Saturday, September 30, 2006

New Mad Shopper in the wings

A new
Mad Shopper column starring Kerry Clawson will begin in a few weeks. Don't tell us you missed the top of page Business section promo. Well here it is.

Chiffon still looking for job

One of the more poignant stories of the Beacon Journal layoffs involved copy editor Chiffon Staebler, a widow and mother of three. Her job might have been saved because of the voluntary resignation of Debby Stock Kiefer, but the small daytime copy editing staff was discontinued and it was impossible for Chiffon to work nights. Many have asked what has happened since she left. Chiffon probably could use some help if you know of any job prospects.

Here’s her reply to an update request:

Everyone has been exceptionally kind and thoughtful since the layoffs were announced.

I am still looking for a job but haven't been successful. However, you can't be in the newspaper business this long without learning how to be a survivor.

While I love being a member of the Fourth Estate, it is truly the people I will miss. The Beacon Journal was where I had planned to end up, after winning a Pulitzer to be good enough to join the staff, of course
I'm one of the lucky ones who should have been able to stay. Debby Stock Kiefer volunteered to leave, but since I need to work days, I wasn't able to take advantage of her selfless gesture.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but by rights, I should have lost my job during the last round of cuts. Thanks to Jim Kavanagh, my job was saved at a time when my family and I would literally not been able to survive without it. I can't complain about being among
those let go this time.

Debby and Jim are just a few of the roughly 200 reasons why it was hard to leave. Journalists like them are why I know David Black made a good investment when he bought the ABJ and why I know the staff will work miracles in spite of this latest amputation.


Does Gloria attract layoffs?

Pity poor Gloria Irwin. She cannot seem to get away from layoff problems. She wrote most of the Beacon Journal stories on the downfall of Knight Ridder. Then came the BJ layoffs and Gloria decided to leave for a new job at the Timken Co.

Top story today in Canton was that Timken was laying off 700 workers. Guess what? Gloria officially starts her new job Oct. 1. She will be writing speeches for President and Chief Executive Officer James W. Griffith whose job it is to explain it all.

No problem. It’s because of a weak auto market. Forbes Magazine reported Ford may lay off 30,000 and close 10 plants. You just can’t get away from those layoffs.

Reporter G. Patrick Kelley explains it in the Canton Repository today in a story headlined: Timken slashes 700 jobs. Here’s the lead:

CANTON – The Timken Co. said this year won’t be as profitable as predicted because of a weak auto market, and 700 workers will lose their jobs.

It’s the second time in two years that the company has slashed jobs in its automotive bearing and component business. In July 2005, the company said it would cut 500 automotive jobs and later closed a bearing plant in South Carolina that employed 1,000 workers.

That was a restructuring move to cut costs, but Friday’s announcement was about “matching demand in the marketplace,” President and Chief Executive Officer James W. Griffith said.

“We wouldn’t be having this call if it weren’t for lower demand in the automotive market,” he told analysts in a conference call.

Armon lands on his feet

Beacon Journal reporter Rick Armon is already gone and in Columbus. Here’s how he tells it:

I have moved to Columbus and started a new job at The Associated Press. I do not have a computer at my new apartment (all that stuff is still at my house in Copley) and I haven't h
ad an opportunity to respond earlier.

Since I had so little seniority, I had been expecting to be laid off and had been making contacts early on to find another job. I was lucky enough to land on my feet at AP -- with a pay raise no less.

I had been at the Beacon for a mere year and a half. It's a shame too. When my wife and I moved from Rochester, NY, to Akron, we figured that we were set for the rest of our lives. On top of that, I was at a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner. I wanted to win a Pulitzer at the Beacon or at the very least do Pulitzer worthy work. How could we have envisioned the implosion of Knight Ridder?

We are both from Ohio. I grew up in Cleveland and she grew up outside Toledo. We had finally made it home. We bought a house in Copley and invested about $17,000 in it.
We figured we would be there for years, if not forever, so we might as well make it our dream place.Sigh. Now that house is on the market.

I had spent my early daily newspaper days (the late 80s and early 90s) working at papers in Columbiana County and later in Mansfield. I used to read the both the Plain Dealer and Beacon Journal daily. And it was funny because I always thought the Beacon was a much better paper.

In those days, I concluded that I wanted to end my newspaper career at the Beacon or PD, which I delivered as a paper carrier as a kid.

Well, at least I can say I worked for the Beacon. It was an odd experience. Here I was surrounded by all these journalists I had read for years and admired. Folks had incredible pride in the product and their work. And at the same time, I could see that the paper had slipped and was slipping further.

For example, how could the paper not cover Cuyahoga Falls, the second-largest city in the county? And how could the paper have ceded the whole northern portion of the county to the Plain Dealer? And why wasn't there a Washington reporter to cover the local delegation? Why were there so many specialty beat reporters when suburbs weren't covered adequately? (And in no way am I indicting any individuals because they did a great job covering their beats. I just wonder about the overall philosophy that determined priorities.) And gadzooks, newshole was pathetic after I arrived.
It pissed me off sometimes.

There is still great journalism being done there. But it definitely isn't the paper I thought kicked the PD's butt years ago.

And maybe this will tick off some folks there, but David Black was right when he questioned the energy in the newsroom. It is a laidback place -- perhaps that's a reflection of the veteran staff.

I had come from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, where the newsroom was always hectic and chasing down stories. In many ways, it was too hectic. I told friends that the perfect newsroom would be somewhere inbetween. I feel for those folks still there. And I wonder whether the paper will sink deeper, allowing the Plain Dealer and Canton Repository, which is a better paper than I remember from years past, to continue to nibble away at subscribers.

Heck, if I hadn't worked at the Beacon, I would have subscribed to the PD.
I sincerely hope that the new publisher is able to turn around advertising and earn even bigger profits for the new owner. (Let's face it, the Beacon is still making millions in profits, just not enough apparently.)

I hold no ill will against the new owner for being laid off. Sometimes you've got to lop of the leg to save the rest of the body, or however that cliche goes. I just hope it does save the body and a stronger Beacon emerges from this rubble.

Take care. And sorry for being so rambling.

If you need to reach me, please keep using
My AP email is, but I don't feel comfortable using it for personal communication at this point.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Guild chairman is leaving

CORRECTION ON THIS POST: Gross was not laid off. Keeping the comings and goings straight is difficult. Hope this gets it straight.

Andale Gross was first laid off and then his job was saved and then he decided to resign voluntarily. That’s the story of the Akron Newspaper Guild unit chairman with nine years of service as a reporter.

His last day on the job as a Beacon Journal reporter will be October 11 and he will
start working for Associated Press in Kansas City on October 23. Gross will just be going back home in a way. He is from Moberly, MO, which is about 100 miles from Kansas City.

The Guild is getting together nominees for his and other Guild positions for next year.

Here’s how Gross sums it up:

“The time that I've spent being active in the Guild has been especially rewarding. When I was asked to be a union steward
years go, I never thought I would someday be the president of the Akron unit. It's been an honor to serve the union and its members. Although we've had some tough experiences recently with job cuts and change in ownership, our people have stood strong. Our stewards and officers have done an exceptional job of motivating and aiding the membership. I know that whoever replaces me will do fine because there are many strong leaders among our members.”

The Guild in Akron is a unit of the Northeast Ohio Guild in Cleveland.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Friday is last day for business editor

Friday will be the last day for Beacon Journal business editor Dave Hertz. He is leaving the newspaper after 15 years to become a vice president in the media relations department of Dix & Eaton, a firm in Cleveland. He starts there Nov.1.

“I’ve had a good run at the Beacon Journal, and I have worked with a number of talented journalists.” Hertz writes. “I’ve learned a great deal. Now it is time for me to move on.”

Hertz started at the Beacon Journal in May 1991 and has been night metro editor,
deputy business editor, region editor, business editor, metro editor, enterprise editor and then business editor again. He also spent five years previously at another Knight Ridder paper in Boca Raton so he really has 20 years of service.

Each departure of long-time employees brings back special memories. The Hertz le
aving recalls a classic BJ office romance. There have been others, but this one was special. There was a crowd from the BJ when Beth Angela Thomas and David Ralph Hertz were married on Saturday, October 23, 1993 in the Akron Civic Theater.

Beth was at the newspaper from February 1991 to November 1995 in several jobs including page layout and design. She now works in the Communications Department at the Cleveland Clinic. Her title is managing editor.

So David and Beth will both be working in Cleveland, but they hope to continue living in Copley. You can e-mail 13th anniversary best wishes to them at

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

264 years of news experience lost

On a running total so far, the Akron Beacon Journal has lost the expertise of 14 staff members with 264 years of experience in covering the news in the Akron area. These were not laid off, but volunteered to leave, sometimes in the hope of saving the job of a friend.

Are they the lucky 13 plus one or just unluckly? Only time and their own conclusions in the future, will tell.

Heading the list is Diana Evans with 32 years of experience. She started at the Beacon Journal in 1974 at the age of 17. She is now on leave working on a huge new media project which is just about ready to launch. Former top BJ types are helping with the effort. More about her and others on this list later.

Here’s the list by years of experience:

Diane Evans, 32, columnist who was on leave.
Debby Stock Kiefer, 28, Recipe Roundup and copy desk slotter
Jane Snow, 28, food editor
Mike Needs, 25, design editor and former public editor
Kathy Spitz, 22, health
Sarah Vradenburg, 22, editorial staff
Gloria Irwin, 21, business
Jocelyn Williams, 19, photographer
Mary Ethridge, 18, business
Dave Hertz, 15, business editor
Robin Sallie, 12, photographer
Andale Gross, 9, reporter and Guild Unit chairman
Kim Profant, 7, copy editor and design editor
Tim Good, 6, copy editor and design editor

[Note: Most of these people have or have had other duties.]

And here’s an alphabetical list:

Mary Ethridge, 18
Diane Evans, 32
Tim Good, 6
Andale Gross, 9
Dave Hertz, 15
Gloria Irwin, 21
Mike Needs, 25
Kim Profant, 7
Robin Sallie, 12
Jane Snow, 28
Kathy Spitz, 22
Debby Stock Kiefer, 28
Sarah Vradenburg, 22
Jocelyn Williams, 19

For want of anything better, we call this the BJ Retirees Blog Wall of Honor. Some might consider it a Wall of Shame. It will be a feature on our web site until Oct. 21

Volunteers going and going

If the volunteers continue to leave, the jobs of at least half of those laid off will be saved. The sports staff, we are told, needs only one more volunteer to save its remaining laid off person. The job of copy editor Lisa Abram was saved.

Latest volunteer leaver is Kim Profant, copy editor and page designer, who is leaving quietly to join the foreign and national desk staff of the Chicago Tribune after seven years at the Beacon Journal. Information is being sought from other volunteers who are leaving. Guild Treasurer
Stephanie Warsmith told the Guild Reporter last week that 13 have volunteered. Among the big names mentioned on the blog so far are Mary Ethdridge, Gloria Irwin, Jane Snow, Debby Stock Kiefer and Sarah Vradenburg.

If you got your September 15 issue of the Guild Reporter in today’s mail, you learned that:

Knight Ridder died, but the bodies keep falling

Here’s the Reporter story:

Knight Ridder officially bit the dust June 26, when shareholders approved its sale to McClatchy. But empires are not dissolved painlessly, and the death of this one continues to reverberate.

Perhaps most shocking was the decision of David Black, new owner of the Akron Beacon Journal—once crown jewel of the Knight newspaper chain—to show the door to a quarter of all newsroom employees. The announcement means that a news operation that had 197 employees as recently as 1999 will be limping within weeks with approximately 110.

Black, a Canadian, was viewed as a bit of a hero in Hawaii five years ago, when he rescued the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and explained, “I don’t have to make much—a dollar would do.” But times apparently have changed. Although the Beacon-Journal remains profitable, it’s making only half as much as it did just four years ago—when its profit margin apparently was in the vicinity of 24%—and advertising revenue has continued to decline.

Black affects a lack of concern about his ax wielding, channeling Donald Rumsfeld in late August when he told Reuters, “I don’t really believe that the quality of a newsroom is a direct function of body count in the newsroom.” But Beacon Journal employees quickly picked up on a companion thought, in which Black complained about the allegedly wasteful activity he’d seen: desktop tents sprouted throughout the newsroom earlier this week, announcing “No Coffee,” “No Chatting” and “No Fun Allowed.”

Guild members at the paper, represented by the Northeast Ohio Guild, had a dry run at this in 2001, when Knight Ridder laid off seven newsroom staffers, and many of the same responses have kicked in this time: job banks, financial counseling, fund-raising for the unemployed. But the size of the cuts is so much larger this time—39 people—and the ranks of those left behind so much thinner that there’s a sense this isn’t just a staffing change: it’s a seismic shift in the Beacon Journal’s identity, and not for the best.

How everything will shake out won’t be known until Oct. 21, the last day of layoffs—in this round, at least, although others have been hinted—and the deadline for voluntary resignations. As of this week 13 employees had read the writing on the wall and volunteered to leave, according to Stephanie Warsmith, the unit’s secretary-treasurer. Each voluntary resignation reduces the layoff list by one.

That's all, but click to see for yourself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Craig Wilson in hospital fourth time

Craig Wilson is in Barberton Citizens Hospital for the fourth time this year, still undergoing tests. This past Saturday he was called on by a doctor/partner of his regular hematology oncologist. She was the one on call that weekend. She introduced herself as Dr. Connelly and asked Craig how long had he been in the hospital and he said almost as long as he worked for the Beacon Journal. She said did you know a Hal Fry there? And Craig said yes, very well. She said he was my father. Craig said I was at your house many times when you were a child and knew both your parents very well. Hal had attended the University of Michigan as did Craig and Hal had lived at the YMCA as a single man as did Craig, although they apparently did not know each other from either of theseco-incidences. Dr. Betsy Fry Connelly said she had heard about Craig's exploits but did not have a name to go with them until now. What a small world.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Update from Geigers in Mongolia

Here’s an update from Pete Geiger who used to handle a number of reporting jobs–including religion–at the Beacon Journal:

My wife, Sandy, and I have been teaching college English as a foreign language for the last 12 years in Zuunmod, Mongolia. Ours is a provincial capital city of 20,000.

Sandy is director of the college and I edit and publish a newsletter for Am
erican ex-pat English teachers here. We also sponsor a Kindergarten class for orphans and poor kids. We solicit scholarship funds for deserving students at our college. And when drought strikes (as it has for five of the last six years), we conduct relief trips into the hardest-hit counties. We distribute five to 10 tons of food, clothing, school supplies and baled hay, all bought at wholesale in the national capital, Ulaan Baatar (not "Ulan Bator," as on U.S. maps.)

I have been watching the Black days at the B-J as closely as Internet co
nnections to Mongolia permit and I am most dismayed. I wonder, retrospectively, if the entire denouement did not start with Johnny Knight's murder in Philadelphia, the event that so dispirited JSK. It is possible to perceive that, after that, he noticeably conceded some measure of defeat and allowed events to take their course that eventuated in Phony Tony's lackadaisical custodianship.


Contact Geiger at

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tech guy Helmick is staying

Trying to keep up with the turmoil caused by the layoff at the Beacon Journal is a tough job. The blog statement that the early press run had been discontinued was incorrect. Apparently there is still a run, but the daytime copy desk as such is gone. No sense tryng to go into any details until the magic day around Oct 21 which will be the end of the 90-day notice period.

A couple of good things have happened that merit mentioning. Somehow, money was found, an insider reports, so photographer Bob DeMay was saved. And so was Dave Helmick, the newsroom technology guy.

Helmick was carrying some boxes out of the office Thursday evening for Dave Wilson and someone (thinking the boxes were Helmick's) observed: "There goes the collective knowledge of the newsroom's computer system." (Helmick was hired as a MAC tech but he heals sick reporter and editor terminals as well. ) Given the deep Information Technology cuts and the fact that none of the techs left seemed assigned to the newsroom, it appears there was a reconsideration. Friday was to have been Helmick's last day. Now he is staying.

We are still trying to catch up with several copy editors who are on the way out or already gone. Stay tuned.

Ho hum goodbye for Jane

Mizell might just as well have written “Oh, by the way, Jane is leaving.”

Managing Editor Mizell Stewart gave Jane Snow the ho-hum “goodbye” in the last three of 18 graphs of his Sunday column on page A3. Here they are:

“There’s a danger in naming names, though--highlighted on Friday when longtime food writer Jane Snow told me she’s planning to leave the newspaper.

“Jane is a nationally recognized food writer whose section was just named best in the country in newspapers with a circulation of less than 150,000 by the Association of Food Journalists. Her energy and dedication to the craft will be dearly missed.

“We’ll identify Jane’s replacement in the next several weeks.”

In the paragraph just before this he also noted:

“Bob Dyer will expand his repertoire beyond his weekly “Dyer Streets” column next month when he expands his unique perspective–and attitude–to other local topics”

Thought he had been doing that all along.

More good news for the blog guy came in a huge A1 first in a five-part series by Tracy Wheeler which reports the average life span in Summit County is 76.4 years. According to that I should have been dead two months ago. If I were African-American I would have been dead nine years ago at the age of 67.1. Don’t get your hopes up.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Don't Ask Jane--she's leaving

Food editor Jane Snow is leaving.

Managing Editor Mizell Stewart will make the announcement in his Sunday column.. If he uses a photo it will hopefully be better than this one scanned from an old Food

The blog guy did ask Jane about it, but she is not too prompt in answering e-mail. Jane joins a group
of top bylines leaving the Beacon Journal–most of them volunteers who were not laid off. The list posted so far includes Mary Ethridge, Gloria Irwin, Debby Stock Kiefer and almost 20-year KR veteran Dave Wilson who was among those laid off..

The reorga
nization is still shaking down. Friday was the last day for the small day-time copy desk so there is no longer an early press run. Learning to live the night life will be Chuck Montague, Olga Reswow and Monica Thomas. On a dreary Saturday night there were only three copy editors and a slot, but Saturday nights have always been with small staffs.

Also gone is Chiffon Staebler who worked on the day-time copy desk. She was laid off and her job might have been saved by others volun
teering to leave. But, as reported earlier, Chiffon is a young widow with three children which would make it tough to switch to nights. Hopefully, we will be able to report later what is happening in her life.

The job of artist Kathy Hagedorn who was the subject of one of our first posts on the layoff was saved–sort of. Kathy will move into the part-time art job held by Rick Steinhauser who will try it as a page designer.

“It is a change of position and will require retraining, but I want to stay in Northeast Ohio for now,” he says.. “My reservations are, because of the unknowns of the new responsibilities, that I may not like the job at all. I also have three kids at home that I won’t see at all because I will be primarily a night shift employee. Being the primary salary for the household, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.”

A different Black Friday at BJ

Black Friday in the Mad Shopper world is the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers are nuts (and fun in their craziness) -- rising early in hopes of bargains.

Yesterday was a different Black Friday at the Beacon Journal as Mary Eth
ridge gently signed off on her last column. It was indeed a sad day for readers.

Mary begins as always:

Dear Reader,

The Mad Shopper began in November 1993. It was to be a short-lived holiday shopping column written by an intern. When she left, a few of us decided to continue writing it on rotation. But by March 1994, I was the sole Mad Shopper. I have many memories of my Mad Shopper assignments-- some hilarious, others touching.

During Mary’s first year she was ordered to cover a Wal-Mart store opening in Montrose. She describes that experience and relates how she saw the effects of Wal-Mart's presence destroy enormous pieces of vacant land covered in vegetation and watched as it has tried to fend off allegations of illegal and unethical employment practices.

Here’s part of what she wrote

And I have watched as it and other mass merchants have squeezed out the mom and pop stores of the Akron area. I've written far too many obituaries of small retailers in the past dozen years. I've said goodbye to the century-old Thompson drugstore in Kent, Barney's in Wooster, Bumpas Drugs in Tallmadge, the Coffee Cup in Mogadore, Albright's Lighting in Akron.

I also blame Wal-Mart in large part for the meltdown of Rubbermaid Inc., a company that in 1994 was named the nation's most admired company by Fortune magazine. The company was sold three years later.

The decline began when Rubbermaid refused to sell its products to Wal-Mart at a discount that would have wiped out Rubbermaid's profit.

In punishment, Wal-Mart took Rubbermaid products off the shelves for a time.

I have watched as similar and detrimental pressure was applied to Cleveland-based American Greetings, Step2 Corp. of Hudson and Little Tikes of Streetsboro, among many other local companies.

After I wrote a column outlining my issues with Wal-Mart, the Beacon Journal editorial department received a letter from Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott.

He was miffed by what he called my ``diatribe'' against his company.

I still consider it one of the biggest honors I ever received in journalism. My dad, a newspaper man [former BJ editor], said if columnists aren't making someone angry on a regular basis, they're not doing their job.

I suspect there is more consolidation to come in retail, just like the recent May Co. and Federated Department Stores merger. But I also hope it will bring a brave new tribe of consumers whose criteria for making purchases include more than price.

And here’s the sad ending:

This is my last shopping column. Sigh.

I am leaving the Beacon Journal after 18 years at the newspaper, nearly a dozen of which were spent writing this column and covering business news.

I wasn't among the layoffs you've probably read about here. To use some popular corporate-speak, I'm leaving ``to pursue other interests'' and spend more time with family.

I leave the column in fantastic hands. Kerry Clawson, our current theater critic, is taking over the retail beat as well as Mad Shopper.

Kerry is a fine writer and -- most important -- is passionate about shopping.

Coming to you each week has been a privilege I will always treasure.

Goodbye, readers. And, as always, happy shopping.

Blog Note: You really MUST click on the headline to let Mary tell you the story as only she can. Her father, Mark Ethridge, would be proud.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Stock recipe for success

Most Beacon Journal readers know Debby Stock Kiefer as the Recipe Roundup face of the Beacon Journal. She is much more as you will learn in her biography. Some of us remember that when Beacon Journal photographers needed a model for a promotion photo of some kind they always came looking for the photogenic Debbie Stock who always had a smile for everyone. She has a heart, too.

Here’s her reply to a blog inquiry:.

I am indeed a volunteer. I plan to stay through the 60-day period to help with the copy desk transition.

No job; I just felt God put it in my heart to give someone else a chance to continue a career at the Beacon. I'll have 28 years in on Sept. 5.

I will indeed help with my parents in Columbus as needed. My sister is there, but she has young sons and shouldn't be expected to take care of everything anyway. Our parents are only 73 years old, but not always in the best health. Other than that, for now I will continue to make and sell craft item
s and might even try writing a novel. Not to mention all those projects just waiting for me to have time for them.....

Bio: I was fresh out of Ohio State when I started on the copy desk at the Beacon Journal on Sept. 5, 1978. I was the first peon on a new three-person national desk and briefly wrote a column called Kids' View of the News. I was a reporter for a year after that, covering the All-American Soap Box Derby and the Y-bridge's first attempted jumper, getting thrown out of St. Thomas Hospital in the process. I moved to the features copy desk until a sort-of universal copy desk was created in the mid-'80s, and moved to the night shift in 1986 or so. I was made an assistant copy desk chief about 10 years later. In addition to copy desk duties, I wrote the Recipe Roundup column for three years, starting in October 2003. I learned a lot in those 28 years, thanks in part to mentors Joan Rice and Kathy Fraze.

After Oct. 21, I can be reached at .

Thursday, September 21, 2006

BJ cuts 27 non-news jobs

Just reported (4:30 p.m.) on by PD reporter Mary Vanac, a former BJ reporter:

The Akron Beacon Journal today announced another 27 job cuts throughout the newspaper’s departments, except in the newsroom.

Non-newsroom departments, such as advertising, accounting, marketing and circulation, are affected by the latest round of cuts, which publisher Edward Moss said would be the final ones, for now.

“What we’re doing is making the moves we have to to make sure the company is healthy for the long haul for our employees and our community,” Moss said.

Both rounds of cuts were meant to position the paper for growth and to match expenses to revenue, Moss said. Like many newspapers, the Beacon Journal’s revenues have fallen by half in the last several years and are expected to fall again this year.

After the cuts the Beacon Journal will have nearly 700 workers, Moss said.

The cuts were effective immediately, said Rita Kelly Madick, community relations and marketing director for the paper. Generally, the workers will receive two weeks’ pay for each year of service as severance, Madick said.

The Beacon Journal was acquired for $165 million by Canadian newspaper chain Black Press Ltd. in July. Moss, formerly a marketing executive from a Virginia media company, took over as publisher in early August.

Blog Update: The news was reported in Friday's Beacon Journal on page D2 as the lead brief in the Daily Backgrounder.

Here’s Dave Wilson’s story

I've been here since July 1996, with Knight Ridder since 1988. I thought I'd make it to 20 years and move on to something else. Well, Knight Ridder died of lack of usefulness this year, two years short of my exit plan.

I've been interviewing with a couple of newspapers (the Indy Star and Erie Times-News, both pretty nice papers); a Gannett recruiter; The Associated Press; some TV stations (Web sites); a couple of PR agencies; a couple of banks; and with GOJO, a local pharmaceutical/persona
l products manufacturer (Purell hand sanitizer). I'm also poking around at a couple of government-type jobs. Compliance, communication, etc. Ultimately, I expect to be out of newspapers, if not now, by the next job.

I'd really prefer to stay in the area. Well, let me clarify -- my wife and kids would really rather stay in the area. The kids are school age, 7 and 11, and really want to stay put. Me? I could go just about anywhere. But my wife is from here and really doesn't want to leave, no
matter how dismal the economy here is. And selling our house in Cuyahoga Falls at this time of year would be tough.

Anyway, the bulk of my career has been as a copy editor, 10 years of those as a slot, supervisor or department head. I most recently have been a deputy metro editor, with six reporters and roughly a dozen correspondents to herd, as well as the religion page, blotters and breaking Web news. In addition to that, I'm licensed in Ohio for life and health insurance, and I have a Series 6 license to sell securities (stock and bond mutual funds).

As distressing as this layoff has been for me and my family, in some ways I feel worse for the ones "Left Behind." This newspaper will be a hollow shadow of its former self. Yes, there was some room to trim some fat. Problem is, they chopped out a lot of meat and bone.

But as I tell folks lately, NMFP -- not my (fill in the blank) problem.

My problem is finding a paying gig with benefits before the end of October. Hints, leads, huge piles of cash are welcome!

-- Dave Wilson

Talk about a fast shuffle

Talk about a fast shuffle. Combine these two column photos and imagine Elaine Guregian singing and dancing her way along to a theater performance or two–hopefully not all on the same night;.

Regular Beacon Journal customers will not be pleased to read the double whammy of Guregian and Clawson columns that are stacked together today on page A 2..

Let Elaine explain first:.

“As the fall season begins, I'll be transitioning into an expanded role at the Beacon Journal. I'll be adding theater to the beat of classical music and dance that I've covered for 16 years. Kerry
Clawson, the Beacon's current theater critic, will be moving to cover retail business and shopping. As the arts and culture critic, I'll write previews, news, reviews and other stories about classical music, dance and theater. Dorothy Shinn, our longtime visual art critic, will continue providing reviews.”

Elaine Guregian can be reached at 330-996-3574 or

And now it’s Kerry’s turn:

“To both those who toil to create theater and the many readers/patrons who thrive on the art: I will forever treasure the 6 ½-year dialogue we have had about the transformative power of theater.

”My move to cover retail business and shopping means I won't be handling the theater beat anymore. But I'll always remain a student of the theater.

“I have had the honor of sharing many laughs and a number of tears with you all, watching hundreds of local productions come to life. I will always have a respectful awe for the amazing intelligence, love of craft, sheer talent and incredibly hard work of theater professionals and volunteers in the Akron area and beyond..”

The headline on her “see ya” piece is:

Please continue to keep local theater scene alive.

Go to Guregian column

Go to Clawson column

Printer Bob Flint dies

Retired BJ printer Robert Lee Flint, 70, of Randolph, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006, at his home.

Born Sept. 22, 1935, in Clarksburg, W. Va., a son of the late Raymond Franklin and Helen Victoria (Kuhar) Flint, Robert was a printer with the Akron Beacon Journal for 35 years and retired in
1998. He was a member of the Liberty Bible Church. Bob enjoyed photography and trap shooting.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Sharon L. Flint; children, David (Mary) Flint of Parma, Timothy (Janet) Flint of Fallston, Md., Brendan (Patty) Flint of Phillipsburg, N.J., Eric (June
) Flint of Meadowlands, Pa., Laura (David) Deubel of Rootstown, Susie Flint of Brookpark, Amy Flint of Queen Creek, Ariz.; sister, Patricia Flint of Clarksburg, W. Va.; brother, Dan (Helen) Flint of Diamond; grandchildren, Lauren, Kristen, and Alex Flint, Amber (John) Capello, Hannah Flint, Eddie and Aaron Flint, Justine and Austin Flint, Courtney and Kyle Deubel; great-granddaughter, Sophina Grace Capello.

Friends will be received Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wood-Kortright Funeral Home, 703 E. Main St., Ravenna, where funeral services will be officiated by Reverend Paul Phillips on Saturday at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Randolph. Military honors will be provided by the U.S. Navy and VFW Post 1055. Memorial donations may be made to the Liberty Bible Church, 2215 state Route 183, Atwater, Ohio 44201..
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, September 21, 2006, page C6, col. 3

A painful time

Reading on Harry's BJ Retirees blog about Gloria, Sarah and Gary is like dying from a thousand cuts. Worse, living and suffering from a thousand cuts.

If there is justice in this world, then even the rats are deserting Tony Ridder's yachts, just as he deserted his obligation to KRI and its employees.

Now the Canadian is cooking my BJ friends' bacon, layoff by layoff.

I just hope all this doesn't eventually make the Record-Courier look like the best newspaper in the five-county area.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Estwick reports from Fresno Bee

Today is Gary Estwick's second day on the clock at the Fresno Bee. Gary, who covered Kent State and was high school sports writer, was among those laid off on the hard-hit BJ sports desk

" I'm covering Fresno State men's basketball, but in the meantime, I'm helping out with the football program," Gary writes in an e-mail. "The sports department has a great reputation, the same as the BJ had just a few years ago."

You can reach Estwick at

Sister Sarah is hanging it up

Sarah Vradenburg, a valued member of the Editorial Departrment staff, is hanging it up. She will be leaving along with many veteran staffers who are called volunteers. They were not laid off, but decided to leave--sometimes in the hope of saving a job of a friend.

Sarah is a veteran who has been a professional in many jobs at the BJ before moving to the ivory tower. She loved to write those little postcripts at the bottom of the editorial page
about her neighborhood or the arts. In earlier days, we dubbed her "Sister Sarah" for no particular reason except everyone had to have a nickname.

We have all been shocked by the whacking of one-fourth of the BJ staff but posts about veterans like Sarah are starting to sound like a dirge. She will be sorely dismissed

Sarah writes:

I have told Mike Douglas and Ed Kemp that I plan to take voluntary retirement. My last day will be Oct. 18, unless someone asks me to leave sooner.

I do not have another job. I have some irons in the fire, some free-lance and other things so that I can work for myself and not have to worry about someone coming in and telling me I have to go away because someone I’ve never met doesn’t think someone is making enough money.

I am scheduled to go on the Ohio & Erie Canal Adventure — my third and the 10th anniversary trek — Sept. 18-23, and I told Mike I’d work with him through the election. I know Black and Moss say we’re overstaffed, but I know better. I think the 60-day period makes the last day somewhere around Oct. 21-22. Which, by then, they’re writing nothing but endorsements and there’s not a whole lot of work for folks like me.

I’ll keep you posted. I may even take my last piece of Beacon Journal real estate to say good bye in my own, inimitable style.

Thanks for your good thoughts. My regards to my former colleagues.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Commentary: Where do we go from here?

The Akron Beacon Journal will never be a great newspaper again, but it can still be a good one. That's the conclusion of a blog commentary you will find on the new BJ Retirees web site--or you can just click on the headline to go straight there.

These are sad times. Things are still shaking down at the Beacon Journal. This is not in the commentary, but one volunteer leaving the copy desk will not fix the plight of a staffer with three kids whose husband is gone. That's because the small daytime copy desk will be shut down and the early press run discontinued. It would be difficult for her to work nights and care for her family. These are sad times.

So the question asked by the commentary is "Where do we go from here?" Akron is also no longer a great city, but those of us who live here still believe it is a good city. Imagine what it would be like to live in a community without a daily newspaper.

The Beacon staff must provide one--and it still can be a good one..

You can leave your own comments below.

Gloria Irwin is leaving Friday

Among the top staffers leaving the Beacon Journal is Gloria Irwin. Here's an e-mail from her to answer a request for info:

My last day at the Beacon Journal is Friday. I'm taking a week off before starting at Timken on Oct. 1.

I'm not sure what my title there will be. The job was posted as program leader for trade media relations. It's a new po
sition within Timken's communications department. I'll be working closely with Jeff Dafler, who is the company's official spokesperson. He'll deal with the mainstream media and I'll deal with the trade journals and technical writers. Jeff will write speeches for chairman Tim Timken and I'll write for CEO Jim Griffith.

I will be traveling to Timken plants in the United States for new product launches,
and I'll also be working with the overseas media, primarily in India, China and Europe. I'm getting my passport ready.

Despite the widespread media coverage in 2004 of Timken's intention to close its Canton bearing complex, the company is doing well. Earnings and sales are both up, and Timken has pretty well absorbed its purchase of Torrington Co. in Connecticut. (See, I already sound like a P.R. person!)

I suspect my e-mail there will be, based on how the other addresses are configured. In the meantime, my home e-mail is

Home phone number is 330-699-1584.

Although I will miss the Beacon Journal, given the entirety of the circumstances here, it was a no-brainer to leave.


Gloria wrote most of the pieces about the breakup of Knight Ridder and sale to the Beacon Journal.

Monday, September 18, 2006

BJ Retirees web site lists auction items

A web site for BJ Retirees has been created on the Acorn (Akron-Summit County Library) system to accommodate items such as the Layoff Auction List, retiree addresses and other lengthy articles and photos which cannot be shown suitably on the blog. There will still be links on the blog to retiree addtresses and e-mail lists.

The url for the web site is which you should bookmark. You can go to the web site by clicking on the headline above and we will put a link on the blog later.

Any questions should be sent to my new e-mail address which is

Harry Liggett
March 1995 News Desk retiree

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The word from Mizell

‘The sadness about seeing valued colleagues depart has been mixed with the hard work of resstructuring the newsroom around the staff members who remain,” writes BJ managing editor Mizell Stewart in his Sunday column on page A2

Stewart tries to quiet fears, or rumors, about cutting back on coverage by noting that coverage areas are being consolidated rather than eliminatede. He assures that David Giffels, Terry Pluto, Jane Snow and Mary Beth Bredkenridge will still be around. R.D. Hedenfels will have to provide coverage of both movies and television and Elaine Guregian will have to cover all trhe music, theatre and dance. Paula Schleis will have to handle a lot of business stories and Marilyn Miller will be doing more than writing obituatries. News coverage will focus on Summit County and selected communites in the old five-county area of Medina, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties.

“Though the circumstances are indeed difficult,” Stewart concludes, “we are still here–and our commitment to serving you has not wavered.”

A number of blog readers have asked why we have not posted a list of those who have been layed off and others who are leaving. The reason, as any staff member can tell you, is that nobody really knows how it is all going to shake down until the 60-day notice period is over. Some careers or severance and unemployment pay could be jeopardized without care.

You will re reading soon about some valued staffers in addition to Mike Needs and Mary Ethridge, who have volunteered to leave. Names that will be on the blog soon are Sarah Vradenburg, Debbie Stock, Diane Evans and Gloria Irwin. Also, please watch next week for a post on “Where we go from here.”

Retired pressman Dennis Patrick dies

Retired BJ pressman Dennis Patrick, 60, passed away Sept. 14, 2006.

Dennis was born in Akron on July 18, 1946 and has lived in the Akron and Cincinnati areas all his life. He
worked for the Akron Beacon Journal for 20 years as a pressman, was an avid golfer and loved to draw and paint.

Dennis was preceded in death by his father Albert. He is survived by his children, Benjamin (Megan) Patrick of Cincinnati and Ashley Patrick of Columbus; mother, Lucy Patrick of Akron; brothers, Andrew Patrick of Cincinnati, Albert Patrick of Mogadore and Thomas (Novella) Patri
ck of Cuyahoga Falls; and many other loving family and friends.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial service will be Saturday at 2 pm at Hennessy-Bagnoli Funeral Home, 936 N. Main St., Akron. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Martha Church Memorial Fund, 300 E. Tallmadge Ave., Akron, OH 44310.
[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH Sunday, September 17, 2006, page B9, col. 1]

The Keys off to success

Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach have found the Magic Potion with the latest Black Keys album. Carney, son of BJ staffer Jim Carney, provides the lurching rhythmic foundation and guitarist and vocalist Auerbach pulls out the combination of notes that get listeners’ heads nodding. That’s the way BJ critic Malcolm Abram describes it in a huge review and photo taking up the top two thirds of the Premier front (Section E) of Sunday’s newspaper.

“We’re both really happy with the record, and it’s exciting and nerve-wracking because we’re hoping fans will like the record," said Carney.

Magic Potion is the fourth album for the Firestone High graduates.

Click on the headline for Abram’s review.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

E-mail from Sue Murphy

E-mail received from Sue Murphy, retired from BJ advertising administration:.

Please add my name to the BJ retiree email list. I've moved to Hilton Head, SC and would like to hear from folks. I enjoy the blog very much...keep up the good work
Does anyone still own McClatchy stock????? I

Friday, September 15, 2006

Voice of the People

Sometimes letter writers to the BJ's Voice of the People come really close to saying it as well as it can be said:

Rough landing

When the purchase of the Beacon Journal was announced I think many of us who have experienced similar workplace trauma were hoping for a soft landing for its employees..

The elimination of almost 25 per cent of newsroom staff members is anything but a soft landing.

In 1977, my employer in Alliance announced that corporate headquarters would move to Minneapolis. Forty-five of 105 staffers were invited to move. I knew my wife and I would not accept that offer. In effect, I fired myself on the day of the announcement.

At 49 years of age, this was not an easy decision to make. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made –but this is another story.

So many of us know from personal experience what Beacon Journal employees are going through in terms of emotions. It’s not easy to see people you like leaving. It’s worse if you’re the one who has to tell them.

I sincerely hope this will be the end of staff reductions and that those being cut will find jobs commensurate with their training and skills..

Lloyd Close
Cuyahoga Falls

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dozen at September lunch

The twelve attending September's lunch for BJ retirees at Papa Joe's were Gene Daniels, Ed Hanzel and wife Norma, Bob Pell, Tom Moore, Art Cullison, Carl Nelson, Ray Wolfe, Harman Leer, John Olesky, Cal DeShong and his daughter, Mary Deshong Kinkelaar, a financial planner from Chicago who will be setting up shop in Akron. Cal's daughter works for Kinkelaar & Associates, 203 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60601.

A big chunk of the time was spent spinning tales involving Francis David "Lefty" Callahan, who died Monday. A lot of laughter and warm memories of Lefty.

Francis 'Lefty" Callahan obit

Francis David Callahan passed away at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital on Sept. 11 at 9 a.m., after a short battle with pneumonia, compounded by Parkinson's disease and a stroke he suffered in July. He was 78.

A southpaw, Francis was known to most as ``Lefty," a gentleman who was never without a rosary in his pocket, and a devoted Catholic who attended mass daily until his health began to decl

The words of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson ring true of Francis: ``What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Francis was a man of great faith, integrity, and loyalty, whom his family and friends had the blessed good fortune to call their father and friend.

He retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1990 after 42 years of service, and was a lifetime member of S
t. Anthony Church where, during his earlier years, he was active with the Holy Name Society, CARE, and other organizations.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Margaret, to whom he was a loving husband and dedicated caregiver for eight years until her death Oct. 20, 2003. Also preceding him in death were his parents, Joseph and Jessie Callahan; his sisters, Beulah Birmingham and Phyllis Green; and brothers, Bernard, William, Joseph, Fabian, and Brady Callahan.

Left to mourn and cherish his memory are his children: sons, Gary (Maryellen) Callahan, David (Margaret) Callahan, and Thom Callahan; daughters, Frances (Eric) Hughes and MaryAlice (Michael) Pieri; his grandchildren, Caleb (Stacey), Micah, Josiah, and Abigail Callahan, Adam Owens, Roni and Emily Callahan, Ryan and Megan Hughes, Jessica, Grace, and Isabella Pieri; great-grandson, Caleb Jonathan Callahan; loving niece, Joan Davies of Baton Rouge, La.; caring nephew, Michael Callahan of Doylestown; special friends, Donna D'Andrea, Mary McFarland, John and Mary Bratta, Luke and Mary Lou Frohnapfel, who brought him communion daily, David DiDomenico, and the many other friends and relatives he touched over the years with his Irish wit and engaging smile.

The family extends a heartfelt thank-you to the staff at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital for their care and compassion, particularly during the final days of his life.

Calling hours Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., at Hennessy-Bagnoli Funeral Home, 936 N. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44310. Mass of Christian Burial, with concelebrants and longtime friends the Rev. James Ragnoni and the Rev. Samuel Ciccolini, will be held Friday, Sept. 15, 2006, at 9:30 a.m., at St. Anthony Church, 83 Mosser Place, Akron, Ohio 44310. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron, Ohio. Memorials in Francis' name may be made to St. Anthony Church and the Interval Brotherhood Home, 3445 S. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44319. (Hennessy-Bagnoli, 330-376-4251.)

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH Wednesday, September 13, 2006, page B6, col. 2]

Eric David Boerner dies

Eric David Boerner passed away on Friday, Sept. 8, 2006, in Seven Fields, Pa., at the age of 38.

(His father is a retiree of the BJ editorial department and was a former news editor.)

Eric was a very private, gentle soul and a wonderful son and brother. He loved photography, with flowers being his favorite subject matter, and he was a consummate student.

He is survived by his parents, David and Phyllis Boerner; his brothers, Trent and Troy; his uncle and aunt, Don and Sharon Boerner; and cousins, Laura Boerner Smith (Jon) and Kevin Boerner (Robin).

We are so grateful for his all-too-brief presence in our lives.

Eric was a graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of California at San Diego, where he earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees in physics. He was employed by the Seagate Research Center in Pittsburgh, where he was involved with researching computer hard drive storage capabilities.

His family is planning an opportunity to celebrate Eric's life at a date in the future. For those who would like to remember him in a tangible way, the family suggests a contribution in Eric's name to United Disability Services, 701 S. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44311-1019, in care of Lisa Armstrong.
(Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home, Cuyahoga Falls)

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH , Wednesday, September 13, 2006, page B6.col. 1]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More on Dallas buyouts

Another story related to the Dallas Morning News, which mentions former Beacon Journal reporter Leona Allen, who apparently is staying.

Journalists of Color Line Up for News' Buyout Offer

Some of the top-ranking and most prominent journalists of color at the Dallas Morning News -- including Dwayne Bray, the metro editor; Vernon Smith, deputy international editor; Lennox Samuels, Mexico City bureau chief and former deputy managing editor; and sports columnist Kevin Blackistone -- said today they are applying to take a buyout.

News management reportedly said the offer to apply had been accepted by at least 85 employees, its goal.

"Our diversity is really taking a hit," reporter Toya Stewart told Journal-isms in an oft-repeated phrase. Stewart said she was going to graduate school at the University of Minnesota to earn a master's degree in health journalism. She has been at the paper 6 1/2 years.

Bray said he will join ESPN at its Bristol, Conn., headquarters as news editor on its remote production crew.

Night Photo Editor Alysia Oglesby, who like Bray is African American, is due to start this month as night deputy director of photography at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Smith, who has been at the paper 18 years, said, "My plan is to see if I can find myself a good medium-market managing editor's job. I've had a good run here. I'd like to leverage that into running my own shop."

Blackistone, a 20-year veteran of the paper, he said he planned to move "and cobble out something on the East Coast, writing, TV, Web site stuff." .

The buyout offer consists of two weeks of base pay per year of employment up to 15 years, plus three weeks' pay for each year of service that exceeds 15, the News reported on Aug. 11, adding that the cash offer was capped at one year's pay.

"I am going to take some time off," said Samuels, a 23-year News veteran who for the past 2 1/2 years has been Mexico City bureau chief. "I'm looking at a number of opportunities in and out of the business."

Bray's deputy, Leona Allen, who also is African American, will be acting metro editor, he said. "I really think the Metro department responded to my leadership. It was already a great department," Bray said. "Most of them will still be here. We've done some great work covering the Dallas city government, the Dallas Independent School District, the fast-growing Collin County. I feel like I've let my staff down, but . . . it's time for me to see what the TV side has to offer," Bray said. An assistant sports editor at the News, Noel Nash, also left for ESPN, supervising a database unit, Bray said. However, he left right before the buyout offers.

All those interviewed lamented the buyouts' impact on diversity at the paper, which reported 18.6 percent people of color in the last census of the American Society of Newspaper Editors -- 4.9 percent Asian American, 7.8 percent black, 5.7 percent Hispanic and .2 percent Native American.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Items for Layoff Auction announced

Announcement from Chas. Montague on Layoff Auction:
E-mail with your item numbers and how many tickets you want for each. I will then pull the tickets and set them aside until I receive your money. Then I will put your tickets into that item's bag and hold your duplicates for the drawing. The date of the drawing has not been set, but I will give fair notice and notify you on anything you win and get it to you.

For simplicity's sake, just make checks payable to me. If you don't want to trust me on all this, decide how much you would've spent on raffle tickets, add $50 and send a donation straight to the Layoff Fund.

How would you like to have your own photo face mask of the departed Jim Crutchfield? Or, the 1971 pter Pulitzer Prize medallion key chain with the laminated double-truck of our coverage reporting that Prize? Or, a ‘‘Blue-Collar Mentality and Proud Of It'' T-shirt?

These are the items as of 9/11. There may be more.
Tickets for items 1 through 24 are $1 apiece, or six for $5.
Tickets for items 25 and 26 are $5 apiece or four for $15.
For $34, you can have a chance to win all of these.

1. First, because she'll always be first: Frances B. Murphey ‘‘You Do It One Day At a Time’’ photo bookmark from May 1996 farewell, with a Courtesy of Fran Murphey matchbook (latter donated by Jim Kavanagh).
2. Second, because he would've wanted the first item to be first: The better-paper-stock tabloid-size magazine tribute to John Shively Knight that we put together and published after his death in June 1981.
3. NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN OUTSIDE OF THE PRINTERS CLUB ON A DARK DECEMBER NIGHT: Yes, it's the photo face masks of your Beacon Journal bosses used for the legendary skits at the annual Guild Christmas party. The first winning ticket gets first choice, and the next winner chooses until all 20 are gone. A list of the faces is at the end.
4. The great notes on bosses'-name note pads that used to appear on the bulletin board the day after an election congratulating us on our great coverage. We don't have the notes, but we have be blank note pads. Again, the first winning ticket gets first choice, and the next winner chooses until all are gone. There are 19 note pads, but since we have a 2.5-inch stack of Bob Jodon note pads, there will be three winners for him Each the first 20 winners of face masks and note pads will also receive a Courtesy of Fran Murphey matchbook (matchbooks donated by Ted Schneider). Again, a list of name note pads is at the end.
5. The series of five special Beacon Journal sections, each in the typefaces, layouts and headline styles of the years it covers, put out from June 29, 1975, to July 4, 1975 to mark the 150th anniversary of Akron. You'll see strange bylines ` By Kathy Fraze ` and strange photo credits ` Ted R. Schneider Jr. photo, Dennis Gordon photo.
6. The July 4, 1976, bicentennial edition of the Akron Beacon Journal.
7. The Jan. 17, 1991, ‘‘WE'RE AT WAR’’ edition of of the Akron Beacon Journal, reporting the start the night before of the Persian Gulf War, the first one, the one that ended. This item includes a comprehensive double-truck map published a couple days later.
8. The Dec. 31, 1999, Akron Beacon Journal special sections on The Story of the Century.
9. The April 30, 2000, special section of the Akron Beacon Journal marking the 30th anniversary four days later of the Kent State shootings.
10. The Sept. 11, 2001, Extra edition of the Akron Beacon Journal: ‘‘OH, MY GOD"
10A. The Sept. 12, 2001, edition of the Akron Beacon Journal: ‘‘WHO DID THIS?’’

11. The legendary I Survived the Reorganization of 1980 T-shrt. The old clock tower says JB instead of BJ. (I may have two more of these
coming. One winner per shirt). Donated by Ted Schneider
12. Oh Oh MTX ERROR. WHEN IN DOUBT, REBOOT. Donated by Paula Scheis.B
13. Blue Collar Mentality and Proud of It. Akron Newspaper Guild, Local 7. (There may be others of this, as well.) Donated by Ted Schneider.
14. The Guild, Local 7, white with red stripes at neck and sleeve. Donated by Ted Schneider.
15. Akron Beacon Journal, basic blue. Donated by Paula Schlies.
16. Also in the fabric department, an Akron Beacon Journal canvas carrier's bag, with flap and padded shoulder strap. Donated by Ted Schneider.
17. Four Terry Pluto books, three donated by the author and one by Phil Masturzo. Terry has autographed his three and will customize autographs on on all four. 4 winners. They are 2 Burying the curse, How the Indians became the best team in baseball; False start, How the new Browns were set up to fail; and Dealing, The Cleveland Indians new ballgame.
18. Another book: Killing yourself to live, 85% of a true story, by Chuck Klosterman (I'm sorry, but I forget who donated this. Remind me and I will give you credit.)
19. Two winners. Each gets four of the front page glasses the Akron Beacon Journal put out in 1989 to mark the 150th anniversary of the newspaper. Six glasses donated by Mary Beth Breckenridge and two by Phil Masturzo.
20. Two winners. Each gets an ‘‘official story’’ of the Akron Beacon Journal, one booklet put out in 1964 and the other in 1974. Read about the ‘‘men of the horse-shoe copy desk.’’ Read about the Women's Department. 1964 booklet donated by Paula Schlies.
21.Combo item. A brick and a light from the old Beacon Journal clocktower, with Courtesy of Fran Murphey matchbook. One winner. Light and matchbook donated by Jim Kavanagh; brick donated by Alan Ashworthy
22. Combo item. Akron Beacon Journal mug and water bottle. One winner. Donated by Paula Schleis.
23. More paper goods. Three winners. Let Us Light Up Your Life Akron Beacon Journal bumper sticker and two Are You Hot Yet hand fans from the protracted 1997 Guild contract negotiations. I forgot who donated the bumper sticker; remind me.
24. Combo item. Up to 13 winners. All-American Soap Box Derby ball cap, with Akron Beacon Journal on the side, filled with Guild by Association sticker and 11 buttons: one Akron Newspaper Guild, Local 7; one 54 years of Loyalty, Local 7; three Don't Tread on Us, The Newspaper Guild; two Flexible, Not Breakable; one Some Respect Would Help; one Whatever Happened to Coming Together; one I am the Beacon. Donors include Jim Kavanagh and Debby Stock; remind me if you also donated.
TWO VERY SPECIAL ITEMS;; Tickets for these are $5 apiece, four for $15.
25. The pewter Pulitzer Prize medallion key chain holder given to staff members for the 1971 Prize for Kent State shootings coverage. The winner will also receive the laminated, reduced size double-truck of our coverage reporting that Prize, which I believe to be the best of our four -- three the staff won and the Prize that John S. Knight won. Medallion donated by retired reporter Dick McBane. AND I MAY HAVE ANOTHER 1971 MEDALLION COMING.
26. Men's Tissot gold-front wristwatch, analog, with second hand and date box, battery powered, sapphire crystal, leather band. The watch retails for $175.
BOILERPLATE: This raffle is being run by Chas. Montague, who is doing it unilaterally, and he will try not to be arbitrary and/or capricious. However, he will not devote time to PC- or committee- or task-force-type inquiries. All uncredited donations are by Montague or by someone he is
not going to identify.


The Bob Giles note pad gets special mention because there is only one sheet and because it is unique. It says: "Beacon Journal A Knight Newspaper"

Dale Allen, Dave Cooper, Jim Crutchfield, Susan Mango Curtis, John Dotson, Al Fitzpatrick, John Greenman, Bill Hunter, Bob Jodon , Chris Harte, John S. Knight, John McMillion, Jim Nolan, Paul Poorman, Joette Riehle, Susan Schwartz, Larry Williams and Bill Winter

Maureen Brown, Dave Cooper, Jim Crutchfield (2 kinds, 2 winners), Susan Mango Curtis, John Greenman, Barbara Griffin, Chris Harte, Bill Hunter, Bob Jodon (2.5-inch stack; 3 winners) , Michelle LeComte, John McMillion, Elizabeth Patton, Tim Smith, Debbie Van
Tassel, Stuart Warner, Larry Williams and Bill Winter

Francis 'Lefty' Callahan dies

Francis D. "Lefty" Callahan, retired Beacon Journal printer, died Monday, September 11, 2006. He was 78. He worked for more than 40 years at the Beacon--the only job he ever had.

The obituary will be published in the newspaper tomorrow and on the blog as soon as possible.

Calling hours are 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Hennessey-Bagnoli Funeral Home, 936 N. Main St.

Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at St. Anthony Church on Mosser Place in North Hill.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Over 100 accept Dallas buyouts

Newsroom buyouts may cut Dallas paper's staff by 20 percent

It will be a big story at The Dallas Morning News, but you won't find it on the front page.

On Sept. 14, the paper is expected to announce that more than 100 of 580 newsroom staff members have accepted severance packages, shrinking the size of the newsroom by roughly 20 percent. It is not yet official that all the buyout applications will be accepted, but Robert W. Mong Jr., the editor, said that managers would try to accommodate everyone who had applied.

The last few years have not been kind to The Morning News or to its owner, the Belo Corporation, based in Dallas. While the paper is still profitable, in the last five years there have been two rounds of layoffs, and Belo acknowledged in 2004 that the paper had been overstating its circulation by 9 percent daily and 13 percent on Sunday.

So far, the staff has responded to the impending buyouts with a mix of fury and resignation. An anonymous Morning News staffer started a blog,, to chronicle news of the buyouts.

Source: Julie Bosman. The New York Times via SPJ Press Notes

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tarays mark 50th anniversary

Joe and Mary Ann (Tigelman) Taray were married September 8, 1956 at St. John’s Church in Akron.

Joe is retired from General Tire. Mary Ann is retired from the Akron Beacon Journal. They have four daughters, Jeannine (Tim), Janice, Kathleen and Julie (James). They have five grandchildren, Daniel (Katie), Shawn, Shannon, Valerie and Marie.

They celebrated with a family dinner at the Blue Canyon Restaurant.

[The Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, September 10, 2006]

The first of the "goodbyes"

Delano R. Massey, who has been a reporter and columnist at the Beacon Journal only since December, beat everyone to the punch Sunday with the first of a number of “goodbye” piece we are apt to read in the Beacon.

“I'm not big on goodbyes; never have been,” Massey writes in a colum on the Premier section
front (page E1) in Sunday’s newspaper.

The headline tells the story:
Days of writing column end; time for life's next chapter

Massey concludes:

It's been fun, but unfortunately this chapter -- my work at the Beacon Journal -- must come to an end. I look forward to writing the next one. But before I do that, I just wanted to say thank you... and I'll see you later..

To read about his experience 'til he reached September, click on the headline.

Chuck Klosterman's book reviewed

Former Beacon Journal reporter Chuck Klosterman’s new book is reviewed on the Books page (E5) of Sunday’s newspaper.

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas is a collection of pieces Klosterman has written for his many employers, which include Esquire, Spin and The New York Times Magazine.

Here’s a summary from BJ staff writer Dan Kadar:

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, by far the book's largest, is profiles mostly from Spin, where Klo
sterman was a senior writer. The profiles begin with Britney Spears, who Klosterman claims is ``the most famous person'' he's ever interviewed. It's an odd way to start a section that mostly profiles artists who are the antithesis of Spears.

Although Klosterman worked at the Beacon Journal from 1998 to 2002, little of that work was included in IV. The exception is a humorous story about Akron-area psychics from December 1998.

The second part is essays, culled mostly from his column in Esquire. Each essay is introduced with a hypothetical, which are both funny and slightly perplexing and reminiscent of his second book, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.

The third part is Klosterman's first piece of published fiction. This is the most interesting, possibly because it's the only original material in the book, or possibly because it's based in Akron.

The story, titled You Tell Me, is about Jack, a man who, like Klosterman, is from North Dakota and works for the daily Akron paper. Outside of a before-work dabble with drugs, the fiction begins when a woman falls from the sky onto Chuck, er, Jack's car.

The story was written in 2000, so it should be interesting to see Klosterman's progress as a fiction writer. If nothing else, IV shows how Klosterman has grown as a journalist over the years.

Click on the headline above to read the review, Google to the bookdealer or buy a copy for $25.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

And the winner of the 1983 pool is?

The late Tom Ryan wrote about an unusual office pool in the May/June 1983 issue or Tower Topics. A "natural" cropped up at the Metro Desk in when it was learned that assistant metro editor Marilyn Marchione, staff writer Ancella Livers, and wives of staff writers Terry Oblander and John Kostrzewa were all pregnant.

The occasion c
alled for a pool. Name the sex and order of delivery. If there's a tie, the date of delivery of the first will be the clincher.

Oblander and Livers picked boys for themselves, Kostrzewa predicted a girl at his house and Marchione didn't bet.

The Oblanders and Kostrzewas had boys and Ancella and Marilyn had girls.
Oblander is now at the Plain Dealer, Kostrzewa is business editor of the Providence Journal and Ancella lives with her husband Charles in Greensboro.

The blog tried in vain tp get information and photos on the all the babies who are now 22 years old, so we don’t know the order of birth or much more, but we did learn that Marilyn Marchione, now national AP medical writer, was the winner.

Here’s Marilyn’s reply to the BJ Retirees blog plea for information:

What a nice surprise to hear from you. I'm always happy when I hear of someone enjoying a long retirement! I'll probably work till I'm 90, with that daughter you asked about heading to medical school, most likely Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

Melissa is 22 now, born Sept. 27, 1983. Attached is a picture of the two of us (I was having a bad hair day) at the Washington Convention Center a few months ago where she presented a cancer research poster at a medical meeting I was covering for the AP. How cool is that! She also has a brother, 17-year-old Mike, who will be a senior this fall at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.

Ernie and I both got new jobs out of the blue, within a few weeks of turning 50. I'm national medical writer for AP, a job that keeps me hopping but that I just love. I can't imagine better people to work for (OK, maybe Scott Bosley), or more interesting work. Ernie is photo editor for Birders World, a leading bird-watching magazine that's one of a dozen or so specialty/hobby publications of Kalmbach Publishing in suburban Milwaukee.

Please send my best to all at the Akron Canadian Bacon Journal, and use any of this note that you'd like on your blog or newsletter. I'm betting you have plenty of company in retirement soon.

You can write to Marilyn at

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Layoff Auction Fund opens

A note from Chuck Montague on Layoff Fund Auction

The Guild, as it did in 2001, is raising money for its Layoff Fund.
And, as I did in 2001, I'm going to raffle off BJ items from over the years to raise money for the Layoff Fund. Below is my newsroom message announcing the raffle and a Q and A on the fund put out by Paula Schleis.

I am interested in seeing if there are any retirees who have items - T-shirts, buttons, etc. -- that they would be willing to part with to be raffled. I'm also looking for high-ticket items. For example, it would be great to get one of the pewter key-chain holders we all got for the 1970 Pulitzer Prize. I was stupid and used it as key-chain and the pewter wore down long ago.
I'd also like to give bloggers a chance to buy raffle tickets.
No obligations here. If you don't think this is material for your blog, no problems.
If you do, people can email me at or call W-330-996-3852 or H-330-688-5368.

Stay tuned for the 2nd (Thank Goodness It's Not Annual) Montague Layoff Raffle of Blasts from the BJ's Past. Some people, including a volunteer this time, won some great stuff in 2001 -- Stuff of Beacon Journal Legend like the ‘‘My Union Has An Iron Ass'' T-shirt. But wait, I have more. I will be getting my stuff together and announcing the great prizes next week. All proceeds go to the Layoff Fund. If you have any items you can donate to be raffled, you know where I am. Thanks.

Q: Is this a union effort only?
A: NO! This is a newsroom effort. The fund will benefit forcibly laid off employees, regardless of exempt or union status.
Q: Will the money also go to those who are voluntarily resigning?
A: No, and we presume they don't expect it.
Q: How will the money be disbursed?
A: This decision isn't as easy as in 2001, when we only had 7 people being laid off and dividing the money equally made a significant impact.
Right now, it is the intent of the fundraising committee to split one-third of what is in the fund as of Nov. 1 between laid off employees who are still unemployed, split one-half of what is in the fund as of Dec. 1 among those still unemployed, and divide the remainder among employees unemployed as of Jan. 1. It's our hope this money will help them through the holidays, if not pick up a house payment or some utility bills along the way.
Of course, we have no idea how much money will be collected. If, say, we collect $5,000 and only one person is unemployed by Nov. 1, we'll obviously rethink those plans.
If you'd like to join the fundraising committee and participate in those discussions, just let Paula know! Right now, the committee is made of Paula, Kymberli, Colette, Katie and Kim McMahan.
Q: Are student correspondents eligible to receive the money?
A: No. The tenure of a student correspondent is a limited one, as they are temporary employees who can only work for 2 years. Most were already planning to leave this school year. Because of their temporary status, they are not laid off and placed on a call-back list. The money being raised is specifically for laid off employees.
Q: How do I donate if I want to do it another day?
A: There is a Beacon Journal Layoff Fund established at the credit union. Go down and submit your donation at any time. If you want to donate in three monthly installments, give your pledge sheet to Paula, Kymberli or Katie and we'll remind you each month when the pledge is due.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day from Porter

Item from Mickey Porter column for Labor Day in BJ:

Happy Labor Day

News Item:
Corporate profits reach their lowest share of the gross domestic product since 1960.

News Item: Wages and salaries reach their lowest share of the gross domestic product since 1947.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Is there a list of potential laidoff folks?

I know it's in flux, depending on how many people bite the bullet for those with less seniority, but does anyone have a list of those who are scheduled for layoffs? I know the Guild has a debate about how to count seniority for those who went from Guild to management and back. But I'm really curious to see how many friends will be out in the streets by October.

Sad, sad, sad time in Beacon Journal history.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fewer Beacons of Light in Akron

Mary Ethridge grew up with Knight Ridder and with the Akron Beacon Journal, where her father was editor. After the deep cuts in the Beacon Journal's newsroom were announced she decided to take a voluntary layoff thus saving someone else’s job.

Mary provides the lead for a good story by Edward B. Colby in the Columbia Journalism Review Daily. Here’s her reaction as reported by Colby:

"If you cut a quarter of the newsgathering staff and tell the others that remain that you may cut again, how can you possibly motivate people to do their jobs to the best of their abilities?" she asks. "We were already to my mind short-staffed to begin with, and now it's going to be even tougher."

"You feel it already -- you feel the complete vibe changing in the newsroom," says Ethridge, a business columnist. "It's a very surreal atmosphere, 'cause everything's in flux and everybody's upset. It's really devastating."

And so Ethridge is taking a voluntary layoff (thus saving someone else's job) and will move on, "telling people what they need to know" through freelance work, perhaps, at magazines or other newspapers.

"Part of me wanted to stay and fight the good fight," she says, but "another part of me just said, 'You know what, maybe it's just time to move on.'"

"She's very, very talented. Smart. Great writer," veteran columnist Bob Dyer says of Ethridge. "Hard-charging reporter, and she's just had it. She's gonna hang it up. Very discouraging."

Publisher Edward Moss, Editor Debra Adams Simmons, and Managing Editor Mizell Stewart III did not return calls by Colby asking for comment. (Nor did Andale Gross, a reporter who is the unit chair for the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild.)

Click on the headline to read the article titled “Fewer Beacons of Light in Akron”