Sunday, September 30, 2007

And now the print coverage of Marathon

The post below with photos of the Akron Road Runner Marathon extolls the virtues of the Beacon Journal website Ohio;com in providing a better working platform and a lot faster delivery in showcasing the work of photographers with breaking news of the race.

Now comes the print edition in a 12-page section containing results plus at least 18 photos. Just about everyone on the photo staff was out there shooting. meanwhile had a couple of galleries of photos–probably about six times more than the seven we saw Saturday morning.

You can bet, however, that there were many extra copies of the newspaper sold to race enthusiasts who can find nothing better as a keepsake of the record turnout. How do you save a website as a memento? There is no way for us to easiily learn how many extra papers will be sold today..

The marathon, however, provided a look at the advantages of both elecronic and print media.

The blog guy still likes the bridge photos by Ken Love and Paul Tople on the ground and from the air that best show the gang of runners. Neither photo made the print edition. A shadow photo by Bob Demay was chosen for the A-1 spreader on the race with a race feature by Jim Carney.

A1 was dominated by a far more important and well-done report by David Knox headlined the “Increbile Shrinking Paycheck..” One sidebar tells the story of an American family in three generations in a tale spanning five decades from census information. Another “must read” report.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Covering the Road Runner marathon

Beacon Journal photographer Ken Love on the ground and Paul Tople covering from the air provided 17 photos on before 6 p.m. today in covering the Akron Road Runner marathon. Staff reporter Katie Byard was meanwhile providing minute by minute updates on the site.

A 25-year-old Michigan resident, originally from Kenya, captured first place in the men's division of the Road Runner Akron Marathon today.

Joshua Koros, of Byron Center, Mich., finished shortly before 9:30 a.m. with a time of 2:28:05. Koros wins $2,000.

The course record is 2:18:48, set by Charles Kamindo of Kenya in 2005.

In the women's division, 31-year-old Melissa Rittenhouse of Wadsworth took first place with a time of 2:52:29. She wins $2,000.

A record number of Road Runner Akron Marathon participants -- about 6,300 -- took more than four minutes to cross the starting line this morning.

The blog posted a magnificent Ken Love photo of runners on the bridge last year.

Cleveland Scene pays birthday tribute to Regina

Regina Brett got a birthday gift today from the Cleveland Scene which seems to relish the “usually nasty” adjective used to describe it. Last week was Regina’s “Big 50" birthday

Jared Klaus wrote a piece today titled “Fifty Reasons I Can't Read Regina Brett” for the Scene’s C-Notes
blog. Klaus wrote four nasty paragraphs but then reprinted the “45 Life Lessons, and 5 to Grow On.” from PD Extra, a Plain Dealer weblog. The 45 lessons were in a column Regina wrote five years ago. It incidentally is one of her most-requested columns.

Says Klaus: At least this time, Plain Dealer editors had the foresight to throw it on the blog instead of in the paper.

This blog herewith presents only the top 5:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

To read the full Klaus tirade, see the C-Notes blog

Or read Regina’s piece on PD extra.

Or read other Brett columns

By the way:


BJ dominates second place in SPJ awards

The Akron Beacon Journal and its website, did not win any first place awards from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists this year, but they won eight second place awards. Former staff writers in bold type below shared in two of those second place awards.

Included in the second place awards was best deadline reporting by the staff for Fire at the Airdock.

The Cincinnati Inquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Scene and Columbus Dispatch each won five first place awards, the Dayton Daily News and Toledo Blade each won two and the Associated Press tied with Cleveland Scene for a first place on sports coverage.

The awards were for work last year in the over-100,000 circulation division for newspapers: An awards luncheon will be at noon Oct. 27 at Confluence Park Restaurant, 679 W. Spring St., Columbus.

Best headline was “Tortilla Flat” by Erich Burnett of Cleveland Scene. Here art the four others won by Cleveland Scene:

Denise Grollmus for best arts reporting “The Great Pretenders”
Elaine Cicora for best arts profile “Soul Kitchen”
Erich Burnett for best headline writer “Tortilla Flat”
LisaRab for best newsmaker profile “Fa;ll of the Fourth Reich”
Joe Tone for best sports coverage “Man on Fire”
Tie with Associate Press for Ohio State Championship

Here are the Beacon Journal awards:

Staff writer Tracy Wheeler and former staff writer Elizabeth Suh tied for second place in the best medical/science reporting category for Deadly Admissions: Hospital-acquired Infections are Fourth Largest Killer in Ohio.

Wheeler, Suh, staff writer Cheryl Powell and former staff writer Kathy Spitz won second place for best coverage of minority issues for The Great Health Divide.

Former staff writer Kymberli Hagelberg tied for second for best government coverage for To the Victors Go the Jobs? The story looked at nepotism within Summit County government.

Staff writer Carl Chancellor won second for best newsmaker profile for an article about Mike DeWine.

Former sports columnist Terry Pluto tied for second for best sports profile for an article about Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Staff writer Elaine Guregian won second for best arts reporting for Last Dance, which looked at the decline of the Ohio Ballet.

The newspaper won second place for best Web site, got the top spot.

Click on the headline for a complete list of the awards.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pluto may be first to get billboard upon leaving

A number of former Beacon Journal reporters have gone to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but probably the only one so far to rate a billboard is former BJ sports columnist Terry Pluto. See our earlier posts on Pluto by using the search engine above.

You can see the billboard driving wes on the West Expressway near East Avenue. The billboard is on a hill overlooking Lincoln Elementary School on Crosier St. off Lakeshore Blvd.

Click on the photo to enlarge for a better view, but please pay no heed to the bottom line.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rita Madick is leaving Beacon Journal

The BJ Retirees Blog heard from the Rumor Mill that Rita Kelly Madick, the Beacon Journal community relations director, was leaving-- so we asked her and got this response:

Wow! news does travel fast! (even if my response is slow! I was out of the office yes
terday with Leadership Akron)

Yes, I am leaving. And all I can say about where I'm going is that I'm excited about it. And thats all I can say because I truly have no idea where the next stop will be. While I've known for
a while that I was ready to move on, I didn't feel that I could look for a job while still here. My position as Community Relations Director would make that a little uncomfortable for me and any folks I might contact about new opportunities.

So I will start my search in the next week or so. I'm thinking that since I've been working
since I was 14, taking the Holidays off might be nice (Im here until Nov 9).

I'm hearing all the time that I will be pursued and that my biggest problem will be one of discernment in choosing....I don't know about that, so for now, will plan on doing some substitute teaching if nothing else.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

He started in a tent, going to end up in tent

Beacon Journal reporter Colette M. Jenkins saved the kicker on local services for the Rev. Rex Humband until next to the last graph:

“Dad started in a tent in Akron,'' Rex Humbard Jr. said. ''And he's going to end up in a tent in Akron.''

The Rev. Rex Humbard, the first evangelist to have a weekly nationwide TV program in America, will lie in state from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Ernest Angley's Grace Cathedral, 2700 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls.

A memorial home-going celebration will be held at 4:30 p.m. Sunday under a large tent at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path in Akron.

The service will be officiated by the Rev. Clement Humbard, Rex Humbard's younger brother, and the Rev. Wayne Jones, Humbard's brother-in-law and his assistant pastor for 38 years.

Humbard, 88, died Friday in an Atlantis, Fla., hospital.

Click on the headline to read the story by Colette on page A1 of the BJ on Wednesday.

Chris Harte memo announces Susan is going

Memo to Minneapolis Star Tribune staffers
Editorial Page changes
by Chris Harte, Publisher and Chairman

September 26, 2007 - Susan Albright, our editorial page editor, will be leaving the Star Tribune, effective Oct. 12. Scott Gillespie, our managing editor, will move over to be the editorial page editor on an interim basis.

Susan has ably guided the Star Tribune editorial pages with the highest integrity since 1993, and I have the utmost respect for her as a journalist and an editorialist. She is a nationally recognized leader among editorial writers and a former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW).

Under her leadership, the Star Tribune editorial staff has won numerous editorial, op-ed and cartooning awards. In 2001 her staff conceived and launched the Sunday Op Ex section, now called "Opinion Exchange."

With all of these fine credentials to Susan's credit, it is all the more difficult to say that she and I have a difference of opinion that results in her leaving. As I moved into the chairman's role in March and then into the publisher's role, it was clear as Susan and I talked that we had different views of the future.

We have a professional disagreement about the role of the editorial pages and how they should be edited. The main shift I want to see is toward even more locally focused editorial pages.

I believe the role of a metro newspaper is changing radically and rapidly in a world of instant global access to information. I see the need for our editorial pages, like the rest of the newspaper, to concentrate more heavily than ever on local, state and regional issues. This is where we can stake a claim like no other media can.

Our readers can go to many places to get informed opinion on the Iraq war or global warming. But there are very few places they can go for expert opinion on local issues. And that is where I want us to dwell, with the active participation of our readers.

As you know, we will soon be locally zoning the metro news pages, and my mandate to Scott is to move our editorial pages in a direction that complements this local strategy.

Regarding her departure, Susan said: "It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as the Star Tribune's editorial page editor for nearly 15 years. I am proud of what the opinion page staff has accomplished in those years. On leaving, I can only express my profound gratitude to all my colleagues, and wish them all the best."

I hope you will please take the time to congratulate Susan on a job very well done. She is a true professional who stands up for her beliefs, articulates them eloquently and genuinely respects the views of others. I wish her all the best.

Letter to Strib staff from editor Nancy Barnes

Dear staff,
As you have heard from Chris today, Scott Gillespie will be filling in as editorial page editor for the next several months. Chris asked Scott to take on this role because both the paper and the community need a respected, talented editor during this transition period. Scott clearly fits the bill in so many ways. While we in the newsroom are focused on reporting the news, we all know that the success of the editorial pages is critical to the success of the paper as a whole. This will be a challenge for the newsroom, since Scott is integral to the everyday operations. Here's how we will work in the meantime: Scott will continue to work with me in making major personnel and organizational decisions regarding the newsroom. However, out of respect for the line between news and editorial, he will not be involved in any news coverage decisions once he moves over to editorial. The management team and I will divide up the daily management responsibilities over the next few months. I know that both Scott and I can count on the support of everyone in the newsroom in making this work. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


[Source: Our thanks as always to Jim Romensko of Poynterwho gets all the neat memos]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Rex Humbard memory from Char

Charlene Nevada just couldn’t resist offering her Rex Humbard story which she recalls is the most bizarre reporting experience she ever had.

Here’s Char’s story:

Among the many Rex Humbard stories on this site, there is one still to tell – how I wound up seeing a guy cut in half one night at the Cathedral of Tomorrow.

This was NOT a David Copperfield stunt. In three decades of reporting, this was my
most bizarre experience.

It was 1973 or 1974, Rev. Rex was in financial trouble, and born-again celebrities were raising money for him. Johnny Cash was scheduled to come to the Cathedral on a Sunday evening. I accepted the offer of OT.

Mind you, this was the time of mini-dresses and no bras. I saw no reason to dress any differently for church. I got to the assignment early and sat in the front row.

The Beacon had asked to interview Johnny before the service, but the only time available was afterward – and would have required me to ride in Rex Humbard’s private plane as Rex’s pilot flew the star back to Atlantic City. I declined.

After an opening prayer, out comes Johnny. He says a few words, introduces a documentary he made about the Holy Land and bids folks farewell. That was it! How am I going to explain this to Scott Bosley, I wondered. No interview. No story. Not even a picture because no photog had been sent.

The film ended and Rex came out to give the benediction. Then came a strange noise and the bust of a man appeared at the back of the stage.

What happened next almost needs a blueprint. At the back of the cathedral stage was a smaller hydraulic stage. It had been lowered because a piano on the stage partially obstructed the view of the film. When lowered all the way, the smaller stage led to a set of double doors that opened into a basement social area.

During the movie, some college age kids had gone through the doors on the lower level to watch the movie (albeit with craned necks). They were caught off guard when the stage started to rise. Two made it back through the lower-level doors before the horizontal hydraulic stage met the stationary vertical back of the stage.

One – a 19-year-old from the Cleveland area -- didn’t make it.

Churchgoers started to scream and someone began to lower the hydraulic stage. I didn’t even think. I leaped up on the stage, past the astonished Rex (remember – very short dress, no bra) and jumped about two feet onto the moveable stage as it was being lowered.

There were lots of prayers down below. But it was very clear that only skin attached the young man’s torso and lower body. Strangely, nobody kicked me out. I was able to get the name of the youth who was killed from the coroner in time to make the deadline.

One post-script. Art was the first artist at work Monday morning. Somebody – Bob Giles we seem to remember – asked him if he could do an illustration to go with the story. “Of a guy in two parts?” Art wanted to know. After his objection, the diagram showed the kid dangling from the rising stage just before the accident.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Zippy needs your help

This is a flagrant promotion and has nothing to do with BJ retirees or the news media.

Zippy, the University of Akron kangaroo mascot, needs your help.

Zippy has been named to the 12-member Capital One All-America Team and is vying to be Mascot of the Year. He is confident you will back him by voting for him once every day through the end of the year at

So bookmark that site or make it one of your favorites to call up every day.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Covering a minister's death in the old days

Coverage of Rex Humbard's death reminded former Beacon Journal news editor Tom Moore how another such story.was covered in the old days.

Here are Moore’s recollections:

A few years ago I was working Saturday night. First edition was off the floor and with only Donn Gaynor and myself left on the news and copy desk and one person on the metro desk waiting to check to paper for errors, a call came to the desk from publisher Ben Maidenburg.

Seems he called the city desk to report that another well-known minister, the Rev. Dallas Billington, had passed away.The fellow on the city desk was new to the city and wanted to know just who Billington was.

And that had not set too well with Ben, so he called the news desk. I told him to to worry. We'd take care of it.

Donn, who had been a long-time reporter and rewrite man before joining the copy desk, picked up the phone and called Billington's son.

While Donn got the information for a story, I made plans to clear off a spot on Page one because we still had at least three-fourths of the run to go and the presses were shut down for a few minutes beteen the first and second run.

I went to the morgue for a photo of the Reverend. Plenty of photos but no engraving (this was in the days of hot type).Seems we were in the process of changing to a thinner thickness of engraving plate, so all the old mugs in the thicker metal had been
thrown away, even though we could still use them by adjusting the base used to mount them in the page.)

And of course, the engravers had long since gone home. I bemoaned this fact to old buddy Donn. He reminded me that on Saturday mornings, Billington ran an add with
his mug in the ad.

I ran into the composing room and one of the printers found that ad and cut the mug from it.

So we wound up with a photo and a story on the death.

But even then there were screwups. Somebody forgot to tell me that a full page of type and pictures had been readied for just such an occasion. So we ran that on Monday.

But we got the death with a photo in the paper...with a local byline.

--tom moore

[Blogger Note: Billington died in 1972. Gaynor died July 6, 2005]

Pete Geiger on covering Rex Humbard

Peter Geiger, former Beacon Journal religion writer who covered Rex Humbard, writes his recollectios of the televangelist who died Friday at a hospital near his home in Lantana, Fla. Humbard was 88.

The Rex Hbumbard Ministry site calls him “one of the 25 principle architects of the Amterican Century and Elvis Presly’s pastor."

See the Ministry site

Collette M. Jenkins filed the first story for the Beacon Journal on which showed six photos of Humbard over the years .By 10 last night there were 34 comments mostly laudatory but a couple nasty.

See Jenkins’ first story

Today’s Beacon Journal carried an update by Jenkins with a timeline

See also the New York Times story by Michael Pollak

Here’s Pete’s story:


I"m here in Mongolia, cramped with an intestinal virus and struggling to pack up 13 years of life here and return to the U.S. My wife, Sandy, awaits me there. She had quintuple bypass open-heart surgery on July 7 and we are going to retire.

Thanks for letting me know about Rex's passing. I'm sorry I didn't respond with more alacrity to your earlier request for Rex recollections. But here goes:

His name was actually Alpha Rex Emanuel Humbard, named partly for his dad, the Rev. Alpha Emanuel (A.E.) Humbard. The Humbards were a traveling salvation show family, known well in the Ozark region. They began to travel further after World War II, bringing their tent into the Midwest. When Rex landed in Akron, he became entranced. The city was well populated with Bible Belt expatriates, a ready-made audience for the Humbard style of Christianity.
And, because of the population concentration here, making Akron his home would obviate all the put-up and take-down of the evangelism tent. He campaigned with A.E. to put down roots, but the elder Humbard declined. Rex and Maude Aimee stayed on alone.

The other seminal feature of his ministry, Rex used to say, was the day he saw one of the first television sets running in the South Main St. window of the former O'Neil's department store. He had a vision: put "old time gospel" in living rooms across America via this new medium. The man was a visionary and opportunist, and Akron became a nexus of televangelism.

The Cathedral of Tomorrow was not the first originating point for the show. He ran from the movie theater on Copley Road that later became WAKR-TV studios and from the theater on State Road in the Falls that became Hilarities comedy club. Many folks remember that Rex build his Cathedral with a mortgage from the Teamsters Mid-States Pension Fund. There seemed to be no other connection with Big Bill Presser, however;
just a Teamsters investment.

Covering Rex and his family was like a regular encounter with untreated bi-polar disorder. The man needed ink, but (like politicians and business mavens everywhere) wanted only his own spin on the coverage. He would sit me down in his office or one his four-engine Lockheed Electra plane and explain patiently to me that I was missing
the real story of his ministry.

"Lives are being changed!" he would exult. "Marriages are being saved, drunkards are being reformed and all you want to write about is the money."

This at a time when the Cathedral of Tomorrow was raking in $25 million a year. (And back in the '70s and '80s, that was real lucre.)

You bet I wanted to cover the money. But I also wrote some stories about eager converts who wanted to tell me about how their lives had got straightened out from watching the Humbards' weekly, hour-long TV shows broadcast from Cuyahoga Falls or from road shows around the U.S. and Canada. On occasion I would accompany the family troupe and walk the lines of fans waiting to get into the theaters where they held their services, interviewing people about their reasons for coming.

Rex and Maude Aimee (named by her mother for Aimee Semple McPherson,
a female traveling evangelist in the '40s and '50s who was the inspiration for the film, "Elmer Gantry") had four children, not three as the newly-sloppy BJ ascribes to them. Rex, Jr., was the oldest and seemed to understand well my responsibility to cover the whole Humbard story. Donald was next in line, a very angry young man who more than
once threatened to punch me out if I didn't stop writing about the Humbards' finances. Elizabeth Darling (she married an Atlanta guy named Darling, really) was in her late teens and early 20s when I was covering her family. She seemed unsettled about the show-biz atmosphere of the family ministry and more than once came to me with questions about the authenticity and usefulness of the whole thing. I advised her to do as I had done and get out from backstage and talk to the audience members. She did so. Charlie was the youngest and the one not mentioned in the hip-shot BJ obit. He was a laid-back teenager who liked to play folk and gospel guitar and jammed with me on occasion when I was in my guitar-strumming days.

Maude Aimee was the least understood member of the family, I felt. Sycophants in the Humbard retinue treated her as a goddess, but I enjoyed her down-home Texas style (she was a Dallas native.) One winter day on Mackinac Island, Mich., I rolled up a snowball and tossed it into Maude Aimee's back. The staff gasped: a great heresy had been committed. Maude Aimee simply bend down, made her own snowball and threw it at me.

Once when our adopted son ran away from home, Maude Aimee called from Florida to say she was praying for him and for our family. Some staffer had heard it on the radio and mentioned it to her in a phone conversation. That was Maude Aimee, not Rex.

It is amazing to me that she is still alive. She's had congestive heart failure for years. In the end, the same malady took Rex before it claimed her. Perhaps hers is the bigger heart.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Press Club honcho presses BJ editor

Intercepted email from the Press Club's Abe Zaidan to BJ editor Bruce Winges:


The speaker at yesterday's Akron Press Club program was Ted Gup and as I quickly scanned today's BJ I regretfully didn't find a word about his talk despite the fact that:

He is a distinguished award-winning reporter (Polk Award among many others), who spent his investigative reporting days at the Washington Post and Time Magazine.

He is a former Beacon Journal reporter.

His is the author of a new book on secrecy in government, a topic that used to be red meat for newspapers, including the Beacon Journal. He delivered that topic yesterday.

Many volunteers have worked on the success of these public affairs programs during my six years as vice president of programs. You should know that we now have more than 100 members and it is growing despite the BJ's cursory attention. Jack Knight, a tiresome name to the BJ's current cast, was among the first to renew his membership each year because he believed in the Press Club's importance. We've had appearances by several BJ staffers, including that fellow Moss, who came and promised the luncheon crowd great things and disappeared in a wink.

It disappoints me, and I'm sure many others, to see people like Ted Gup ignored by the town's only daily newspaper.

What's wrong with this picture?

Abe Zaidan
Allen Castoff
Minor role player in the BJ's greatness.

Word from Chris Harte at Star Tribune

The Minneapolis Star Tribune plans a nationwide search to replace Par Ridder, who likely will not return to the paper after his one-year banishment. Here’s the Star-Tribune story:

By Matt McKinney, Star Tribune
Chris Harte, chairman of the Star Tribune Co. and the paper's interim publisher, told the newspaper's staff Thursday that it is unlikely that Ridder will return to the paper after his one-year injunction expires.

Harte, speaking to the staff for the first time since Tuesday's court ruling that ousted Ridder for taking proprietary data from his former employer, the St. P
aul Pioneer Press, praised the Star Tribune, noting that it remains profitable despite an industrywide slide in advertising revenue that has hurt papers nationwide.

"This company remains -- in this toughest of times that the newspaper industry has seen in, I think, all of our lifetimes -- a good business, a profitable business and a business with a very strong future," he told the staff.

Harte said that the paper will launch zoned editions Oct. 10, delaying by a week a plan that Ridder unveiled to staff last week. The plan expands on the successful weekly editions that the paper has been running Wednesdays in some suburbs.

The strategy slices up the newspaper's audience so that smaller advertisers can pay less for an ad that reaches just a portion of the paper's circulation. The paper plans to hire more sales representatives to lure smaller advertisers. At the same time, at least two pages of each zoned edition will carry unique news stories and other editorial content so that readers feel more local connection to the paper, according to editor Nancy Barnes.

Harte has served as chairman of the Star Tribune Co. since the private equity firm Avista Capital Partners purchased the newspaper six months ago from the McClatchy Co. for $530 million. Harte, who has served as a newspaper publisher in Maine, Ohio and Pennsylvania, said that he personally invested in the deal. Harte, who has homes in Maine and Texas, said he plans to buy a home here.

[Harte replaced John McMillion as publisher of the Beacon Journal in 1989 and left in 1992]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Simmons named PD managing editor

The Plain Dealer named Debra Adams Simmons as its managing editor today. Adams Simmons, who most recently was editor and vice president of the Akron Beacon Journal, replaces Tom O'Hara, who left the paper last week for a teaching job at Kent State University.

Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg announced the decision to the staff this afternoon. "Debra is a wonderful journ
alist, blessed with an analytical mind, a knack for understanding readers' interests and an enormous capacity for problem solving," Goldberg said.

Adams Simmons, 42, worked as deputy managing editor and metro editor at The Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, Va., before working at the Beacon Journal. She has also worked at the Detroit Free Press, The Hartford Courant and the Syracuse-Herald Journal.

Posted on by PD Metro staff September 20, 2007 14:02PM


Akron News Now in an article by Ed Esposito just before 4 p.m. called it:

The PD’s Beacon Look

Here’s that story:

Another move in the northeast Ohio newspaper community puts a former manager of the Akron Beacon Journal in charge at the Plain Dealer.

Debra Adams Simmons is a former editor and vice-president of the Akron Beacon Journal; now she's the new managing editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, filling the vacancy left by Tom O'Hara who left to pursue other interests, including a teaching position at Kent State University. Simmons left the Beacon Journal at the end of 2006.

Simmons most recently helped lead the building and celebration for the Akron Urban League's new headquarters building. Workers at the Plain Dealer were informed of the new hire this afternoon. According to the PD, the 42-year old Simmons resume includes stops in Richmond, Detroit, Syracuse and Hartford newspapers in addition to the Beacon Journal. PD Editor Susan Goldberg, also relatively new to her position in Cleveland but a former Knight-Ridder newspaper alum as is Simmons, referred to her as having "an enormous capacity for problem solving."

This is just the latest game of ink-stained music chairs; longtime ABJ sports and religion columnist Terry Pluto sent shock waves across the newsroom on East Exchange and South Main when he announced he was leaving the Akron newspaper and rejoining the PD staff. The Plain Dealer is running an aggressive ad campaign promoting Pluto's return to the Cleveland paper.


Finally, see Susan Goldberg's welcome memo as published by Jim Romensko at Poynter Online

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don Roese letter in Voice of People

Here's a letter to the editor by retired photographer Don Roese in the Voice of the People column of the Beacon Journal on page A10 on Wednesday:

As in sandwich?

About that headline last Sunday, "Hometown hero puts music on menu": Just what act of heroism has Chrissie Hynde ever performed?

The media's trivilization of the word "hero" has almost rendered it useless. Singing and eating veggies does not a hero make. Next time let's ,make her what she is, a celebrity.

Don Roese
Cuyahoga Falls

McClatchy's revenues drops in August

By Dale Kasler
Sacramento Bee Staff Writer
The McClatchy Co., still mired in a slump that's afflicted newspaper publishers everywhere, on Wednesday reported a 9.2 percent decline in advertising revenue for August. Total revenue fell 8.4 percent.

Sacramento-based McClatchy, which owns The Bee, said a big problem was the continuing decline in real estate advertising. Its papers in California and Florida have been especially hard hit.

"We expect little improvement in advertising trends before the fourth quarter of 2007 and expect that revenue will likely still be negative in that quarter," Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a press release. "But we are not accepting business on these terms - indeed we are working hard to mitigate the impact of revenue declines by exerting strong cost discipline."

August revenue totaled $169.4 million.

Newspapers have been struggling with a shift of business to other media, especially the Internet, as well as a slow economy that has cut advertising. Total revenue year to date is down 7.1 percent.

McClatchy's stock was trading at $21.19 a share, down a penny, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Press Club to hear Ted Gup

Former Beacon Journal reporter Ted Gup, who is a: Case Western Reserve University professor of journalism and author, will discuss his new at the Akron Press Club's luncheon Thursday at 11:45 a.m.
at the Martin Center at 105 Fir Hill on the University of Akron campus.

Gup’s book is about the threat of secrecy in government. It is titled Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life.. The book is published by Doubleday and is 321 pages/

It is best described by Gup himself in an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here’s the quote:

“As a child of the 50's and the cold war, I was taught both at home and in the classroom that ours is an open society. Openness was what set us apart from other nations, particularly those despotic regimes in Moscow and Beijing. It was presented as something sacrosanct and unassailable, a part of our national birthright and identity. Hallowed ground. To question it would have been, well, un-American. So I accepted it as an article of faith. It was only later, after years as an investigative reporter, that I came to see that the open society was more myth than reality.

“Don't get me wrong. I know perfectly well -- better than most -- that if I practiced my craft of investigative reporting in most other countries, I would be writing this essay from prison -- if I were lucky enough to have escaped a bullet.”

Although Gup spent most of the past 20 years in the Washington, D.C., area, he is well-acquainted with Ohio. He grew up in Canton, attended Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, and earned his law degree from CWRU in 1978. He worked only briefly at the Akron Beacon Journal from 1974-75 as a news reporter

The cost of the luncheon is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Contact Abe or Nancy Zaidan at 330-835-4980 or for further information.

Click on the headline for more about the book.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Judge tells Par Ridder to leave Star-Trib

Click on the headline for a long treatise on the Mississippi Mess in Editor & Puiblisher.

By JOSHUA FREED (AP Business Writer)

From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - A judge on Tuesday ordered Star Tribune publisher Par Ridder to leave his job for a year, a sweeping victory for the rival St. Paul Pioneer Press, which had accused its former publisher of misusing proprietary information.

Ridder's actions when he joined the Star Tribune in March caused the Pioneer Press "irreparable harm," Judge David C. Higgs wrote.

He said an injunction was necessary to prevent further damage to the Pioneer Press "a
nd to ensure that Ridder is not unjustly enriched by his past misconduct."

The judge also granted the Pioneer Press's request to block Jennifer Parratt, a former employee hired away by Ridder, from working at the Star Tribune before April 2008. Higgs denied the paper's motion to also block Kevin Desmond, who had been director of information technology for the Pioneer Press, from working at the Star Tribune.

Star Tribune chairman Chris Harte said the ruling was "clearly not what we expected" and the paper would consider its legal options. He said he would take over as publisher.

"We continue to believe that Pioneer Press information was not improperly used in order to cause competitive harm to Pioneer Press," Harte said. "And we continue to believe that Par Ridder and Jennifer Parratt were not unlawfully hired away from the Pioneer Press."

There was no immediate comment from Ridder. The newspaper said he left the building at about the time the ruling was issued, and his home number is unlisted.

Ridder had been accused of violating a noncompete agreement by joining the rival Star Tribune, and much of the testimony during a summer hearing in the case dealt with that. Higgs ultimately ruled that Ridder's noncompete agreement was invalid because he didn't receive any compensation for it. But he wrote that even without the noncompete agreement, Ridder violated the state's trade secrets act and his common law duty of loyalty to the Pioneer Press.

Ridder testified in June that he took information with him from the Pioneer Press to the Star Tribune, but he said he never used it for competitive advantage.

The judge found Ridder's explanations not credible.

"Given Ridder's past conduct and his cavalier attitude toward his use and disclosure of confidential Pioneer Press information, it seems to the Court that his past actual misappropriation is a good indicator" that he may do it again, Higgs wrote.

The Pioneer Press said Ridder copied more than a dozen computer documents, including budgets, monthly profits, employee wages, and how much advertisers were paying - key intelligence in a competitive newspaper market.

Ridder's hiring by the Star Tribune was a stunning move in Twin Cities media circles.

The Pioneer Press had been in Ridder's family since 1927, but Knight Ridder was sold to McClatchy last year. The Pioneer Press is now controlled by MediaNews Group Inc.

Ridder joined the Star Tribune in March, on the same day McClatchy sold that paper to Avista Capital Partners.

Associated Press Writer Doug Glass contributed to this report. wns Knight-Batten award, a data-rich, nonpartisan group blog that covers real-time, online activity of the 2008 presidential candidates -- and chronicles online content from voters who will elect them, is this year's $10,000 Grand Prize winner in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

The site invites every-day people to help break campaign news and it tracks voter-generated videos on YouTube, candidate "friends" on MySpace and Facebook, blog mentions on Technorati, voter demands for appearances on Eventful, and voter-generated photos on Flickr.

"The site not only reports on, but encourages, citizens to participate more directly in the political process," the panel of judges said. "It's an amazing source of information from a non-traditional news outlet." The site is published by the Personal Democracy Forum.

Winning a $2,000 First Prize is another non-traditional news organization, the Council on Foreign Relations.'s rich media "Crisis Guides" present compelling, in-depth news about the world's most pressing crisis zones. "This is an institution stepping up and honoring the best of journalism. It's filling an absolutely articulated need," the judges said.

Four other innovative efforts each won $1,000 awards. And, for the first time, the judges cited four more creative ideas with Honorable Mentions.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950 the foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. It focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit

J-Lab helps news organizations and citizens use new media technologies to create fresh ways for people to participate in public life. It also administers the Knight Citizen News Network ( and the New Voices community media grant program ( Or click on the headline to read the rest of this article.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hanzels celebrate 60th anniversary

Ed and Norma Hanzel were married on September 13, 1947, at St. Augustine Church. Ed and Norma met at Barberton High School and have resided in Barberton all their lives. Ed is retired from the Akron Beacon Journal and Norma stayed busy at home raising three children.

They are the proUd parents ot Joan (Dave) Stover, Jack (Cheryl) and Jeff (Cindy); four grandchildren, Mark, Sandy, Whitney and Kelley; three great-granddaughters, . Anastasia, Allison and Brittany.

They celebrated with family and friends.

[Photo scanned from newspaper. The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Sunday, September 16, 2007, page B7, col. 6 ]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rx note from Bob Abbott

I'm still receiving info and expect a couple more additions in the next week or so. As a result, it will take more time to go through all this and try to get in a presentable format for counsel to check out. Also, I plan to talk to Tom Cowman at the union meeting later this month. While it's possible that he might not have anything useful to add I believe it is worth the effort just to make sure. And I need to contact some people by phone for clarification of some info.

Over the months...the information I have gone through...and the stories (some of them pretty horrific) about the fallout from the BJ's approach to weaseling out of their obligations to their retirees...would lead a reasonable person to believe this should be a slam-dunk. But obviously interpretations of laws and reality are not necessarily in step.

So it looks like it will yet be another month before we complete this next step. I apologize for all the time this is taking. I had no idea things would move so slow...but I feel we need to cover any possibility that might help us out. So, once again, if any of you have any more information...get it to me...another bit of time won't make much difference at this point.


bob abbott

Friday, September 14, 2007

PD editor apologizes for cartoon

Here's the story by Jesse Tinsley in the PD on Friday:

Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg apologized Thursday to the parents of 12-year-old shooting victim Asteve' "Cookie" Thomas because they considered a cartoon offensive and insensitive.

The cartoon by Plain Dealer editorial cartoonist Jeff Darcy was published in the newspaper on Sept. 5, four days after Asteve' was killed by a stray bullet during a shootout in her East Side neighborhood.

The girl's parents, Karen Elliott and Steven Thomas, along with several community activist groups, accepted the editor's apology during a meeting at The Plain Dealer.

"It's terrible to lose someone you love, and I apologized to Asteve's parents because that cartoon added to their pain," Goldberg said after the meeting. "We regret that the cartoon was published and realize that offended many people in our community."

Members of the anti-crime group Black on Black Crime Inc., NAACP, New Black Panther Party and other organizations called off a protest in front of The Plain Dealer, and instead met privately with Goldberg and Editorial Page Editor Brent Larkin.

"She graciously apologized to them [Asteve's family] for what happened. It was a productive meeting," said Art McKoy, head of Black on Black Crime. "We decided not to picket The Plain Dealer because Editor Susan Goldberg was receptive to asking us to come in and talk and not picket."

McKoy said he and others plan to meet with the editor at a later date to discuss diversity in the newsroom and news coverage of the black community.

About 10 percent of The Plain Dealer's professional editorial staff is black, and about 14 percent are people of color, including African-Americans, Latinos and Asians, Goldberg said.

Nationally, minorities make up 13.62 percent of journalists working in America's newsrooms, according to the latest statistics from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

"Having a diverse staff is important, and that's something we need to work on in The Plain Dealer's newsroom," Goldberg said. "This is an area in which we need to improve so we can better reflect and cover the diverse community in which we live and work."

Police have arrested Eric "Big Willie" Wilson, 35, and James Yhonquea, 20, both of Cleveland, in connection with Asteve' Thomas' death on Sept. 1.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2007 Online Journalism Awards - Finalists

Finalists for the eighth annual Online Journalism Awards, honoring excellence in digital journalism, have been announced by the Online News Association and the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

For the second year, the Knight Foundation is sponsoring the Knight Public Service Award. The winner will receive $5,000. "This year's contest proves once again that public service journalism is alive and well in the digital world," said Eric Newton, Knight Foundation's vice president, journalism program. "When news organizations put their minds to it, they can provide news in the public interest in new forms as well as traditional."

A total of 70 finalists ranging from small independent sites to some of the biggest brands in online news were selected from more than 700 entries.

The finalists were chosen by a team of distinguished journalists during a two-day event on the USC campus September 7 and 8. Winners in each of the 20 categories will be announced at the OJA Banquet during the 8th annual conference of the Online News Association (ONA), October 19 at the Sheraton Centre, Toronto.

“The range of finalists this year demonstrates the remarkable diversity in online journalism and the ever-growing number of sites producing first-rate content,” said ONA president Kinsey Wilson. “From established brands, to small community start-ups, we?re seeing great work at every level.”

Click on the headline to see list of finalists.

Two decades past--and still dying

Here’s David Callaway of MarketWatch recalling his 20 years in a dying industry:

Back in 1987, it was widely assumed that newspapers were dying. The post-Watergate rush to become a reporter was over. Circulations were down. And new technologies were threatening. At one point, the hot new thing was to deliver news by fax machine, and papers were going to die because readers would be able to get news quicker by fax. They would even be able to tailor the type of news they wanted to receive. Imagine that?

In my section of the paper, which we affectionately called FIN for "financial," we kept abreast of the market's movement with an old Dow Jones news ticker, which clacked out spools of dark blue, inky copy all day long, and market updates once an hour. You had to get up from your desk, where primitive word processors had been installed only a year before, and walk over to the ticker, which was close to a blood stain on the aging carpet that newsroom legend held had been there ever since a printer coughed up a lung two decades before that. It was right out of The Front Page.

I'm told the rug has been cleaned. But 20 years later The Herald is still there, breaking news and still providing a daily slap upside the head to its larger, more comfortable rival, The Boston Globe. In the meantime, the industry has morphed completely.

Click on the headline to read all of Callaway’s story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sweet (or bitching?) 16 attend lunch

Here’s Tom Moore’s report on the September 12 luncheon of Beacon Journal retirees at Papa Joe's ( Click on the headline to see more photos) :

I arrived at Papa Joe's about 12:45 Wednesday. I found one retiree—Gene McClellan– sitting at the table reserved for the Beacon Journal retiree bunch. “Gonna be one of those times with maybe a handful or less, I thought to myself.”

Gene and I exchanged greetings and wondered how many more wou
ld show. Then came retired printer Carl Nelson. Good. At least three of us. And as 1 p.m. rolled around, more folks began to arrive.

There was former Beacon Journal guard Bob Reese, his first time at one
of the luncheons, even though he's been threatening to show up for the last three months. He finally made it. He was to pick up retiree Dave Boerner, but they had their time mixed up. He arrived at Dave's house at 11:30 and found nobody home, so he left. But Dave showed on his own.

The afternoon proved a bigger success than we've had for a while, in fact the restaurant folks had to add another table..when Bob Pell came in, bringing his daughter, Catherine Sandstead; his son, Bob Pell Jr. and daughter-in-law Phyllis Pell. Bob's getting ready for a trip to Florida with his

Eddie Hanzel and his wife, Norma, put in an appearance. And congratulations are in order: they are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary...a happy couple.

Cal Deshong had a guest with him--his daughter, Mary Kinkelaar.

John Olesky sat down next to me. John and Paula have been doing a whole lot of traveling. Next trip, he says, his flying to Florida in two weeks to watch his beloved West Virginia Mountaineers play football. John doesn't miss any home games in Morgantown and for those games he can't
attend, he's got a big screen TV—that's almost like being there!

Also breaking bread with the group of 16 at the lunch were Dick Gresock and Al Hunsicker.

As usual, the talk was of the old days and the changes..(as somebody put it..all these old timers do, is bitch, bitch, bitch...) But why not? These retirees have put their lives into the newspaper, so, despite what folks might think, they've earned the right.

Fran Murphy usual comes up at one time or another. And this was no exception. Recalling what a following she had, how she babied her column each day like nobody else...she was one of a kind.. Bob Reese said her parking space was “sacred”. Nobody was allowed to park in it.

He recalls that the governor of Ohio showed up and needed a space to park. Since Fran was out of the office, it was suggested that maybe the Gov could park there. Bob called publisher John Dotson. Dotson vetoed the idea: “she might come back.”

Next monthly luncheon is Wednesday, Oct.10, at 1 p.m. At Papa Joe's in the Valley.

Come on down.

-------tom moore

Aylward, friend credited with saving life

Retired Beacon Journal circulation director Bill Aylward and close friend Bob Wolf are credited with saving the life of Joseph Demeter after he suffered a heart attack and slumped over in a pew at St. Sebastian Church on August 19.

Wolf, 87, an usher at the church, was getting things in order for the Mass and repositioning a telephone when he saw Demeter keel over. "I had the phone in my hand," Wolf said, "so I quickly called 911. A lot of people faint in church, but I knew this was worse. . ."

Aylward, who turns 86 later this month was sitting in the third pew when he heard a thud, looked down the pew and saw Demeter slumped over..

Aylward was an Army medic in the South Pacific during World War stationed at a hospital . in East Bengal of present-day Bangladesh. He sprang into action.

"I couldn't detect any head injuries," Aylward said, "and there was a nurse - nobody knows her name - who checked for a pulse and couldn't find one." Aylward quickly removed Demeter's tie.

"I knew we had to get to work because he was blue and he was thrashing around with his arms and biting hard with his. teeth," Aylward said. "I could see his eyes were in the back of his head." Wolf and the nurse pinned Demeter's arms down so Aylward could begin CPR with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Wolf then administered chest compressions.

“It's a miracle because the Thursday before we had just had a refresher course on advanced CPR.," said Wolf. "Before, you were taught to give 15 chest compressions. This year, they changed it to 30 chest compressions. I'm glad I went to that advanced course because we didn't get him back until the 27th chest compressions.
"He was blue in the face and I thought we had lost him, but I wasn't going to give up until I got to 30."

Paramedics arrived in an estimated four minutes and took over.

"They were so discreet that we went ahead and had the 9 am. Mass and some people never knew what had happened," said St. Sebastian Deacon Terry Peacock. .
"To me, it was a classic effort of individuals coming together and respond to a person in need. And what amazed me were the ages of those involved.

Demeter underwent triple bypass surgery and valve replacement at Akron General Medical Center.

[Source: Article by Bill Lilley, The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Wednesday, September 12, 2007, page 2, col. 1 ]

Zaidan to speak at KSU Tusc. branch

Abe Zaidan will present “Freedom of the Press: A Journalist’s Perspective” on Monday at 7 in the Founders Hall Auditorium at the Tuscarawas Campus of Kent State University at New Philadelphia. Admission to the Constitution Day program is free, and no tickets are required.

Zaidan recently completed his fifth book, “Portraits of Power,” with Dr. John Green, director of the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron. It contains many of Zaidan’s previously published political columns dealing with leading Ohio politicians since the 1960s, including the late Gov. James Rhodes, Sens. John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum, and Cleveland Mayors Carl Stokes, (U.S. Rep) Dennis Kucinich and (U.S. Sen.) George Voinovich, as well as an essay on the current state of the media and its decline over the last 30 years.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, he resides in Fairlawn with his wife, Nancy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Susan Goldberg’s memo on departing PD m.e.

Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Susan Goldberg's memo to staff garnered by Jim Romenesko.of Poynter Online:


I'm sorry to announce that Tom O'Hara has decided to leave The Plain Dealer. His last day will be Sept. 13.

Tom and I have not worked together long, but it's easy to see that his impact on the paper as its managing editor has been immeasurable, and all to the good.

Simply put, Tom is an outstanding newspaper professional. He's got all the right moves: A great story sense, an urgency that spans the range from tomorrow's paper to the online future of our business -- and one of the most finely tuned bullshit detectors around. I've never met anyone who so regularly and colorfully brings to life the adage: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

And then, of course, there is Tom's famous "neighbor" -- the mythical stand-in for all of our readers, who stubbornly, and occasionally truculently, wants to know why he or she should care about some story being ardently pitched for the front page. "Would my neighbor read that?" Tom asks -- and, with that simple question, reminds us who we are here to serve.

Doug Clifton hired Tom to the Plain Dealer in 2000, from the Palm Beach Post. But the two had worked together long before, in the late 1970s and 1980s, at the Miami Herald. I asked Doug to share some thoughts about Tom.

"Most of the people who know Tom -- and whose journalism values I respect -- speak with a kind of awe about his straight shooting. 'You always knew exactly what he thought and where you stood,' is what you hear over and over," Doug said.

He added, "I like to think a good indication of an editor's quality is the quality of the journalists who look up to him or her -- and that of those who don't. Tom should be proud of both lists because some of brightest and dimmest love and loath him in the right proportions."

Before coming to the Plain Dealer, Tom worked at five Florida newspapers: The Herald, Palm Beach Post, The Daytona Beach News Journal, The Orlando Sentinel and The Gainesville Sun, where he started his career as a sports reporter in 1972.

In January, Tom will join Kent State in its Professional in Residence program. He'll be teaching courses in ethics and open government.

In sum, Tom is one of the best in our business, and our loss will be his students' -- and the future of our profession's -- gain. We wish Tom, Pam and their family only the very best.


Winges to speak to League of Women Voters

Beacon Journal editor Bruce Winges will speak to the League of Women Voters of the Akron Area on Thursday, September 20, 2007, at Papa Joe's Restaurant, 1561 Akron Peninsula Road

Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m.and Winges will speak at 7:30 p.m.
(Anyone may attend and you may attend the speech only)

A question and answer period will follow




1. Beef Wellington $26.00
2. Eggplant Parmigiana $21.00
3. Salmon Steak $28.50

No. of Reservations______

Menu Choice(s)________ -- ________

Cost $__________

Please return by September 16, with your check, made payable to LWV AA, to:

LWV AA Shadey Greer, Treasurer
380 Mineola Avenue
Akron, OH 44320-1318

Monday, September 10, 2007

Here's a gloomy new book

"-30- The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper"
is a compendium of 15 mostly gloomy views of what's happening to newspapers, what can be done about it and why you should care about newspapers -- or about how you get news at all.

Editor Charles Madigan, a wonderful writer and former Chicago Tribune columnist, an
d the other authors present disparate views, but a few things seem clear from this book and from my own half-century in print journalism:

• Economic troubles of newspapers are both real and imagined. Profits are headed south in the face of Internet competition, and some newspapers even have lost money. But papers have been wildly profitable, and, as professor and researcher Philip Meyer writes in his own book excerpted by Madigan, "The problem is that there is no easy way to get from a newspaper industry used to 20 to 40 percent margins to one that is content with 6 or 7 percent."

• Great journalism doesn't flow from nonjournalist, profit-driven investors. Reporters "wonder whether their editors have sold out journalistic values for business ones," says Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of the Portland Oregonian. Indeed, in many cases, they have.

• Whether newspapers survive makes a difference far beyond jobs lost and readers inconvenienced. Only newspapers have the infrastructure -- 300 journalists at the Star Tribune alone -- for in-depth coverage of news that helps shape the civic agenda.

The book's statistics are grim. Only 37 percent of U.S. adults said that they read a newspaper daily in 2000, down from 53 percent a decade earlier, and only 20 percent of adults under 35 read now.

The authors' list of causes is long and varied, including Internet competition for readers and ads; sleepy owners who didn't invest in research and development; big money, tax laws and disinterest that prompted journalism families to sell out (the book was produced before the sale of the Wall Street Journal was announced); boring stories; failure to reach out to young readers, and left-leaning reporters who (gasp!) went to college.

Also, owners trying to cut their way to profitability, of course. "As papers become increasingly shallow and niggardly, they lose their essentiality to their readers and their communities," says Gene Roberts, whose Philadelphia Inquirer won 17 Pulitzer Prizes during his 18 years of editorship there.

Book Details:
ISBN: 9781566637428
Subtitle: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper
Author: Madigan, Charles M.
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee Publisher
Publication Date: September 7, 2007

Readers who don't own computers feel slighted

Paul Moore, public editor of the Baltimore Sun, says newspaper readers who don’t own computers feel slighted.

The lead graphs of his report:

The Sun, like many newspapers, is shifting more content from its traditional print edition to its Web site. Economic pressures have forced newspapers to reduce their print content, and editors are trying to mitigate that loss by posting this missing material on their Web sites. These moves also appeal to journalists already worried about growing competition from Internet news sources.

But some print edition readers can't or won't use the Internet and are frustrated because certain of their favorite items have been deleted from their newspaper. I've talked to a number of these frustrated subscribers in recent weeks, and it's difficult to know how to respond. Many have told me they either can't afford to buy or don't want to use a computer.

That means they won't be able to access the growing online world of newspapers.

A longtime reader from Essex summed it up: "If you are putting more and more material online only, you are making it less and less desirable for those of us who buy your newspaper every day. We represent the readers who have stayed with The Sun through thick and thin. We are living with what we get - but it doesn't mean we like it."

Click on the headline to read Moore’s full report.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Plain Dealer ME O'Hara going to KSU

Tom O'Hara, The Plain Dealer's Managing Editor since 2000, announced today he will leave the paper later this month to teach at Kent State University.

As the right-hand man to former Editor Douglas Clifton, O'Hara, 60, helped guide the paper to a Pulitzer Priz
e in 2005 and brought order and direction to a newsroom scrambling to cover the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the massive 2003 power outages that shut down much of the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

Since following Clifton here from their previous jobs in Florida, "Tomo" as he was known to the staff, could be counted on for boisterously announcing to the newsroom that there were "Page One opportunities!" for the next day's paper and for urging stories to be written so his next-door neighbor would want to read them.

Susan Goldberg, the new top editor at The Plain Dealer, said that though she has not worked with O'Hara very long, she considers him "an outstanding newspaper professional."

" He's got all the right moves: A great story sense, an urgency that spans the range from tomorrow's paper to the online future of our business - and one of the most finely tuned BS detectors around."

O'Hara, a resident of Broadview Heights, will teach classes in ethics and open government as part of Kent State's Professional in Residence program starting in January.

O'Hara said a lot of his journalism buddies took teaching jobs over the years and raved about the lifestyle.

"I got jealous," he said. "I think college professors live longer than managing editors."

Before coming to the Plain Dealer, Tom worked at five Florida newspapers: The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, The Daytona Beach News Journal, The Orlando Sentinel and The Gainesville Sun, where he started his career as a sports reporter in 1972.

He has a wife, Pam, a 19-year-old daughter Rachel, who is a sophomore at Ohio University, and a 17-year-old son who is a senior at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
[Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, Friday, September 7, 2007]

Coast Guard to withhold names

The Coast Guard announced Aug. 24 it now will release rescued peoples’ names only during an active operation — a guideline media experts say exceeds privacy interests and could hamper objective reporting of the service’s performance.

In a servicewide message, assistant commandant for operations Rear Adm. David Pekoske said the names of people who are rescued or are the targets of a search-and-rescue operation can be released when the case is “open and active” but will be sealed after it is closed.

Those seeking the information after the case closes must file a Freedom of Information Act for it, but the message doesn’t indicate whether the service will release the information under FOIA.

The policy clarification results from a debate within the service about the privacy of rescued individuals. In 2005, while reporter Amanda Garrett of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer was working on a story about ice rescues, she requested the names of people saved that year, and in previous winters, to determine whether the Coast Guard was spending taxpayer money to rescue “repeat offenders.”

Her request was denied, even as she and her editors met with then-9th District Commander Rear Adm. Robert Papp to discuss the issue.

“It’s that old rumor year after year, that it’s the same people getting rescued on the ice. We wanted to see if it was true,” Garrett said.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Patricia Kime in the Navy Times.

Improve your writing for $29.95

Want to learn one new way to improve your writing immediately? Spend an hour with Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and learn The Order of the Word: The Secret to Powerful Prose.

In this NewsU/Poynter Webinar, Roy will answer your questions about one of his writing tools: Putting words in the right place at the right time.

The Order of the Word: The Secret to Powerful Prose
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 18
Time: 2-3 p.m., Eastern time
Cost: $29.95

Course details:

This live event will allow for questions, via our online text area, from participants. Get there early and get your questions online first. Enrollment is limited, so hurry. All participants will have access to the archive version of the Webinar when it becomes available later in the year.

Get more information or to Register now for The Order of the Word: The Secret to Powerful Prose, the latest Webinar from News University, click on the link above or just go to News University at

About NewsU
News University ( is the e-learning home for more than 48,000 journalists, educators and students in 157 countries around the world. NewsU offers more than 45 focused, interactive courses that appeal to journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media. NewsU is a project of The Poynter Institute funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

PD apologizes for cartoon

The Cleveland Plain Dealer today apoliized for this cartoon about the slaying of 12-year-old Asteve'e "Cookie" Thomas who was caught in the a gun battle September 1 in Slavic Village. Police say Eric Romel “Big Willie” Wilson was shooting at James Yhonquea, 20, of Cleveland, who was wounded in the gunfight. Yhonquea was charged with aggravated murder.

The newspaper said:

“These letters represent a portion of the negative reaction we have received in response to Wednesday's editorial cartoon. We very much regret any pain th
e cartoon has caused in the community or, most especially, to family members and friends of Asteve'e Thomas.”

Here is one of the letters:

I am furious over the cartoon that appeared in The Plain Dealer on Wednesday. How dare The Plain Dealer victimize a murdered child in such a way?

The editorial cartoon was horrendously insensitive. Did the artist, Jeff Darcy, in his attempt to attack Mayor Frank Jackson, ever consider the feelings of the family?

To show the little girl in the cartoon as a Buckwheat running away from the store is another slap in the face. An apology is owed to this family. I can only pray that your newspaper has not added to their grief.

As the mother of a murdered inner-city child, I am sick and tired of our children being exploited.

I am going to pray that whoever is responsible for such a heartless thing would repent, get on the phone and personally call this family to apologize. How would you like it if your child were murdered on her way from the store and then you woke up on the next day to find her depicted in such a way in Ohio's largest newspaper?

Shame on you!

Yvonne Pointer

Click on the headline to read other comments.

Star Tribune to sell page 1 ads

The following memo of Star Tribune publisher Par Ridder was sent to Jim Romenensko of Poynter Online:

Front page ad this Sunday
by Par Ridder, publisher and CEO

September 7, 2007 - This Sunday at the bottom of the front page of the Star Tribune we will be running a Macy's ad. While this will be a departure from our recent tradition, we will be joining many other newspapers who now allow page-one ads in order to be more responsive to changing marketplace dynamics.

The primary reason for this decision is that we, like the rest of the industry, must offer more creative, innovative solutions for advertisers who have many choices about where to spend their money.

As you know, we have been running ads on section fronts since September 2006 - a policy that has been well received by advertisers and well accepted by readers. And, off and on throughout our 140-year history, we have run front-page ads, so we are not breaking new ground.

We also will be joining several of the nation's largest newspapers that already allow page 1 ads, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle. Both the Tribune Company and Gannett now have a corporate policy allowing front-page ads.

In adopting this new policy, we are especially mindful of the value of this ad position and will be pricing it accordingly.

We believe this new policy will help considerably in growing our ad revenue, which in turn will support our continued investment in the highest quality journalism.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Walks Around Akron arrives

Walks Around Akron, the book by Russ Musarra and Chuck Ayers, has finally arrived. A blog post on March 21 first announced the release of the book. Now here’s the latest word from Musarra:

“The book, printed in China, arrived by ship in Los Angeles August 27 and then began a cross-country train trip to Ohio - all but 100 copies that were flown here in time for our first signing at the Akron Road Rally preview party, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 6.

“Chuck and I hope are hoping our local friends and relatives will plug into one of our talks or signings, even if it's just to heckle. You out-of-town guys and gals will just have to invite us to your fair cities. The big events are a reception and signing at Summit County Historica
l Society, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28; our talk at Our Lady of the Elms' Author, Author luncheon Oct. 24; and the Buckeye Book Fair Nov. 3 in Wooster.”

Some of the others are:
Sept. 18 - 6:30 p.m. talk and signing at Maple Valley branch library in Akron.
Sept. 26 - 7 to 8:30 p.m. signing at Barnes & Noble in Montrose.
Oct. 6 - 1 to 3 p.m. signing at the Bookseller book store in Akron.

Oct. 7 - 1 to 3 p.m. signing at Stan Hywet OhioMart.
Oct. 10 - 1 p.m. talk and signing at Northwest branch library in Akron.
Oct. 20 - 1 to 3 p.m. signing at Borders on Howe Road near Chapel Hill.
Oct 27 - 2 to 4 p.m. signing at Borders in Fairlawn.
Nov. 9 - 6:30 p.m. signing at the Learned Owl book store in Hudson.
Nov. 17 - signing at the Blue Heron book store in Peninsula. Time to be announced.
You can email Russ at

Here’s some information on the book we posted earlier:

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 Beacon 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.

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.

University of Akron Press
Akron, OH 44325-1703
Tel: 330-972-6953
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

Seems like old times: BJ clock goes out

An electrical problem put the Beacon Journal's clock tower and its video billboard out of service, the newspaper reported in a brief item today.

Beacon Journal officials contacted a vendor to get a replacement part, the report said.

The clock tower went out at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Beacon Journal replaced its old revolving clock tower with a four-sided board in 2005. The new tower has light-emitting diodes that can flash, blink or scroll.

The tower is expected to be working again by Friday, the report said.

Retired BJ truck driver Leonard Watson dies

Leonard O. Watson, 89, of Akron, Ohio, will be remembered for more than 30 years of volunteer service in the community and church. He donated hundreds of hours to Good Neighbors, Ronald MacD
onald House, and Oak Hill Presbyterian Church. Watson worked at The Akron Beacon Journal for 30 years before retiring in 1980. Probably the most defining experience of his life was World War II where he served in the tank division of the 751st Battalion.

Watson is survived by his daughter, Meredyth W. Corbett of Honolulu, Hawaii. Other family memb
ers include son-in-law, Lawrence W. Corbett of Honolulu; daughter-in-law, Patricia Watson of Toledo; grandchildren, Patrick O. Watson and his wife, Jennifer, of Columbus, Brandon M. Watson of Inglas, Fla., and Matthew H. Corbett and his wife, Karis, of Goshen, Ind.; and Courtney B. Corbett of Phoenix, Ariz. He shared his life with great-grandchildren, Jenica M. Corbett, Joseph M. Corbett, Winston E. Corbett, Miles O. Watson, Maria J. Corbett, Trevor K. Watson, and Nathan H. Corbett. Preceding him in death was his wife, Frances B. Watson; daughter, Margaret L. Watson; and son, Daniel O. Watson.

There will be a graveside service Friday, September 7, at 10 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Park, 1025 Canton Rd., Akron. Military honors will be conducted by American Legion Post 281. Visitation with the family will follow at the Oak Room at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church, 2406 Ardwell Ave., Akron, OH 44312. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Oak Hill Presbyterian Church.

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Thursday, September 6, 2007, page B7, col. 5 ]

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A tale of two publishers

John McMillion, the Beacon Journal publisher who switched the newspaper from afternooon to morning delivery, resigned at the age of 59 and was replaced by Chris Harte. Harte, now a consultant for Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm which purchased the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is chairman of the Star Tribune. Publisher of that newspaper is Par Ridder, son of Tony Ridder.

Stories on the two publishers were published in the December 1989 issue of Sidebar with information from stories originally written by Bob Fernandez and Anread Louie. Here are the stories:

McMillion announces retirement
John McMillion. the Beacon Journal publisher who switched Akron's o
nly daily newspaper from afternoon to morning delivery and presided over its winning a Pulitzer Prize, has announced that he will retire Jan. l.

McMillion, who has been publisher since April 1986, used accrued vacation time and has left the area. He is building a house in Albuquerque, N.M. where he will live with his wife, Melanie and stepdaughter. At 59, McMillion said he has accomplished his major goals in Akron. Those were to stop the "erosion in operating profit" at the Beacon Journal and to make a successful transition
to morning publication.

Both moves were not without controversy. The morning delivery outraged some readers, and McMillion tried to trim operating costs through hard negotiating with the Beacon Journal's eight unions. "We knew that if we were going to grow long-term, we had to be a morning newspaper," McMillion said.

Harte named new publisher

Christopher Harte, 41, was named publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal.

A Texas native, Harte is a graduate of Stanford University, and received his master's degree in business administration from the University of Texas.

He comes from a Texas newspaper family, which heads Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc. of San Antonio.

He worked as a reporter for the Associated Press; management consultant for McKinsey and Co., and as research and promotion director and retail sales manager for the Austin (Texas) AmericanStatesman.

In 1979, he built a group of rural weekly newspapers in Texas and helped start two regional magazines and other communication companies.

Harte joined Knight-Ridder at the Miami Herald in 1983, where he worked in the circulation, production and newsroom departments. He also served as Publisher Dick Capen's assistant.

He continued his career in Miami by serving for a year at corporate headquarters, working for the late Bill Ott and current Knight-Ridder President Tony Ridder.

In 1986 he became president and publisher of the State College Centre Daily Times, also a Knight-Ridder paper, a position he held until this appointment.

He and his wife, Kay have a 21-month-old son, William.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Journalism 2.0: It's for you

The Knight Citizen Network funded by the Knight Foundation has come out with a digital literacy guide for the information age in a 132-page must-see PDF file. It’s a resource for journalists and an intriguing look at the new wave of journalism which is even exciting for old timers. It will almost make you wish you could go back to work again.

The title is:

Journalism 2.0:
How to Su
rvive and Thrive
A digital literary guide for the information age.

The author is Mark Briggs, a recovering sports writer who discovered what the Inter
net could do for journalism in 1998 and has been sharing his enthusiasm with whomever will listen (and some who won’t) ever since, contributing to textbooks, seminars and conferences on the topic. His day job is Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive News at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. He has served as Editor of since 2004, when he was hired as Strategy and Content Manager for Interactive Media.

The foreword for the booklet was written by our own Philip Meyer who is the Knight Chair in Journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His 1973 book, “Precision Journalism,” was listed by Journalism Quarterly as one of 35 significant books of the 20th Century on journalism and mass communication. The fourth edition was published in 2002. His most recent book is “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age,” published in 2004. Posts on his work have appeared in previous posts on the Retirees blog and website.

You can learn about some strange acronyms such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol), MB (megabytes) and RSS (Really Simple Syndication). They sound strange to us, but they are just incidentals in the news communications of the future which is already upon us. Learning we always be necessary.

Here’s a quote from the booklet:

The problem is that
everybody wants progress
but nobody wants change.

– Ulrik Haagerup, editor in chief of Nordjyske Media, Aalborg, Denmark

Click on the headline and download the PDF