Thursday, March 29, 2007

Weinreb writes book on chess team

Michael Weinreb, a freelancer sportswriter in New York City who left the Beacon Journal in 2000 after five years as a sports writer, has a new book out this month with a long title: The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Genuises Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team.

It’s the story of a year spent with Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School chess team as it strives for a national championship.

You can read reviews from the New York Times and Christian Science Montior and a bit about Weinreb himself on his website at

Weinreb attended a graduate program in fiction writing at Boston University after leaving the Beacon Journal. His first book of short stories, Girls, Boys Etc., was published in 2004. He was a staff writer at Newsday until April 2006. He grew up in State College, Pennsylvania, and attended Penn State University.

The book, 304 pages, is published by Gotham Books which launched its debut list of books in the winter of 2003. ( ISBN: 1592402615, March 2007, $26.00)

Gary has no regrets, he tells E&P

The following was included in a report by Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher on the ASNE convention in Washington, DC:

A year after brokering the biggest newspaper deal of 2006, Gary Pruitt has no regrets. In fact, the chairman of the McClatchy Company says his chain would have been worse off durin
g the recent economic downturn of newspapers if it had not taken over Knight Ridder.

“I don’t regret doing it because our performance was actually better,” Pruitt told E&P during McClatchy’s Tuesday night reception at the ASNE conference inside the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington. “Our advertising revenue performance and cash flow would have been worse had we not done the deal. The Knight Ridder papers actually improved our performance, advertising revenue and cash flow. Both are improved for our having done the deal.”

If the deal had not occurred, “we still would have suffered ad revenue decline, only worse.”

He noted, however, that the last few months of poor newspaper economics did not help. “Unfortunately, the timing of the deal corresponded almost precisely with the downturn in advertising,” Pruitt said. “A lot of people confuse the deal wit the environment.”

Pruitt spoke as guests drank up at the open bar and noshed on egg rolls, tuna ahi and dumplings, all courtesy of McClatchy. During remarks to the crowd, Pruitt joked that McClatchy, which has thrown such a party two years in a row at ASNE, at $50,000 a pop, would decline in 2008. “Next year, another company can do it,” he said with a smile.

Please read the comment by Ken Krause

Taking the newspaper out of logo

One of the first changes members of the American Society of Newspaper (ASNE) noticed at this year’s conference in Washington, D.C., which opened Tuesday , was the logo. No more does the ASNE name rest on a red and white box, with its formal name written out, surrounding the logo with the folded corner.

The new logo does not even mention the word, “newspaper,” stating, in a slick black and white design, “ASNE – Leading America’s Newsrooms.”

ASNE president Dave Zeeck acknowledged the “identity transfer” during his address to members. He said the idea was to expand the newspaper image beyond just print and on to online and other facets of the business. “That is what moving ASNE forward looks like,” he said.

Zeeck, editor of the News-Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., also said the word “newspaper” may eventually be removed from ASNE’s full name. “It deserves consideration,” he said. “Do we work for newspapers or news companies?”

He also said the conference, currently a four-day event, may be shortened to two or three days to save members time and money. More association with the Online News Association also may take place. “It is all being considered,” he said.

[Source: Joe Strupp in Editor & Publisher]

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yahoo Taps McClatchy for Foreign News

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Yahoo News said Wednesday it reached an agreement with McClatchy Co. under which the newspaper operator's foreign correspondents will provide international coverage for the Yahoo website.

The project is named "Trusted Voices" and will include McClatchy reporters in select regions, such as Iraq, the Middle East, China and Latin America. Reporters will file traditional news stories as well as personal blog reports only available through Yahoo.

"The daily blog contributions from the international correspondents, combined with their traditional news reports, will offer our readers an on-the-ground perspective unavailable from traditional news outlets," said Scott Moore, head of Yahoo News.

Shares of McClatchy Co. fell 21 cents to $31.39 Wednesday while Yahoo Inc. fell 24 cents to $31.31, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

New items on BJ Retirees website

News Index

The scent of scandal makes Gonzalez big story

Short Takes

We will be blogged to death by campaigners

Woodward's Notes from 'Deep Throat' Interviews on display

IRE award winners include Ken Ward of Charlestown (WV) Gazette on Mine Safety

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Life in Vermont: First boil of maple syrup sap

Life in Vermont; From Geoff Gevalt's blog:

The sap began running last Wednesday, March 21. The latest the first sap has been in years. I had gotten the new rig all set up — new pan, arch with fire bricks and new stove pipe — and we had our first boil Thursday night the 22nd. Oldest daughter Anna and her friends helped out.

Naturally I had to go away this weekend: The Soccer Tourney From Hell in Baltimore Maryland. If Jacob’s soccer club suggests one more tourney out of state, I think I will scream. Teams from as far away as North Carolina and Vermont got to spend the day Saturday watching the rain — all games not scheduled for artificial turf (read: most) were cancelled. Eventually the organizers cancelled the tournament for most of the age groups.

An interesting cultural note: We wandered around Baltimore Saturday, stopping long enough to eat some oysters and crab cakes. A few of went to Lexington Market, an eclectic collection of booths and stalls in a block-long enclosed building with people selling everything from ham hocks to mangos, fried chicken to soups, chitlins to sausage. A lot of spots have stools or bars where you can get a crab cake and a beer or, for that matter, just about any type of food imaginable, except, perhaps, French on white table cloths. I lived in Baltimore for several years a long time ago. I used to eat at least one meal a day (with beer) at Lexington Market.

For me, the experience was great; while it was changed it was also the same; familiar stalls and businesses that were still there, after 25 years. Some of the folks I was with, though, noticed something else: We were the only white people for miles. They were discomfited by that; they were made uneasy. “Hey,” said one of the parents, “I’m a seventh generation Vermonter from a small little town without any black people.”

Fact is, I hadn’t noticed. Or, more accurately, I hadn’t made notice of our minority status — I didn’t really care. Now that doesn’t make me any better than the others; it just shows the value of diversity, and the value of my own experience. We fear what we don’t know. I saw smiling faces of people enjoying a Saturday afternoon at the market; they saw people staring at them.

On Sunday, my son’s team played two games, losing 1-0 to a team from New Jersey with a mom so loud I swore I was at a taping of the Soprano’s. They lost on a mistake in the final two minutes. Next they tied a very good team from Virginia that was, boy for boy, far better than they were. But the Vermont team just would not let the Virignia team score and they almost scored a couple of times themselves.After a seemingly endless trip home, we made it. Tommorrow (oops, today) I’ll work in the morning and boil sap the rest of the day.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Crutchfield gets title at Arizona State

TEMPE, ARIZ. - James N. Crutchfield, former publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal, has been named director of student media at Arizona State University.

Crutchfield also was appointed as the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the university's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Crutchfield, 58, stepped down from his position as publisher of the Beacon Journal after the sale of parent company Knight Ridder last year. He joined Arizona State as a visiting professor in journalism ethics this semester.

As director of student media, Crutchfield will oversee the student media department, which publishes the university's independent student newspaper, The State Press and the paper's Web edition, a weekly magazine and operates the school's TV station.

The endowed Weil family professorship is named after Louis ``Chip'' Weil, former publisher of The Arizona Republic.

Crutchfield is a graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, manager and publisher for more than 30 years.

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Saturday, March 24, 2007, page B4, col. 1]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Small Ohio daily seeks copy editor

An Ohio daily newspaper with a circulation of about 23,000 has an opening for a copy editor which is not being advertised. If interested, send email to and I will put you in touch with the editor.

Tricia Colianne goes to Cleveland Clinic

Tricia Colianne, who started as an intern at the Beacon Journal in June, 2001 and became a full-time member of the Copy Desk staff in October of that year, has accepted a position as managing editor for development at the Cleveland Clinic. She will be managing editor of Cleveland Clinic Magazine which goes mostly to clinic donors.
The magazine is published twice each year.

Tricia also wrote the wine column, the Cellar Dweller, for the BJ until the end of last year and filled in on the national desk regularly. She taught copy editing at Kent State University last semester.

“I've had a lot of opportunities at the Beacon; it's a difficult place to leave,” she said..

Tricia is originally from Barrington, Ill., which is a northwest suburb of Chicago. Her family still lives in the Chicago area. She started at the Beacon Journal just after re
ceiving her journalism degree from Ohio University.

Tricia’s husband, Pete Schellenbach, is a chef at Jac’s in the warehouse district in Cleveland. They will continue to live in West Akron.

Tricia’s last day at the Beacon Journal is today. She will begin her new duties on Monday.

Her email address is

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Something new on the website

Short Takes:

Merrill Lowers Estimate on McClatchy

Times Company to increase divided on stock by 31%

Columbus Dispatch issues memo on dealing with geese

Salute to Gutenberg

From This Day In History:

1457: The Gutenberg Bible became the first printed book.

Boston Globe cuts 24 jobs in newsroom via buyouts

The Boston Globe reduced its newsroom staff by 24 people, or 6 percent, through a buyout that included several of its most prominent and longtime journalists, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, columnist Eileen McNamara and investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian.

The buyout program was an effort to cut costs but avoid layoffs in the face of some of the harshest conditions for newspapers and other mass media in years. Staffers seeking a buyout had to apply for it. Most were notified yesterday that their applications were accepted, and their departures will occur over the next few months.

"It is always difficult to say goodbye to co-workers and friends," Globe editor Martin Baron wrote in a memo to the staff yesterday. "Wonderful people who have dedicated themselves so fully to the success of the Globe will no longer be working with us side by side. I know that all of us wish them well."

Other writers familiar to Globe readers who are leaving include restaurant critic Alison Arnett, religion reporter and former Middle East bureau chief Charles A. Radin, Bogota bureau chief Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, and outdoors writer Tony Chamberlain.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Robert Gavin, Gobe staff reporter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Update on Craig Wilson

Email from Elizabeth Wilson:

Craig Wilson was in the Ridgewood hospice for eight days evaluation, medication adjustment and monitoring. He is now back home and loves company, phone calls and mail of substance that can be read to him. He especially loves reminiscences about the good ole days back at the BJ. We have plenty of flowers, food etc and don't need anything in that regard. Phone him at 330-745-3358.

'Walks Around Akron' coming out in June

Walks Around Akron: Rediscovering a City in Transition will be out in hard and soft covers in June. The book, published by the University of Akron Press, is on the walk features by Russ Musarra and Chuck Ayers which appeared in the Beacon Journal magazine and elsewhere through the end of 2000 and continue in Akron City Magazine, which is published three times a year by the City of Akron.

Here’s the description from the University of Akron Press:

Walks around Akron: Rediscovering a City in Transition celebrates the simple pleasure of seeing a community at a slow pace from ground level. In March 1987, the Akron B
eacon Journal began publishing a series of articles about Akron and its environs, written by Russ Musarra and illustrated by Chuck Ayers. These popular essays-with-art continued in the newspaper through the end of 2000 and can now be read in Akron City magazine. Musarra and Ayers soon realized that many places shown in Ayers's artwork had disappeared or were permanently altered not long after the articles were published--they had been inadvertently documenting Akron in transition. Anyone who enjoys walking or discovering overlooked sites will appreciate the informative charm of these stories and pictures that embrace Akron's history, its downtown and neighborhood development, its institutions and parks, and interesting nearby communities. Musarra and Ayers take the reader along to explore familiar and out-of-the-way places, whether it's Canal Park baseball stadium in the snow, a tiny cemetery in Copley whose graves date back as far as 1818, or a blue heron rookery in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And readers can see all these things for themselves, using Walks around Akron as a guidebook for their excursions.

Russ Musarra retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in 2000 after thirty years of service. He edited the books Along the Towpath and Greetings from Akron with his colleague, Chuck Ayers, who illustrated the books. In addition, he wrote Akron Symphony Orchestra: Celebrating Our Fiftieth Anniversary Season and coauthored Sleep with the Angels.

Chuck Ayers began his career as a staff artist and editorial cartoonist at the Akron Beacon Journal. His cartoons have appeared in such newspapers as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes Magazine. He cocreated the nationally-known comic strip, Crankshaft. In addition to illustrating Crankshaft, Chuck Ayers has also illustrated the books Along the Towpath and Greetings from Akron. He earned his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Kent State University.

271 pages, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2
Cloth 978-1-931968-42-3 $42.95
Paper 978-1-931968-43-0 $19.95

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Geoff writes about sugar mapling

Geoff Gevalt, former BJ staffer now living in Vermont, writes a blog in conjunction with his Young Writers Project described in earlier posts here. We thought you might like to read Geoff’s post today about maple sugaring. Here it is:

The trees are tapped, the buckets are up and their covers are stacked with snow.
We have two new feet of snow, and it’s 18 degrees. Tomorrow it is supposed to go down below zero.A week ago Sunday it was 40 and sunny and climbed to near 50 the next day. We had a mini run, enough to fill one barrel but not enough to boil. Strange season. I suspect that when the sap starts running it will go fast. And it will be a short season.

We’ll see. More when we actually get started.

A quick story:

Maple sugaring is all about getting bigger, adding more taps, buying new equipment. I’ve fallen prey. We started with a stainless steel pot on an open fire. My aunt, God bless her, gave me a nice check when I turned 50 — “10 bucks for every year,” she said. And she insisted I buy something useless, something that I wanted. “If I find out you bought food or paid a bill, I’ll be angry,” she said. There was no messing with Ruth, so I did what I was told and bought a nice 24" by 33" evaporator pan.

Each year I’d build an “arch” or fire box out of cement blocks. Last couple of years, I added some firebrick inside. It was a royal pain in the ass. Once the ground settled, so would the arch and I was rebuilding it every day.

Enough, I said. In honor of the passing of Ruth and my mom, I splurged and bought a new (bigger) pan AND a metal arch. Slicker than … well, slick. In fact it sits awaiting its christening. So you don’t think I’m totally extravagant, I’ll tell you I HAD to buy a new pan since I fried the old one last year while napping inside in front of a DVD the kids were watching. So there, now you know I’m not extravagant. Just stupid.

Anyways, I bought this new rig from my friend Ricky up at Goodrich’s Maple Farm. Ricky used to have his equipment shed with Danforth’s in East Montpelier, but he sold out to Glenn Goodrich up in Cabot. So I wandered up one day and bought a new pan. I regretted it almost as soon as I got home and within a week was back up there buying the entire unit. (Now you KNOW I’m stupid.)

The fun part was running into Glenn Goodrich. He started out with 25 taps, he said, “just like you.”

“How many you have now?”


No kidding. He has an operation like you can’t believe. The evaporator is enclosed and resembled a sawed off Greyhound bus. Everything is recycled; he’s got the steam winding up through to warm an extra pan on top which about 15 feet in the air. He’s got pumps that shoot air into copper pipes with pin holes to get the sap bubbling — it gets it hotter quicker. He uses reverse osmosis which removes much of the water and so he starts off boiling a condensed sap to begin with. And get this, he syphons off the condensed steam AND the water from the sap, stores it and is awaiting FDA approval to sell it as bottled water.

Now that’s Yankee ingenuity.

I will say right here and now I will not, not ever, have 20,000 taps. Count on it.

Click on the top photo to enlarge for better view.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Editorials mark war anniversary

Few editorials marked the fourth anniversay of the start of the war in Itraq. Here are summaries of a few posted by Editor & Publisher which plans to add to the list:

-- The Washington Post accepted blame for helping to ease the U.S. into the war but said it continued to support our open-ended presence in Iraq. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times did not offer new general statements on the war.

-- The Ventura County (Ca.) Star, on the other hand, wants out now, declaring that "shock and awe" has become just "shock." It concluded: "More Iraqi and American casualties in 2007 and beyond will bring us no closer to a harvest of democracy in Iraq. The war has brought less, not more, security to the region. We have stayed too long already.

-- The Toledo (Ohio) Blade said much the same: "The failure of Congress to pass decisive legislation to limit the Iraq war reflects more closely the personal and political interests of its individual members than the will of the American people. It is clear that the great majority of Americans are ready to see the Iraq war draw to an end....But Congress either doesn't get it or doesn't have the courage to bring the matter to an end.

--The Daytona Beach (Fla.) News Journal: "There isn't a neat solution Americans can embrace -- no conditional occupation that Iraqis will accommodate, no withdrawal with honor, not even a peace negotiated under American aegis. The objective, in any case, can no longer afford to be illusory. Democracy won't work for now. American policing isn't working. But the killing must stop.

-- The Detroit News, which supported the "surge" in Iraq, continues to back a strong effort, for now: "Our expectation is for the administration to do everything necessary to achieve whatever it is that will constitute a victory in Iraq, in a very short time, and then get out. The nation will not tolerate the marking of a fifth anniversary in Iraq with no discernible progress toward completing the mission."

--The North County (Ca.) Times backed the partioning of Iraq: "A divided Iraq might even redeem the sacrifice in blood and treasure we've made, though we've unequally distributed that burden among today's military families and tomorrow's taxpayers. At the very least, a divided Iraq might have a chance."

Click on the headline to see the E&P story.

Washington Post sells ad on sports section front

The Washington Post published an advertisement at the bottom of the Sports section front on Sunday and Monday, the first time in decades the newspaper has given over part of the front page of a daily news section to advertising.

The appearance of a Comcast SportsNet ad that spanned the width of the section's front, is another sign of tough times in the newspaper industry, as papers look for new revenue to help offset declining circulation and advertising.

"We in the newsroom feel like the space on the front of sections has traditionally been sacred space for us, so it's with some reluctance that we make it available to advertisers," said Philip Bennett, the paper's managing editor. "But we've seen what these ads look like and we're comfortable with them."

There were no plans to sell ads on the front page of The Post, Bennett said. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today sell front-page display ads. The New York Times sells ads in small type at the bottom of its front page.

The Post, which has sold ads on its weekly Real Estate and Health section fronts, plans to accept such ads for its Home, Business, Sports and Travel sections, said Katharine Weymouth, The Post's vice president for newspaper advertising. She would not reveal how much Comcast paid for the ad, but said section-front advertisers pay a premium over standard ad rates.

Front-page advertising was a mainstay of American newspapers during the industry's first few centuries. It was not until the 20th century that Page One, and later individual section fronts, became sacrosanct, news-only domains at many large newspapers, and later smaller newspapers.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Top of the morning to you

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.

In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy,

All the world seems bright and gay.

And when Irish eyes are smiling,

Sure, they steal your heart away.

The lyrics to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling were written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. and set to the music of Enerst Ball for Olcott's production of The Isle O' Dreams. The music was published in 1912.

Chauncey Olcott was born in Buffalo, New York. He produced several shows about Ireland for the New York stage. His other hits included My Wild Irish Rose. Ernest Ball was also born in America, but was devoted to Ireland.

Friday, March 16, 2007

John “Sonny” Deskovich Jr. dies

[John was a former credit department employee of the Beacon Journal. His late father, John Sr., was a maintenance department employee, and brother, Robert was a truck driver.]

John ``Sonny" Deskovich, Jr., 67, passed away peacefully March 14, 2007.

Born in Pennsylvania, he lived in Akron all of his life. Sonny retired from Alside and as a reserve officer with the Akron Police Department and was a member of the Akron Yacht Club.

He was preceded in death by his father, John Deskovich, Sr. and wife, Cassandra. He is survived by daughter, Tracy (Samuel) Verduce; grandchildren, Alyse, Joey, Tony; mother, Ann Deskovich; brother, Robert (Mary) Deskovich; sisters, Sophie Phillips and Carol (Ron) Krosnick.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the Billow FALLS Chapel, 1907 23rd St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44223, with Rev. Ernie Kemppel officiating. Friends may call 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. If desired, donations may be made to a children's cancer camp known as Camp Quality USA, 3047 Dover Dr., Akron, OH 44312. (Billow FALLS Chapel.)
[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Friday, March 16, 2007, page B6. col. 4]

Andrew Miller, AP tech in 1940s, dies

Andrew Miller died on March 15, 2007, with his wife of 65 years, Charlotte, by his side. He was 88 years old.

Andy Miller was born Sept. 29, 1918, in Akron, Ohio, into a family of German-Hungarian immigrants. The youngest of three brothers and one sister, he went to high school and college in Akron, and worked as a Western Union courier and for the Associated Press at the Akron Beacon Journal. He was with the AP when he married Charlotte Barker on Dec. 4, 1941.

He was inducted into the Army Airways Communication System, Detachment 237, in September 1944. He served in Uxbridge, England, as a control tower operator and was honorably discharged at Camp Atterbury, Ind., in June 1946. He received the European Theater Ribbon; Good Conduct Medal; and the Victory Medal, World War II; and he was grateful to return safely home to his family at the end of the war.

In civilian life, Andy continued his career in air traffic control while supporting his growing family and rebuilding his home. He worked at Cleveland Hopkins Airport and Akron-Canton Airport, retiring June 30, 1973, with a celebration that honored his decades of service to the Federal Aviation Administration and the safe travels of millions of airline passengers.

He was methodical in his work, devoted to his friends and family, generous in his hospitality, boisterous in his laughter, secure in his position in life, and proud of all of those whose lives he touched.

Andy Miller was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Elizabeth Miller; brothers, Julius, Joe, and Geza, and his sister, Helen. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Miller of Ghent; sons, David (Roni), Jim (Joy), Paul (Annie), and Dennis (Beth); daughter, Carol Morison (Kyle); 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. SUNDAY at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd., with Rev. Bill Meyer officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hospice Care Center, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Akron, Ohio, 44333; or Ghent Christian Church, 4200 Granger Road, Akron, Ohio, 44333. (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)
[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Friday, March 16, 2007, page B7, col. 3 ]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pruitt sees bright future, thanks to Knight Ridder

Here's part of a memo from Gary Pruitt forwarded to us by Larry Froelich. Click on the headline to read the full memo on our website.

Here's Gary:

First, our cash profits are greater for having done the deal.

Second, remember the advertising growth I mentioned earlier? Well, if we hadn’t acquired Knight Ridder, McClatchy would have suffered an advertising revenue decline last year instead of a gain. In other words, the Knight Ridder papers have improved McClatchy’s performance.

Third, the Knight Ridder deal made McClatchy a more formidable internet presence, with expected internet revenues of nearly $200 million this year. The new scale of our internet operations also allows us to advantageously partner with large technology companies. We will be sharing news about this with you as partnerships emerge.

Most important, with the Knight Ridder acquisition, we’ve added thousands of talented colleagues, outstanding newspapers, websites and specialty publications, and more growth markets to our already strong and successful portfolio. The integration of McClatchy and Knight Ridder has gone exceptionally well. We are bigger, stronger, more diversified and more competitive than ever before.

As part of our analysis of the Knight Ridder deal, we sold 13 newspapers – 12 former Knight Ridder papers and one McClatchy paper. These were difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. But they were made with the best long_term interests of the company in mind and at heart. As a result, our 31 daily and 50 weekly papers, our internet operations and our other businesses all share a brighter future.

Photos of March 14 Retirees lunch

Click on the headline to see a photo album of the March 13 retirees lunch at Papa's Joes in the Valley.

Olesky's first experience with Aetna drug plan

Report from John Olesky:

Well, I had my first experience with the Aetna prescription coverage that the Canadian forced BJ retirees into as of Feb. 1.

$12 was my monthly co-pay under United Health Care for my six prescriptions.

$144 was my annual co-pay under United Health Care.

$180 would be my monthly co-pay under Aetna if I got exactly the same prescriptions that I did under United Health Care.

$2,160 would be my annual co-pay under Aetna if I got exactly the same prescriptions that I did under United Health care.

$2,016 would be the annual increase for me under Aetna if I got exactly the same prescriptions that I did under United Health care.

Hytrin (terazosin), Accupril (quinapril) and Plendil (felopipine) have generic equivalents, so that brings the cost of those three to $15 a month.

Uroxatral has no generic equivalent but is on Aetna's approved list so I'm stuck with $20 a month for that.

Aciphex and Celebrex are not even on Aetna's approved drugs list, so that means $40 apiece for those two. There are drugs in the same class as Aciphex (such as Nexium, Prevacid and Protonix), but Celebrex is the only drug in its category.

So that brings my Aetna co-pay to $145 a month for what cost me $12 a month under United Health Care, even after switching at least half of my prescriptions to something else. That's $1,840 a year co-pay under Aetna. And the way that Aetna figures how the $2,400 limit applies, by the actual cost of the drugs and not by my co-pays, I'll be paying 100% on my own before you can say "heart attack." That means I'll pay 100% till I've spent an additional $1,400 of my own money, for a potential out-of-pocket cost of $3,240. That sounds like a lot more than my UHC $124 a year.

I can reduce my cost by one-third by getting 90-day supplies for each prescription via mail through Aetna, which charges for 60 days if you get 90 days by mail. That would bring my yearly co-pay down to $1,200. But the $2,400 limit would kick in just as fast, the way that Aetna figures it.

It looks like the current BJ employees aren't the only ones who got screwed by the handoff from KRI to McClatchy to the Canadian. The retirees are on a serious hit list.

-- John Olesky

Followup on Copley newspapers sale

The Dover-New Philadelphia Times-Reporter had a followup story on the sale of Copley newspapers quoting GateHouse CEO and the T-R publisher.

Click on the headline to read the full story. Here are comments from the story:

GateHouse CEO Michael E. Reed has said investing in news content is important.

“Good journalism is our duty,” Reed told Business Week. “If we don’t do that, we know we will lose our readership in buckets.”

Reed, a University of Dayton graduate, told Business Week that he believes in buying smaller papers because they are not encountering the same competition bigger newspapers face for advertising and news.

“These newspapers are the dominant media in their towns,” Reed said. “That’s why we never look at a market and say it’s too small.”

Michael Starn, the T-R’s publisher, said he was pleased about the pending purchase.

“I think it is terrific news for The T-R staff and for the community,” he said in a statement.

“(GateHouse) believes in the local autonomy of its community newspapers, which will allow us to carry on with the excellence our readers and advertisers expect,” he said.

“Hyper-local” news, a trendy journalism term, essentially means enhancing coverage of small-town events, politics and sports. So, for instance, the front-page space the Washington Post would give to a breaking Capitol Hill scandal would be the same as a “hyper-local” publication would give to a big decision by an area school board. The smaller paper might cover the national story through its wire services, but that story might be placed lower on the front page or inside.

In other words, it means devoting a lot of editorial attention and space to an event that the world at large wouldn’t notice, but means a lot to area readers and families.

With a circulation of about 23,000, The Times-Reporter is the 16th largest daily newspaper in Ohio, according to 2006 circulation figures from Editor and Publisher magazine. Ohio’s largest newspaper, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, has a circulation of about 339,000.

But The T-R is big for GateHouse – it will be its sixth- or seventh-largest newspaper, Starn said.

GateHouse currently publishes 76 daily newspapers with a total paid circulation of about 405,000, according to a February 2007 story in Editor and Publisher. That only amounts to an average circulation of about 5,330. The seven Copley dailies GateHouse will acquire have a combined circulation of 241,060 for an average of 34,437.

The Times-Reporter was created in 1968 after Dover’s Daily Reporter bought New Philadelphia’s Daily Times. Copley bought the paper in 2001 from the Journal Register Co. of Yardley, Pa.

GateHouse is the fifth owner of the Times-Reporter since 1987. See also a sidebar on the Times-Reporter.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It’s the Boston Globe, NOT the Bangalore Globe!

This is the message of a full-page ad placed in the Boston Globe by the Newspaper Guild:

Tell the New York Times Co. to stop sending Boston Globe jobs to India.

Dear Boston Globe Readers, Advertisers, Subscribers;

The New York Times Co., owner of the Boston Globe, has made the egregious mistake of choosing to outsource the work of Globe advertising and circulation employees to Bangalore, India.

These loyal and experienced Globe employees have worked with customers for years on their advertising & circulation account billing needs. They have always ensured that a positive, professional, consistent and successful relationship exists between readers, advertisers and The Boston Globe. And they have ensured that the Globe reaches home delivery subscribers in a timely and professional manner 7 days a week.

Now our membersÆ jobs are being outsourced to Bangalore, India and the quality of customer relationships with The Boston Globe could be dramatically and negatively impacted.

Our Boston Newspaper Guild members have worked diligently for years to ensure customer service quality. Personal account needs are always a priority, and their chief concern is your success.

By outsourcing our work, The Boston Globe & New York Times Co. are sending a message that they no longer care enough to retain the very best people to handle customer accounts and client relationships.

Further, billing and account information will now be shipped overseas to Bangalore, India, putting customers' most vital information at risk.

To voice concern about outsourcing the work of people at The Boston Globe, please call the Globe: 617-929-2000

On behalf of the members of the Boston Newspaper Guild who bring The Boston Globe to its readers, we ask for your support in the face of our members losing their jobs.

It’s the Boston Globe, NOT the Bangalore Globe!

This Message is brought to you by the Executive Committee of the Boston Newspaper Guild TNG-CWA Local 31245 on behalf of our members, who bring you the Boston Globe.

The ad is signed by Guild president Daniel B. Totten and officers Steve Richards, Kathie Dalton, Patrice Sneyd, Jenna Russell, Carl Younger and Scott Steeves.

Repository, 8 other Copley papers sold

GateHouse Media Inc. said Tuesday that it agreed to buy nine newspapers from Copley Press Inc. for $380 million, expanding its presence in the Midwest, the Associated Press reported.

The purchase includes the Canton Repository, the Massillon Independent, the Dover-New Philadelphia Times-Reporter and the Suburbanite, a weekly newspaper in Green

The purchase also includes the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star, the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., and four other daily newspapers in those areas, with a total combined daily circulation of 241,060. The deal also includes the Subururbanite and another weekly newspaper with a combined circulation of 34,918.

GateHouse, based in Fairport, N.Y., said it would continue Copley's "outstanding stewardship." It expects to close the deal by the end of April.

"These newspapers are dominant local news providers in the markets they serve, with a rich tradition of journalistic excellence and local advertising reach, and therefore fit perfectly into the business strategy of GateHouse Media," Chief Executive Michael E. Reed said.

Hal Fuson, a Copley senior vice president, confirmed the price and said a deal was signed Tuesday. He did not elaborate on financial terms and declined to say if there were other bidders.

GateHouse publishes 74 daily newspapers with total circulation of 386,000 and 226 weekly newspapers with total paid circulation of about 525,000 and free circulation of about 477,000, according to its annual report filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also publishes 113 shoppers with total circulation of about 1.9 million.

Its three largest daily newspapers are in the Boston area: The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., the Enterprise in Brockton, Mass., and the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass.

The company posted a loss of $1.6 million on revenue of $314.9 million last year.

The sale leaves San Diego-based Copley with one daily newspaper, The San Diego Union-Tribune. The privately held company plans to keep its flagship paper and continue operating its wire service, Copley News Service.

In December, Copley sold the Daily Breeze and three weekly newspapers to Hearst Corp. in a deal that will eventually transfer ownership of the Los Angeles-area paper to Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc.

Financial details of that deal were not disclosed. But in court documents filed at the time, the purchase price was estimated at $25 million for a deal that included the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, The Beach Reporter and More San Pedro.

GateHouse shares fell 1.2 percent, or 24 cents, to $19.70 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, then rebounded 7 cents in after-hours trading.

For a list of publications, go to the GateHouse Media web site

The Akron area papers reported the sale with the same basic company news release.

See reports in the Canton Repository

Massillon Independent

Dover- New Philadelphia Times-Reporter

Monday, March 12, 2007

State of the News Media 2007

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, a non-political, nonpartisan research institute that is part of the Pew Research Center in Washington,. today released the State of the News Media 2007–its fourth annual report.

You can read an overview of the report on our web site or go to the lenghty online report

You also may want to take a look at Facts About Newspapers, published by the Newspaper Association of America.

So you will get an idea of how times have changed we are reprinting the association’s statistics that were published in the June/July 1993 issue of Sidebar–just 13 years ago. The statistics for 2005, the latest from NAA, are inserted in brackets
The 1994 edition of Facts About Newspapers, published by the Newspaper Association of America, presents a statistical portrait of the U.S. newspaper industry. Here are some highlights:
+ More than 114.7 million American adults (61.7 percent) read a daily newspaper on an average weekday in 1993. [down to 51 per cent]
+ U.S. newspapers received the greatest percentage of all advertising expenditures in1993 - 23.1 percent, as compared with 22.2 percent for television, 19.9 percent for direct mail and 6.8 percent for radio. [down to 15 per cent]
+ More than 7.4 million tons of V.S. newsprint - 58 percent of all U.S. newsprint - were recycled in 1993, up from 36 percent in 1988. [increased to 9.7 million tons]
+ There were 1,556 U.S. daily newspapers in 1993, down from 1,570 in 1992.
[down to 1,452]
+ Newspaper employment increased to 451,700 in 1993, from 451,300 in 1992.
[down to 375.600]

[Circulation down 2.6 per cent daily and 3.1 per cent on Sunday. Until 2004 losses were less than 1 per cent[]

Friday, March 09, 2007

Catching up with Eric Sandstrom

Eric Sandstrom worked at the Beacon Journal from 1986-1998. His current job is managing editor / marketing & communications at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

“Most of our publications target physicians, both local and national, and focus on new medical research and procedures,” Eric writes. :”I also teach a public relations course at night at Cleveland State University.

“My wife, Monica, teaches math at Roswell Kent Middle School in Akron. We vacation mostly in Colorado, where our kids (now adults) live and play. I am a long distance runner and member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Akron.”

Eric’s home email address is

Alice: A prize-winning photo by Ed Suba

The blog occasionally likes to reprint memorable stories–current or past. A recent example is a Bob Dyer story posted in the Commentary section of our website.

And as a witness that there also are many memorable photos is this one of "Alice" which appeared in the July/August 1991 issue of Sidebar, the old BJ employee publication. The photo of Alice was with a story on winners of the 13th Annual Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards sponsored by Sigma Delta Chi and the Cleveland Press Club. The Beacon Journal staff received 25 awards at a June 13 banquet.

Among the awards was Ed Suba’s winning portrait -- a simple face shot of Alice smoking a cigarette outside a Merriman Road apartment. The portrait of Alice appeared earlier on the cover of Beacon Magazine to illustrate a story about Alice by Eric Sandstom who is now in public relations at University Hospitals in Cleveland. Alice was both homeless and mentally ill.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

An update from Pat Dougherty

Here’s an update from Pat Dougherty, BJ Engraving Department retiree

By Pat Dougherty

Yes, there is life after retirement. I am totally convinced that 'retirement' is much mo
re than a vision of just sitting down in your Lazyboy rocker and doing nothing. Doing nothing is borrrrrrring!

With that in mind, after retiring from the engraving department, I got a job at Acme packing groceries and chasing carts. Had a ball with the kids I worked with. Was I ever tha
t naive about life? I probably was but I chose to not remember. (Selective memory you know. It's one of the perks of my age group.) At any rate there was enough fodder for a half dozen soap operas to be found in the store. Single mothers struggling to make ends meet - Marriage break-ups.- engagements. - In-store romances. - teen pregnancies - Young boys (& girls) who never had to do a lick of work or follow orders trying to adjust to a brand new world. And that's just the help. Customers were just as varied and just as much fun. I loved them all. Got to play Santa the last couple of years. Gave out candy canes to the kids. I will never forget an elderly lady who came up to me with a sly grin and whispered that she really hadn't been a very good girl this past year. So I whispered back to her, " In that case you get two candy canes." I will never forget the look on her face.

However all good things have to come to an end and I had to leave the Acme because of a bad back and knee. Just couldn't hack the bending over to back bags and pushing the carts around the parking lot. I really miss working with the folks there.

Got a new job as the custodian at St. Joseph's church in Cuyahoga Falls. It's part-time and lot less hectic than the Acme. I open and close the church and work at my own pace to keep the place clean. If I get tired and can just sit down and rest. Can't beat the atmosphere. Just me and God. We have had quite a few interesting conversations. Mostly I talk and He listens. But every once in a while He gets a word in edgewise.

Since I left the BJ, Liz and I have managed to add a couple of grand kids for a total of 7. The icing on the cake however, was the arrival 18 months ago, of our first great grandson Kai David Nelson.
My woodworking has been slow this winter - too cold in the garage. However I will be finishing a hope chest for my granddaughter Malinda. It's a graduation present. She will be getting a chemical engineering degree from UA in May.

Trying my hand at Bonsai. Have killed 5 plants so far. Where is Art Krummel when I need him? Maybe I should just stick to working with the timber rather than trying to grow it.

Read the BJ blogspot every day. Really enjoy reading about old friends and co-workers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A few graphs about the Ridders

Here are a few selected graphs from a story by Joe Soucheray of the St. Paul Pioneer Press The headline says A Ridder goes, but the paper endures.

Why Par Ridder went running to the Enemy Paper [Minneapolis Star Tribune] as its new publisher is a mystery he would not satisfactorily answer for this newspaper, nor, I suppose, does he have any obligation to reveal anything outside the boilerplate that guys like him must learn along the way.


These guys — these interchangeable publishers — aren't newspaper guys. That would worry me if I worked in Minneapolis.

If Ridder could suddenly walk away from St. Paul, where he has history and a great-grandfather yelling at him from the grave, imagine what a sharp young guy like Ridder can accomplish when he gets in that boardroom with the Avista Capital investors.


I met Tony Ridder once. Tony is Par's father. I didn't know who he was. He came to town years ago to check on something, and we shared an elevator ride. I held an unlit cigar. This tall, regal fellow got into me pretty good about the cigar.

"It's not lit,'' I pointed out. For all I knew, he was some guy going upstairs to complain about an editorial.

That it was unlit didn't stop him from whining.

"Hey, pal. It's not lit. Don't worry.''

When he got off, somebody else on the elevator told me who the guy was. Oh.

Joe Soucheray can be reached at or 651-228-5474.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Finding Steve Love at Hiram

The search for Love has ended. Since no one was looking for me, the previous statement may not be totally accurate, but, hey, I was a columnist. In any case, the BJ Retirees blog has requested I reveal when, why and how I crossed to the dark side and became Director of College Relations at Hiram College. The answers are simple:

I became a flack a year and a half ago. I did so because the lovely Jackie
Love quit supporting me in the style to which I had become accustomed after finding herself among the Hoover executives sent packing by Maytag (she is now events and marketing manager at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce). At the time Jackie was “retired” by Hoover, I was advising the Buchtelite, the University of Akron student newspaper, and teaching newswriting, worthwhile but less than lucrative endeavors.

When Tim Bryan was promoted to vice president for institutional advancement, he hired me to succeed
him. Hiram is such a great college that I have even become a student in the Masters of Art in interdisciplinary studies program. This adds 20 to 25 hours to my week, which has led me to the conclusion that I am flunking retirement.

I miss writing columns and editorials and the newsroom and editorial board associations. I miss all of you out there in cyberspace, Florida and other unusual locales. Someday, I’m going to get this retirement thing write, er, right. Arthur Krummel has been coaching me.

Best to all of you in the Beacon Journal family, past and present.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tony's boy moving on up; Harte likes him

Par Ridder named Star Tribune CEO, publisher

St. Paul Pioneer Press publisher replaces J. Keith Moyer, who recently resigned after almost six years as Star Tribune publisher.

By Matt McKinney
Par Ridder, the former publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the son of a newspaper family that goes back more than a century, moved across the river on Monday to lead the Star T
ribune as publisher and CEO.

Ridder, 38, replaces J. Keith Moyer, who recently resigned after almost six years as Star Tribune publisher.

His arrival in Minneapolis, announced to staff this morning in a company meeting, comes the same day as the close of the newspaper's sale to Avista Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.

Ridder took questions from the newspaper's staff for 30 minutes after the announcement. He said he has not seen a budget for the paper, and would spend the day touring the building and meeting the staff.

He mused about his decision to work for a newspaper that for generations was viewed by his family as the competition. His grandfather, he said, read the Star Tribune for 40 years, but never subscribed.

"It's unprecedented, to say the least, for a Ridder to come over here," he said.

The move follows months of upheaval in the industry that saw the sale of Knight-Ridder chain to McClatchy Co., ending the Ridder family's 114-year hold on newspapering. Par Ridder's father, P. Anthony Ridder, oversaw the $4.5 billion sale of the family company last year to the McClatchy Corp. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was then sold to Denver, Colo.-based MediaNews Group.

Before coming to the Pioneer Press in 2004, Ridder was publisher of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He started his career at The Washington Post in advertising sales and later moved to advertising and circulation roles at the Contra Costa Times and the Akron Beacon Journal.

He earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Washington and an MBA in general management from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Sara, have three children, two daughters and a son.

"Par is one of the most dynamic and talented publishers in the country," said Chris Harte, CEO of the Star Tribune and chairman of The Star Tribune Company.

This was the complete Star Trib story.

Monday, March 05, 2007

McClatchy closes sale of Minneapolis paper

By Dale Kasler
Sacramento Bee Staff Writer
The McClatchy Co. completed the sale of its largest newspaper Monday, as a private equity firm took ownership of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Sacramento-based McClatchy, which owns The Bee, sold the Star Tribune to Avista Capital Partners for $530 million in cash plus an estimated $160 million in tax benefits. The total price of $690 million is a little more than half what McClatchy paid for the paper in 1998, prompting some investment analysts to say the price was too low.

But McClatchy Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt has defended the deal, saying it's a more than fair price given the current climate for newspapers. As a multiple of cash flow, the price is higher than what McClatchy paid for Knight Ridder Inc. last year. It's also higher than the after-tax price that McClatchy received for the 12 Knight Ridder papers it sold, Pruitt said in a recent interview.

McClatchy sold the paper because of its deteriorating advertising revenue. The Star Tribune, though profitable, had become McClatchy's "worst performing paper," Pruitt said.

The deal makes McClatchy the nation's third largest newspaper chain, behind Gannett Co. and Tribune Co.

McClatchy stock was trading at $36.49, down 38 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sports, business combined today

The business section of the Beacon Journal disappeared a day early.

An A1 graph on Sunday said the business section and sports section would be combined beginning Tuesday, but they were combined today. Presumably the business section will remain a stand-alone section on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Don Fobean, brother of late Ed Fobean, dies

[He was the brother of the late Ed Fobean, a BJ composing room supervisor who died July 20, 2006] ]

STOW -- Donald F. Fobean, 75, passed away in peace surrounded by his family on Feb. 28, 2007.

He was born on March 6, 1931 in Baden, Pennsylvania to the late Joseph and Eva Fobean. Don was a longtime resident of Stow and member of Holy Family Catholic Church. He served in the Korean War with the Marine Corps. Don worked as a manager of information systems at Mohawk/Yokohama Tire and Rubber Co. He received the lifetime achievement aw
ard from Data Processing Management Association (DPMA/AITP) for his many years of dedicated service.

Preceded in death by his brothers, Joseph and Edward, Don is survived by his wife of 46 years, Elaine (Yurek); sons, Donald Jr. (Rene), Jeff (Christy) and Eric (Dale); grandchildren, Jake, Allyson, Katlyn, Kelsey, Emma, Jack and Samantha; and sister, Doris (Raymond) Scott.

Calling hours will be 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Dunn-Quigley, Ciriello & Carr Stow Chapel (3333 Kent Rd.) Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Family Catholic Church. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, where the V.F.W. Ralph Huff Post #1062 will render military services. The family suggests memorials to the Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 89473, Cleveland, OH 44101.
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, March 4, 2006, page B5, col. 6]

Friday, March 02, 2007

A must-see interactive job ad for editor

Roanoke Times: Coolest Job Ad Ever

The Roanoke (VA) Times is looking for a new executive editor -- and it looks like they're serious about recruiting someone fun, creative, and online savvy. They've published an extensive and impressive multimedia recruitment ad.

This is a must-see! It begins with Roanoke Times multimedia editor Seth Gitner banging on your monitor to get your attention, and then explaining the position and the ad. The toolbar at the bottom offers links to several sections.

A favorite section is "Who We Want." It offers video interviews with several Roanoke Times staffers, as well as a local journalism professor -- and a reader, who offers ample and specific criticisms of the paper.

Here are comments about the ad from one viewer:

"My only gripe: On the 12-inch monitor of my low-end Macbook, the ad's toolbar wasn't immediately visible. I had to scroll down to see it. I wondered, why didn't they put it on the top of that page? Then it occurred to me: They probably aren't interested in hiring someone who relies solely on a laptop with a small monitor. Understandable.

"I'd love to see more recruitment ads like this. It not only shows you're serious about getting quality candidates -- it's excellent branding. And (as this post indicates) it's pretty effectively viral. Well done, Roanoke Times -- and good luck with your search."

Click on the headline to take your own look at the ad.

E-media tidbits from Poyner Online]

Email from Sue Murphy in Hilton Head

Sue Sattler Murphy, whose former husband, Ron Sattler, died February 26, retired after 17 years from Advertising/Administration. She started in production as a temp working serveral years in circulation before retiring. Before that she was a correspondent. She and Mike moved to Hilton Head, SC, in August, 2006.

Their address is
239 Beach City Rd. #1130
Hilton Head, SC 29926

Email from Sue says, “Would love to see anytone who’s coming this way.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Blog info that may be of some help

Since my retirement in 1995 I have been keeping a list of e-mail addresses of current, former and retired BJ types. There are now 165 on the list. As the list grew, bulk mailing became cumbersome. It also did not allow for use of photos. A blog (web log) was opened in July, 2004. We have viewers from LA, D.C., New York, Paris, Canada, New Zealand and even Mongolia. News of retirees and former BJ employees along with. breaking news and photos about the Beacon Journal and other news media is posted daily to the blog. Our website, established in September, 2006, is used for longer items and commentary. The website url is

Please let me know if I can add you to the e-mail list.l

You can also find old friends on the blog .

Please check the blog often. We would like to know about anything new in your career, retirement and family. We also love to get photos. If you have news about yourself or know news about others, please let us know. Many BJ types would be interested in what has happened to you.

+ Be sure to check the archives for earlier posts.
+ Click on any underlined headlines to go to a linked site. Click on photos to enlarge for a better view.
+ Check for comments at the end of each post. Anonymous comments are permitted, but we suggest you use the selection “other” to leave your name .
+ If you need an email address, just click on the link to E-mail List to see an updated list of addresses. There also are links to Retirees Addresses with postal address of 300.and to the Retirees Website..

Harry Liggett
March 1995 BJ News Desk retiree

Save the Rep web site started

Employees of the Canton Repository have started a web site called which seeks community support. The Rep and other Copley Newspapers were put up for sale in October, 2006.

Among those who have expressed an interest in the Ohio Copley newspap
ers is Beacon Journal owner David Black.

The photo of Guild members is from the web site.

You may want to visit the site to show your support. Here are some interesting facts from the site:

12 Repository positions have been cut since Dec. 2006, other vacancies are not being filled

25% of the staff at the Akron Beacon Journal was slashed

100 members cut or bought out at the Plain Dealer over the past six years

44,000 news industry employees have been cut in the past five years

And here is the web site's profile on Black Press:

Privately held primarily by David Black. Torstar, owner of the Toronto Star, holds a 20-percent stake. The company purchased the Akron Beacon Journal in 2006, paying $165 million.

David Black founded the business in 1975. The company gained attention when it bought 33 Canadian titles from UK group Trinity in 1997. In 2001 he acquired the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from Liberty Newspapers. Black merged the Star-Bulletin with a small local weekly, building circulation until the revived paper now equals Gannett's Honolulu Advertiser.

The company owns one other daily newspaper is The Red Deer Advocate in Alberta. It also owns some of the oldest, most trusted newspapers in British Columbia, like the Chilliwack Progress, founded in 1891, and the Ashcroft Journal, which first published in 1895, and modern, cosmopolitan voices like the Westender, in Vancouver. It bought the 10 King County Journal newspapers late last year, and closed the daily King County Journal, which had been losing money and circulation for years. The paper shut down Jan. 24.

David Black was the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award (DEYA), presented by the University of Victoria’s faculty of business board of advisors. The award was announced on Feb. 14. The annual award acknowledges an inspirational entrepreneur who has had a significant and positive impact on the global community through his or her business leadership.

Guild News from Bob Demay

Guild members - just a brief note to fill you in on Tuesday's membership meeting and news.

First item of note comes from the bargaining table of the pressmen. The employees now have two pensions plans, one under the ABJ and a second administered by the international. They have been told by company negotiators that both will be frozen and employees rolled into the 401k plan with the same match the rest of the building has, including the Guild. Company negotiators are adamant that this happen. It sure to face us down the road in 2008. Most company's who do this increase the match for the 401k; this is not the case in our building.

FYI: The new employee manual that you may have read about in the morning e-mail announcements does not apply to Guild employees.

The Newspaper Guild and University of Maryland will be conducting a random online survey of members this spring about the state of the industry. Just wanted to tip you off if something shows up in your in box.

Guild negotiators will meet with the company this Friday over the proposed ethics policy. The latest proposal from the company was a copy of the policy in place at the Rocky Mountain News. It contains the same provisions as their own policy, just worded differently. We are very concerned about is broad and restrictive language in the area of outside activities which is covered by our current contract.

We are trying to resolve an issue of employees not being given full credit for their hours work. Employees working more than 32 hours a week are to be considered full time. Letters distributed to employees affected are only being credited as 80% which has a direct bearing on certain benefits.

Two issues headed for arbitration are the use of regular and student correspondents after a reduction in force and also the issue of artists being force to do page layout. No dates have been set for these hearings.

Company issued cell phones will soon be no more. They want out of the cell phone business and dealing with the bills and headaches that go along with them. Employees will be paid a monthly stipend for the use of their personal phones for work use. The amount of the stipend is still being worked out. I'll keep you posted. The odd part about this is this is what the Guild proposed in the last round of bargaining. The photo dept will continue to use company issued equipment due to transmitting needs. There would also be two pool phones for reporters covering breaking news.

Representatives from The Repository in Canton have said that bids for the Copley Ohio papers are due March 10. They expect to hear within two weeks of that date who the new owners will be. David Black, Lee Enterprises, and a local attorney are the leading candidates. Employees have started a Web site, looking for community support and provide information to the public about the pending sale. They have obvious concerns about Black purchasing them with the very real possibility of consolidation or centralizing certain departments. The Guild represents much of the building in Canton.

A heavy loss of Guild jobs in Canton and Massillon through centralization or a stock sale of the papers would have major implications for Local One, which is already on shaky financial ground. The layoffs here and buyouts in Cleveland have taken a heavy toll on our budget. Major spending cuts have already taken place still leaving us with a sizable shortfall. Unit chairs from the local met recently to look at possible options. Organizing, merger and staff cuts have all been discussed. We will have to wait and see how the situation with Copley is going to play before we take further action.

Stay tuned

Bob DeMay