agreed that it would turn the newspapers into employee-owned companies. Yucaipa lost all of its bids.

``My prediction is that someday (employee ownership) will happen,'' Foley said.

Yucaipa lost ``because others were willing to pay more,'' Foley said.She said she had not yet been able to talk with Yucaipa.

The union spent $175,000 to retain Duff & Phelps Securities LLC. of Chicago and Ownership Associates Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., to advise it on what are commonly called ESOPs, or employee stock ownership programs, Foley said.

Yucaipa, controlled by billionaire Ron Burkle, signed an alliance with the Guild in February, agreeing to provide the purchase money.

Foley questioned whether Yucaipa got the same consideration from Sacramento-based McClatchy as other bidders did.

Gary Pruitt, chief executive of McClatchy, said the bidding was conducted fairly and he had not heard any criticism from Yucaipa.

Click on the headline to read all of Irwin’s story

Blogger’s endnote: Were you expecting sale by a newspaper publisher to a newspaper union?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Coverage moves to Business front

Coverage of the Beacon Journal sale moved today from page A1 to the Business front with two stories:

Private owners can be positive for newspapers
Analyst, editor say it helps to escape financial pressure of `Wall Street beast.' All 11 papers sold to private buyers

The story by Betty Lin-Fisher notes that the Beacon Journal is about to fall under private ownership for the first time in three decades. And that could be a good thing. Given the pressures from Wall Street and the evolving media competition from the Internet and other information sources, private ownership may be a good solution for journalism, say analysts and some in the industry. (Photos of PD editor Doug Clifton, retired publisher John Dotson, Merruill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine and Jim Crutcheild.)

Go to the story

Dear Owner: Welcome to our proud paper, city
We hope your company will build on our strong past, steer us to a better future

Mary Etheridge, whose father was a former BJ editor, writes a “Dear David Black” letter extolling our virtures and hopes

Go to Etheride story

How do you say goobye?

How do you say goodbye to the heritage and diverse character that spawned the great Knight Newspapers and its flagship newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal which was a four-time Pulitzer prize winner? Perhaps the best way is to welcome a new publisher and the promise as his flagship newspaper and to recall that heritage with a couple of photos and a chronology:

April 15, 1839: The first edition of the Summit Beacon Journal is published.

June 7, 1897: After several decades of mergers, first edition of the Akron Beacon Joumal is published.

1903: The Beacon Journal is sold to Maj. T. J. Kirkpatrick and Charles Landon Knight.

1907: Knight buys out Kirkpatrick.

1911: Knight becomes editor and moves the plant to a new building at East Market Street and Broadway.

March 24, 1921: The name of John S. Knight, son of C.L. Knight, appears on the Beacon Journal masthead for the first time.

Sept., 26, 1933: C.L. Knight dies.

Dec. 2, 1936: John S. Knight writes his first Editor's Notebook, beginning a series that runs until 1975; the column wins him a Pulitzer Prize in 1968.

Aug. 19, 1938: Knight buys the Akron Times-Press and merges with Beacon Journal.

1937: John S. Knight buys the Miami Herald, beginning the string of purchases that lead to Knight Ridder Newspapers.

March 31, 1973: Beacon Journal reaches a daily circulation peak of 176,929.

1974: Knight Newspapers Inc. and Ridder Publications Inc. merge.

June 16, 1981: John S. Knight dies.

July 13, 1987: The Beacon Journal switches from afternoon to morning

October 2005: Bruce Sherman, head of Florida money-management firm Private Capital Management, Knight Ridder's largest investor, tells the company to put itself up for sale because of poor stock performance.

March 2006: Deal is announced to sell Knight Ridder to McClatchy Co., which immediately announces a plan to sell 12 of the 32 papers including the Beacon Journal.

June 7, 2006: Sound Publishing Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Black Press Ltd., agrees to buy the Beacon Journal.

Traffic was heavy Thursday

I was having a little difficulty working on the blog Thursday. It was really slow and quirky. I don’t know if the blogger itself was having problems or if visits to our blog were giving blogger problems. I quit checking after dinner, but we had well over 100 visits to the blog to find out about the sale of the Beacon Journal. We passed the 15,000 mark in the number of visits since the blog was started in July, 2004.

I have not done it before, but after about 90 hits on Thursday, I decided to see where our visits were from. There were 31 from Akron but others were from all over the U.S. Her’s my quick list:

Akron 31, Alpharetta, GA, Aurora 4, Barberton, Canton 2, Chicago, IL, Cleveland 7, Columbus 2, Cuyahoga Falls, El Dorado, KS. Englewood, CO 2, Evanston, IL, Everett, WA, Falls Church, VA, Foley, AL, Fort Wayne, IN, Friesland, WI, Fullerton, CA, Great Falls, VA, Irving, TX, Kent, Kill Devil Hills, NC, Laguna Beach, CA, Long Beach, CA, Longmont, CO, Los Angeles, CA, Medford, MA 2, Medina, Miami, FL, Middletown, PA, Minneapolis, MN, New York, NY, Paris, France, Phoenix, AZ, Pleasant Grove, UT, Rogers City, MI, Saint Louis, MO, San Antonio, TX, San Leandro, CA, Sarasota, FL, Seattle, WA, Southfield, MI, Vancouver, WA, Wadsworth and Washington, DC

Thursday, June 08, 2006

From flagship to flagship

Here’s how the Honolulu Star Bulletin sees the Beacon Journal sale:

Black Press Ltd., the owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, announced yesterday that it will buy the Akron Beacon Journal, a former Knight-Ridder newspaper, from the McClatchy Co. for $165 million.

The Beacon Journal, which is the only daily newspaper in Akron, Ohio, and is distributed throughout northeast Ohio, will become Black Press's largest holding. The Star-Bulletin was formerly Black's largest newspaper and is now second-largest.

The Akron paper, which has a weekday circulation of 135,000 and a Sunday circulation of 175,000, employs about 600 people. By comparison, the Honolulu Advertiser, owned by Gannett Co. Inc., has a circulation of 140,327 daily and 158,699 Sunday. The Star-Bulletin has a circulation of 65,000.

The Beacon Journal will become the flagship paper in Black's chain, which owns and operates 115 newspapers in western Canada, Washington state and Hawaii.

The acquisition, which is expected to close this summer, is a good fit for Black Press, said David Black, chief executive officer of Black Press, a company that is 80 percent owned by the David Black family and 20 percent owned by the Torstar Corp.

"Under the direction of the Knight family, the Akron Beacon Journal has been a good community newspaper for a long time. We believe in the same focus on local journalism of high quality," Black said.

Click on the headline above to read the full story.

An historic front page

Gloria Irwin wrote the main story on the sale of the Beacon Journal under a dull headline: CANADIAN BUYS BEACON for this historic front page. Gloria gives the main facts with a nice lead and the first seven graphs printed here:

By Gloria Irwin
Beacon Journal business writer
The Akron Beacon Journal, the first of John. S. Knight's newspapers, will become the largest newspaper in a private, family-owned media company.

Sound Publishing Holdings Inc., a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Black Press Ltd. of British Columbia, Canada, emerged from nearly three months of bidding as the surprise winner and future owner of the Beacon Journal. Black Press is paying $165 million for the paper and its Web site,

The transaction is part of McClatchy Co.'s purchase of Knight Ridder Inc. and is expected to close about June 27. It will be the first time in more than three decades that the Beacon Journal is privately owned.

Beacon Journal Publisher James Crutchfield announced the sale shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday in a companywide meeting.

David Black, president and CEO of Black Press, was not present. In a letter read to employees, he stressed his belief in ``good community journalism'' and emphasized the awards won by his newspapers in Canada and Hawaii.

``Under the direction of the Knight family and Knight Ridder, the Akron Beacon Journal has been a good community newspaper for a long time,'' he said in a news release. ``We believe in the same focus on local journalism of high quality.''

No immediate changes in the newspaper's leadership are expected, and no layoffs are planned, Crutchfield said. Black Press will honor existing union contracts, employees were told. The newspaper has about 720 full- and part-time employees.

Black will delve into Beacon Journal operations starting Monday, when he and three associates begin a three-day visit. Reached in Canada, Black said he doesn't know the Beacon Journal well enough to say what changes readers may see in six months.

Click here To delve deeper into today’s coverage at the main page on

Here are the stories:

See Gloria Irwin’s full story

Next publisher
holds papers accountable, but give full rein

Sale is outside of norm in Ohio

Questions about sale of Beacon

The newspaper today also has a history chronology of the old Knight newspaper and some omments from civic leaders, readers and old-timers including John Olesky, Tom Moore and Ott Gangl.

The usual caustic comments from loyal readers can be found on the site. The best play on words so far is this comment:

Canadian Beacon ha ha ha

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Canada's Black Press Ltd. to buy Beacon

As posted on

Beacon Journal staff report
Sound Publishing Holdings Inc. has agreed to buy the Akron Beacon Journal for $165 million from McClatchy Inc.

Sound Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian company Black Press Ltd., which publishes more than 100 publications, mostly weeklies, in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state and Hawaii.

McClatchy also agreed to sell four other Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers for $285 million. The Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota and Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota will be purchased by closely held Forum Communications Co.

The Aberdeen American News in South Dakota will be purchased by closely held Schurz Communications Inc., McClatchy said. Ogden Newspapers will purchase the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel in Indiana.

Beacon Journal employees were told of the sale at a 4 p.m. meeting today.

David Black, owner of Black Press, did not attend the announcement. He said in a statement that he will be in Akron next week.

The Beacon Journal is among the 12 papers being divested by McClatchy Co. as part of its acquisition of Knight Ridder.

``Our aim throughout the divestiture process was to find the right buyers for the right newspapers,'' said Gary Pruitt, McClatchy chief executive. ``We believe that Black Press Ltd. and the Akron Beacon Journal are a great fit, and we look forward to seeing this relationship develop in the future.

Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. is selling the 12 papers because they are not located in fast-growing markets. The company had already reached agreements to sell six of those newspapers in California, St. Paul and Philadelphia.

Advance Publications Inc., owner of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, was among the bidders for the Beacon Journal.

No owner has emerged for the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

You also can find an audio clip on of Crutchfeld’s an nouncement.

See the next post.

Profile on Black Press

Here’s a short profile on Black Press Ltd:

Black Press Ltd.
818 Broughton St
Victoria BC, V8W 1E4

Phone: 250-480-0755
Fax: 250-480-7217


Sound Publishing Holdings, buyer of the BJ, is a subsidiary of Victoria-based Black Press Ltd., a company with newspapers in B.C. and other parts of western Canada. The Black Ltd. web site lists over 100 newspapers and 17 printing operations

Black Press is 20 per cent owned by Torstar, publisher of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation daily paper. Black Press Ltd. also owns the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Click here for a profile on David Black, owner of Black Papers Ltd. A blog post on May 2 reported his visit to the BJ.

If you go to the web site you will find all divisions listed in the main menu.

The promo under Sound Publishing says:

“Anybody can tell you what's going on in the world--CNN, USA Today, or Yahoo. But where do you turn when you want to know about the new construction site down the street or the latest school board vote?

“That's where we come in. Sound Publishing newspapers cover local news, high school sports, police activity, weddings and new babies - whatever is going on in your community. We touch the lives of over half a million people in Washington every week with news about the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, Federal Way, Vashon Island, and Kitsap County.

“If you want to hear world news, ask the big guys. But if you want to know what's going on in your neighborhood, we've got you covered. Click on a map below to learn about the newspapers nearest to you.”

Click on the links under the Sound Publishing section and you can see front pages from some of the newspapers.

New owner of the BJ

If you want to know a LOT about David Black, the media mogul from British Columbia who is the new owner of the Beacon Journal, click on:

He's the guy who will determine what happens to your medical and prescription coverage.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cost of BJ home delivery for retirees has doubled

I was surprised to get a bill in yesterday's mail for my annual subscription at $94.90 wheras last year is was $47.85. I called today and was told that indeed the cost to us has increased from the 25% annul price to 50%. I complained that my pension check did not get an increase but that is a moot point. The increase took effect about a month ago I was told.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Graduates of BJ staffers honored

These graduates of newsroom staffers were among two dozen features on page 4 of Sunday's Beacon Journal. Sorry we could not post all of them

Caroline "Carrie" Dyer
Copley High School
Daughter of Becky and Bob Dyer newsroom
State honors diploma. Recipient of Matthies Scholarship from Wittenberg University. Offered academic awards from Denison University in Granville, OH, Miami in Oxford, OH, and Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Varsity athletic letters in basketball (4), soccer (4) and track (4). Basketball first team All-Suburban League, fiist team All- Northeast Ohio Inland District, second team All-Ohio and Beacon Journal 2006 Summit County Player of the Year. Named to all-tournament basketball team at state finals in Columbus. All-conference in both soccer and track. Captain of basketball team, junior and senior years. Will attend Wittenberg University to pursue her interest in psychology.

Naprie Kimbrough
Our Lady of the Elms High School
Daugbter of John Kmbrough and Yuvonne Bruce Webb newsroom
Akron Mayor's Service Award. Lettered in bowling. Participated in Spanish Club, French Club, Ambassadors Club, liturgical ministry, Dominican preaching, conference team, social action. Volunteers for Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Vintage Explorer program, Mobile Meals, Helping Hands CYO Search, Amigos de las Americas, S including eight weeks in Panama. Plans to attend the University of Akron to study fashion merchandising and psychology.

Kathereine Elizabeth Kochanski
Cuyahoga Falls High School
Daughter of Rohert and Kathleen Kodanski, marketing communications
Studied horticulture and urban forestry at Kent Roosevelt High School through the Six District Compact Works at Pat Catan's Craft Center. Has traveled to Ireland and Colombia and will be attending her brother's wedding in England this summer. Plans to work full time, eventually pursuing a career as a flight attendant or in the field of child development
Matthew John Mezger
St. Vincent-St. Mary High School
Son of Roger and Ann Sheldon Mezger, newsroom
Gateway Scholarship Program, Ohio University. Congressional Service Award. Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence. Member of march-ing band, jazz band, pep band, show choir, theater, International Thespian Society. Peer Ministry, board member senior year. Band student board mem-ber, junior and senior years. Volunteer activities: Church youth choir, Road . Runner Marathon, pianist for school liturgical choir. Worked summers at Acme. Plays piano, saxophone, tuba. Produced and sold CDs of school plays. Will study civil engineering at Ohio University in Athens.

Celeste Marie Wagner
Kent State University Master's degree in educational ministration
Daughter of Lany Pantages, newsroom and stepdaughter of his wife Carvel Pantages, advrertising.
Grades K-12 Leadership. Completed master's degree in two years while beaching at Barberton High School. Has bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Cincinnati, Conservatory of Music. Met High School graduate.

Blogger's Note: Please excuse the quality of the photos that had to be scanned from newsprint. Remember the old employee publications on glossy paper which used to publish graduates? Many of those old publications are probably still kept as mementos. I am especially proud of Naprie who you will remember was one of a trio of youngsters who used to visit me at my BJ desk. I wrote about the trio in a blog post on Jan 4, 2005 titled 3 Young Visitors 'All Gowed Up'

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Newhouse brothers

Samuel Irving. "Si" Newhouse Jr. and his younger brother, Donald Edward, control Advance Publications, one of America's largest privately held companies.

Donald tends to Advance's hugely profitable newspaper, radio, and TV holdings. Si runs the less profitable but more glamorous properties. These are the 15 Condé N
ast magazines, including (in descending order of fabulousness) Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, House & Garden, Allure, Details, Self, Mademoiselle, and Glamour; The New Yorker; and Random House.

Father Sam Sr. took over failing Staten Island Advance in 1922 and built what became the nation's largest newspaper chain. Sons inherited Advance Publications a
fter father's death in 1979. Donald runs newspapers (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Newark's Star-Ledger), Si oversees glamorous Condé Nast magazine division (Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker). Also owns Sunday newspaper insert Parade, Fairchild Publications (Women's Wear Daily).

Estimate of the combined wealth of the brothers is $13 billion.(They rank #26 on Forbes 400 Richest compared to Ron Burkle at #112)

Samuel Irving Jr., 77
Hometown New York, NY
Marital Status: married, 3 children, 1 divorce
Undergraduate: High School, Diploma

Donald Edward, 75
Hometown: Somerset County , NJ
Marital Status: married , 3 children
Undergraduate: Syracuse University, Drop Out

Profile of Advance Publications

Advance Publications gets its marching orders from the printed page. A leading US newspaper publisher, Advance owns some 26 daily newspapers around the country, including "The Star-Ledger" (New Jersey), "The Cleveland Plain Dealer," and its namesake "Staten Island Advance." It also owns American City Business Journals (more than 40 weekly papers) and Parade Publications ("Parade Magazine" Sunday insert). Aside from print publishing, Advance is a major online publisher with 10 regional news Web sites. Samuel "Si" Newhouse Jr. and his brother, Donald, own the company.

Contact Information:
Address: 950 Fingerboard Rd., Staten Island, NY 10305
Phone: 212-286-2860 Fax: 718-981-1456
Key People:
• Chairman and CEO; Chairman, Condé Nast Publications: Samuel I. (Si) Newhouse Jr.
• President: Donald E. Newhouse
• COO; CEO, Condé Nast: Charles H. (Chuck) Townsend
Subsidiaries & Affiliates:
• Advance/Newhouse Communications Inc.
• American City Business Journals, Inc.
• Hemmings Motor News
• Condé Nast Publications Inc.
• The Cartoon Bank
• Comag Marketing Group, LLC
Top Competitors: Gannett Co., Inc. The Hearst Corporation and Time Inc.
Web Site:
* The Birmingham News (Alabama)
* Harrisburg Patriot-News (Pennsylvania)
* Express-Times (Easton, PA)
* The Allentown Times (Pennsylvania)
* The Huntsville Times (Alabama)
* Mobile Register (Alabama)
* The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ)
* The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
* The Gloucester County Times (NJ)
* Today's Sunbeam in Salem (NJ)
* Bridgeton Evening News (NJ)
* The Trenton Times ( NJ)
* Mississippi Press (Pascagoula)
* The Oregonian (Portland)
* Hillsboro Argus (Oregon)
* Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
* Staten Island Advance (NY)
* The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
* The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
* Union-News & Sunday Republican (Springfield, MA)
* Sun Newspapers - weekly suburban newspapers in Ohio
* Booth Newspapers of Michigan: Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, o Muskegon Chronicle and Saginaw News
Business Journals and Periodicals: American City Business Journals - local weekly business newspapers, motorsports periodicals, and sport annuals
Conde Nast Publications: Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast House & Garden, Conde Nast Traveler, Glamour, Gourmet, GQ, Lucky, The New Yorker, Parade Publications, Parade, React, Self, Tatler, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, The World of Interiors
Fairchild: W, Jane, Women's Wear Daily, Daily News Record, Footwear News, Home Furnishings News, HighPoints, Executive Technology, Children's Business, Supermarket News, Brand Marketing, Salon News, Details, Elegant Bride, Bride's, Modern Bride and Vitals
Other: Golf Digest, Golf for Women, Golf World and Golf World Business
Cable Television: Cable Television Operations - with Time Warner and Discovery Channel (partial ownership)
Others: Religion News Service and Newhouse News Service
REGIONAL WEB SITES: Everything Alabama, Everything Cleveland, For Western Massachusetts, Everything Michigan. Everything Jersey, Everything New Orleans, Everything Oregon, For Central Pennsylvania & Lehigh Valley, Everything Staten Island and For Central New York.

[Information is from Columbia Journalism Review, Yahoo and the firm's web site]

The word from Akron's news authority

NewsChannel 5's Jonathan Costen.says that WAKR is reporting that "all that's left is to put the ink on the contract."

WAKR news director Ed Esposito said that representatives from both the Plain Dealer and
its owner, Advance, and the Beacon Journal and its new owner, McClatchy, won't go on the record and admit anything.

"But they admit, yes, we've heard all the rumors what we're reporting," said Esposito. "Th
ere are rumors the Plain Dealer staff management was told yesterday that the Beacon Journal bid was accepted by McClatchy. McClatchy says they'll let the word out when it's time to let the word out, and that could be as early as today."

Beacon Journal marketing director Rita Kelly Madick dismissed the rumors, saying that they are possibly based on a staff meeting at the Plain Dealer, which ABJ staffers have no information about.

"Everybody's heard the reports they were looking and it was likely, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to window shop without buying," said Madick.

But Esposito is sticking by his reports, saying he's not surprised that ABJ reporters aren't aware of the pending deal. He said this isn't a question of journalism, it's a question of high finance and business.

Although Esposito believes an announcement may be forthcoming, a McClatchy spokesman said it could be a couple of weeks before any announcement is made.

Maybe the announcement will come on 6/6/06

Thursday, June 01, 2006

BJ sale is sign of times

Lauren Rich Fine, a media analyst with Merrill Lynch told the Akron Roundtable on Thursday that Advance Publications–potential buyer of the Beacon Journal--has history of running newspapers it owns in nearby markets independently but that may change as the industry is forced to look at saving money through consolidating printing, advertising and other departments.

Advance Publications in New York, parent company of the Beacon Journal's biggest competitor and Ohio's largest newspaper, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, was believed to be among the possible bidders for the BJ.

Fine said that before the Web and cable television, most mediums coexisted without eating much into each other's ad dollars. Because the Internet can be targeted yet reach a wide audience, that has changed, she said, and the Internet is stealing newspapers' bread and butter: classifieds.

In order for the papers to cut costs, she said analysts expect more of the consolidation like the recent sale of Knight Ridder Inc.'s 32 newspapers to McClatchy Co., which in turn put 12 papers - including the Beacon Journal--up for sale.

Click on the headline, to see the full story on the Centre Daily, PA, web site

New ABJ owner just up north?

That's what radio station WAKR says in this report this afternoon:

It's not an official done deal yet but WAKR/WONE/WQMX sources say that the Akron Beacon Journal won't have to look far for it's new owner. Officially, the McClatchy Group says there's nothing to report but confirms hearing rumors that managers of the Plain Dealer were told the news this afternoon. All that's left is to put the ink on the contract, turning over the Beacon to Advanced Publications, owners of the PD. If so, it would signal a seismic consolidation for the newspaper industry in Northeast Ohio as the state's biggest newspaper buys it's biggest competitor to the south.

Stephanie Warsmith, Union Spokesperson for the Akron Beacon Journal, says that as of right now, they still have not heard any confirmation and that they are anxiously awaiting the announcement of who the new owner will be.

Eric Mansfield picked up the WAKR report in 609952 sound bytes on Channel 23

Quake halts out-sourcing

This item on the BJ business front has nothing to do with news biz, but it caught our attention:

The earthquake in Indonesia has halted production of gift pillowcases for Wa\dsworth-based Wonder Works Wellness. The gift pillowcases are manuifactured just south of Yogyarta, one of the most-devasted cities. All 20 of the firm’s Indonedian employees survivied but four of their homes were destroyed. Employees work out of their homes instead of factories. With homes flattened by the quake and equipment unusable, pillowcase production must wait. The Wadsworth firm says its inventory should last through the Summer. There are two employees in Wadsworth for design and marketing.