Friday, August 31, 2007

Newspaper Ads Fall 8.6 Percent in 2Q

By Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Advertising revenues at newspapers fell 8.6 percent in the April-to-June period of this year, as an accelerating decline in print ads more than outweighed gains in online advertising, an industry group reported Friday.

Print-only advertising at newspapers slumped 10.2 percent to $10.5 billion in the second quarter of the year, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of declines, according to figures compiled by the Newspaper Association of America.

Online advertising at newspapers continued to grow, rising 19.3 percent to $795.7 million, although that was a slower rate than the 22.3 percent gain recorded in the first quarter and the 35 percent gain in the fourth quarter of last year.

At the same time, the share of online ads as a portion of all newspaper revenues continued to rise, making up 7 percent of total revenues in the first quarter, compared with 5.4 percent in the same period a year ago.

On a combined basis, print and online advertising combined fell 8.6 percent compared with the same three-month period a year ago to $11.3 billion, following declines of 4.8 percent in the first quarter and 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Newspapers still make up the largest category of overall advertising expenditures in the United States, but advertisers are steadily shifting money out of print advertising to the Internet as people increasingly go online for information and entertainment.

A study released by the media investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson in early August predicted that overall Internet advertising spending, including the ads on Web sites of traditional media outlets, will overtake print newspaper advertising in 2010 as the largest advertising category.

8% of Americans have their own blogs

"Eight percent of Americans currently have their own blog," said Tom Mularz, senior vice president at Synovate. "This is surprising given that a few years ago hardly anyone knew what a blog was."

Loyalty to specific blogs is relatively strong with 46 percent of blog readers reporting that they visit the same blogs regularly compared to 54 percent who search for new or different blogs.

Awareness and usage of blogs, along with people writing their own correlates to age, with younger people being more active. Close to 90 percent of people ages 25 to 34 know what a blog is, compared to 65 percent of those 65 and over. Seventy-eight percent of those ages 18 to 24 who are aware of blogs have visited a blog, compared to 45 percent of older Americans.

The survey found that there are more women bloggers than men, with 20 percent of American women who have visited blogs have their own versus 14 percent of men.

When it comes to reading blogs 39 percent read them less than once a month, another 28 percent visit them monthly, 15 percent visit them daily and 5 percent read them several times a day.

Blogger Note: Love our 5 percent.

Click on the headline to read the full story on

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A BJ promo ad from 1986

This promotion ad in the Beacon Journal was one in a series of in-paper promotion ads that won a top award in the 1986 Ohio Newspaper Advertising Executives statewide competition among daily newspapers. Click on the ad to enlarge for a better view.

Here’s the copy block for the ad promo for Bill O’Connor:

When Bill O'Connor attends one of the 120 or so movies and 80 theatrical productions he sees each year, he approaches his job as critic for the Beacon Journal in this way:

He states, "I approach the movie or play as the late James Cagney approached acting. Cagney said, "You look the other fellow in the eye and you tell the truth." "So, too, in a movie or play, we should be told the truth about the world portrayed, whether that truth be painful, funny, or insightful."

"It's when the truth is hedged or there is no truth, that the critic has to howl

Bill O'Connor did his undergraduate work at St. Francis College, and he took a Master's degree at Bowling Green University. He spent ten years as an instructor of English and drama with Montana University.

In addition, he has published two novels, Bums and Hershey Bars and The Legend of Horn Mountain and publication of a third, The Wicked Dwell Near Thee, is in negotiations.

Bill O'Connor knows his way around a stage and, so, when you're reading his reviews in the Beacon Journal that's one more way you know about movies and plays that try to tell the truth, those that fail, and those that succeed.

Akron BeaconJournal
the way you know

PD gets heat for hiring another white guy (Pluto)

Note well. This report is from the Cleveland Scene

The Plain Dealer is under fire from black journalists after adding another white guy to its roster of sports columnists, a team that now has the diversity and sex appeal of a Golden Girls shower scene.

In a letter last week, Roxanne Jones, an ESPN VP. and member of the National Association of Black Journalists, criticized the hiring of former Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto. He is white, male, and the love child of a Whose Line Is It Anyway? skit gone bad.

In her letter, Jones criticized the PD's poor minority hiring record, which includes the time editors got drunk and approved Bud Shaw's Sunday Spin column. The paper should have at least interviewed some black candidates for the job, she wrote.

Editor Susan Goldberg, formerly of the more diverse San Jose Mercury News, admits her paper is whiter than a Shelley Long movie marathon. "I came from a much more diverse newsroom," she tells Punch. "Just visually, it stood out to me." Only 14 percent of the editorial staff are minorities, she says, not including editorial writer Kevin O'Brien, who comes from Planet What the F%&# Is He Talking About?

But hiring Pluto, the best-known sports columnist in Northeast Ohio, was a no-brainer. Goldberg didn't need the charade of interviewing others. While the paper plans to cast a wider net for other jobs, "This is an exception . . He's a major player here."

The paper's mistake will not be Pluto's race, Punch predicts, but his religion. The born-again columnist once penned a piece confessing his porn addiction. Despite this serious miscalculation -- That's way too much information, Terry! -- the PD has also agreed to let Pluto pen a regular religion column.

Published: August 29, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vikings Will Not Buy Star Tribune Property

Here is a memo from Star Tribune publisher Par Ridder to Jim Romensko of Poynter Online.

By Par Ridder
Publisher and CEO

The Minnesota Vikings have advised us that they do not intend to buy the four blocks of Star Tribune property around the Metrodome. To date there is no change to the legal status of the purchase agreement as previously announced.

While we had reached agreement on a deal in principle, the collapse of the I-35W Bridge and the turbulent credit markets have caused the Vikings to reevaluate their plans.

As you know, in anticipation of this sale, we have started work on the 425 Portland Building that will make it possible for us to move all the Star Tribune employees out of the Freeman Building and into the Portland Building.

We are going to continue with the move since the costs savings of not operating two buildings plus the benefit of everyone under one roof are worth the disruption.

We will be working with Avista and our real estate advisors over the next few weeks to determine our next steps.

The current employee parking program remains the same for now, with the exception of the 2007-2008 Vikings home games. We do have a one-year lease with Impark to manage our parking lots during Vikings home games. (See todays Stribnet story for details.)

Thank you, Par

BJ started accepting credit cards in 1986

The Beacon Journal started accepting credit cards on September 23, 1986. Here's the article explaining the new service in the October/November 1986 Sidebar:

On Sept. 23, the Beacon Journal began accepting MasterCard and VISA for classified and retail advertising. Pay By Mail (PBM) subscriptions, carrier accounts or promotional items sold at the public service counter.

According to Tim Kucheman, credit manager, this move has been in the works for some time. "I can't think of anywhere I go that I can't use a credit card," says Kucheman, "so why not here?"

The system works just the same as it does at any other retail outlet where you can charge your purchases. The public service counter is equipped with a scanner which either denies or a gives approval for credit. It also identifies stolen cards.

The Beacon Journal pays a 2 per-cent per transaction fee to Bnak One, but accoring to Tim, this system is cost effective in that it elimininates the need for repeated billings and collection efforts on the part of the company.

Customers will be able to charge their classified advertisements by supplying the service representative with their card number over the telephone.

It is hoped that this service, which has been requested by our customers for some time, will enhance collections, and enable the advertising departments to increase sales.

Circulation efforts should benefit from the new service also. "Since we are promoting the PBM concept, we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay for their newspaper," said Tim.

Canadian buys New York Times table

It is a 26-foot, four-pedestal mahogany dining table that has seen most of the world's prime ministers, presidents, United Nations leaders and even the celebrity likes of Bono and Bette Midler.

When The New York Times's old editorial boardroom table went up for sale this month, it was a Canadian antiques dealer who won it at auction.

"It's hard to imagine who hasn't been around that table," said Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times.

The item came onto the market as part of The New York Times's moving sale when the company shifted from its iconic 53rd Street location in downtown Manhattan, over to a shiny new office building on 8th Avenue.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Alwynne Gwilt in the Toronto Globe and Mail

Monday, August 27, 2007

Journalists were just reporters

This is the lead for an article in The Age, an online newspaper in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:

Ink, ribbons, hot metal, blue pencils, spikes, stones, presses, plates, blue collars, scalpels, rulers, picture wheels, wire photos, carbon copies, cigarettes, tubs of photographic chemicals: newspaper offices used to be places where you would always get your hands dirty. Only snobs or big heads called themselves journalists. The rest of us were reporters.

Jim Usher was a cadet reporter in the 1950s. He asked his boss what the difference was between a reporter and a journalist. "He said a journalist had two suits, a reporter only one," Usher wrote in The Argus: Life & Death Of A Newspaper (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007), a collection of stories about The Argus, a Melbourne morning newspaper published from 1846 until 1957.

Thirty years later, when I was a junior reporter in New Zealand, I remember being told that one too. I never owned a suit, but I still considered myself a reporter by trade. I was one of the many hundreds of tradesmen and women who used to work with words. We sourced the best words we could from the best people, then we chipped and hacked and polished away at all that raw material to shape our little stories.

We were not alone in our work. Newspapers were also made by copytakers, proofreaders, copygirls and boys, compositors, press artists, printers, photographers, darkroom technicians. Words were worked over by many types of subeditor: down-table subs; top-table subs; wire subs; check subs; stone subs; sports subs; racing subs; business subs; foreign subs; features subs; supplement subs; layout subs; rewrite subs; chief subs; and copy tasters.

Click on the headline to read the lengthy article by Rachel Buchanan

Friday, August 24, 2007

About the alarming condition of news media

Journalists are by nature alarmists and believe the trade's best days are behind it -- the good work alas dried up roughly a generation ago, never to be seen again -- and now everything is going to pot.

Two thoughtul articles have appeared this week to say it isn't so. They deserve your attention.

Our own Scott Bosley, is quoted in one of the articles.

Bosley, executive director of American Society of Newspaper Editors , says that his organization does a job census each year at daily newspapers in the U.S. If it wasn’t for the growth in online jobs and new free dailies, Bosley thinks job numbers would have shrunk; instead, they’ve remained steady. As for hiring trends in the future, that depends on how well newspaper companies come up with successful business plans online.

“There are a lot of tries and experiments going on, but there’s no clear answer yet,” Bosley said. “I believe that there will be a clear answer, I’m an optimist about it, and I believe there will end up being more people practicing journalism — not journalism as we know it, but journalism which is good journalism.”

The first article by William Powers, media columnist for National Journal magazine, makes several points. One is that Paper is not dying. Paper is arguably the most successful medium in human history. People have been communicating on it for roughly 2,000 years, and there is plenty of behaviorial evidence to suggest that they're not about to abandon it.

The other view is by Mark Glaser on PBS Media Shift. Here’s what he writes:

If you follow the world of traditional journalism, you can’t help but notice the seemingly constant stream of layoffs and buyouts at news organizations. But media observers don’t often emphasize the flip side: As newspapers and broadcasters slice their senior-level workforce, they are also quietly building their digital and online teams.

For example, when I heard about job cuts at the New York Times Co. last winter, I took a quick look at the company’s online job listings, and saw a healthy supply of digital jobs still up for grabs. And while Tribune Co. has been in the news for all its devastating cuts to the L.A. Times staff, there’s still a selection of 85 interactive job openings at the parent company, including a handful at the Times. Similarly, the MTV cable networks have had far-reaching cuts and reorganizations , yet there are dozens of digital job openings listed online.

The staffing situation at traditional media companies is much more fluid than the simple cut-and-slash horror stories that play well in the press. The dire layoff scenarios at major news organizations are not as dire in smaller rural communities, where local newspapers and TV stations still perform well, or overseas where competition, audiences and ownership structures are different than in the U.S.

Sites such as and are far from hurting when it comes to media job listings.

“Right now we have 628 newspaper job openings in the U.S., from Alaska to Massachusetts to Florida to Indiana,” says Dan Rohn, former reporter for the Washington Post who has run since the late ’90s. “It’s in small towns, and I think that’s because they’re owned by families or small chains that are successful and not being hit as hard. The big compainies, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, they are publicly traded and it’s a whole different ballgame. The small papers are still serving a need in their communities.”

Rohn says that big public media companies in tech-savvy and affluent areas like Boston and Washington, DC, push more tenured employees toward retirement and buyouts to save money, the better to please Wall Street investors and analysts.

So with news organizations here and abroad wanting to hire more versatile, multi-platform journalists, how are journalism schools reacting? Paul Grabowicz, assistant dean and director of the new media program at the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California-Berkeley, said that so many students were taking the Intro to Multimedia Reporting elective that the school decided to make it a required course for everyone.

“Rather than complain about the job cuts at media organizations, J-school graduates are actually finding themselves in plum positions if they have digital skills out of college.

“Students who are well versed in digital media often find themselves being placed in key positions in news organizations that are trying to ramp up their multimedia or online operations,” Grabowicz said. “So it’s not just that it’s becoming a requirement for a job; for many students it’s an opportunity to help lead a news organization in the transition to digital media. Which is pretty exciting.”

Read the article “In Praise of Paper”

Read about Media Shift
on how the much buyouts and layoffs are being offset by hiring for digital media with many job offers.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rx note from Bob Abbott

Still waiting for respomse from Cowman.  

I haven't heard from many non-typographical people about the importance
of the prescription card in regard to their separation/retirement.
This could be important!

If any of the Guild people or other sectors of the CWA have
anything...let me know. Do you know of anybody else and their thoughts in regard
to the prescription card? Again, might be of help...

bob abbott

Old Mill Stream is making waves

The old mill stream at Findlay was about seven feel above flood stage Wednesday and could rise another half-foot or more. There was little romance from the Blanchard River to make anyone want to sing the old barbershop song “Down by the old Mill Stream” by Tell Taylor.

For a little reminiscing, click on the headline to read about Taylor in Findlay Living Magazine. There might be much more at the Findlay Public Library but an attempt to reach the library’s website yeilded only a brusk “Connection Timed Out.” If you don’t know the tune, you will have to google up your own.

Tell was born on a farm near Vanlue in 1876. It was in New York,that Tell began a career as a traveling salesman, singing in stores to sell sheet music.

Tell wrote hundreds of songs, with each one proving to be more successful then the other. On one of his trips to Findlay, in 1908, Tell decided to go fishing along the Blanchard River, as he often did. He began to think about his childhood and the romantic dreamer in him took over. He thought of the girl he once loved and of an old mill that once thrive
d but had since been abandoned. He went home and penned the words,

"My darling I am dreaming, of the days gone by,
When you and I were sweethearts, beneath the summer sky;
Your hair has turned to silver, the gold has faded too;
But still I will remember, where I first met you.

Down by the old mill stream, where I first m
et you
With your eyes of blue, dressed in gingham too,

It was there I knew, that you loved me true,

You were sixteen, my village queen, by the old mill stream."

For two years that song would lay in drawer all but forgotten. Two years later, Tell would finally publish "Down By the Old Mill Stream." It became his most popular song selling over 4 million copies.

Tell Taylor (October 14, 1876 - November 24, 1937) died in Chicago of a heart attack and was buried in Van Horn Cemetery, Findlay, Ohio.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't want a ho-hum obit

Don't want a hum-drum death that lacks any semblance of production value? Call the Miami Herald's Elinor J. Brecher, a veteran reporter who recently took over the newspaper's obit desk. She might just make you a post-mortem star.

Inspired by the recently deceased humor columnist Art Buchwald, Brecher is asking people who "understand their place in history" to contact her and sit down for a videotaped "pre-bit" wherein the future corpse will explain his or her life.

From the Herald's Friday edition:

The Herald is changing the way we approach news obituaries in both the print edition and on our website,

We want to include audio and/or video with the website version. We also hope that people who understand their place in the history and culture of South Florida will consider sitting for ''pre-bits:'' videotaped interviews to be shown on the site following the subject's death.

The absence of electronic material doesn't render someone unworthy of a news obituary. An interesting life stands on its own.


Philadelphia Inquirer to sell building

Brian Tierney, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C., said today that the compa
ny would sell the Inquirer Building, which also houses the Philadelphia Daily News and, and downtown property to reduce debt and reinvest in the company's media businesses. The company will present the 18-story building for sale to real estate developers in an offering memorandum mailed nationwide in September. The company also is soliciting in the memorandum ideas for where to put the 950 journalists, ad people, executives, computer technicians, support staff and others who now work in the building, company officials said. The property comprises the 470,000-square-foot building at 400 N. Broad St. and the company's parking garage on Callowhill Street, between 15th and 16th Streets. The total area is 4.2 acres. The company and its broker, Jones Lang LaSalle, declined to say how much they were seeking for the property. The city's Board of Revision of Taxes has placed a value of $16.7 million on the real estate, based on its use as lower-grade office space and parking. The new local owners, which bought the newspapers and in 2006 for $515 million, with more than $300 million of the purchase price borrowed, had planned from the beginning to sell the downtown property to raise cash, Tierney said. The company would need 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of space in a new building for the newsrooms, executive offices, advertising and other operations, a company official said.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Blogger Note: Ken Krause notes in a comment on this post that the Inquirer story was written by former BJ business writer Bob Fernandez.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lexington editor joins Times Washington Bureau

Marilyn Thompson Joins Washington Bureau

For the past year Marilyn has run the Los Angeles Times' Washington investigative unit, heading numerous projects such as the recent series on U-Haul. Before that she was editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. She went to Lexington from the Post, where as deputy AME for investigations she co-edited a project on abuse by the D.C. police department that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1999. During her tenure as AME, the Post also won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

Marilyn's career as a Washington investigative reporter has been just as impressive, and she is eager to get back to it. She broke the first investigative stories on federal contracting fraud at Wedtech, which evolved into a national political scandal involving former Attorney General Ed Meese and presidential advisor Lyn Nofziger. (Jack Newfield of the Voice called her the Ida Tarbell of the 1980s.) In 2003, she uncovered the story of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the black woman in California who was Strom Thurmond's secret daughter.

Aside from this rather intimidating resume, Marilyn is a delightful colleague. I can attest to that from personal experience, as can others in the bureau, including Adam Nagourney, who worked with her at the New York Daily News.

Marilyn joins a bureau that has a great track record of enterprise reporting, from the beat writers who dig into earmarks and intelligence fiascos to the profile writers who are illuminating the presidential candidates. She also joins several hard-hitting investigators engaged in short- and long-term projects, a mix that is vital to building a tough and skeptical report.

I'd like to say how terrific it is that The New York Times continues to build its staff at what is obviously a rugged time in the newspaper business.

Dean Baquet

[Source: New York Times memo on Thompson appointment sent to Jim Romenesko (Poynter Online)

Monday, August 20, 2007

PD places second in readership poll

The Cleveland Plain Dealer posted the second highest readership for Sundays and third highest daily among newspapers in the country's 50 biggest metro areas, a new report shows.

The Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ranked first for the fourth consecutive year in a Scarborough Research survey that looks at how many adults in ma jor
U.S. metropolitan center read their local newspapers.

The survey found that among 1,136,449 adults in the four-county Milwaukee area, on average 798,052, or 70.2%, read the Sunday edition of the Journal Sentinel. That is up from 69.7% last year. The Cleveland Plain Dealer posted the second-highest market penetration, at 61.3%.

Gary Meo, Scarborough's senior vice president for print and Internet sales, said newspapers with the highest penetration rates tend to be in markets that have some or all of these characteristics: colder climates, a well-educated population, an older population and little newspaper competition.

"My personal opinion is that certain newspapers are very good at covering their communities, and there is something about the culture perhaps that's interested in local news and local information and the newspaper just does the best job of doing that in a particular market,." Meo said.

The market penetration report measures how many people read the newspaper, not how many buy it. It includes people who, for instance, will pass the newspaper along to someone else in their household.

Percentage of adults who read Sunday editions
1. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 70.2%
2. Cleveland Plain Dealer: 61.3%
3. Newsday: 59.2%
4. Columbus Dispatch: 57.5%
5. San Antonio Express-News: 57.4%
6. Orlando Sentinel: 57.1%
7. Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News: 56.6%
8. Indianapolis Star: 56.2%
9. Washington Post: 53.2%
10. Kansas City Star: 52.9%

Percentage of adults who read daily editions:
1. Newsday: 50.1%
2. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 46.5%
3. Cleveland Plain Dealer: 43.2%
4. San Jose Mercury News: 41.6%
5. Portland Oregonian: 41.5%
6. Indianapolis Star: 39.5%
7. Florida Times-Union: 39.1%
8. Washington Post: 38.9%
9. Kansas City Star: 37.1%
10. San Francisco Chronicle: 36.8%

Rx note from Bob Abbott


I'm still waiting to hear from one individual and I need to personally contact at least one other person by phone. At that time I can compile the info I've received and present it to counsel.

Sorry it's moving so slow but that's the way of the world I guess. I would expect it'll be a week or two before I can get to the point of presenting the information to counsel. While it's not looking terribly good at this point I feel that we're laying a good foundation (or at least a solid starting point) should the BJ continue their immoral interpretations of our retirement/separation agreements.

Thanks for all your help...

It's not over until the fat lady sings...we'll hang tough...

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I'll keep you updated as to the situation as it unfolds.

bob abbott

Doug Oplinger: Ready to go to work

The very best thing about the BJ Retirees blog is its viewers who can provide a wealth of fond memories about the Beacon Journal staff. It is always joyful to trace the careers of BJ types over the years. It is difficult sometimes to pry out the stories because people are busy or don’t think what they have to say is significant.

One BJ type, who some of us remember as the kid from Springfield Township, has just been named managing editor of the Beacon Journal. And we are proud of him.

Doug Oplinger himself has been the chronicler of many careers as the perennial emcee of Beacon retirement parties. Doug really puts on a good show on such occasions–often wearing Murphey-style bib overalls to lend a reminiscent touch.

We are also proud of another BJ type who used to refer to himself as the Mogadore beat reporter and is still in the trenches as a stalwart of Cox Newspapers. Perhaps someday we can coax a good profile on Bill Hershey.

Hershey was asked to provide this memory from 37 years ago:

How Doug “Op” Oplinger’s
Beacon Journal career started
(without checking the clips)

I was covering a Springfield school board meeting in the fall of 1970 and noticed an earnest young man in the crowd. We introduced ourselves and he said he was a student – Doug Oplinger. I think he was monitoring the meeting for some student group. I told him to call me if he was ever at a school board meeting when news broke out and I wasn’t there.

I don’t remember how many months later it was but during a snow storm that shut down everything in Akron – at least we thought it did – I got a phone call at my apartment one night. It was Oplinger, reporting that the school board had fired the superintendent during a meeting held during the blizzard. Op, as I recall, got a front page byline the next day and the rest is history.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Keep posting those comments

There's nothing like a controversy to spark readership.

This blog averages 80 to 90 visitors a day, but the traffic report for the week posted today shows an average of 120 visitors a day. The reports on blog vsitors are posted in the Blog Corner of the website.

There have been 17 comments so far on a commentary posted by Mike Needs--the most in this blog's history. Thanks, Mike.

For our comment on all of this, check the commentary page on our website.

Chicago Tribune to go to 12 inches Jan 14

CHICAGO, Aug. 17 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Starting January 14, 2008, Chicago Tribune will debut slightly modified page dimensions to its printed newspaper that provides an improved reader and advertising experience as well as brings it in line with other major metropolitan newspapers.

Chicago Tribune's new page width will be 12 inches, 1/2-inch narrower, while its height will remain the same. The change to this new industry standard width will provide advertisers with more universal ad sizes and conserve newsprint. Chicago Tribune's editorial design will also be updated to enhance reader appeal.

"This minor change in our page dimensions will allow the newspaper to more effectively serve our customers with our award-winning journalism and an enhanced advertising environment," said Scott Smith, president, publisher and CEO of Chicago Tribune Company.

For more information:
Michael Dizon, communications manager

Friday, August 17, 2007

Beacon Journal appoints managing editor

Here are the headlines:

Beacon Journal appoints managing editor

Doug Oplinger, a 37-year veteran, named to news post; Patrick McManamon takes over as sports columnist

Here is the complete story as best told by Betty LinFisher:

By Betty Lin-Fisher Beacon Journal business writer
Doug Oplinger, a 37-year veteran of the Akron Beacon Journal, was named managing editor of the newspaper Thursday.

Editor Bruce Winges told the newsroom staff that Oplinger ''brings a wealth of experience.''

''Doug's enthusiasm is legendary and his knowledge of this community is deep,'' Winges said.

Oplinger, 56, who started at the Beacon Journal as a freelance stringer in 1970, has held a variety of newsroom roles, including reporter, business news editor, features editor, assistant metro editor and region editor.

Oplinger, a Springfield Township native, also participated in coverage that brought two Pulitzer Prizes to the Beacon Journal.

Winges said he and Oplinger, a graduate of the University of Akron who earned a master's degree at Northwestern University, will run the newsroom together.

Oplinger told the staff that the Beacon Journal is a ''fun place, full of artists, craftsmen and people who care about what they do.'' Oplinger said he has a passion for journalism and said his mission is to inform, entertain and inspire readers to be an active part of the community.

Oplinger lives in Green with his wife, Diane, and daughter, Jaclyn, a Green High School junior. He also has two grown children, Danielle and Justin.

Winges also announced that Patrick McManamon, a Lakewood native, would become the Beacon Journal's new sports columnist. Current columnist Terry Pluto announced

earlier this week he accepted a similar position with the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Winges said that while Pluto's departure is a loss, he has been impressed with McManamon's understanding of Northeast Ohio sports, his sound reporting and writing skills.

McManamon joined the Beacon Journal in 1998 and currently covers the Browns and pro football. Reporter Marla Ridenour will now cover the Browns and George Thomas will cover Ohio State University.

McManamon's column will begin in the coming weeks.

McManamon, who previously covered the Miami Dolphins and worked in Scripps-Howard's Washington, D.C., sports bureau, said he would not try to replace Pluto.

''There's only one Terry Pluto. You don't try to be Terry Pluto. He's a special guy and a special writer. I will just try to bring my insight in an offbeat way of looking at things. I'll offer my opinion and see if people agree with it,'' he said.

McManamon is the father of 11-year-old twin daughters, Janie and Elizabeth.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Friday, August 17, 2007, page C7, col. 3]

Click on the headline to go to this story on

This date in history

On this date in history:

1903: Joseph Pulitzer donated a million dollars to Columbia University. Thus began the Pulitzer Prizes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Most famous photographer you never heard of dies at 85

He took some of the most famous news photos of our time but, as White House photographer from Truman to Johnson, his name was usually not attached to them and he was never widely known.

But when Joe O'Donnell passed away six days ago in Nashville at the age of 85, he earned obit mention. He never worked for a newspaper, but thousands of them carried his iconic photos of (to name just two) FDR, Stalin and Churchill at Yalta, and John-John Kennedy saluting his father’s casket.

Source: Greg Mitchell. Editor & Publishe

McClatchy outsourcing 250 call center jobs

About 250 McClatchy Co. call center jobs will be outsourced to a company that may transfer a portion of them to the Philippines, according to McClatchy officials.

Henry Haitz, president and publisher of The State in Columbia, S.C., confirmed that a McClatchy subscriber service center in Columbia, and another in Miami, would close in the coming months. That would affect 114 jobs in the Columbia locations, with about 136 in Miami.

McClatchy made the decision to outsource the jobs earlier this month, planning to contract with APAC Customer Services of Deerfield., Ill. APAC, which has operations in the United States and the Philippines, also provides subscriber services for some New York Times regional newspapers.

Source: Joe Strupp. Editor & Publisher

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Commentary from Mike Needs

Following are some remarks submitted to the blog by Mike Needs. Needs was the design editor when he left the Beacon Journal last October. Before that he was public editor, but he also served the Beacon Journal well in many other tasks. Here are his remarks:

I'd like to use Pluto's departure as an excuse to publicly express a couple of thoughts. In your blog and elsewhere, I see former ABJ newsroom people criticizing the current newspaper. Yes, this is America and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But here's my take on those comments.
First, I find it interesting that the key people most involved in the paper's past success rarely criticize the current paper. It's usually people who played a minor role and who generally were carried by the stronger people. Why is that? Because knowledgeable newspaper people comprehend how challenging today's industry climate is and they know how difficult it is to work in that environment. So, until you've walked a bit in their shoes, it's unfair to take swipes at today's Beacon Journal journalists. Or the newsroom management. We just don't know what it's like. (If you want to rail against ownership, you might as well be cursing the weather. There's nothing you can do about it.)

Second, I wonder whether these critics understand how their self-serving rants are viewed. When people say, "The Beacon Journal isn't what it used to be," they are really doing two things. They are relieving their own personal frustrations. And, they are puffing out their own chests in some mistaken notion that the paper has been weakened by their absence. As in, "the Beacon Journal was a great newspaper when I worked there." Get real.

Here's what these negative comments do: They damage the Beacon Journal's reputation and its future - and, perhaps more importantly - these comments hurt the many talented people who still strive mightily to produce a quality daily newspaper. Those people need your support, not your poisonous barbs.

Could the paper be better? Sure. Do I disagree with some of the decisions? Absolutely. But destructive criticism comes from small people with narrow viewpoints. It helps nothing and no one.
Pluto's departure to the competition definitely will hurt the paper on multiple levels. I was saddened to see it happen. However, I won't be pounding on any nails on any coffin. Instead, I'll use this occasion to praise the people who are left and encourage them to keep up the good fight. They deserve nothing less.

Signed: Mike Needs

Old NY Times goes down brick by brick

From today's New York Times:

After enduring a century and a half of change in Lower Manhattan, decrepit and anonymous, the birthplace of The New York Times is now being torn down, brick by brick.

By an odd turn of history, the demolition of The Times’s oldest home occurred just as the company settles into its seventh and newest headquarters, a 52-story tower across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Yesterday, a worker armed with an appropriately 19th-century demolition tool — a sledgehammer — sat astride the south wall of 113 Nassau Street, between Ann and Beekman Streets, pounding chunks of the structure into dust.

“Little old building,” Margaret Moffatt said wistfully as she walked by on her lunch hour with some colleagues, one of whom, Henry Raven, was a bit more sarcastic. “Making way for progress,” he said.

(Actually, it may be making way for a 28-story residential building, to judge from applications filed with the city’s Department of Buildings. The owners did not respond to telephone messages yesterday.)

What Ms. Moffatt and Mr. Raven did not know — few New Yorkers do — is that Volume 1, Number 1 of The New-York Daily Times, four pages for one penny, was published at 113 Nassau Street on Sept. 18, 1851. The newspaper stayed there until 1854, when it moved a bit closer to City Hall.

This six-story building was, in other words, a journalistic log cabin.

And it was not much more accommodating. There was no glass yet in the windows on the evening when The Times first went to press. Breezes blew through the place, extinguishing the candlelight. “All was raw and dismal,” Augustus Maverick wrote in his 1870 biography of Henry J. Raymond, the founding editor.

Raw and dismal it remained. What little architectural integrity the building possessed was all but wiped away in the 1970s when it became a McDonald’s. The property was put up for sale in 2004. The New York Times Company had no interest in buying it. There was no serious talk of landmark designation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An email to BJ staff from Terry Pluto

Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 13:36:09 -0400
To: abjstaff
Conversation: email
Subject: From Terry Pluto

I just want to thank everyone who has been so tremendous to me in my 22 years at the ABJ. I will miss the people the most. This paper jump-started my career when it was stalled, allowed me to grow as a writer and a person.

The reason that I'm making the move begins with Susan Goldberg (a former K-R editor) from San Jose, who called me late in June. She is close to a lot of ABJ types, and in our first meeting, she said, "We are going to hire a 3rd sports columnist. We want it to be you. If it's not you, it will be someone else."

In San Jose, she had 4 sports columnists.

We worked out a deal in writing where I also will do 3 faith stories a month, which was important to me.

It comes down to being able to perhaps finish my career for the paper that I grew up reading -- I am a Clevelander. It has a large reach, and Susan and some her management team make this appealing to me.

This is not a negative on the ABJ. Andrea and Bruce were willing to do about anything for me to stay. If this offer came from out of town, I never would be leaving. But it's a chance to make a move to a larger paper and not have to physically move.

That's rare.

I just didn't want to take a look at the PD with a new sports columnist and think, "That could have been me. I should have taken that chance."

As Rich Desrosiers told me last night -- when all this happened -- we can appreciate what i am doing, but we don't have to like it.

terry pluto

Terry Pluto leaving Akron Beacon Journal

By Beacon Journal staff report

Akron Beacon Journal sports columnist Terry Pluto has announced his resignation from the newspaper after 22 years.

He has accepted a similar position with the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Pluto's last day with the Beacon Journal is expected to be Aug. 31.

‘‘It comes down to being able to perhaps finish my career for the paper that I grew up reading. I am a Clevelander,’’ said Pluto, who graduated from Cleveland Benedictine High School and Cleveland State University.

The Plain Dealer has a larger circulation than the Beacon Journal, which Pluto cited as his primary reason for making the change.

Pluto worked for the Plain Dealer from late 1979 to mid 1984 as the Indians beat writer. After a brief stint at a newspaper in Georgia, he joined the Beacon Journal as the Cavaliers beat writer in 1985. He became the newspaper's columnist in 1993 and has won numerous writing awards.

‘‘I just want to thank everyone who has been so tremendous to me in my 22 years at the ABJ,’’ Pluto said. ‘‘I will miss the people the most. This paper jump-started my career when it was stalled, allowed me to grow as a writer and a person.’’

Pluto said he would not have left the Beacon Journal for any other daily newspaper.

‘‘This allows me to live in the same house and cover the same teams,’’ he said.

Beacon Journal Editor Bruce Winges said: ‘‘This decision is not about Terry being unhappy at the Beacon Journal. It is more about Terry seeing an opportunity to reach a wider audience, and to reach that audience in the city and region that he knows best ` Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

‘‘We will miss Terry greatly and wish him well.’’

Winges said the search for a new columnist will begin immediately.

Blogger AddEnd:

Terry Pluto has been a sports columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal since 1985. He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and twice been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the nation's top sports columnist for medium-sized newspapers. He is an eight-time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of the Year award and has received more than 50 state and local writing awards. In 2005 he was inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame. He is the author of 23 books, including The Curse of Rocky Colavito (selected by the New York Times as one of the five notable sports books of 1989), False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail, and Loose Balls, which was ranked number 13 on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 100 sports books of all time. He was called “Perhaps the best American writer of sports books,” by the Chicago Tribune in 1997.

Blogger Note: By 8:30 p.m. there were 49 comments on this post at

SqueezeOC to go web only

SqueezeOC, a 70,000-circulation, weekly tabloid aimed at young professionals, will go online-only Aug. 31, Christopher O. Schulz, vice president of specialty media for Freedom Orange County Information, said Monday.

Freedom Orange County Information is part of the umbrella group that includes the Orange County Register and other print and online publications owned by Irvine-based Freedom Communication Inc.

Schulz said the SqueezeOC switch to Web-only reflects an evolution in its audience since it started publication two years ago.

“It is a young adult audience and, generally, the first place they go for information - for things to go and do – is to the Internet as opposed to a print product,” he said.

Schulz said three of SqueezeOC’s 15 employees were laid off. Several others were reassigned. The changes were part of companywide layoffs announced last week by the Register in response to a drop in advertising.

[Source: Orange County Register website]

Black buys Washington newspapers

Sound Publishing, Inc., the largest publisher of community newspapers and shoppers in the Pacific Northwest, has purchased two established community newspapers, a regional shopper and two monthly business publications. Sound Publishing, which owns the Beacon Journal, is the U.S. branch of Black Papers Ltd.

Sound announced it has acquired two weeklies, the Marysville Globe and Arlington Times, the regional Express Shopper and two monthly business publications in Bellingham and Wenatchee, Washington, from Sun News, Inc. The purchase is effective August 10.

The Marysville Globe and Arlington Times are two of the oldest community newspapers in Washington State. Both have been published since the 1890s and have received numerous awards for newspaper excellence. The Globe, Times and the Express Shopper circulate throughout the Marysville and Arlington regions north of Everett.

The monthly Wenatchee Business Journal and the Bellingham Business Journal serve their respective cities and Chelan and Whatcom counties with business news and are the recipients of several Society of Professional Journalists awards.

Sun News, Inc., owned by Bob and Debra Marshall and Kris and Catherine Passey, acquired the Globe and Times in 1997 and purchased the business monthlies in 2001. Kris Passey will continue to serve as both publisher of the community newspapers and supervisor of the business publications.

Sound president Manfred Tempelmayr said the new acquisitions strengthen the company’s position in the Western Washington region.

“We are committed to the readers and advertisers in the Pacific Northwest and are excited to add these well-respected and established products. The former owners built a strong community connection with excellent newspapers and we intend to build on that strength,” Tempelmayr said.

Sound has publishing interests throughout Western Washington and Oregon. The company operates newspapers and business publications in the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, Kitsap County, Vashon Island and Tacoma and recently acquired, through its subsidiary King County Publications, the Reporter newspaper group in King County. Sound also publishes the Little Nickel and Nickel Ads classified products in both Washington and Oregon. Sound owns more than 50 publications in the region with a weekly circulation of 850,000.

Media News ousts Newspaper Guild

MediaNews Group followed through Monday on its threat to withdraw recognition of the Newspaper Guild at its Alameda Newspaper Group outside San Francisco after consolidating its editorial functions with the neighboring Contra Costa Newspapers.

The consolidation of editorial operations from the two groups comes one year after MediaNews purchased the Contra Costa papers from McClatchy as part of its takeover of 31 daily and community papers in the area, which also included the San Jose Mercury News.

Source: Joe Strupp. Editor & Publisher

Monday, August 13, 2007

What about getting drugs from Canada?

Even getting your brand name drugs from Canada, till the start of 2008 when your donut hole vanishes, is tricky. In my case:

Celebrex costs $263.26 for a 90-day supply from Aetna.
In Canada, Celebrex costs $140.49 for the exact same brand name and supply.

But Uroxatral 90-day supply costs $68.39 from Aetna and $94.38 from Canada. Even the generic Alphozosin, not available from Aetna, costs $77.88 in Canada.

If you want to check your brand name prescriptions' costs in Canada, the web site is at

If you prefer, you could get from Canada what is cheaper there, as long as it's the same brand name and strength as from Aetna, and get from Aetna what is cheaper from Aetna than from Canada.

Generics, of course, continue to cost you $5, even in the donut hole, so it doesn't make much sense to look for a better deal on generics.

This law was passed by the Republican-controlled 2003 Congress, with the donut hole inserted at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies, and the ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices down added after pressure from the same lobbyists.

Not that the Democrats have made any headway to eliminate the donut hole, faced with veto threats from President Bush, after the Democrats took over both houses.

Rubber Bowl piece recalls Jim Schlemmer, Oscar Smith

Beacon Journal staff writer Mark J. Price does a great job in a regular Monday series called This Place, This Time on the Arts&LIving section front.

Today's article recalls the grand opening of the Rubber Bowl which will be sold when the University of Akron builds a new stadium on campus.

The article mentions a couple of old timers which a few may remember even if they were not around themselves for the grand opening.

More than 40,000 cheering citizens jammed the rubber boll for the opening in August, 1940, Price notes. "Promoters called the dedication of the $546,000 stadium the "greatest civic affair in Akron's history." Every seat was filled in the stadium designed to seat 37,000.

B. J. "Shorty" Fulton, manager of Akron Municipal Airport, and Beacon sports editor Jim Schlemmer championed the cause. The Works Project Administratin in 1939 agreed to provide $246,000 in federal funds if Akron contrbuted $30,000. Schlemmer led a committee to raise pledges and had no difficult persuading 30,000 citizens to donate $1 each.

Beacon Journal writer Oscar Smith described the spectacle:

''There were Akron university uniformed football players; 100 talented dancers, pupils of cooperating dance teachers of Akron; high school students, some in caps and gowns, some in lettered sweaters, students from North, South, East, West, Garfield, Central. St. Vincent's, Kenmore, Ellet, Hower and Buchtel; there were representatives of archery, badminton, casting, boxing, softball, dog shows, fencing, gymnastics, field hockey, motorcycling, pingpong, polo, skating, skiing, tennis, track in fact, about every sport and activity you could name.''

Click on the headline to go to Price's article.

Bob Pell joins Donut Hole Gang

Retired printer Bob Pell has joined the Donnut Hole Gang.

Pell paid the top co-pay-- $40 -- last month for a prescription. He just paid $125.30 for the same prescription. Retirees on the Aetna prescription plan pay $5, $20 or $40 co-pay for brand name drugs until $2,300 has been paid by Aetna. That's when you hit the donut hold and have to pay full price for brand name drugs. You still get generic drugs for $5 copay, but there are no generic drugs for expensive brand-name medications needed for such things as diabetes.

Aetna then will not provide co-pay for the brand name drugs until you have paid $3,850 out of your own pocket. You probably will reach that ampount by year's end and start all over.

Please let us know when you reach that first magic $2,300 so we can add your name to the Donut Hole Gang.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Newsprint used to tell website story

Linda Lyell, vice president for online operations of, relied on good old newsprint Sunday to discuss revamping of the Beacon Journal website. builds a new home was the headline for an op-ed piece on page A15 in which Lyell draws a parallel between the website and the home she and her husband were bu

“Part of the sale of the Beacon Journal a year ago involved moving the infrastructure away from its former owners to a new place,” Lyell explains. “We had one year until Aug. 1 to complete this task.”

The carpenter for the website rebuilding must have been Jim Arnold, the website manager. The husband is Gary, who owns an automation equipment company in Kent.

Click on the headline to read the Lyell piece--online, of course.

Red-faced blogger note: I have deleted a reference in this post to a home of the Lyells in Mississippi. The home she was comparing the website to was their home here. It was a pretty cheap shot by the blog guy anyway.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How did the media react to Bonds’ Blast?

The Project for Excellence in Journalism examined the coverage in the 43 daily newspapers based in cities that host major league baseball franchises to see how the papers covered Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home run. PEJ looked for the most frequently used words in the coverage, some 106 stories, columns and sidebars.

The conclusion was that the achievement did not seem to signal a more admiring reevaluation of baseball's newest king.

Indeed, after the names of Henry Aaron, the man Bonds surpassed (whose name appeared 672 times), and Mike Bacsik, the pitcher who served up home run #756 (whose name appeared 246 times), the most common words in the 106 stories PEJ examined were “steroids” and “performance enhancing drugs.” Both appeared 215 times.

Project for Excellence in Journalism

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Knight-Batten Award finalists named

Ten creative ways of generating news and information – from tracking how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the Web and how the Web is using them, to in-depth guides to world crisis areas, and virtual guides to news in virtual places – are named the finalists of this year's Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

"Repeatedly in a robust field of entries, we saw both journalists and non-journalists partnering with the public to fill spaces that traditional media is leaving bare," said Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, which administers the awards program. "Overall, the competition left us optimistic rather than pessimistic about the future of journalism."

"The depth and breadth of the work we examined were amazing," said Advisory Board member Jody Brannon, senior editor at

A national panel of judges chose winners for a $10,000 Grand Prize, a $2,000 First Place Award, and four other $1,000 awards, including a Wild Card and a Citizen Media Award. Because of the diversity of good ideas, the Advisory Board cited four efforts for Honorable Mention.

The top winner will be announced Sept. 17 at a symposium and luncheon, "Creativity Unleashed," at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Highlighting that event will be a keynote address by Susan Clark-Johnson, President of the Newspaper Division of Gannett Co. Inc. To attend the awards symposium and luncheon, RSVP to The event is free but you must register.

Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation journalism program officer, said the range of this year's winners was encouraging. "It shows creativity and innovation throughout the news and information field from daily newspapers to virtual worlds," he said.

The Knight-Batten Awards spotlight the creative use of new information ideas and technologies to involve citizens in public issues. They are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland.

You can view the finalists as well as more than three dozen other notable entries at Click on the headline to go there.

E&P publishing Ridder trial transcript

Editor & Publisher has obtained a full transcript from the trial in a lawsuit brought by Northwest Publications LLC, which runs the St. Paul Pioneer Press, against The Star Tribune Co., held in late June, and is publishing excerpts

The lawsuit was sparked when Pioneer Press Publisher Par Ridder signed on to become the publisher of the Star Tribune in March of this year. The Pioneer Press contends, among other things, that Ridder violated a non-compete agreement and stole Pioneer Press financial information and disclosed it to some executives at the Star Tribune.

The trial took place over a three-day period starting June 25 in a Ramsey County district courthouse in St. Paul. Judge David C. Higgs said he will announce his decision at the end of the summer. Meanwhile, Ridder continues to serve as publisher of the Star Tribune.

Among those testifying at the hearing: Par Ridder, his father Tony Ridder, MediaNews Group chief William Dean Singleton, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt, analyst John Morton.

Some of the many interesting things to come out of the trial are the inner workings of the newspaper industry. Ridder testifies about how newspaper publishers share financial information in order to benchmark their progress.

Click on the headline to read Part 1 of the transcript series by Jennifer Saba, an associate editor at E&P.

Akron Means Business staff sought

Kaeth Shaughnessy Gauthier is planning a new local publication called Akron Means Business and is searching for a team to write, photograph, and distribute the monthly magazine and an on-line video program.

Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis wrote an article on July 21 about the new publishing company in Akron which has produced one national magazine and plans others..

In February, Gautheir and husband, Frank, launched Park Model Living, a monthly magazine that has grown to 3,000 subscribers. Things have gone so well, the pair plan to begin publishing two more magazines one devoted to lovers of ''fifth wheel recreational vehicles,” and Akron Means Business..

Kaeth (she's the editor-in-chief) has never spent a night in a park model, a generic term for 400-square-foot prefabricated homes that are transported by flatbed truck and generally set down on space rented at RV camps or seasonal parks. But Frank (he's the publisher) used to have one in Arizona, where he came to appreciate the ''certain rhythm and style that they nurture.. There are 56 park model manufacturers in the U.S., Kaeth said, and more than 300,000 park model owners. And with a median price of $40,000, it's something that many middle-aged and retiring couples can afford, she added.

They hope to locate some former Beacon Journal folks who may want to use their experience in a new and positive way on the publication. They also will need at least one intern.

The Park Model website is at

Tel. No. 330-294-0234

See the Schleis article

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

BJ retirees stuck on 7

For the second straight month, only 7 BJ retirees showed up at Papa Joe's for the monthly lunch/chat.

The newsroom almost had a majority, with Tim Hayes, Sandy Levenson and John Olesky, but that's because only Cal Deshong, Carl Nelson, Gene McClellan and Al Hunsicker showed up from composing.

And if you count Karen Chuparkoff Lefton, once in the newsroom before she began helping what's left of the BJ on the legal front, it was a tie. Karen was elsewhere in the restaurant and noticed a few BJ retirees heading into their room, so she stopped by briefly to say "Hi!"

Since Tom Moore and Bob Pell weren't there, there are no photos.

In December, 18 showed up at Papa Joe's. Not any more.

Newseum will be a late edition

The building has already gobbled up part of the skyline along Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but the public will have to wait a while longer to visit the Newseum, the Washington Post reported.

Museum officials confirmed that, because of what they described as delayed construction deadlines, the $435 million project will not open Oct. 15, as previously announced.

A new opening date has not been set, said Charles L. Overby, the museum's chief executive officer. "We are aiming for a formal opening in the first quarter of next year," Overby said. "We now have assurances that they will be done by the end of the year. We think they will be done by the end of November. Yet, having been burned once, we are holding up on setting a grand opening."

The delay is attributed to the complexity of the building and the final installation of state-of-the-art electronics that has to be done after the general contractor, Turner Construction, is finished.

Monday, August 06, 2007

News is too scandalous for Americans, poll shows

NEW YORK – Americans blame the media for the saturation of celebrity coverage on TV.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for People & the Press said this week that 87% of respondents believe celebrity scandals get way too much ink and airtime. Only 8% think the media get the balance between celebrity and serious news right, while 2% told the surveyors that there wasn't enough celebrity scandal coverage.

There's been no shortage of scandals to report on in 2007, from the death of Anna Nicole Smith and the subsequent custody battle over her infant daughter to the jail saga of heiress Paris Hilton. Despite the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a presidential campaign already under way, celebrity stories oftentimes have taken over the news. Pew found that 24% of all news was devoted to Smith at the time of her death, while 12% of all Americans said in early June that Hilton's incarceration was their most-followed news story of the week.

The survey found that cable news is most to blame for the ongoing celebrity coverage, with 34% of respondents saying cable news had the most celebrity coverage, followed by network TV news (27%), Internet news sites (15%) and newspapers (8%).

The survey sampled 1,027 adults from July 22-27.

[Source: Reuters/Hollywood Reporter]

Here's your trimmer New York Times

The old Gray Lady is pinching an inch and a half off her width.

A note to readers in Saturday's editions of the New York Times told readers the "slight modifications to the design will preserve the look and texture of The Times."

“Other than if you put a ruler on the paper and measure it, I’m kind of hoping it will not be that noticeable,” said design editor Tom Bodkin. Starting today, the new Times will now be 12 inches wide, which newspaper officials have said is the "industry standard" for American bro

Cutting the "trim size," as the industry calls it, has been an increasingly frequent measure among broadsheets to reduce costs associated with printing, and sometimes, as with The Wall Street Journal earlier this year, is taken as an opportunity to roll out a redesign of the front page.

Click on the headline to see a longer treatise in Editor & Publisher.

Editor among 100 injured in bridge collapse

A former newspaper editor was among the about 100 people injured when an interstate bridge collapsed in Minneapolis.

A family friend said that Garrett Ebling, 32, of Minnetonka, was in his red Ford Focus on the Interstate 35W bridge when it collapsed into the Mississippi River on Wednesday. He was listed in critical condition Friday evening at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Ebling suffered internal injuries, along with a broken leg and fractures to the bones in his face, said Diane Anderson, a friend of his mother's who accompanied her to the hospital.

Ebling is a New Ulm native and graduate of New Ulm High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as managing editor for the Faribault Daily News and previously at several newspapers in Virginia. Recently he took a job in the corporate office of Great Clips, Inc., in Minnetonka.

Anderson said Ebling's family doesn't know why he was on the bridge when it collapsed. She said he had just been engaged on Sunday and that his fiance is with him at the hospital.

[Source: Associated Press]

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Victor Fusco, BJ district manager, dies at 92

Victor Fusco, 92, passed away August 2, at Akron City Hospital.

Born in Akron in 1915, Vic had been a lifetime area resident. He was employed as a district ma
nager for The Beacon Journal, retiring with 40 years of service. Victor was a member of St. Francis DeSales Church. He served his country as a member of The US Army during World War II. Vic was an avid golfer, who loved to play at Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Club.

Victor was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta; as well as many brothers and sisters. He is sur
vived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Charles Williams of Akron; sons and daughters-in-law, Dennis and Charlotte of San Diego, Calif. and Mark and Cindy of Greentown; grandchildren, Charles (Patricia Newsome) Williams Jr., Richard (Kimberly) Williams, Kevin (Theresa) Williams, Robert (Rebecca) Williams, Mark Fusco Jr., and Megan Fusco; great-grandchildren, Stephanie and Bryan Williams, Brittany, Logan, Ashley Williams, Dustin and Ian Williams, Ryan Luette, and Ronald Fusco.

"A special thanks to the Ridgewood Health Care Center."

The family will receive friends Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at The Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Funeral Home 95 W. Waterloo Rd. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church. Entombment Holy Cross Cemetery. Donation in Victor's memory may be made to St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church 4019 Manchester Rd. Akron, Ohio 44319.
(Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz, 724-1281, AN ANTHONY FUNERAL HOME
[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Sunday, August 5, 2007, page B6, col. 2]

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dunphy reports on OC Register layoffs

From John Dunphy at the Orange County (CA) Register:

Things seem grim at the moment. Newsroom (oops we don't call it that anymore) Content Center morale is a little shaky at the moment. The first of the layoffs was carried out Thursday, ironically a web producer from my staff. Go figure. As we press forward, the strategy is to push all content to the web first and then a dedicated band of souls will take that material and publish a newspaper, a much smaller one I suspect.

The newsroom will take a pretty good hit, the numbers are not exactly known, but all are watching around them. We have lost a features copyeditor, a graphic artist, a Business columnist, a newsroom tech, I will keep you updated. More will happen next week.

Some ancillary publications will be cut back or ended and some of those people will rejoin the newsroom as others leave. There is no guarantee this round of cutbacks will generate the savings needed.

As for me, I guess I'm ok for now. A year ago, I left Business news to take on a sort of hybrid job. I supervise and edit coverage for the newspaper, but I also supervise and produce content for the Sports Web site. I also am charged with motivating the sports staff to embrace the web. Easier said than done.

We are very much into the "user-generated content" form here too. Starting soon there will be an ocmoms web site run mostly by contributing moms and an ochigh web site run mostly by high school contributors.

Best to all,

John Dunphy
Senior Sports Web Editor
Golf and Outdoors Editor
714-796-5021 desk
714-791-1937 cell

Friday, August 03, 2007

BJ national editor featured in KSU magazine

Beacon Journal national editor Joe Thomas is featured in an article in the Kent State magazine.

Thomas (Class of 1996) believes that despite the layoffs of print newspaper staffs taking place all over the country due to declining subscriptions newspapers will be arou
nd in the near future because of dedicated readers and exceptional stories.

“We just have to keep finding ways to win over readers, and the most honest way to do that is to continue cranking out top-notch journalism.” Thomas says.

“What’s great about newspapers is that they plug you into what’s happening in the world around you without needing to be connected to any wires or gadgetry,” he adds. “The
y are a momentary respite from a maddeningly digital world.”

Thomas has seen the change in the industry firsthand. He began his career with the BJ as a part-time sports statistician during his freshman year at Kent State. The job became a full-time position after he graduated. Thomas left the Akron Beacon Journal for a short time to pursue other career options, but returned in 1998 as a copy editor and was promoted to national editor in 2001.

Thomas said he became interested in Kent State when he attended Journalism and Mass Communications Press Day at the university while he was in high school. It was here he met his future mentor, Associate Professor and News Coordinator Barb Hipsman-Springer, wife of BJ editorial writer Bob Springer.

“Barb became a great mentor and friend who helped me get my foot in the door at the Beacon and also steered me toward several scholarships. After I had graduated and gained several years of professional experience, Barb recruited me to come back to Kent State as an adjunct instructor.”

Despite the dismal outlook for the future of newspaper journalism, Thomas says the Akron Beacon Journal’s readers inspire his positive perspective.
“I don’t think newspapers are in danger of disappearing in the near future. Some 280,000 people read the Beacon Journal each day — and by that measure, we’re far from irrelevant.”

Click on the headline to read the full story by public relations student Alison Turner.

Orange County Register layoffs looming

Here’s a memo on layoffs looming at the Orange County (CA) Register by editor Ken Brusic. Here’s the memo sent to Jim Romenensko of Poynter Online

[Note: Former BJ reporter John Dunphy who was deeply involved in coverage of the Kent State shootings is now an editor at the newspaper]


Most of you heard during town halls last week that revenue problems continue to plague our company and our industry. We learned, for example, that revenue was 14 percent behind last year and profit was 38 percent behind. And last year’s financial results were behind the year before.

You also heard that one necessary solution was to cut expenses, including the elimination of positions, people and other non-payroll costs.

None of this is easy. But the truth is, as we see revenue continue to fall, especially in print, our company needs to take strong action to regain some balance.

So today we began a series of actions in the content center that include layoffs. Unlike the voluntary severance we went through last year, people this time are being asked to leave.

The deputy editors and I have made every effort to minimize the effect on people. We are cutting space, eliminating open positions, reducing freelance, dropping some wire services and saving money any way we can. Still, some people will need to leave.

The process is difficult and painful -- especially for those most directly involved. They have done nothing wrong; they are good people. We will miss them.

I ask that you be respectful of the individuals involved. The compiling of lists, the emailing of names or idle speculation and gossiping will not be helpful to them or those of us who need to continue to build and grow our future with fewer people.

Our plan is for everyone to be notified and most of those affected to be gone by next Thursday. We will hold a session in the hockey rink 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 to attempt to answer your questions.

The publisher and executive team have requested that we not talk about specific numbers of people involved here or throughout the company or the total expense reduction. You'll recall from the town hall meetings that every division within Freedom is being asked to cut costs.

Our entire industry is in a state of transition. We are seeing fundamental shifts in the way people acquire and use news and information. We have a lot going for us in Orange County. We have a strong economy and a vibrant community. We have good customer relationships, smart people and one of the best community news gathering organizations in the country. Local news and information continue to be our strength and a powerful competitive advantage.

If we can focus on the light at the other side of this small tunnel rather than the darkness, we will prosper. We have some good plans in the works to deal with a slightly smaller staff and prepare ourselves for a new way of thinking and working, as well as the creation of new products. We have already seen substantial results from our efforts on the Web.

Please be helpful and kind to those who are leaving and to one another as we work through the changes in the way we work. And thank you for all of what you do every day. -- Ken

Papers cover bridge collapse -- One staffer loses car

Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher reports that both Twin Cities daily papers covered the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse with full force, throwing dozens of newsroom staffers at the story and expanding print space. Neither paper reported having any staffers severely injured in the incident, but one Star Tribune circulation employee was apparently on the bridge when it collapsed and came away uninjured, but lost her car in the river.

Both papers are being credited with tracking down a 2005 Minnesota Department of Transportation inspection report, via online database searches, that indicated the bridge was "structurally deficient."

"Inspectors gave the bridge a sufficiency rating of 50 percent on a scale of 0 to 100 percent," the Pioneer Press reported. "A rating of 50 percent or lower means the bridge might need to be replaced."

Star Tribune Editor Nancy Barnes said her reporters found the report at around 11 p.m. after combing online data base sources. "We got it online and into our later editions," she said.

Those logging on to their Web sites this morning found a clear difference in the death toll.

For several hours this morning, the St. Paul Pioneer press site reported seven dead, a number that had been put forth last night, while the Star Tribune of Minneapolis had the latest update of just four deceased. In print, the Pioneer Press Thursday edition reported seven dead, while the Star Tribune had nine fatalities reported.

"They have dialed that back to four, we have to make sure it gets updated," Pioneer Press Editor Thomas Fladung said about the Web site. "We will continue to chase that number." Despite that informational glitch, the Pioneer Press claimed its busiest Web day ever on Wednesday, with 510,000 page views, Fladung said.

Star Tribune's Barnes said at least 75 newspeople out of her 300-person staff were on the story. "We pulled people from sports, business, features and everyone who was here," she said. Even the lone photographer assigned to cover the Minnesota Twins game was pulled and put on bridge duty, one of 15 shooters on the story for the Star Tribune.

Click on tjhe headline to see the full story by Strupp

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Journalists rate little prestige

The annual Harris Poll measuring prestige ratings of 23 professions and occupations came out Wednesday -- and you can find journalists in the Bottom Ten.

Just 13 percent of the 1,100 U.S. adults surveyed in June and July said the occupation of journalist had "very great prestige," while 16 percent said it had "hardly any prestige at all." And 47 percent conceded there was "some prestige" in being a journalist.

The most prestigious occupation was firefighter which 61 percent of those surveyed rated the job with "very great prestige."

Journalists were rated ahead of just seven other occupations: union leader, stockbroker, entertainer, accountant, banker, actor, and real estate agent/broker.

In addition to firefighters, five occupations are perceived to have "very great" prestige by at least half of all adults -- scientists and teachers, 54 pecent; doctors, 52 percent; military officers, 52 percent and nurses, 50 percent.

Click on the headline to see the full Harris poll with some nice charts.