Tuesday, January 31, 2006

KRI profit down 22 percent

Knight Ridder Inc., which is seeking a buyer under pressure from its largest shareholders, reported a 22 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday from the same period a year ago, which included earnings from two newspapers the company no longer owns.

KRI earned $83.3 million, or $1.24 a share, in the three months ended Dec. 25, down from $107.2 million, or $1.38 a share, in the same period a year earlier.

The latest results came in two cents a share ahead of the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. The year-ago figures include 13 cents per share in earnings from newspapers in Tallahassee, Fla., and Detroit that Knight Ridder doesn't own any more.

There were reports in Business Week, Reuters, San Jose, ABC and others. Check your ticker for latest stock price.

Interesting place to meet

I'm sure that there's a joke or a bit of philosophy here, but I think I'll just relay the information and everyone can interpret it for himself:

I ran into retired BJ printer Al Hunsicker today -- at our prostate doctors' office.

Usually, Al and I get together with other BJ retirees at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at Papa Joe's in the Valley.

Our prostate doctors don't even serve us lunch.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Olesky's 25-year watch

This photo was taken in 1983 for the 15-year anniversary of my employment at the Beacon Journal, retiree John Olesky reports. . This was when the BJ held dinners for the various anniversary milestones. I still have the excellent watch presented to me as a 20-year employee.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sherman's march on Knight Ridder

The February/March 2006 issue of Columbia Journalism Review has an insightful, in-depth article by senior writer Charles Layton on how Naples, Florida, money manager Bruce S. Sherman muscled Knight Ridder—the nation’s second-largest newspaper company—into putting itself up for sale.

The idea for the title “Sherman’s March” could have been picked up from an earlier blog post in which we likened Sherman to another man by the same name– Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. That Sherman said “war is hell.” Sherman S. is a modern-day comparison as the Scourge of Knight Ridder as Layton refers to him.

Layton, like many others, tried but did not get an interview with Sherman. It is difficult to find much about him by Googling. You can learn more about Chicago’s famous chef by the name Bruce Sherman. Layton says the Bruce from Naples looks a little like Regis Philbin. You can check our Many Faces to form your own opinion.

If you go to the Private Capital Management web site, however, there is a menu item for News/Articles where you can find a 33-page booklet in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf) which contains a Q&A interview of Sherman by Peter J. Tanous for his 1977 book “Investment Gurus.” There you can read Sherman’s thinking in his own words. (Caution: Don’t try to download it with a dial-up provider because it will take more than an hour)

Here, for background, are a few graphs of Layton’s article:

On July 19, the board of directors of Knight Ridder, the country's second-largest newspaper chain, held a most unusual meeting. It was at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel near the top of San Francisco's Nob Hill, and it was unusual because, as the 10 board members convened, representatives of Knight Ridder's three biggest shareholders were camped outside the door, waiting to air their gripes about the company's stock performance.

This meeting would mark the start of an insurrection that ultimately would force the board to put Knight Ridder up for sale, threatening the future quality of its journalism and causing tremors throughout the newspaper industry. One restive shareholder in particular, Bruce S. Sherman of Naples, Florida, was the instigator and ringleader.

Sherman (or rather, the institutions and rich individuals whose wealth he manages) owned about 19 percent of Knight Ridder – a huge stake, far larger than anyone else's. He had been accumulating it for five years, starting with less than a million shares and adding more as his investment group attracted new clients.

When Sherman first began buying the stock in 2000, it was selling in the low to mid $50s.

On the day of the board of directors meeting, Knight Ridder shares were selling at $62. Sherman owned 13 million of those shares, for which he had paid, in the aggregate, about $65 a share. He was under water on the stock.

Not only was Sherman losing his shirt on these stocks, they were a drag on his whole enterprise.

This sale, if it happens, will constitute the first big-time hostile takeover of a U.S. newspaper company. But maybe not the last. Some on Wall Street are hoping it could trigger a broader wave of consolidation, with all of the investment banking deals, lawyers' and consultants' fees and stock windfalls that this implies. Many who work at newspapers – especially those belonging to Knight Ridder – worry now about their careers and the future of their profession. The assumption is that whoever buys Knight Ridder will make drastic cost cuts, to the detriment of good journalism and the company's long-term strength – a sad end for an organization whose 32 daily papers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald and San Jose Mercury News, have won 60 Pulitzers over three decades. But for Sherman, the sale is an exit strategy. It could bail him out of a tough spot, maybe with a decent profit.

If you are a BJ-type and wonder if JSK is rolling over in his grave, you will want to click on the headline to read all of Layton’s very good article.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

SPJ issues call for debate

Society of Professional Journalists calls for national debate
on sale of Knight Ridder newspapers

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists and its Northern California Chapter call for an urgent national conversation about how to preserve public-service journalism in light of the likely sale of the Knight Ridder newspaper company.

Knight Ridder, the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain, put itself out to bid last November. To satisfy the demands of a few major shareholders seeking larger short-term profits, the company may be swallowed whole by another conglomerate or broken up by speculators in early 2006. To finance the multibillion-dollar deal, new owners would be under heavy pressure to slash investment in newsgathering and reporting.

News media play a vital role in ensuring a robust and transparent democracy, a role that is too important to be compromised by the quest for profits. SPJ believes that both journalists and the public need to discuss openly the societal implications of these kinds of business decisions, as several groups have done in recent weeks.

We acknowledge that newspapers cannot serve their democratic role unless they stay in business. But the increasing corporate pressure to squeeze additional returns out of already profitable newspapers, at rates exceeding the margins in most other industries, has skewed the balance between journalism and commerce. SPJ and the NorCal Chapter believe that those directing the production of news have an ethical obligation to readers every bit as significant as their fiduciary accountability to shareholders.

Much of the newspaper industry has fared poorly under financial pressures similar to those dogging Knight Ridder. Layoffs, buyouts and hiring freezes shrank the newspaper industry by at least 2,100 jobs in 2005. These same pressures are affecting alternative weekly newspapers and the ethnic press.

Though there is disagreement about what should happen to Knight Ridder -- whose 32 daily newspapers, various Web sites and weekly publications provide news to millions of readers -- there is broad consensus within the journalism community that it should not be allowed to fall into the hands of those unwilling to guarantee the continuity of public-service journalism.

Journalists in particular have an obligation to invite discussion on this topic. The SPJ Code of Ethics urges journalists to “clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.” We call on reporters, editors, columnists and editorial writers to write about the planned sale and solicit ideas from community leaders and readers, who have a significant stake in the civic-minded management at their local newspapers.

A national conversation about how Knight Ridder newspapers can maintain their journalistic integrity under escalating profit pressures should send a message to investors not to ignore the social value of their investments -- either now or in future battles over media ownership. Such a dialogue would also help journalists fulfill their ethical responsibility to be accountable to their readership. And it would help that readership participate, as we believe the Constitution envisioned, in preserving a free, vibrant and competitive press.

For further information about the proposed Knight Ridder sale, visit www.spj.org/norcal.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Knight Ridder plans layoffs, cutbacks

Knight Ridder Inc., the second biggest U.S. newspaper group, plans job cuts, benefit reductions and smaller editions to boost profit margins, United Press International reported Tuesday.

The company, which put itself up for sale last year under shareholder pressure, is telling private-equity investors of plans to trim costs, the Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.

KRI executives plan to increase annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to about $825 million over the next 18 months, up 20 percent from 2004.

The 32-paper company reportedly has made presentations to MediaNews and Texas Pacific Group.

Editor and Publisher noted on Wednesday that the San Jose Mercury-News had confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that Knight Ridder is telling prospective buyers that its profits can be sharply increased by cutting jobs and benefits and reducing the size of some of its 32 newspapers.

Pete Carey, reporting for the Knight Ridder-owned Mercury-News, writes, "All interested parties have signed confidentiality agreements. But leaks of the company's projections already have begun.

"The figures Knight Ridder is giving potential buyers are similar to those in a Morgan Stanley research report published in November. The report, by analyst Douglas Arthur, said an outside buyer could reduce costs by $150 million a year through a 5% reduction in the workforce, cutting labor costs and chopping corporate overhead."

Knight Ridder spokesman Polk Laffoon told the San Jose paper that KR's financial advisers had prepared "a wide array of information about the company, including its cost structure. ... They reflect various options reviewed with people who have expressed interest in possibly bidding on the company. These options offer a variety of approaches to operational issues,'' he said.

"Whatever actions are taken would very much depend on the individual bidder, and any savings achieved would not be achieved overnight," Laffoon told the paper.

See the UPI report

The E&P story

The San Jose report

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thrity keeps on writing

You must click on the headline above to learn what former BJ reporter Thrity Umrigar has been doing. In a word it is “writing” which is what Thrity does.

We need only list two reviews of her latest story, “The Space Between Us,” to give you a glimpse.

Umrigar is a skilled storyteller, and her memorable characters will live on for a long time. ---Washington Post

Part of what makes "The Space Between Us" so engrossing is its ability to make readers feel empathy for its subjects. ---San Francisco Chronicle

But you must visit her web site. Don’t miss the great interview of her. She gives the BJ a plug as a still great newspaper. And also see the articles–especially the one titled “Good Night, Fran.:” Her book-signing dates list Thursday, Jan 26, at Borders in the Falls.

If you have never clicked on a blog headline now is the time to start.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Discount the discount?

From the Jan. 20 Hot Type, the BJ newsletter:

Airport Fast Park extends discount

Airport Fast Park has extended its discount rate of $7 per day for Knight Ridder affiliates into 2006. To take advantage of this rate, staff members need to sign up at www.airportfastpark.com and enroll under “Frequent Parker,” listing the Beacon Journal as the company. The discount rate applies to business and personal travel.

That's what I paid when I parked my van at Fast Park while Paula and I flew out to California in December. Without a BJ discount. It sounds a lot like the doctor who said that the cold would last two weeks if you treated it, and 14 days if you didn't. $7 a day for BJ folks or $49 for 7 days for those of us without a discount.

Found on an old hard drive

Art work by the late Joe Grace was hanging in the library at Cuyahoga Falls some years ago and Tom Moore shot some photos. He found them recently, he says, on an old hard drive and passed them along to the BJ Retirees blog. Here are two of the best.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

BJ directory from 1959

There are a lot of familiar names on this 1959 Beacon Journal Directory of Employes. In earlier times there was no telephone directory of employees printed in booklet form. This one was printed on one newspaper size broadsheet about 15 by 23 inches. This copy was revised on September 15, 1959. Our thanks to Calvin Deshong who provided the sheet to us We will try to reprint the list of employes for each department starting this month with the 144 employees listed in the composing room. The list begins with William J. Church, foreman, and then continues alphabetically to the end with Donald H. Zarle. The list is too long to post on the blog, but you can see a copy of it by clicking on the headline above.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Burbach leaving, Mizell returning

Beacon Journal managing editor Mike Burbach is leaving the Beacon at the end of next week to become the editorial page editor in St. Paul. Former assistant managing editor Mizell Stewart is coming back to the Beacon to take his place. Susan Kirkman has been named managing editor for online services. The changes were announced at a newsroom meeting Wednesday morning.

BJ becomes historic site

This article and photo reprinted from Tower Topics issue of May-June, 1982

What started out as an overcast May day soon brightened as the plaque dedicated to the memory of John Shively Knight honoring the Beacon Journal as a Historic Site was unveiled.

The National Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, recognizes people or events of outstanding significance in the history of American journalism. On May 25, two journalism greats were honored - the Beacon Journal as a great newspaper and John S. Knight, who made it great.

During the hour long ceremony attended by about 400 people, friends and co-workers paid tribute to Mr. Knight through their speeches and words of praise. But all agreed that JSK probably did more for journalism, newspapering, setting standards, and reaching goals than any other person.

"His column (Editor's Notebook) was given the accolade of the Pulitzer Prize. To those of us who've taken an active role in the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, John Knight's record has distinguished him as a giant," said Charles Novitz, national president of Sigma Delta Chi.

After the dedication of the plaque, Mayor Roy Ray hosted a luncheon for several community leaders, employees and friends who came from far and near to be a part of this historic event.

To conclude this memorable day, the John S. Knight Awards banquet was held at the Tangier. This year, instead of naming a new recipient for the award, Mr. Knight and winners during the past 15 years were honored. Past winners have included:
1974 - Ben Maidenburg, Robert Dix
1975 - Eddie Butler, Murray Powers
1976 - Frances B. Murphey
1977 - Kenneth Nichols, Loris Troyer
1978 - James L. Jackson, Clayton G. Horn
1979 - Elinor M. Taylor, Philip J. Dietrich
1980 - Albert E. Fitzpatrick, Angelo R. Sicuro
1981 - Kenneth F. Cole, Robert Lane

This was a proud day for Akron, a proud day for the Beacon Journal and a proud day for honoring the memory of the man who made it all happen, John Shively Knight.

Remember Page Dump Request?

“I thought this page dump request might be an interesting look at a piece of ancient history, John Olesky writes. "We had to fill out the page dump request, and then the APS-4 folks (Cal Deshong and others) would dump the page into film.That was long before the filming was done from the newsroom.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Note from Craig Wilson

Dear Post Card Pals,

I've enjoyed mailing cards to all of you for many years. But right at the moment, I have an itty bitty problem. I have experienced "a shower of small strokes affecting the visual portion of the brain." The doctors hope as time passes I may regain some degree of reading comprehension. You know how much I enjoy reading the Akron Beacon Journal. "Discover" Magazine is my monthly remedial physics lesson.

I have gotten though two-thirds of David McCullough's biography of the late president, Harry Truman. A marvelous in-depth look at an average, modest American who made the monumental decision in 1945
that saved so many 18 year olds, including me, from a horrendous invasion of Japan.

I can no more make sense of printed words. I can walk carefully. Call me at any time at 330-745-3358, I love to share stories. My memory is mostly intact. I do not have Alzheimers. Despite her walking problems, my wife, Elizabeth, and I hope that after a few life style adjustments, we will be back in touch with fascinating post cards and a few fascinating photos and dubious commentary.

Love to all,

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Plain Dealer publisher retiring

After nearly 46 years of service, Alex Machaskee, president, publisher and chief executive officer of The Plain Dealer, is announcing his retirement.

"I am eager to have more time to spend with my family, travel and play music, all things that I love and cannot find enough time to work into a hectic schedule," he said in a written statement.

Machaskee, 68, recognized for his commitment to civic affairs, boundless energy and religious faith, will serve as publisher until a successor is chosen.

Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton, who was hired at the newspaper in 1999, said, "Alex has been both a wonderful boss and a supportive friend. I've worked for him just under seven years. My only regret is that it wasn't 20."

"His absence will be sorely felt, both in the newspaper and in the community," Clifton said.

Machaskee, born in Warren, worked as a sports reporter and general assignment reporter for The Tribune Chronicle in Warren before joining The Plain Dealer in 1960.

Before becoming Plain Dealer publisher in 1990, he rose from promotions director, assistant to the publisher, director of labor relations and vice president and general manager.

Click on headline for complete story in Plain Dealer.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Frank E. Bush dies

[He was a former Maintenance Department manager at the BJ.]

NORTON -- Frank E. Bush, 82, died Jan. 13, 2006, at Sunrise at Bath.

He was born Aug. 27, 1923, in Wadsworth, to William E. and Mildred A. (Roberts) Bush. He was a resident of Norton and worked for P.C.A. and the Beacon Journal, and was the founder and owner of Accent Custom Marble. He was proud to be a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army; he fou
ght in the Battle of the Bulge and was the recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Medal of Honor. He was a member of Barberton Moose Lodge 759 and of the Doylestown American Legion Post 407.

He was preceded in death by brothers, Jake, Don, and Richard Bush; sisters, Betty Ann Naglic and Marcene Johnson. He is survived by wife, Betty Bush of Norton; son, Tim (Lesley) Bush of Norton; and the loves of his life, granddaughters, Ali and Maci; sisters, Helen Brown of Cleveland and Doris Galehouse of Arizona; sister-in-law, Hilda (Ted) Gaynor of Barberton; brother-in-law, Delbert (Connie) Rauschenberg of Sterling; numerous nieces and nephews; and special niece, Chris.

The family would like to express a special thanks to the staff of Sunrise at Bath for all their love and care.

Funeral services will be Monday, 10 a.m., at Zak-Monbarren Funeral Home in Doylestown, with Pastor Bill Randall officiating. Burial at Chestnut Hill Cemetery. Friends may call on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Northern Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, One Independence Place, 4807 Rockside Rd. Suite 380, Cleveland 44131; or to a charity of choice. (Zak-Monbarren, 330-658-2211.)

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH Saturday, January 14, 2006, page B4, col. 2]

Friday, January 13, 2006

3 first-born daughters

Cathy Strong in New Zealand is a grandmother now. Her oldest daugnter, Rebecca, had a gorgeous daughter on Dec 28 --the same day Cathy’s late father was born 89 years previously.

Here’s a closeup photo of Katie-Belle, whose full name is Katalina Isabelle Mary Hewson. She had to get a passport this week, so it was difficult getting a full-front picture, with eyes open and no one else's hands in the pix.

The other photo is of the three generations of first-born daugters. Katie-Belle is first born, in the arms of her mother Rebecca, Cathys’ first born, and far right is Cathy who was the first born of six sisters. This photo was taken when Katie-Belle was about 20 minutes old.

“The family has closed in on her and (father) Dion and we all seem to own the baby” Cathy reports. “My youngest daughter tells her friends she can’t go
out on a camping/drinking weekend with them 'because we have a baby now..' ”

“Oh yes…… that youngest daughter Amanda has really fallen on her feet as a journalist. She completed her studies in November, and has so many job opportunities. There is even a bidding war going on. She is very strong in economics, science, and world events, so the big media are keen for those skills. All of our students are sought after, because the newspapers just can’’t get trained journalists to apply. Pay is lousy, of course, but these new bright journalist grads can be picky about their jobs……. And select on whimsical things like where they want to live, or which newspaper is nearest the surf beach, etc.”

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Craig Wilson home from hospital

Note from Elizabeth Wilson:

Craig is home. He had what the doctor calls "a shower of small strokes involving the visual portion of the brain." Craig is not able to read. There may be small improvement with time.

Eddi Parker makes page A1

Eddi Parker, formerly on the LifeStyle staff at the Beacon Journal, made Page A1 of the newspaper on Thursday, Jan 12, 2006

There was a photo of Eddi showing a photo of her late father Murray Parker and quotes from her in a story by Rick Armon on plans to raze Parker’s old complex called the Hillcrest Inn in Green Twp.

“Eddi Parker can't visit the Hillcrest Inn anymore, “ Armon wrote. “She can't even drive by. It's just too painful.”

The sprawling complex -- a labor of love that her father built in stages starting more than 60 years ago -- is vacant and in disrepair. Windows are broken or missing. Some doors are boarded over. And gaping holes exist where room air conditioners used to be.

The Hillcrest site has a colorful past that includes stints as a pastoral home, chicken farm, hotel and country western bar, and even an illegal gambling house.

The East Turkeyfoot Lake Road property, which includes 14 acres near Cottage Grove Road, was purchased at a Summit County foreclosure auction late last year for $400,000. Developers Rick Williams and John Chlebina plan to raze the buildings and literally shave down the pronounced hill for future development, according to the city.

Read all about it by clicking on the headline above.

And there are more links on Ohio.com to previous articles about the place.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The English language

The English Language. Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?. Let's face it. English is a crazy language. There is no egg in the eggplant No ham in the hamburger. And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England. French fries were not invented in France. We sometimes take English for granted But if we examine its paradoxes we find that Quicksand takes you down slowly, Boxing rings are square. And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. If writers write, how come fingers don't fing. If the plural of tooth is teeth. Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth, If the teacher taught, Why didn't the preacher praught. If a vegetarian eats vegetables. What the does a humanitarian eat? Why do people recite at a play, Yet play at a recital? Park on driveways and Drive on parkways. You have to marvel at the unique lunacy. Of a language where a house can burn up as it burns down. And in which you fill in a form by filling it out. And a bell is only heard once it goes! English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (Which of course isn't a race at all) That is why when the stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible, and why it is that when I wind up my watch it starts, but when I wind up this observation, it ends.

Craig Wilson suffered strokes

Doctors at Barberton Citizens Hospital are trying to determine how and why Craig Wilson suffered a series of small strokes, his wife Elizabeth said this morning. Craig is conscious and you can call him at the hospital, she said.

Is 13 an unlucky number?

Is this any way to start out the new year 2006? These are all the mugs, most of them old and ugly, I was able to pull from 12 images sent to me of the Retirees Lunch at Papa Joe’s in the Valley on Wednesday, Jan 11. There were 13 at the lunch including those above plus Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan and Harry Liggett.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Recovering from knee surgery

I am recovering from my knee surgery remarkably well. My meniscus was torn (it's a shim between knee parts) so Dr. Acus trimmed off the smaller portion to where it tore loose and saved the rest for my knee to use.

I'm amazed at how quickly I have recovered from the Jan. 3 surgery (I had Dr. Acus wait from August to Jan. 3 because the Mountaineers played football till the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia and I wasn't about to miss Mountaineer Field games for something like knee surgery; I finished watching the Sugar Bowl on TV & listening to the lockerroom interviews at 2 a.m. and got up at 5 a.m. to go to my surgery). I started driving 5 days after the surgery.

It doesn't feel much worse after the surgery than it did before the surgery.

Dr. Acus -- 437 Portage Trail in Cuyahoga Falls -- told me on my Jan. 11 follow-up visit that everything went so well that I will not need rehab, just be sure to flex the knee regularly. The knee is sore, but I expect to be back to normal in another week or so.

John Olesky

Craig Wilson in hospital

Craig Wilson has been admitted to Barberton Citizens Hospital. His wife,. Elizabeth, said she is not sure what is wrong, but it might have been a stroke. We are awaiting further word from her.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

KR to meet potential buyers next week

Here are excerpts from a story by Pete Carey and Chris O’Brien in the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday:

Knight Ridder will begin meeting with potential buyers next week in the next step of offering itself for sale under pressure from unhappy shareholders.

The presentations for potential buyers will take two or three days each and the entire process could last two to three weeks, according to people familiar with the situation.

A Knight Ridder spokesman declined to comment Friday.

As previously reported, Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper company, and McClatchy, another large chain, have both expressed interest. The MediaNews Group of Colorado is also considering a deal, possibly teaming up with one or more private equity partners.

The Blackstone Group, Providence Equity Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have made an initial bid as a team. Other possible bidders include Spectrum Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, the Texas Pacific Group and Madison Dearborn Partners.

A final round of bids and a decision by Knight Ridder's board is at least two months away. Legal and financial issues could add months more before the culmination of a sale, say sources knowledgeable about such deals.

The company could decline all offers if it finds them inadequate.

Knight Ridder's largest shareholder, Private Capital Management of Naples, Fla., is leading the shareholder move to force a sale of the company. PCM owns 19 percent of Knight Ridder's stock. It demanded in a letter Nov. 1 that the company put itself up for sale.

Knight Ridder's stock closed at $64.39 Friday, up 1 percent, or 64 cents a share. The stock was at $53.38 a share the day before PCM made public its demand for a sale. PCM paid an average of $65 a share for its Knight Ridder stock.

Click on the headline for the complete article.

Single-copy price for BJ to double.

There will be no change in home delivery prices for the Beacon Journal, but starting Monday the price of the Monday through Saturday newspaper will increase from 25 to 50 cents at all retail and vending locations. The price for seven days a week will go to $4.50, but the home delivery price will remain at $3.65. This will bring the single-copy price in line with other major newspapers in the area.

It also will cost more to send mail starting Sunday. The cost of sending a first-class letter will increase two cents to 39 cents and the rate for postcards will go up a penny to 24 cents.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Broas named Fort Wayne publisher

Knight Ridder announced today the appointment of Steven T. Broas as president and CEO, Fort Wayne Newspapers, and publisher of The News-Sentinel, effective an. 9. He replaces Mary Jacobus, who resigned in December.

Broas, 43, is currently director of retail development on the Knight Ridder corporate marketing staff -- a position he has held for one year. Prior to that, he served for four years as vice president/advertising for The Kansas City Star. He had come to The Star in November 1994, and worked his way up through a variety of sales positions.

Broas is a 1986 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a bachelor of science in journalism with an advertising emphasis. He is on the Sales Force Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. He and his wife, Laurie, are both Midwestern natives, and they look forward to this opportunity to live in that part of the country.

[SOURCE Knight Ridder Web Site: http://www.knightridder.com]

Books by BJ staffers

The following books are available at the Beacon Journal public service counter. Staff members and retirees are eligible for a 25 percent discount as noted below.

By Terry Pluto
Faith and You, $15.90 including tax (reg. $21.20). Please note: This latest book by Pluto may no longer be available.
Everyday Faith, $15.90 including tax (reg. $21.20).
View From Pluto: Collected Sportswriting About Northeast Ohio, $17.24 including tax (reg.$19.88)
False Start: How the Browns Were Set Up to Fail, including tax (reg. $21.20)

Bob Dyer
Cleveland Sports Legends: The 20 Most Glorious and Gutwrenching Moments of All Time, $15.90 including tax (reg. $21.20)
Omar! My Life on and off the Field, with Omar Vizquel $17.24 including tax (reg. $19.88)

By Chip Bok

A Look Bok: The Recent History of the United States in Political Cartoons, hardcover, $19.32 including tax (reg. $25.77); softcover, $12.14 including tax (reg. $16.21)
Bok! The 911 Crisis in Political Cartoons, hardcover, $18.62 including tax (reg. $21.48); softcover, $10.33 including tax (reg. $11.92)

By David Lee Morgan Jr.

LeBron James: The Rise of a Star, $11.92 including tax (reg. $15.89)

By John Murphy, Kathleen Kochanski, Angela Schumacher

The Akron Family Album, A photographic memoir of Akron 1900-1970, $20.69 including tax (reg. $26.51)

By David Giffels and Steve Love
Wheels of Fortune: The History of Rubber in Akron, softcover,$13.48 including tax (reg. $15.55)

[From the Dec 22, 2005 issue of Hot Type]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bloom work selected for tour

A self-portrait entitled, "Diva," by newsroom features writer Connie Bloom, who only recently discovered her gift for fabric art, has been selected to go on tour with a Quilting Arts magazine exhibit in 2006. The quilt was posted on the magazine's web site during the week of Dec 18. Quilting Arts is the only magazine devoted to nontraditional fiber art such as Bloom's. Bloom's “Diva” quilt is a tongue-in-cheek portrait of a granny type with beaded eyes and a cheap plastic in her hair. Bloom entered the piece in the magazine's Creative Self-portraits Contest, which received 500 from around the world. Only 75 were selected for year-long tour. Bloom will be teaching art quilting at A Piece in Time, Manchester Road, this winter. Stitchers who are interested can contact her at 330-996-3568.

[Published in the Dec 22, 2005 issue of Hot Type]

Perhaps there is ‘A Way Out’

The endless flood of articles about the problems of the newspaper industry have become tiring to this blogger, and I assume to you too. When we tell you to click on the headline to go to a web site where you can read the full story you just might be saying “to hell with it.”

Hopefully we can start devoting more posts to old Tower Topics and less to news biz problems.

However, here’s a paragraph that hopefully will cause you to click on the headline. It is the conclusion of a scholarly article by Douglas McCollam in the Columbia Journalism Review titled “A Way Out?”:

“What newspapers really need, above all else, is ownership that values journalism and understands that the work of gathering, writing, and publishing the news is an inherently inefficient business that is in a period of profound transition. The private press baron of the past might have been a blowhard propagandist with the ethics of a wharf rat, but at least he loved the trade. Compared with the lineup of bloodless managers and mandarins currently squeezing the life out of journalism, Charles Foster Kane looks pretty damn good. So while there is no guarantee that the private ownership of today would recognize the value of journalism, it has already been established that Wall Street does not. Maybe it’s time we took our chances.”

Monday, January 02, 2006

State of Journalism 2006

The Louisville Courier Journal on Monday published a good Q&A interview by columnist Pam Platt with Bill Kovach on the “State of Journalism, 2006.”

Kovach's 43-year journalism career as a reporter and editor began in Tennessee, first at the Johnson City Press-Chronicle and then at the Nashville Tennessean. He next worked at The New York Times, capping his 18 years there as its Washington bureau chief. He left The Times for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; that paper won two Pulitzer Prizes in the two years he was its editor. He also served as curator at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalists. Among his published works, Kovach is the co-author, with Tom Rosenstiel, of The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect.

Kovach is the chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists (Web site, journalism.org), a consortium of journalism practitioners and academics whose goals include "to clarify and renew journalists' faith in the core principles and function in journalism" and "to create a better understanding of those principles by the public."

Platt e-mailed the questions to Kovach, and he sent back answers.

One of his conclusions I liked was:

“What is right is that the large majority of practitioners still believe their purpose is to provide citizens the timely, independent information they need in order to make informed decisions in the economic and political marketplaces of their lives what's wrong is that MSM is still too often content to maximize profit and not invest in the research and training necessary to develop a new economic base that takes advantage of the opportunities technology has made available."

Kovach also said he likes blogs. Read all of his answers by clicking on the headline.

Pam Platt is public editor of The Courier-Journal. Call her at (502) 582-4600 or e-mail her at pplatt@courier-journal.com.