Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Newspaper names can be unusual, different

Here’s an interesting article from the Freedom Forum website on names of newspapers published in full because it mentions the PD and Repository. It might be nice to learn more about how they got their names instead of what they are reporting.

By Gene Mater
Learned tomes have no doubt been written about American newspaper names and how they got that way. We have worked only for newspapers with standard names, such as Sun and Telegram and World and Ledger, so we find it fascinating to look at the unusual nameplates on our Web site. Today we thought that we would check out a few of those unusual-titled dailies to see whether names make a difference.

The Record Searchlight in Redding in Northern California plays up “Dangerous Liaisons” and “How you can tell if your daughter is in an abusive relationship,” while The Signal in the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California tops Page One with “Garbage Strike Frustrates Residents” and the Daily Breeze in Torrance in Los Angeles County has a Page One piece about how the newspaper is changing. Back east, the Hartford Courant in Connecticut — did you know that one of the definitions of “courant” is “a circulating gazette of news; a newspaper”? — gives over much of Page One to the death of a former governor.

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans — to us “picayune” is something of little value but perhaps there’s a bigger meaning — leads with a problem in the district attorney’s office, while The Daily Reflector in Greenville, N.C., is pleased to report “Missing man found safe in own garage.” In Canton, Ohio, The Repository — there’s a lovely name — squares off a story with the head “Want to run for office?” and adds that “It can cost thousands, or not a penny, to get elected.” The Plain Dealer in Cleveland touts ethical questions about online organ donor use, while The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio, warns readers that gasoline prices are going up and The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., — Crescent? — plays up the Packers beating the Broncos.

There are many more interesting newspaper names but we’ll close with a newspaper in New Braunfels, Texas, that boasts the name Herald-Zeitung. But “zeitung” is German for newspaper so we checked. Yes, the town was founded in 1845 by Germans and the newspaper reportedly was published in German until World War II. The name didn’t change but the stories are all in English, all American, about Halloween, high school bands and an accused killer escaping from jail.

Names are interesting, but news is news whatever you are called.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New England via bicycle -- groan

The headline on the article in the July/August 1985 issue of Sidebar read:
Having a great time,
New England via bicycle --groan

By Dave Boerner

When the kids get out of school they are flushed with enthusiasm. And that's fine. The trouble starts when a parent gets swept up in that enthusiasm.

In my case, it happened when son Troy blurted out: "Dad, let's bike to Toronto!" I swallowed hard, computing in my head something like 700 miles round trip.

My idea of a bike ride is to mount the $50 beauty I bought from smooth-talking Phil Karam and spend a few minutes puffing through a small park in the neighborhood.

Even that little bit of exertion provided fodder for a lot of one-liners a couple of years ago when I toppled rather spectacularly and broke my nose.

I suppose it's possible for a 16-year-old to just hop on a bike and ride to Toronto. But not old dad. No way.

It was time for Plan B. A compromise. For years, I have been getting gorgeous junk mail from an outfit in Vermont that organizes country inn bike tours.

The brochures stress that each rider can determine how far he or she wants to go and at what pace. And, they say a van will trail the group and pick up anyone who has bike problems or poops out. I liked this idea better. And I might even lose some poundage in the process.

Our five-day tour started and ended in White River Junction, Vt. There were 28 males and females in the group from 12 states, Washington, D. C. and Canada. Riders ranged in age from 11 to 74.

Early on, I officially freed Troy from the drudgery of hanging back with the old man. I told him it was OK to go ahead while I tended to lag well toward the end of the pack.

We saw tiny old villages and covered bridges nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains. We rode the back roads on both sides of the Connecticut River which separates Vermont and New Hampshire.

Troy especially enjoyed the challenge of climbing the hills. While the scenery was so stunning that I would often forget what I was doing to my body, at times I grunted agreement with the message of one of the popular T-shirts: Vermont Ain't Flat.

The 74-year-old man from Ellicottville. N. Y. was one of the more energetic bikers. There was some grumbling that the tour leaders probably kept him in the van and just dropped him out ahead of us from time to time to spur us on. But we knew better.

Each evening we dined and slept in a different inn. And we slept well. Not even the rain pounding on the tin porch roof outside our window could deter that.

The whole idea of the trip was to get some exercise while enjoying the rustic beauty of Vermont.

But there was also a great emphasis on food. I had hoped to shed some weight pedaling those 150 miles. But the scales back home showed two pounds on the plus side. Sigh...

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Cautionary Tale for Old Media from 1990

Robert D. Ingle who was executive editor of the headquarters newspaper of Knight Ridder saw early on the web threat which the San Jose Mercury News is still trying to survive.

On Jan. 19, 1990,. Ingle wrote a remarkably prescient memo to his bosses at the newspaper chain Knight Ridder. Typing at night in his breakfast nook on an Apple II PC, he envisioned that a global information network would emerge, giving rise to all manner of online communities. And he proposed an online service, Mercury Center, aimed, his memo said, at "extending the life and preserving the franchise of the newspaper."

Knight Ridder is mentioned 19 times in the 28-graph story in Business Week.

The memo was written nearly four years before programmers created the first Web browser and long before Google and social networking exploded onto the scene, yet Ingle seemed to anticipate much of what would come. He laid out strategies for the entire chain: Give information to readers however they wanted it, integrate the print and online operations, and dream up new forms of advertising. "I saw the Internet as a great opportunity, but also as a great threat," says Ingle, who retired in 2000.

If Ingle's proposal had been enthusiastically embraced by Knight Ridder's 28 dailies, perhaps the fate of the chain might have been different. As it was, an epic shift of advertising over to the Web would cut the economic legs out from under the Mercury News and other Knight Ridder papers such as the Miami Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer. From 2000 to 2003, help-wanted ads at the Mercury News plummeted from $121.5 million to $17.9 million. Last year, Knight Ridder was forced to sell out. The Mercury News eventually wound up with MediaNews Group, whose chief executive, William Dean Singleton, is reviled by many journalists as a low-cost publisher of second-rate papers.

Click on the headline to read the full Business Week story.

If you go there, be sure to check out the slide show.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

AP board approves new pricing structure

By Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- The board of The Associated Press on Thursday approved a major overhaul of the way the AP prices and packages news for its member U.S. newspapers.

Instead of offering news feeds defined largely by the volume of news delivered -- large, medium or small -- the new plan is centered on a core service of all national, state and international breaking news, with options for adding other services or purchasing stories individually.

Tom Brettingen, the AP's senior vice president for global newspaper markets, said the plan will offer U.S. newspapers more flexibility in accessing and using news of local interest that may originate in other regions.

The changes, which take effect Jan. 1, 2009, were first proposed at the company's annual meeting in May. The basic assessments charged to newspapers will continue to be based on circulation.

AP said most of its member newspapers would wind up paying either lower fees or see no changes. Brettingen estimated the changes would result in $6 million to $7 million less annual revenue for the news agency, a shortfall he said should easily be made up from growth in other areas, including video and online sales.

"It's an amount we believe we can swallow, and clearly it would be beneficial to the industry during challenging times to have a little bit less to pay us," Brettingen said.

AP CEO Tom Curley noted in a May speech that some member newspapers would rather not pay for news they don't use.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rx Note from Bob Abbott

Need an answer to this question if you would be so kind.  And while it probably won't have a direct bearing on what we are doing at this
moment it might be of great importance in the future!!

Would you be willing to say in a deposition (or other legal document)that the RX card was a VERY important part in your decision to retire or
take the retirement incentive buyout? Please be honest about this! Reply if you would...even if it wasn't of that much importance to you!

Realize that this is not an anticipated action at this point but counsel seems to be interested in the big picture for all of us and not just
in a singular case.


Bob Abbott

Black Keys to play Christmas concert

The Black Keys will play a Christmas concert at the Akron Civic Theatre on Dec. 22.

Key boardist Dan Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney, son of the BJ's Jim Carney, have been mentioned in a number of previous posts on this blog. Carney on July 7 this year wed journalist Denise Grollmus in the chapel at Glendale Cemetery before about 100 friends and family members.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $28 the dajy of the show. Presale tickets are available at the Black Keys website and beginning Friday at Ticketmaster lolations and Square Records in Akron.

GateHouse Media buys 14 papers

GateHouse Media, owner of the Canton Repository, announced on Tuesday that it will buy 14 daily newspapers in the Midwest and South for $115 million.

GateHouse, based in suburban Rochester, N.Y., said the sale is expected to close by the end of November.

The seller is the Morris Publishing Group, based in Augusta, Ga. Daily newspapers in the sale are in Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida and Tennessee, Morris said.

Morris also is selling three non-daily publications and a commercial printing operation in Michigan to GateHouse. The sale is subject to regulatory approval.

GateHouse bought The Repository in April from Copley Newspapers, along with The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, The Independent in Massillon and The Suburbanite in Green. Included in that sale were newspapers in Illinois..

“This is an excellent acquisition opportunity for GateHouse,” Mike Reed, chief executive officer of GateHouse, said in a statement. “These are strong local media franchises in small markets, many of which are near existing GateHouse properties.”

William S. Morris IV, Morris Publishing Group.s chief executive officer and president, stated the sale will enable the company to pay down bank debt.

The sale is subject to regulatory approval.

GateHouse Media currently serves local audiences of more than 10 million per week across 20 states through hundreds of community publications and local websites.

GateHouse Media is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "GHS."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KR looked at consolidated editing hubs

Philadelphia Inquirer Editor David Sullivan in a letter to Jim Romenensko of Poynter Online says he was well aware of Knight Ridder’s plan to consolidate copy editing chores.

Comments from Sullivan followed a statement from former Contra Costa Times editor Chris Lopez who said Knight Ridder looked at creating super regional copy editing centers that would have centralized the copy editing functions of its 32 newspapers. "The proposal had merit and probably would have been implemented had KR survived," he says.

Sullivan and others said that the plan being developed in the mid-2000s would have taken more than five years to implement.

"I have no idea whether the plan was junked before Knight Ridder itself was junked." He adds: "I believe that efforts to move copy desks out of newsrooms is generally a bad thing. ...A distant copy desk serving multiple papers will become a copy desk that cares mainly about its own internal issues and stops having a relationship with the reporters and assigning editors of the newspapers."

“Discussions of the plan concerned locating copy editing "hubs" in three cities. While I have no idea why those were selected, I would have to think it was because 1) the work needed to reach across time zones, and 2) one needed to draw talented people, but the company wanted to avoid the cost-of-living (and thus wage) disparities of places like Miami and San Jose, or the union contracts. But it was not an attempt to shunt all the copy editors up to Aberdeen and pay them $20,000 a year.

“While I'm sure that economy and "efficiency," particularly in KR's later, desperate days, were the buzzwords, part of the genesis was the belief of some leaders of KR's news division that the selection of national and international news in some of their smaller papers could be quixotic, depending upon who was assigned to do wire that night. There had been an earlier project to provide a common nat-forn lead page to all the smaller papers.

“My understanding was that there would be some copy editors kept at the larger papers, at least, who would handle local copy. The major initial thrust had to do with 33 papers, or whatever number KR owned that week, re-editing the same AP story on, oh, fires on Southern California. There was a recognition that asking someone in Fort Worth to know what a "row office" is in Philadelphia was asking too much, at least initially. Of course, the Internet era has led to increased emphasis on local copy, which would have affected the plan.”.

Click on the headline to read Sullivan’s letter.

Tom Moore busy at work in Florida

Here’s Tom Moore busy at work wrapping up the first week of the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series in Florida. Tom Giffen, former BJ sports staffer who runs Roy Hobbs, is on a golf cart with his tournament director talking to an umprire and getting ready to make a tour of the fields at Lee County Stadium in Fort Meyers. The series mascot, Hobbs, rests in back.

Scribbles & Bits and Fat Wallet Award

Do you remember those old employee publications designed to show us how badly we screwed up on stories or what a nice job we had done.

The illustration is a June 1985 issue of one called “Scribbles & Bits” which talks about a Fat Wallet Award, supposedly a $100 prize for good work. This one, however, only offered a free lunch “which should be worth more than a 1/20 share of the $100 prize.”

The lunch, we hope, went to a group of reporters for their work on an attempted hijacking at Cleveland Hopkins Airport: For deadline performanece, Yuvonne Bruce, Jim Dettling, Dennis Haas, Rich Henson, Melissa Johnson, Marilyn Marchione, Bill Sloat, Randy Smith, Susan Smith, Lew Stamp, Ed Suba Jr., Paul Tople, Ted Walls, Giny Wiegand, Bruce Winges, Bonnie Bolden, Carol Camp, Donn Gaynor, Bob Dhyer and George Davis.

From the same publication is a column called “More bright passages” which contains leads that make you wish you could read the rest of the story.

From Bill Osinski: "The fur on the auction block - thousands of pelts with hides turned inside out - was raw and exposed, like the nerves of the two brothers."

From Bill Canterbury:
"The dead still rest in peace in a hilltop cemetery in rural Holmes County. But to their survivors, the scenic, century-old burial ground has become a matter of unrest."

From Bill Hershey: "Mahoning County Sheriff James Traficant came to Capitol Hill last week, walking softly and not even carrying a stick."

From Frank Badillo: "At 115, Charles L. Marks has no reason to lie about his age these days. But about 60 years ago, a pretty 16-year-old girl named Ida gave him a reason."

From Jim Carney's description of operations at the recycle energy plant - before it exploded:
"What comes out is what life in the 1980s is made of - dirty paper diapers, beer bottles, plastic milk jugs, burned-out light bulbs, bald tires, dirty motor oil, broken toys and an endless stream of green and brown plastic garbage bags."

From Charlene Nevada: "The turning point in Charlie Lemon's life probably came the day he lay down in the street in front of an oncoming van."

From Rich Henson, Randy Smith and Melissa Johnson, who followed an attempted hijacking in Cleveland with this lead: "The beginning of the end started with a prayer."

From Paul Bailey: "Slingshots lost their effectiveness when matched against missiles.
Translated, that means the rest of the field didn't stand much of a chance against Bill Elliott in the closing stages of Sunday's Daytona 500."

The Scribbles & Bits also contained a coach's corner on writing. Geez: You mean they had writing coaches even back then?

[Thanks to Bob Downing for sending us the Scribbles & Bits]

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dave Cooper safe from fires

Former Beacon Journal Associate Editor David B. Cooper reports from his home in La Jolla, Calif., that he is safely 15 to 20 miles away from the fires currently raging near San Diego. Cooper said the current fire is worse than the Cedar Fire that occurred four years ago this month and was California's worst wildfire ever. That one came as close as 4 1/2 miles to Cooper's coastal home as it burned some 280,000 acres and claimed 15 lives and 2,800 buildings. Like the Cedar Fire, the current fire is being driven by strong Santa Ana winds. Moreover, Southern California is experiencing its driest year ever. Monday, the relative humidity in San Diego was only 9 percent.
Dave sounded great on the phone. He said he is spending a lot of time volunteering at a local school as a mentor and a lecturer on writing.

[Posted for Ken Krause]

Don't put newspapers on endangered species list

Newspapers down but definitely not out. Print ads are shrinking and layoffs are legion, but there remains much to cheer in the troubled newspaper business, argues Fortune's Richard Siklos.

“Call me ink-stained and old-fashioned, but it seems a bit premature to put a $60-billion industry on the endangered species list.”

Click on the headline to read the Fortune article by Siklos.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The other shoe in the Social Security increase

See Harry's post below this one for the Social Security increase.

The paltry 2.3% increase in Social Security, BEFORE the $2.50 increase in the deduction for the Medicare premium, comes at a time when Social Security recipients have lost 40% of their purchasing power since 2000, according to the same story (click on the headline on Harry's post to read the entire story).

In my case, I would get $35 more MINUS the $2.50 increase in the Medicare premium for a net gain of $32.50 a month (probably $32 if Social Security rounds it off).

My math couldn't figure out the part where the story said that the Medicare premium increase was 3.1%, or $2.50 more to $96.40 a month. If you increase the 2007 Medicare premium of $93.90 ($96.40 - $2.50 = $93.90) by 3.1%, that comes to $2.90 more a month. If the Medicare premium increases by $2.50, that's 2.662%. Maybe the government uses different math. Or my Monongah High math teacher, Mary Turkovich, taught me the wrong formulas.

Meanwhile, the Beacon Journal dumped an extra $1,200 in prescription costs on me in 9 months, which projects to an extra $1,600 per year for my prescriptions over the pre-Canadian costs. Let's see, at $32.50 more per month in my Social Security check, I can pay off the $1,600 increased tab for prescriptions in only 49 1/4 months.

Not even Miss Turkovich's math can reconcile that.

Extra $24 a month won't go very far

WASHINGTON – With essentials like food, gasoline and medical care all rising at a faster clip, an extra $24 a month likely won’t go very far. But that is the boost the typical retiree will see in Social Security checks come January.

The 2.3 percent increase in the cost-of-living adjustment that will go to 50 million Social Security recipients is the smallest in four years even though many prices are rising more quickly this year than last year.

Blame it on the vagaries of how the government computes the annual COLA. The price change is based on the amount the Consumer Price Index increases from July through September from one year to the next.

In the past two years, using the third quarter as a benchmark boosted the inflation adjustment, especially the 2006 increase, because it reflected the fact that gasoline and other energy products soared in September 2005 after Gulf Coast refineries shut down in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

But this year, energy costs, which were up in the spring, have been falling in the summer, a fact that lowered the COLA change. However, analysts are expecting energy prices to resume rising in coming months given a recent run-up in global oil markets that has seen crude oil prices at record highs, close to $90 per barrel.

“Retirees are going to feel a disconnect this year between the COLA increase and the reality of the inflation they face,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s “If this calculation were done in another three months, it would be measurably higher.”

Click on the headline to read the full P story.

McClatchy goes from 65 to 29 cents a share

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - McClatchy Co's credit spreads are trading wide relative to its ratings, but with a depressed stock price the risk of the company buying back stock at the expense of debt holders outweighs benefits of its relatively high debt yields.

Newspaper publisher McClatchy on Tuesday reported a 55 percent drop in quarterly profit and said it did not know when an advertising slump caused by the real estate downturn would end.

The company, whose papers include the Sacramento Bee and Miami Herald, said its third-quarter income from continuing operations fell to $23.5 million, or 29 cents a share, from $52.6 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier.

In addition, on the conference call "CEO (Gary) Pruitt indicated that the McClatchy family is interested in buying stock and a buyback is a question of when (not if)," Barclays Capital analysts Hale Holden and Robert Arnold said in a report.

"This differs from prior comments when he said that, over the medium term, the company would focus on driving equity value through debt repayment," they said.

McClatchy's ailing stock price is pressuring management to increase the company's equity value at a time when peers such as Belo Corp (BLC.N: Quote, Profile , Research), E.W. Scripps Co (SSP.N: Quote, Profile , Research) and Tribune Co (TRB.N: Quote, Profile , Research) are undergoing reorganizations that have increased the value of their shares.

McClatchy's share price has plunged to $18 from around $41 at the beginning of the year.

Click on the headline to read the full story by
by Karen Brettell of Reuters

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A JSK blog? What would boss think?

The name sounds a bit stuffy, but the concept is great. PBS and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the MediaShift Idea Lab blog.

The blog will feature 36 wide-ranging innovators reinventing community news for the digital age. Could they run this blog out of business?

Each Idea Lab blogger won a grant in the Knight News Challenge to help fund a startup idea or to blog on a toic related to reshaping community news. The writers will use the Idea Lab to explain their projects, share intelligence and interact with the on;line community.

Knight Foundation's News Challenge contest awards up to $5 million annually to individuals who innovate community news using digital technology. The contest, housed at, is open to anybody, anywhere worldwide.

"I'm excited to be showcasing some of the most innovative ideas by people who are actively reinventing community news," said Mark Glaser, executive editor of PBS MediaShift and MediaShift Idea Lab. "New media thinkers such as Jay Rosen and J.D. Lasica will be blogging regularly, as well as academics like Henry Jenkins from MIT, alongside commercial media figures such as Ian Rowe at MTV. It's a lineup of new media heavyweights experimenting and thinking about how local communities can be served as we move from print newspapers toward online and citizen media." Glaser added, "Not only will the bloggers be writing about their philosophies, they'll be giving real world examples of what it's like to create innovative web sites and projects themselves."

Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation's journalism program, said, "The digital revolution is turning journalism upside down and inside out. We think the Idea Lab will help innovators and journalism leaders find their way to a better future."

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950 the foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance journalism quality and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change.

Click on the headline to read the full story in a news release on the PR newswire.

Or better yet, check out the Idea Lab blog.

Times-Reporter publisher resigns

Publisher Michael B. Starn, who has led the Times- Reporter in New Philadelphia, OH, since 2002, announced this week he is resigning his position, effective Nov. 2.

Starn, 45, said he plans to pursue a position that is located closer to his adult children, who have moved to
the western United States.

“My decision to leave The Times-Reporter is a difficult one,” Starn said. “I leave behind a group of hard-working professionals, who have come to mean a great deal to me.
But, I leave to spend more time with my family and hopefully move closer to our children who have settled in the West. There, we have one married daughter and another who attends school and plans to stay.

“I’m grateful for the privilege to have worked with such a high caliber of people in the community.

“I know newspapers and The T-R is one of the best. I’m very proud of our accomplishments.”

Kevin Kampman, publisher of The Repository, The T-R’s sister newspaper in Canton, and president of GateHouse Ohio Newspapers, said Starn will be missed.

“He is an outstanding community newspaper publisher and we wish him well in the future,” Kampman said.

Starn, who succeeded Jack Shores, served as publisher of the Massillon Independent from 1999-2002 after being promoted from circulation director of the Delaware County Times in Primos, Pa. He has served in various circulation department capacities at newspapers in Newark, Middletown, Salem and Columbus, O., as well as one in West Chester, Pa.

Starn is a member of a number of community organizations, including the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce and the Community Improvement Corp.

Starn and his wife, Sheri, are residents of New Philadelphia.

[Source: Times-Reporter, New Philadelphia, OH, Wednesday, Oct 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

McClatchy reports sharply lower third quarter profit

Stock today was down from $19.17 to $18.84

News release from McClatchy today at 9 a.m,

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 16 -- The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI - News) today reported preliminary earnings from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2007 of $23.5 million, or 29 cents per share. Preliminary earnings do not include an anticipated non-cash charge to GAAP earnings for impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets discussed below, but do include a three cent per share charge related to certain tax positions taken by the company for which it has established reserves.

Income from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2006 was $52.6 million or 65 cents per share, and included an after-tax gain of seven cents per share related to the sale of land. Total net income in the 2006 third quarter was $51.8 million, or 64 cents per share.

Management noted that it is in the process of performing impairment testing of goodwill and other long-lived assets as of September 30, 2007, due to the continuing challenging business conditions and the resulting weakness in the company's stock price as of the end of its third quarter. Upon completion of that testing, the company expects to record a non-cash impairment charge to GAAP earnings in its third quarter financial statements when it files its Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on or before November 9, 2007 and the company will issue a press release announcing the final third quarter results when it files its Form 10-Q with the SEC.

Revenues from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2007 were $540.3 million, down 9.2% from revenues from continuing operations of $595.1 million in 2006. Advertising revenues were $457.0 million, down 9.8% from advertising in 2006, and circulation revenues were $68.0 million, down 3.7%. The company benefited from continued strong cost reduction efforts in the 2007 quarter. Cash expenses were down 8.6% as the result of reduction in staffing levels, lower newsprint expense and continued vigilance in all other expenses.

Total losses recorded from unconsolidated investments were $7.7 million compared to losses from unconsolidated investments in the third quarter of 2006 of $0.8 million. The 2007 losses were due primarily to the operating results of the company's newsprint investments and were partially offset by income from its internet investments.

Click on the headline to see the full news release which contains a financiual statement.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Night Foundation? Upublish woes

Do you want to be a reporter and are you willing to work for free? The Beacon Journal apparently is looking for you. Column one of page A2 on Monday has two almost identical word for word promos that say you can get your story online. One is headlined "Your Stories" and the other is under an kicker headlined "Community Publishing."

A quick check of the UPublish section of shows a smattering of items submitted by community journalists. The lead item when I logged on was something about an Art Museum exhibit. I signed off in the first sentence when I read Night Foundation which apparently referred to the Knight Foundation. Woe is me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Adrian Favors dies at 56

Adrian Favors departed this life on October 8, 2007.

She was born May 31, 1951 in Akron, Ohio and was a lifetime resident. She attended St. Mary's Grade School and graduated from St. Mary's High School. She was employed by the Akron Beacon Journal. [circulation department]

She was preceded in death by parents, James and Ruth Cook and grandparents (who raised her), Elbert and Margaret Chestnut. She is survived by husband, Jimmie Lee Favors; sons, Byron (Cherie) Walker, Sean McGhaee; daughter, Leighann McGhaee; sister, Germaine McGinnis, all of Akron, Ohio; brother, Fredrick Cook of Tuscon, Ariz.; grandchildren, Amir McGhaee, Bianca Walker; nephews, Brandon (Shameka), Brandon II and Brason McGinnis; special aunt, Nancy Vickers; special cousin, Yvonne Burney; special friend, Shirley and Ulysses Woods, Lea-awna Tucker and Luevelt Tucker and family. Special thanks to the Akron Beacon Journal for all the kindness shown and to Children's Hospital Burn Unit.

Friends may call Monday, October 15, 2007 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Sommerville Funeral Services, 1695 Diagonal Rd. Funeral service will begin at 6 p.m. Condolences and family will gather after the service at 810 Peerless Ave., Akron, OH 44320.

[The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Saturday, October 13, 2007, page B6, col. 5 ]

McClatchy stock: a blog commentary

Talk about a 74% decline in stock

See "McClatchy ship is sinking," the latest blog editorial in the Commentary Section of the BJ Retirees website.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oympian devotes page 1 to war dead

Thursday morning the front page of the newspaper where National Press Photographers Association president Tony Overman is a staff photojournalist was a dramatic departure from the publication's traditional design. The entire front page of The Olympian (WA) was made up of 48 photographs of local soldiers who have died to date in Iraq. Under the banner headline "In Memoriam," the newspaper presented the soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who "made the ultimate sacrifice in 2006-2007."

The unit is the same Stryker brigade from Fort Lewis, WA, that Overman was embedded with in Iraq. "I've covered the memorial services for at least half of those guys, maybe more, and I guess I see in their faces what other people see when you go to a memorial, or to a remembrance wall," Overman said. "In each of the pictures you see the same emotion that you feel for the person you knew."

"None of them are people that I dealt with personally, but they're the ones the soldiers are wearing memorial bracelets for. I thought it was a really powerful front page, but maybe it was that powerful for me because I was closer to it."

Here's proof Kavanagh works at CNN

Tomorrow (Oct. 13) marks the first anniversary of copy desk chief Jim Kavanagh's last day at the Beacon Journal. Jim says heI still can scarcely believe it has been a year..

"By the way," he writes. "I now have photographic evidence that I work at CNN.

"Normally I don’t work in the newsroom you see on TV, but in another one on a different floor. However, a couple of weeks ago I helped fill in at The CNN Wire, our in-house wire service that feeds all of CNN’s operations: CNN, Headline News, CNN Airport Network,, etc., etc.

"During commercial bumps they often sweep a camera through the newsr
oom, and during that week I was caught on candid camera at least three times. A colleague down in the .com newsroom sent me this screen grab.

"I was sitting right behind the anchor desk, writing a story about Columbia University President Lee Bollinger’s friendly introduction for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while the Iranian president was speaking. Thus the headphones.

[Addendum from Jim: Apparently I lied about what I was doing when that picture was taken. The time in the corner shows 6:56am, which would have been a tad early for the Bollinger/Ahmadinejad piece. I think this was actually President Bush’s speech at the U.N. … Whatever

"I’m a multimedia megastar!"

Blog Guy Note:
He will always be remembered as a BJ star

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bok's commercial takeoff on Series

Beacon Journal cartoonist Chip Bok had some fun with the bug problem in Cleveland during the baseball playoffs--using a TV commercial theme. The cartoon appeared earlier this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

8 make it to Papa Joe's for October gathering

Enjoying the Papa Joe's monthly gathering of BJ retirees were Tom Moore, Carl Nelson, Cal Deshong, Gene McClellan, Al Hunsicker, Ed and Norma Hanzel and John Olesky.

Ed is heading for surgery to scrape calcium deposits off his back. The calcium is hitting a nerve. Ed said that Red Thombs had a similar procedure on his back.

Bob Pelll went to Florida with kin and he's now in the hospital there for gall bladder surgery.

Tom Moore will leave Tuesday for five weeks with Tom Giffen's baseball program in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Click on the headline to see an album of six photos--all but one shot by Tom Moore.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Looking at it from New York and Cleveland

Front pages from New York and Cleveland tell the story of the day.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Help needed in press room

Can anyone, still working of retired with connection to BJ pressroom, help Bryan Hightower who sent this message?

I recently ran across your blog for the retirees of the Beacon Journal. I was recently promoted (by default) to Press Room Manager of my local newspaper and am looking to visit blogs of and/or exchange emails with other Press Room Supervisors, Managers and Foremen. I was thrown into this position rather suddenly (see my new blog for more details) and would love any sort of tips and advice anyone can offer.

I realize your board is for Retirees, however I'm hoping one of your members might regularly keep in touch with the press room area of the Beacon Journal and know of someone who might be willing to offer some brief advice or tips by email on managing the press room.

Bryan Hightower

Klosterman on ways to save sports media

The mainstream news media may be going down the tubes, but former Beacon Journal reporter Chuck Klosterman has a plan to save sports journalism.

Click on the headline and read items Nos. 57 through 60 in Esquire, or Four Ways to Save Sports Media. by Chuck Klosterman

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Yesterday was MadHatterDay

MadHatterDay is a holiday in October. It fills the need for a second crazy day in the year, almost exactly half a year from April Fools' Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay is turnabout: The nonsense we usually have to pretend is sane can be called madness for one day in the year; the superficially crazy things that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay.

MadHatterDay is 10/6. The date was chosen from the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the Mad Hatter is always se
en wearing a hat bearing a slip of paper with the notation "In this style 10/6". We take this as inspiration to behave in the style of the Mad Hatter on 10/6. Some astute observers have noted that the paper in the Mad Hatter's Hat was really an order to make a hat in the style shown, to cost ten shillings sixpence. However, it is well known that Time Is Money, and therefore Money Is Time, and therefore 10/6 may as well be the sixth of October.

MadHatterDay began in Boulder, CO, in 1986, among some computer folk who had nothing better to do. It was immediately recognized as valuable because they caused less damage than if they'd been doing their jobs. It was announced that first year on computer networks. In 1987 it gained minor local recognition. In 1988, it was first recognized as an official holiday by an area business, and also received its first national press coverage by news services (who are always desperate for an unlikely story). It is almost certain that the national election also gave MadHatterDay a good boost in 1988.

Detailed plans for this year's MadHatterDay observance will, of course, be announced on October 9.. We have found that plans made after the fact are more accurate and much easier to have fulfilled. Or, as the Red Queen said, "sentence first, then the verdict!"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Life’s a beach when WVU loses

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-1996)

Paula and I used a West Virginia University football game against South Florida as an excuse to enjoy a Sept. 26-Oct. 3 vacation in Florida. And to re-visit former Beacon Journal composing room colleagues (mine) and relatives in Tampa, Orlando and North Palm Beach (Paula’s).

We took advantage of the new Skybus airline’s bargain fares, which start at $10 one way for the first 10 lucky passengers. We paid $74.42 apiece for the round trip between Columbus and Fort Lauderdale.

We visited the “Dimeman,” Dave White, and his wife, Gina, both former BJ employees (retiring 20 years ago), in their Venice home (after 17 years in their Sarasota home). And their poodle, Buddy.

For those who weren’t around the BJ till the 1980s, the “Dimeman” requires an explanation. When Dave was the big honcho in Composing, and an editor would complain about something, Dave’s response was, “Here’s a dime, call somebody who cares.” When my late wife Monia and I began vacationing on Siesta Key and Dave would visit, I would hand him a dime, saying, “Call somebody who cares.” I did this every year. Dave has 8 dimes from me.

Dave and Gina moved to Venice from Sarasota three years ago. They have a backyard that faces a golf course on a lake and, sometimes, alligators in the lake.

We also hoped to visit former BJ printer Terry Dray and his wife Cecily, but Terry had a tee time near his Avon Park home when we were available. We left word on former BJ printer Hugh Downing’s voicemail, but he was playing golf near his The Villages home at the time. See a trend?

Paula and I visited Sea Castle, my rental on Siesta Key for years. But no more. The 10-building, 50-rental complex will be demolished in December to make way for a 6-story building with $1 million condos. Also to be torn down are late BJ printer Bill Gorrell’s place, which is just across the Sea Castle parking lot, and the three buildings next to the former Poor Bill’s rentals.

We worked our way to Tampa in time for the WVU Mountaineers’ game with South Florida in Raymond James Stadium. Unfortunately, the No. 5 Mountaineers lost, 21-13, to the Bulls. Tampa traffic was so crazy for this soldout game that South Florida kicked off to West Virginia as we walked to our seats.

Before we headed for the Fort Lauderdale airport and our return to Ohio, we walked Cocoa Beach, visited the Kennedy Space Center and went to Daytona Beach. The wind and waves were so strong that there was no beach in Daytona Beach because the waves were smashing against the concrete wall. This is a beach that normally is wide enough for two cars to drive on it abreast. Not on this day.

Next: Another Skybus flight -- $20 round trips for each of us -- to enjoy Boston and New Hampshire Oct. 28-Nov. 3. Between Mountaineer games, of course.

Click on the headline to see photos.

Guess who's back -- covering Jake at the Jake

Are you paying attention? There was no big announcement, but you should have noticed the David Giffel
s byline the last three days straight in the Beacon Journal. . Giffels preferred not to ,make any mention himself, but he is back after taking time off to write a book. The book titled "All the Way Home" is scheduled for release by William Morrow/HarperCollins in late May.

Today's column on page A1 is about the youngest fan--4 weeks old--at the Indians stunning 12-3 win against the Yankess in the first playoff game at Jacobs Field. It was Jake at the Jake. The youngest fan, Jacob Ryan Donaldson, has already been to five Indians game.

Click on the headline to read more.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

BJ types spark DelMio: Book lover's dream

Diane Evans is back in syndication again, but that is not all she is doing. Unless you are a real book lover or frequent library user you may not have heard of DelMio–and that’s a shame.

Evans is now writing a weekly column on books that will run over the McClatchy Tribune newswire, which dist
ributes to more than 400 newspapers worldwide. McClatchy, the firm that bought out Knight Ridder and then discarded the Beacon Journal, is amazingly now promoting the work of Diane and an outstanding group of former BJ types who are called journalist/producers on the DelMio site.

DelMio Is a Book Lover’s Ultimate Dream. DelMio takes book lovers on a dynamic multimedia exploration of best-selling fiction, nonfiction, leisure, business—virtually every category they’d find at the
library. Now at a book’s conclusion, the journey no longer ends—it’s just beginning.

Former BJ types involved are Candy Goforth, Mary Ethrdige, Mike Needs, Nancy Peacock, Joan Rice, Jane Snow and Dave Wilson.

Click on the headline to read all about it.

Don't miss your dividend check.

Be sure to check your mailbox. McClatchy dividend checks are in the mail.

18 cents a share.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Regina can make things "pretty hot," Scene says

Regina Brett keeps popping up everywhere.

Here's the latest from Alumni Notes in Summewr/Fall 2007 issue of Jargon, the alumni newsletter of KSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications:

"Expanding her role as a journalist into that of an advocate for change, Regina Brett '86, metro columnist with The Plain Dealer, currently hosts The Sound of Ideas every Friday on WCPN 93.1, a local NPR affiliate in Cleveland, where she highlights timely issues+ in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Scene named Brett "Best Crusader" in 2006, noting that when "she wants to light a fire under someone she can make things pretty hot."

Newsday Pulitzer medals are missing

Top officials at Newsday drilled into a safe at the paper's Melville offices yesterday and found three gold Pulitzer Prize medals missing, prompting an investigation by Suffolk police.

The whereabouts of the medals, representing the Pulitzer Prizes awarded to Newsday for public service in 1954, 1970 and 1974, first became an issue Monday when it was learned that they had apparently been sold Friday at an auction in Long Beach, Calif., for $7,000, $4,500 and $4,000, respectively.

Officials had long known that the Pulitzer medals mounted on a plaque in Newsday's executive offices in Melville were replicas, but had believed until yesterday that the 2 1/2-inch originals were secure in a company safe.

"We have contacted the police and we are talking to our attorneys to pursue all legal avenues available to us," Newsday spokeswoman Deidra Parrish Williams said. "We are naturally disheartened and disappointed to discover that our medals are not in our possession. We are consoled by the fact that the medals are not the prize itself. The Pulitzer Prize is the distinction Newsday earns when a prestigious panel of judges deems the quality of our work as superior to our peers. While that is something that cannot be taken away, we hope to have the medals returned to us."

It was unclear whether the medals sold at auction were the same ones missing from the Newsday safe or were replicas. In 1984, the prize's Columbia University administrators gave Newsday permission to create reproductions of the three prizes for display at the paper's New York City offices. Those copies were created by Nevada-based Medallic Art Co., the same firm that made the originals. Whether those replicas are made of gold is also unknown.

A former Newsday editor, Bob Greene, who led the team that won the 1970 and '74 prizes, said he was disappointed. "It's amazing that a newspaper which has been awarded the highest prize the Pulitzer committee can give has not properly safeguarded its Pulitzer medals," he said.

Click on the headline to read the full story on

Mother of Tom Giffen dies in Chattanooga

Elsie Ream Giffen
Longtime Gray Lady Volunteer At Erlanger

Elsie Ream Giffen, 94, of Chattanooga, died Sunday, September 30, 2007, at her home at Alexian Grove.

She was the last of her generation in her family.

A devoted and loving wife and mother, Elsie was the first female in her family to attend a four-year college, being graduated magna cum laude in English from Mac-Murray College of Jacksonville, Il., in 1935. After graduation, she worked as an editor for a Chicago publishing house and
during World War II was an editor for the Mineral Wells, Tx., Index newspaper.

Then came contributions to the post-war boom-a family and full-time motherhood. However, that education came into play raising two boys, who would rather play ball than do schoolwork. Between making sure meals were on the table, pitching batting practice and monitoring the
television controls, Elsie worked diligently to instill the importance of family and family time, the meaning of ?do unto others as you would have them do unto you,? the value of education (she was ferocious when it came to English homework assignments) and the understanding that hard
work never hurt anyone.

Elsie moved to Chattanooga in the 1950s with her husband, Cecil, closing a circle that began with her father, a Methodist minister, who served in Chattanooga as a private in the Union army during the Civil War. She enjoyed a lifelong love of books, newspapers and crossword puzzles, a love affair that never diminished even though she became blind late in life.

After Mineral Wells, she never worked full-time again, but she did part-time work at a Lookout Mountain gift shop and was a Gray Lady volunteer at Erlanger Hospital for many years.

Elsie was a member of Lookout Mountain Methodist Church for more than 30 years, and currently was a member of First-Centenary United Methodist Church.

At her 94th birthday celebration and Ream/Giffen family reunion in August, Elsie held court on family history as though it were yesterday with grace, poise and certainty of detail.

Mrs. Giffen was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Cecil E. Giffen. The Giffens were Chattanooga residents for more than 50 years.

She is survived by sons, Tom and his wife, Ellen, of Akron, Ohio, and Charles and his wife, Debbie, of Smyrna, Tn.; grandchildren, Margaret Giffen, of Akron, Jon Giffen and his wife, T.J., of Smyrna, Robert Giffen, of Fort Myers, Fl., Andrew Giffen, of Smyrna, and McHughson Chambers, of Austin, Tx.; and two great-grandchildren, Jordan and Aliyah. Very important adopted family included Velma and Bill McCamy and Eloise Lingerfelt, and finally, constant companion, Cocoa, the seventh in a long line of family Siamese cats.

A celebration of life service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Wann Funeral Home.

This will follow visitation with the family at the Wann Home from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

A gravesite service will be held for the family Wednesday afternoon at Forest Hills Cemetery, Chattanooga. The Rev. David Harr of First-Centenary United Methodist Church and Elsie's sons, Tom and Charles, will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to either the Meredith A. Cowden Foundation for Leukemia research (c/o Meredith Cowden, 326 Inverness Road, Akron, OH 44313, or the Aliyah Giffen Fund-Raiser Trust Fund, through Bank of America, Smyrna Branch, Attn.
Betty Watson, 589 South Lowery St., Smyrna, Tn., 37167.

Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home, 4000 Tennessee Ave., Chattanooga

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

PD Memo: Connie Schultz writes at 5th grade level

Newspaper editors are worried about how to grab readers. And a Cleveland Plain Dealer internal memo from last week urges reporters to keep things simple. Plain English and short, uncomplicated sentences are best. It notes that Sen. Sherrod Brown's spouse, columnist Connie Schultz, has written at a level appropriate for fifth graders. Meanwhile, Washington bureau reporter Sabrina Eaton seems to be rebuked. The memo says she wrote about Dennis Kucinich at a level appropriate for high school seniors, or subscribers to The New York Times. Her "reading ease" score was low.

Do you remember the Rudolph Flesch test?

Click on the headline to read the full text of the internal memo on the Bellwether blog.