Friday, June 29, 2007

Rx questions from Bob Abbott

OK Group:
Need some more info if possible...

I'm reasonably familiar with the 10-year ITU/CWA contract that I left under...Even happen to have a copy of it. But I'm at a loss with the other union contracts and they might give us some leverage.'s what I need (even from those of you that were under that ITU/CWA contract...)

Did your contract have any mention of a Rx card or Rx coverage at the time of your separation/retirement? (Probably not)

Did you have a form of Rx coverage or card at the time of your separation/retirement? (Probably)

(Sidebar...if you were getting that coverage during the effective dates of the contract it is almost the same as being in the contract) (At least that what the lawyer says.)

Did you have a separation/retirement letter stating the benefits that you would have after your separation/retirement? (Probably)'s a biggie...please be honest... (even though the company isn't being honest)...

Did the fact that if it was stated in your letter of separation/retirement that you had Rx coverage how much of a factor did that Rx coverage play into your decision to retire or take an early retirement incentive?

Let's do it like the professional poll takers do it...

The Rx coverage was...

+A major factor in retiring/separating...

+An important factor in retiring/separating...

+Just part of the package of retiring/separating...

+Not of any real significance in your decision...

+No significance whatsoever...

One last question...

Was it inferred or said that the Rx coverage would not be or might not be available in the future if you didn't take the program as it was and at that time.

As always...if you are talking to some others or are aware of their position on any of these questions...throw them in. Numbers are important and our small group of activists could certainly use some support in numbers...if not with cash.

This is important...if you can get back to me in a week or two we'll see what that might do to try to put some pressure on the BJ. They are digging their heels in and it's going to be tough.

We need to find a weak spot and some of this might be it...we can't
afford to leave any stone unturned...


bob abbott

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Par Ridder did no wrong, says Papa Tony

Embattled Star Tribune Publisher Par Ridder and two colleagues have the summer to sweat out whether they'll be ordered off of their jobs.

The judge officiating the courtroom battle between the Minneapolis paper and its rival St. Paul Pioneer Press said Wednesday that it could be at least two months before he decides whether to grant the Pioneer Press the temporary injunction it wants to block Ridder and two other ex-Pioneer Press employees from working at the Star Tribune for a year.

"I'd be real surprised if that's before the end of the summer," Ramsey County District Court Judge David Higgs told the court Wednesday.

Written closing arguments are due July 16.

Higgs comments closed a three-day injunction hearing, part of a Pioneer Press lawsuit against the Star Tribune that accuses Ridder and the two other employees of stealing confidential information and breaking noncompete agreements as they exited for their new jobs in March. The job hop also netted Ridder a $600,000 severance package, Pioneer Press attorney Phil Sechler noted in court.

At issue in the hearing was whether the noncompete agreements of Ridder, Jennifer Parratt and Kevin Desmond are valid, and whether their presence at the Star Tribune creates "irreparable harm" to the competing Pioneer Press. Parratt was hired as director of niche publications for the Star Tribune and Desmond is senior vice president of operations.

A key highlight Wednesday was a videotaped appearance by Tony Ridder, Par Ridder's father and former head of the dismantled Knight Ridder newspaper chain to which the Pioneer Press belonged. In an odd "Father Knows Best" courtroom moment, the elder Ridder beamed down from a large screen on the wall, testifying that Par "had full authority" to waive the noncompete agreements without getting approval from higher-ups at the Knight Ridder chain.

"He did not have to get permission from corporate," Tony Ridder said.

Tony Ridder also testified that Art Brisbane, former senior vice president of operations for Knight Ridder, told him: "I believe I gave him permission, I just don't remember it." In videotaped testimony shown Wednesday, Brisbane was indecisive about whether Ridder would have needed corporate approval to waive the noncompetes, including his own.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Jennifer Bjorhus of the Pioneer Press

BJ publisher makes bid for Osprey Media

Black Press Ltd., owner of the Akron Beacon Journal, has put in a takeover bid to purchase a fellow Canadian newspaper group, Osprey Media Income Fund.

The bid of $404 million in Canadian dollars ($377 million U.S.) tops an offer from Quebecor Media Inc., which had agreed to purchase Osprey in May.

Black Press, owned by David Black and his family with a 19.4 percent minority ownership from Torstar, owner of the Toronto Star, has offered $1 more per share for Osprey than Quebecor offered. Quebecor offered $7.25 Canadian per share ($6.76 U.S.); Black has offered $
8.25 Canadian ($7.70 U.S.).

Black on Wednesday said he felt that the group of 20 daily newspapers, 34 nondaily newspapers and other publications was worth more than Quebecor was offering.

Black said he is in a buying mode.

``I am bullish for newspapers,'' he said. Black said he is looking to purchase other newspapers, including in the United States, ``but there's limits to the kind of capital we can bring. I'm quite interested in the field. I think newspapers have a great future. I know I'm beginning to be a bit of a minority there. It's time to buy for me.''

Black said he is not interested in selling the Beacon Journal. ``I really like the situation.''

Black Press owns 150 community newspapers and 15 regional Web operations in Canada, Washington, Oregon, Honolulu, Hawaii and Akron.

Osprey Media is one of Canada’s leading publishers of daily and non-daily newspapers, magazines and specialty publications. Its publications include 20 daily newspapers and 34 non-daily newspapers together with shopping guides, magazines and other publications. Osprey also engages in the distribution of inserts and flyers and commercial printing for third party publications. Osprey Media’s extended market products provide flyer distribution to over 1.0 million households across Ontario.

Osprey Media’s 20 daily newspapers offer combined average daily circulation of 332,176 while its non-daily newspapers (both paid and unpaid) offer combined average weekly circulation of 380,798.

Among the dailies is the Niagara Fallls Review, the newspaper of record in Niagara Falls since 1879 which has been publishing daily since the 1930s,

See more information on Osprey's website.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Beacon Journal business writer Betty Lin-Fisher

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, January 28, 2007, oage C7, col. 5]

KSU shooting survivor dies of heart attack

Jim Russell, 60, hit by Ohio National Guard gunfire May 4, 1970, is first to die of nine wounded students.

Mr. Russell, 60, died of a heart attack Saturday at his home in Deer Island, Ore. He was the oldest of nine students wounded on that spring day 37 years ago and the first of them to die.

``He used to say, `I had five great years at Kent State and one really bad day,' '' his widow, Nelda Pelosi, said Wednesday.

Click on the headline to read the obit by BJ staff wrter Carol Biliczky.

[Source: The Beacon Journal,, Akron, OH, Thursday, June 28, 2007, page B5, col. 5] ]

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

McClatchy stock jumps 7 percent

NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. (MNI.N: rose more than 7 percent on Wednesday after falling steadily for the past seven months.

It was not immediately clear why the share price rose. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.

McClatchy, based in Sacramento, California, publishes the Sacramento Bee, the Miami Herald and more than two dozen daily U.S. newspapers.

The company has been the subject of takeover speculation among some analysts and investors, despite its two-tier stock structure that gives the McClatchy family more control over the publisher than other investors.

Chief Executive Gary Pruitt has said that he wants the company to remain publicly traded, but that going private could be a long-term option.

No plans to fire Par Ridder, says Chris Harte

There are no plans to fire Par Ridder, publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said Chris Harte, chairman of the Star Tribune Co., despite a threat from the owners of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that they may seek criminal charges unless Avista lets Ridder go. [Harte is a former BJ publisher.]

Testifying in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul on the second day of what's expected to be a three-day hearing to determine whether he can continue at his post with the Star Tribune, Ridder said he never used data from the Pioneer Press to harm it.

A contrite Par Ridder defended himself in court Tuesday against allegations that he stole financial information from his previous employer, the Pioneer Press.

He testified he'd thought about deleting Pioneer Press information contained in spreadsheets he shared with his new colleagues to show them the formatting, but "there was just so much information -- it was massive," he said. "But I wish I had."

The day drew to a confrontational close as plaintiff's attorney Phil Sechler accused Ridder under cross-examination of taking from St. Paul things that he had guarded closely when he was that newspaper's publisher.

"It's as if you had the secret formula to Coca-Cola, and you took it to Pepsi," Sechler said.

Ridder disputed the importance of some of Sechler's points, offered to correct him at other times and sometimes avoided a yes or no answer to questions that clearly sought one.

A ruling from Judge David Higgs may come in a week or more, say legal observers.

Click on the headline to read the full story from Matt McKinney and Steve Alexander, Star Tribune staff writers

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some observations from Dick McBane

The old days at the ABJ are worth remembering. It was a special time at what was then a special newspaper. Here are a couple of observations which you may or may not choose to use on the blog.

The Incredible Shrinking News Hole
Before leaving Akron on the morning of Tuesday, June 19, for a return to the metro Atlanta area, I picked up a copy of that day's Akron Beacon Journal. While the quality of the product still seemed to be good, I was most impressed by how slim it was; how limited in news content.

That impression was reinforced a couple of hours later at a lunch stop in Marietta, Ohio, when I picked up a copy of Marietta A.M., the Marietta edition of the Parkersburg, WV, News. While I didn't actually measure the news columns, the Parkersburg News was easily twice or more the size of the Beacon Journal in space devoted to news coverage. Whatever it lacked in quality, it more than compensated for in quantity.

Needed: A Few Good Copy Editors
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not my favorite newspaper, but it is now the one that I peruse daily. Its news coverage is quite comprehensive and generally well done. However, it has a nasty habit of perpetrating some real clinkers on a fairly regular basis. The most recent was the subhead on the lead story on page one of the Sunday, June 24, edition.

It read: "An unlikely, close-knit bond develops between ancestors of slaves and the ancestors of their slave masters."

Surely, there must be someone among the copy editors at the AJC who knows the difference between ancestors and descendents. I can only imagine the author of this very good story pulling her hair out when she saw the Sunday paper.

I can also imagine the reaction of Ben Maidenburg if this had been the ABJ in the old days.

Par Ridder says he took confidential data

The publisher of the Star Tribune, Par Ridder, testified in court Monday that he knowingly shared confidential St. Paul Pioneer Press data among senior executives at the Star Tribune, a move the Minneapolis paper's owners now say was a mistake.

Ridder's videotaped testimony came in the first of what's expected to be a three-day hearing that could decide his immediate future. The Pioneer Press is suing the Star Tribune and Ridder -
- who in March left his job as publisher of the Pioneer Press for the same post at the Star Tribune -- seeking damages, the removal of top executives and assurances from the Star Tribune's owner that it will not continue to poach top talent.

The hearing has offered the most detail yet in a civil case that accuses Ridder of breaking a pledge of loyalty to the Pioneer Press and swiping the paper's financial information when he left, moves that the suit charges were part of an effort to jeopardize the paper's future.

This week's hearing is to determine whether Ridder and two other executives who followed him across the river, Kevin Desmond, the Star Tribune's senior vice president of operations, and Jennifer Parratt, director of its niche publications, should be removed from their jobs at the Star Tribune for at least a year. Desmond is on the job; Parratt, while being paid, is not allowed to work for the paper until the legal issues are decided.

Legal observers say it could be a week or more before Ramsey County District Judge David Higgs makes his ruling.

Ridder, in videotaped testimony presented by Pioneer Press attorneys, also said he took a set of noncompete agreements that prohibited him and his senior management team from going to work for the rival Star Tribune. Previously Ridder, 39, has said that he had been released from the agreement.

Click on the headline to read the full story of Star Tribune reporter Matt McKinney,

Detroit Guild ratifies contract

By what Guild president Lou Mleczko's describes as a "good margin," members of the unions representing the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and the janitorial staff passed a 3-year contract, ending six months of negotiations, with the Detroit Media Partnership.

Unions representing pressmen, mailers and the Teamsters also passed their proposed contracts.

"In light of the difficulty of the newspaper industry and the situation in the state of Michigan, we feel it's as good a contract as we could have gotten," said Mleczko after the union members' votes were tallied at about 3 p.m. today.

The contracts will last until 2010.

The negotiations were the most difficult in 30 years, Mleczko said.

The contract retains daily overtime, which the company proposed eliminating.

However, health-care costs have increased, and employees won't get a company match for 401K retirement investments.

Diane Weiss, a Free Press photo editor who worked on the union negotiations committee, said members' votes were crucial.

"We need the company to see that we care about the contract," she said.

The unions represent 1,409 employees of the partnership, the Free Press and the Detroit News.

The media partnership manages business operations for the Free Press, which is owned by Gannett Co. Inc., and the News, owned by Media News Group.

[Source: Amber Hunt in Detroit Free Press]

Mleczko is a former BJ staffer.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

McClatchy stock drops to lowest level since 1998

June 22, 2007 5:58 PM ET

Shares of The McClatchy Co. dropped 2.3 percent in heavier-than-average trading Friday, ending a tough week for the newspaper publishing company.

The Sacramento-based company -- publisher of The Sacramento Bee, The Miami Herald and 29 other daily newspapers -- was hard-hit by a 10.4 percent decline in revenue last month, largely attributed to an 11.5 percent drop in advertising sales. Most of the nation's daily newspapers, from The Los Angeles Times to Washington Post, are battling a drop in advertising revenue and circulation.

McClatchy chairman and chief executive officer Gary Pruitt said the company expected the dramatic decline, especially with a 4.7 percent increase in pro forma revenue in May 2006. McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) bought Knight Ridder Inc. -- then the nation's second-largest newspaper -- in June 2006, selling off some assets while keeping other more profitable newspapers.

Pruitt, who was a guest speaker at a media-related investors conference in New York City this week, also said the company would consider selling its stake in, which it also owns with Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) and Tribune Co. (NYSE: TRB). He added that circulation at McClatchy newspapers would likely continue to decline until early 2008.

The comments addressed concerns but hurt McClatchy shares, which fell 87 cents in the final three days of the trading week, much of the drop Friday.

Shares on Friday dropped 58 cents to $25.07, including falling to $24.87 during intraday trading -- its lowest price since October 1998. More than 1.3 million shares were exchanged, about 400,000 more than the average daily volume during the past three months, according to the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of McClatchy, the largest publicly traded firm in the Sacramento region, have dropped 44.2 percent from its 52-week high of $44.95.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Private Security Companies in Iraq: A PEJ Study

Exactly how many Americans are serving in Iraq and what they are doing there might not seem like complicated questions. Stories in the media regularly talk about the 150,000 U.S. military personnel in the Iraq theater, but report little on private security.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism has done an extensive survey on
some 30,000 employees of U.S. and European-based Private Security Companies (PSCs), who work in some of Iraq’s most dangerous areas.

These PSC employees are not like other contractors in Iraq. Many of them carry weapons and are hired to protect important people, facilities and convoys. They have been involved in firefights and scores of them, the exact number is unclear, have perished. Yet there are many basic unanswered questions about these armed forces, which add by 20% the number of foreign troops in the country.

As a starting point, the financing can be difficult to track. Some PSC personnel are paid directly by the U.S. government, while others work as sub-contractors or sub-sub-contractors for other companies doing business in Iraq.

The issue of who is in charge of them in the field also can be confusing. While PSCs work alongside the U.S. military in Iraq, ultimately they serve at the discretion of the groups that hire them. Those employers may be the government, but they could also be some third party.

One thing is clear. Private security companies are doing jobs once largely undertaken by the military. And experts say they are being used in unprecedented numbers in the war in Iraq.

Click on the headline to read the full report.

AP Stylebook now available

"BlackBerry" is in, and "widower" is out. "Hip-hop" finally makes the grade, and so does "boogie." It's the 2007 edition of the "AP Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law," now available in both print and online versions.

Norm Goldstein, editor of the 2007 version, says in a release that emphasis this year rests on the great functionality offered by subscription-based online access. "The online Stylebook provides searchable, instant access, with constant updates as well as notification of changes," Goldstein says. "It also allows the addition of a user's own entries to create a private stylebook."

The always closely-watched new entries include: carry-on; mentally retarded; Swift boat. Changes and updates include: daylight saving time; editor-in-chief; European Union. Deletions: widower; Laundromat; Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Cost of the spiral-bound book is $17.95 for general orders, with discounts for members of the news cooperative. Go to for details on pricing and ordering.

Police say little about death of San Jose editor

A day after veteran San Jose Mercury News reporter Richard Ramirez was found dead in his home, newsroom staffers have still not been told how he died or who found him, according to Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton, who said the lack of information is frustrating to a devastated staff.

Hutton said police have yet to say if he was murdered, committed suicide or died of some freak accident. "There is no police report, nothing," she said. "We have nothing offered to us. We just know that it was at his home because of one of our group papers over there that found out."

"They are being very tight-lipped," Hutton, who joined the paper just last month, said about the Livermore, Calif. Police Department. "It is very frustrating, especially for people who are his friends. It is hard for them not to have all of the details. We just know that they are conducting an investigation."

Ramirez, 44, was found dead in his home Wednesday, according to the Mercury News, which posted first word of his death on its Web site last night. A 23-year veteran of the paper, Ramirez was married and active in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The editor said the lack of information only allows people to speculate about the worst. "We extrapolate from the investigation that it was not natural causes, but that is not to say it was homicide or suicide," she said. "But they don't normally investigate heart attacks."

The surprise death comes less than three years after former Mercury News reporter Gary Webb committed suicide and six years after photographer Luci Houston was murdered by her ex-husband.

"People are devastated," Hutton said about the newsroom today. "It is horrible to lose a colleague anytime, but when there is uncertainty or confusion around it, it is even tougher to shoulder that. I wish they would make a determination and tell us so we have some kind of confirmation of what happened."

Ramirez, a veteran reporter and editor who served for the last 12 years as assistant to the executive editor, was discovered Wednesday morning in his Livermore back yard, with a fatal injury the Alameda County Coroner's Office described as a knife wound in his midsection

ABC says it was outbid for Paris Hilton interview

How much is an interview with Paris Hilton worth? Representatives of ABC News said yesterday that they had lost to NBC for the first interview with Paris Hilton after her release from jail next week because ABC was unwilling to make a "high six-figure deal" with Ms. Hilton’s family.

NBC executives did not deny that they had had discussions about interview rights with Ms. Hilton, though the news division said yesterday that it could not yet confirm any interview would take place.

The spokesperson for NBC News, Allison Gollust, insisted, however, that "NBC News does not pay for interviews — never have, never will."

Job cuts loom at ABC, Honolulu Advertiser

ABC News to trim abut 35 jobs
ABC News president
David Westin has announced a two-year process "to take a fresh look at ABC News from top to bottom. ... We haven't made final decisions about everything we're considering, but to give you a sense of the ultimate outcome: After we've added positions in some areas and cut positions in others, we will trim about 35 jobs from ABC News staff worldwide. We will do all that we can to minimize the effects on those of you affected.
Honolulu Advertiser offers buyouts to 86
The Honolulu Advertiser, owned by Gannett Co., is offering enhanced retirement packages to 86 workers in an effort to reduce its staffing.

In a letter to employees Thursday, publisher Mike Fisch said the company wants to reduce its workforce by 30 positions "to adjust our operating plans to meet the new market realities."

Fisch said the company is asking employees 55 and older with up to 20 years of service to consider the retirement offer, which is being made to both union members and non-members.

He did not specify the details of what he described as an "attractive benefits package

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gary Pruitt draws some chuckles

Gary Pruitt, the CEO of Sacramento, Calif.-based McClatchy Co., drew chuckles when he said McClatchy executives considered scrapping their tradition of opening their presentation with a music video given the poor business conditions for the newspaper industry.

"Needless to say, we came down on the side of rock and roll," Pruitt said, opening his presentation with a slide show, while OK Go's "Here it Goes Again" played in the background.

Noting that the final image of the McClatchy video closed with a run-over armadillo, Pruitt offered that "everyone thinks we're roadkill." Earlier that morning, McClatchy reported that its May advertising revenue had tumbled 11.5 percent compared with the same period a year earlier and 7.1 percent in the year to date.

Pruitt was speaking at c conference sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America.

Turning more serious during a question-and-answer session, Pruitt allowed that the timing of McClatchy's purchase of Knight Ridder Inc. last year was "unfortunate," given that it coincided with a sharp downturn in print advertising, which is prolonging McClatchy's efforts to pay down its debt and turn to buying back shares.

McClatchy has performed worse than its peers recently, with its stock steadily declining this year from $43.30 at the end of 2006 to $25.95 as of Wednesday's close.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm officially in the Aetna Rx donut hole

I’m officially in the Aetna Rx donut hole. Aetna and I have paid $2,401 for prescriptions so far. I have paid $556.23 of that amount as out-of-pocket expense. Once this total reches $3,850 my co-payments and co-insurance will be the greater of 5 percent or $2.15 for generic drugs and $5.35 for brand drugs. So, I still have to spend $3.293.77 before I qualify for catastrophic coverage. I understand that my co-pay for generic drugs will still be $5 while I am in the donut hole. But there are no generics for diabetic drugs and insulin so I pay full price. Lantus, an insulin prescription, cost $146,43 and that will not last a full month. Actos, a diabetic drug, cost me $192.47 for the month. And each time I get a refill, it seems the cost goes up $3 to $10.
~~Harry Liggett

A previous post on this, which was incorrect, has been deleted.

San Jose to cut staff by 40

By Pete Carey
Mercury News
The Mercury News will reduce its newsroom staff by 40 positions through layoffs that will take place in July, the company announced Tuesday.

The reduction - a nearly 17 percent cut - will leave the paper with 200 newsroom positions, down from a peak seven years ago of about 400.

The cuts are in response to declining advertising revenues, said Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton.

"Revenue is not growing in the Mercury News," Hutton told the staff at a meeting Tuesday to announce the layoffs. "We have to offset some of that revenue loss with cost cuts."

Since 2000, the newspaper's revenues have declined 36 percent. This will be the third news-staff reduction in 18 months at the Mercury News, which gave buyouts to 52 staff members in November 2005 and laid off 15 in December 2006.

"We have to look to the future and figure out how we are going to transform ourselves to a new platform," said Newspaper Guild local President Sylvia Ulloa. "If we're smart, we're going to invest in our people, we're not going to cut them. That's where the future lies."

The announcement comes as the San Francisco Chronicle eliminates 100 newsroom jobs, a reduction forced by losses estimated to be running approximately $1 million a week.

Hutton said Tuesday that the Mercury News is still profitable. The layoffs are intended to counter further projected declines in revenue. The Mercury News is part of a Bay Area-wide group that has more than 800 newsroom employees at 16 newspapers.

The Mercury News' former owner, Knight Ridder, was sold to McClatchy of Sacramento in 2006. MediaNews acquired the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times from McClatchy later that year, making them part of its California Newspapers Partnership with Gannett and Stephens Media.

Fitzpatrick letter questions diversity

Former Beacon Journal executive editor Al Fitzpatrick has written a letter headlined:

BJ changes raise new question of color

The letter, published in the Voice of the People Section on page A8 on Wednesday, states that he finds it "quite interesting that the new
new owners of the Beacon Journal have managed to eliminate the three top minority executives within less than a year since they purchased the paper. "

The letter is reprinted in the Commentary section of the BJ retirees web site. Click on the headline to read the letter.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Meandering in Michigan

Paula and I meandered around Michigan June 10-14.

1. In Dearborn, we toured the Henry Ford Museum, which has transportation vehicles from bicycles to trains to autos (of course) to airplanes. With a side trip to the MGM Grand casino, where I donated and Paula won.

2. On Mackinac Island, we enjoyed the greenery and sea-nery and avoided the horse manure, since no motorized vehicles are permitted on the island. The horses provide the transportation. And bicyles. Great fudge. Great ice cream. Great views, particularly of the Grand Hotel, sitting on the hill with the mother of all vistas.

3. At Sault Sainte Marie, we took the 2-hour locks boat tour. The water is higher on one Great Lake than on the other. Interesting. Really big freighters. Another side trip to a casino. I donated; Paula won.

4. At Grand Lake, on Presque Isle and 2 miles from the Lake Huron shoreline, we visited Bob Kasper, my friend since we were in first grade at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic elementary school in the coal mining town of Monongah, WV, where 361 miners were killed in an explosion in 1907 or 1908. Bob and wife Pat have a 3-bedroom summer home there. We played 9 holes of golf. I lost; Bob won. Seeing a pattern here?

Then we returned home. It was 1,320 miles, but well worth it. I won.

Click on the headline or link to see photos, if you're interested.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Monday afternoon foursome

It was only a foursome, but the conversation about old times at the Beacon Journal lasted for more than an hour at Rockne’s Pub on W. Market Street in Fairlawn on Monday afternoon.

Three retirees met with Dick McBane who was visiting from his home in Lilburn, GA.
Seated (from left) are Tom Moore, Harry Liggett, McBane and John Olesky.

One big occasion for McBane’s visit was the 50h anniversary reunion of his class at Hiram College where he received a B.A. in history a half century ago.. Among those sharing stories at Hiram were his former roommates and close friends. McBane went on to get a master’s degree at Michigan State.

But now he is busy with four grandchildren. The three boys all play ball so Dick has a job driving between game sites.

Dick admits he is not playing ball much himself, but he does know a little about the game.
His book, A Fine-Looking Lot of Ball-Tossers: The Remarkable Akrons of 1881, was published in 2005. Check it out at the McFarland Publishing Co. web site at

If you would like to get in touch with McBane, send email to

Stuck in submarine: Another great Fran story

A post from Nancy Yockey Bonar:

In the process of writing the first-ever submarine cookbook for the general public (with assist from U .S. Submarine Force), I communicate daily with former submariners.

I recently came across Dr. John Fakan, who met Fran about the mid-90s. He's the volunteer "skipper" of the nonprofit USS COD (SS 224) submarine museum in Cleveland. Formerly, he worked at NASA (Cleveland) to send people to the Moon and back.


Here's what he wrote:

Some years ago the USS COD (SS 224) and Wm G. MATHER had a joint event on Lake Erie off Cleveland, and we had another boat ferrying guests between the two vessels.

I was aboard COD for most of the event, before transferring to the MATHER. As the ferrying boat pulled alongside COD to disembark a load of passengers from MATHER, I lent a hand to help folks aboard. I recall hoping that all of the visitors would be able to handle our crowded spaces and challenges (vertical ladders, hatches, etc.).

I transferred to the MATHER where I got the message from the COD that a female visitor had gotten stuck while coming up through the sub s after vertical ladder trunk. Some of the crew had used a rope sling to haul her up! I had visions of a big lawsuit for mishandling a visitor.

When I learned that the woman, Fran Murphey, was an Akron Beacon Journal reporter, I knew it wasn't going to be good. However, when Fran's article appeared it was very positive! She didn't mention her "stuck experience," but did comment in her story close, "It (being on a submarine) isn't for everyone".)

I wrote Fran to thank her for the wonderful story. I told her I was going to personally see to it that when she arrived in Heaven she would be granted a very high place. I'm sure that's where she is now.

John Fakan, PhD

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day tribute to his son by JSK

An item in the May/June 1971 issue of Tower Topics quoted a letter from Leroy Church, father of Bill Church who once headed the Beacon Journal composing room.

“One of the finest Father's Day stories I've ever read appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal by John S. Knight,” Church wrote. ”He was writing of the death of his young son, John, Jr.”

Here is what JSK had to say about his son:

"World War II took a toll of 292,131 battle deaths, our Johnny was among them. The following first printed on April 22, 1945, is offered as a heartfelt tribute to all servicemen, both living and dead - who have had no voice in the making of wars but only the obligation to serve and perhaps to die.

"It was written by Major General W. M. Miley, U.S.A., Commanding 17th Airborne Division:

"First Lieutenant John S. Knight, Jr., distinguished himself by heroic and meritorious service in action while serving in the army of the United States against any enemy of the United states. On January 21, 1945, First Lieut. Knight with a small reconnaissance patrol cleared the enemy from Hauthellain, Belgium. In the face of numerically superior force, the patrol, under the aggressive leadership of First Lieut. Knight, skillfully carried out his attack completely routing the enemy. The actions of First Lieut. Knight were in accordance with the highest standards of military service."

But as the editor said, . .. the tears come faster, "Johnny is gone."

Just click on the headline to read the “Editor’s Notebook” written for Sunday, April 25, 1945, two days after a Page 1 story reporting on the death of his son.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

An anniversary tribute to ‘The Boss’

Today, the 26th anniversary of the death of John S. Knight and the day before Father’s Day, seems an appropriate time to pay tribute to the man.

We borrow from the words of Abe Zaidan whose book, Portraits of Power, was just published. When Zaidan received the John S. Knight award for excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, here’s how he described “The Boss” :

“We should pause for a few moments to consider an extraordinary figure in journalistic history. Jack Knight may very well be the last newspaper publisher – no, the last newspa
perman – who could be described in terms of greatness.

“Certainly, he has no peers today. And for that, the business is becoming a scaled-down version of what it might have been with people of Mr. Knight’s vision still around.

“Here was a man who cared enough about the printed word to circle a particular word or thought in a political column and mail it back to Akron from his Miami winter headquarters.

“One who made it a point each election day to call in the early turnout at his precinct
– he always loved reporting – and waited for the later editions to arrive on his desk to see whether he was correctly, if anonymously, quoted.

“One who literally locked himself in his office so as to devote his full energies to his weekly Editor’s Notebook –and yet sought the opinion of a subordinate on whether the column achieved the tone that he has so assiduously sought.

“His was a commitment to language and public dialogue that one finds so rarely today in the rush to titillate the anonymous reader.

“He was impatient with editors who flew off to newspaper conventions, arguing there was nothing to be gained in reinforcing the ingrained ideas that accompanied an editor to the meeting in the first place.

“He lectured us more than once over the years on why the size of the type should be increased to make reading it easier, and why there was a time and place for everything in the hometown paper – and that means a greater injection of humor to offset the preponderance of serious news coverage. . . this from a man whose own attention seldom strayed from the weighty issues of the day.

“In short, he had an insatiable appetite for everything that was going on, particularly in his beloved Akron.”

Watch tomorrow for a Father’s Day Editor’s Notebook from The Boss.

Vikings offer $45 million for StarTrib land

The Minnesota Vikings have tentatively agreed to buy four city blocks for $45 million from Avista Capital Partners, owners of the Star Tribune, as part of a broader plan to build a football stadium and develop surrounding land in downtown Minneapolis, sources close to the sale confirmed Thursday.

The Vikings, as part of the transaction, would also have a right of first refusal to later buy the newspaper's longtime main office building, though that block is not included in the sale. Sources close to the negotiations said the sale could be finalized within days but cautioned it could still unravel.

Though details were sketchy -- both the newspaper and the team had little to say Thursday -- the sale would give the Vikings four blocks that mainly have been used by the newspaper for surface parking. But the area also includes another large office building and an older warehouse facility.

The four blocks have been seen as critical to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's plans to build a stadium on the site of the nearby Metrodome, the team's home since the early 1980s.

Star Tribune publisher Par Ridder said Thursday he "was not in a position to comment" on the possible sale. OhSang Kwon, a partner with Avista, said no deal had been reached.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Mike Kaszuba and Paul Levy in the Star Tribune

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pruitt, others to discuss media

By E&P Staff
NEW YORK Mid-Year Media Review is coming up in New York City next week and the sponsor, Newspaper Association of America, has lined up a panel that will focus on shifts occurring in the industry.

On Wednesday June 20, executives from Gannett, Freedom Communications, and McClatchy will answer questions about digital innovations, recent partnerships, online advertising, and the future business model of newspapers.

Gannett Newspaper Division President Susan Clark-Johnson, Freedom President and CEO Scott Flanders, and McClatchy CEO and Chairman Gary Pruitt will sit on the panel moderated by NAA president and CEO John Sturm.

Executives with several major newspaper companies -- including Belo, The New York Times Co. and The Washington Post Co. -- will present to the financial community and investors on June 19 -20.

The online recruitment site CareerBuilder, owned jointly by Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy, will also present.
[Source: Editor & Publisher]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ohioans play role in American journalism

Charlie Buffum, the blog lookout guy in New York City, sends two clippings that deserve space on the BJ Retirees website on their own merit and because they show the influence of Ohioans on the New York Times and on American journalism.

One clip is th
e first column of New York Times public editor (No. 3) Clark Hoyt who headed the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau before leaving when KR was bought by McClatchy.

A decision by editors not to play charges of a terrorism plot at Kennedy Airport on Page 1 last Sunday puzzled Hoyt and some readers — and angered others.

It was the play story in the Washington Post. The Times printed the story on the Metro front with a teaser on
page one. Times editors thought at the time that since the plot posed no real threat to JFK it should not go out front.

Read Hoyt’s very
good first column.

The other clip carries the one word headline ‘Copy!’ In a reminiscent story of the sounds and sounds of years gone by as the Times after 94 years moves from the old newspaper factory at 229 West 43rd Street to the new Piano skyscraper at 6520 Eighth Avenue.

The story by David W. Dunlap recalls the role of Carr Van Anda who was born in Georgetown, Ohio, in 1864.
After studying astronomy and physics at Ohio University, Van Anda became a reporter for the Cleveland Herald. In 1886 he was appointed night editor of the Baltimore Sun and two years later did the same job for the New York Sun.

In February 1904 Adolph Ochs the owner of the New York Times, appointed Van Anda as managing editor. At the instruction of Van Anda in 1907 the newspaper set up a biographical file, or morgue, to index newspaper and magazine clippings. It reached its millionth name card in the 1940s. During the first World War Van Anda started the publishing of full text of important speeches and documents made it the newspaper of record.

One of Van Anda's many success stories was the way he reported the sinking of the Titanic. At 1:20 a.m. on 15th April, 1912, the New York Times newsroom received information about the Titantic SOS via the Marconi wireless station in Newfoundland. Van Anda contacted his correspondents in Halifax and Montreal who were able to find out that the ship's wireless had fallen silent 30 minutes after the first call for help. By consulting the New York Times detailed news library Van Anda discovered that other ships had recently reported close scrapes with icebergs in this area. The next morning the New York Times reported on its front page that the ship had sunk while other papers in America were handling the story in incomplete and inconclusive manner.

The newspaper continued to prosper under Van Anda's management and by 1921 circulation had reached 330,000 during the week and 500,000 on Sunday. At the same time advertising had increased tenfold in 25 years. Carr Van Anda, who retired from the New York Times in 1932, died in 1945.

See Dunlap’s story

See a video with Dunlap’s story

See a nice timeline of the New York Times.

The video with Dunlap’s story also mentions Charlotte Curtis who was both the first woman on the masthead of The New York Times and one of the last women to always be the only woman in the room in the world of big-time journalism.

Curtis was born to a prominent, socially active Ohio family, and after Vassar she returned to become a reporter and editor at the Columbus Citizen. She dreamed of becoming a foreign correspondent, but as a female reporter her work was largely relegated to the women's pages.

Charlotte Curtis Hunt, who died in 1986, is credited with changing the nature and content of newspaper women's pages to reflect the more newsy, issue-oriented stories that characterize them today.

In 2000, a $2 million gift from the Charlotte Curtis Hunt Living Trust to the Ohio State University Foundation established the William E. Hunt, M.D. and Charlotte M. Curtis Neuroscience Endowment Fund within the university's College of Medicine and Public Health. The gift was made in memory of the late Dr. Hunt, former head of neurosurgery at Ohio State, and his late wife, Charlotte Curtis Hunt, a former editor at the New York Times.

Poynter on newsrooom staff cuts

From Poynter Institute, June 12, 2007
By Rick Edmonds
The announcement of big newsroom staff cuts seems to be falling like acid rain these days. One hundred at the San Francisco Chronicle, including 10 high-level editors. Sixty at the Los Angeles Times. A rumored 60 more on the way at The (San Jose, Calif.) Mercury News, like the Times and Chronicle a paper twice slashed already.

Lost in the saga of the miserable metros is a more hopeful story. Smaller papers and the three big nationals are, by and large, holding staff steady and in some cases even growing slightly.

An analysis of the latest American Society of Newspaper Editors newsroom census, designed primarily to track diversity statistics and compiled at the end of 2006, shows this breakdown in overall staffing trends:

* All of the net losses are concentrated in about 90 papers ranging from 100,000 circulation up to the Los Angeles Times at 815,000-daily circulation. Papers reporting results at the end of 2005 as well as the end of 2006 were down by 711 full-time professional staffers for the year.

* Papers reporting both years in the 50,000 to 100,000 circulation range held numbers roughly even in 2006.

* Papers less than 50,000 were not analyzed individually, but my estimate is that they, too, stayed about even.

* The three national papers were reported to be up by 19 full-time news positions, with a small decrease at TheNew York Times, offset by small increases at TheWall Street Journal and USA Today.

Click on the headline to read the full article by
By Rick Edmonds.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Even dozen attend Retirees lunch

There were an even dozen at the BJ Retirees Lunch at Papa Joe's in the valley.

A special guest was Mary Kinkelaar, daugther of Cal Deshong.

Click on the headline to see photos of the gang by retired printer Bob Pell.

Dyer book signing is Friday in Montrose

Beacon Journal staffer Bob Dyer will be at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 4015 Medina Road, Montrose from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 15, for a book signing of The Top 20 Moments in Cleveland Sports.

The 20 exciting stories recount the most memorable events in Cleveland s
port history including the 1964 NFL championship game, the Cavaliers "Miracle of Richfield" in 1976 and the Indians spring toward the World Series in the 1995 playoffs.

AU grad named Repository publisher

The new publisher of The Repository and head of GateHouse Ohio Newspapers is Kevin Kampman.

Kampman is chief operating officer of Community First Holdings and vice president of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. He joined the group, based in Birmingham, Ala., in 1997.

Kampman, 50, a University of Akron graduate and Cleveland native , has worked for Com
munity Newspaper Holdings since it was started in 1997. He started his newspaper career in 1980 in the circulation department of the Columbus Dispatch.

He will succeed David J. Greenfield, who retired in May after 10 years.

The Repository, which has an average weekday circulation of about 64,100 and Sunday circulation of 82,300, was purchased in April by GateHouse Media from Copley Press.

“Canton represents home to me,” said Kampman. He will also assume a managerial role over The Times-Reporter at Dover-New Philadelphia and The (Massillon) Independent, similar to duties held by Greenfield. A Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame fan, who grew up on the east side of Cleveland, Kampman may begin as early as June 18.

He comes to the paper from Birmingham, Ala., where he’s chief operating officer of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., a 10-year-old company that owns daily, weekly and semi-weekly newspapers in more than 200 communities around the country. Kampman and wife, Deborah, and a 14-year-old son – the youngest of their four children – plan to move to the area this summer.

“I’m a big believer in the newspaper business ... in local community news,” he said.

Although he has a degree in educatin, Kampman's professional career has been entirely in newspapers. He began in 1980 in the circulation department of the Columbus Dispatch. He’s held positions with Stauffer Communications, including publisher in Blue Springs, Mo.; marketing director in Independence, Mo.; circulation director in Winter Haven, Fla; and general and circulation manager in Holland, Mich.

Kampman has worked for Community ewspaper Holdings since its inception in 1997, first as regional manager and publisher of the McAlester (Okla.) News Capital. The company was founded by Ralph Martin, formerly with the Thomson Corp. newspaper operation, and is financially backed by the Alabama state pension system. Thomson owned The Repository until its sale in 2000 to Copley Press.

Last month, CNHI and, the leading Internet job and career Web site, announced an online and print alliance. The centerpiece of that arrangement is 80 co-branded, job-recruitment Web sites.

Kampman said Randall W. Cope, a Gatehouse Media co-president, phoned him about three weeks ago to see if he was interested in the Ohio position. Gatehouse Media owns The Repository, as well as the Massillon and New Philadelphia-Dover newspapers.

The Repository’s former publisher, Greenfield, retired effective May 18.

Kampman said he will visit Canton on Monday, but likely won’t assume his full duties until June 25.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lunch with Dick McBane is Monday

Lunch with Dick McBane will be at 1 p.m. Monday, June 18, at Rockne's Pub, 2914 W. Marlet St. No reservations required, but it would be nice to know if you plan to attend. Send email to

McBane plans to leave Wednesday (June 13) and should be checked into the Quality Inn in Fairlawn sometime Friday evening (June 15). He willl be at Hiram College mostly on Saturday the 16th, but likely reachable at the motel most evenings.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Moss named publisher of Daily News of LA

WOODLAND HILLS - Edward R. Moss has been named publisher of the Daily News of Los Angeles, replacing John McKeon, company officials announced today.

California Newspapers Partnership, owned by MediaNews Group, Gannett and Steph
ens Media, is the largest publisher of daily newspapers in California, with a combined daily circulation of more than 900,000, publishing 34 daily newspapers and 57 weeklies in California.

Moss, 52, most recently served as publisher for the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio and brings 30 years of newspaper experience to the Daily News. He began his career just as the Valley
News and Green Sheet was transforming into the Daily News.

"Ed is one of the most seasoned newspaper executives in our industry," George Riggs, president and chief executive officer of the California Newspaper Partnership, said in a statement. "He brings an extensive background in the highest management ranks at both local newspa
pers and corporate. He also has a wealth of experience in directing advertising sales at both small newspapers and across newspaper networks."

Prior to his post as publisher in Ohio, Moss served as corporate vice president, sales and marketing for Media General, Inc., Freedom Communications Inc., and the Tribune Company.

He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, holding a degree in mass communications and advertising. He is married and has six children.

McKeon has served as publisher since October, when he had taken over for Tracy Rafter

Click on the headline to go to the Daily News site.

Melody column quoted in NY Times

The longest civic losing streak in the nation is now in jeopardy.

That was the lead in a Sunday story by David Leonhardt in the New York Times which quotes a column written by the BJ’s Tom Melody in 1964. Here’s the lead:

The city of Cleveland last celebrated a major sports title on Dec. 27, 1964, when the Browns upset the Baltimore Colts in the N.F.L. championship game. In the more than four decades since, the Indians once took a lead into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, while the Browns endured three of the more painful playoff losses in National Football League history.

But no major Cleveland pro team has won another championship. Those teams have played 123 combined seasons since the Browns' 1964 title, making Cleveland the hardest-luck sports town in the country. Philadelphia, with 96 straight titleless seasons, ranks a distant second.

“If Cleveland's streak is going to end this month, it will have to involve an upset as big as the Browns' victory over the Colts,” the story continues.

The Colts were favored to win the 1964 championship game by a touchdown, even though the game was being played on a freezing, windy day in Cleveland. (At the time, championship games alternated between the home city of the Eastern Division winner ù Cleveland that year ù and the Western Division winner.)

Behind Johnny Unitas, Baltimore had been the league's dominant team that season. The Colts had finished the regular season at 12-2, scoring more points than any other team in the league and allowing the fewest. Before the game, Tom Melody, who covered the Browns for The Akron Beacon Journal, wrote, "It is unreasonable to imagine the Browns emerging triumphant."

But with an aggressive defensive strategy, heavy on blitzes and bump-and-run coverage, the Browns won, 27-0. Cleveland's quarterback, Frank Ryan, who was studying for a doctorate in math from Rice University during his playing days, threw three touchdown passes, all to Gary Collins. The 40-year-old Lou Groza, who was known as the Toe, kicked two field goals, and Jim Brown ran for 114 yards.

The day after the game, an article in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland suggested that the Browns might be a dynasty in the making. Instead, the team lost three title games over the next five years, starting a run of biblical-like misery for Cleveland fans.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Check out Jane's wedding video

Want to see Jane Snow’s weddding video?

Thanks to Jim Kavanagh, a 7-minute video of the Las Vegas wedding at Cupid’s Chapel has been located.

A quick search by the blog when the wedding info was posted did not locate the video.
Click on the headline to go to the videos and then you must scroll down to April 28 or you can use your browser’s search feature to find “Tony & Jane”

You can hear all the exchange of vows in what Jim and I agree is a surprisingly well-edited video. Also we must say that Jane is a fetching bride. It is still difficult to catch spouse Tony’s last name, but that makes no difference. According to the video, he will take Jane’s name.

So congratulations to Jane and Tony Snow.

The earlier post was on June 2.

And a note from Jim who is now at CNN:

‘Busy days at CNN right now as we get ready for a "relaunch" July 1 -- all the nonsense of a newspaper redesign, with new technology to learn on top of it. Woo hoo!
~ Jim Kavanagh

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Newsroom staffers leaving Star Tribune

This is a list of newsroom employees who will be leaving the Minneapolis Star Tribune, most of them through a voluntary buyout program. Other buyout applications are still being evaluated, and some additional departures might be announced in the coming days. In addition, those taking voluntary buyouts have 15 days to rescind their application, meaning a few may decide to stay.

John Addington, news copy editor; Michael Anthony, classical music critic; Susan Barbieri, features editor; Steve Berg, editorial writer; Eric Black, nation/world reporter; Jim Boyd, deputy editorial page editor; Denise Brownfield, executive secretary, Editorial; Rob Daves, Minnesota Poll director; Conrad deFiebre, politics reporter; Nancy Entwistle, features designer; Delma Francis, features reporter; Barb Glander, office manager; Stormi Greener, photographer; Doug Grow, metro columnist; Paul Gustafson, St. Paul reporter; Chuck Haga, state reporter; L.K. Hanson, graphic artist; Carol Hartman, news technology specialist; Maury Hobbs, features copy editor; Susie Hopper, news copy editor; Bob Jansen, librarian; Joe Kimball, St. Paul columnist; Linda Mack, architecture critic; Kay Miller, features reporter; Randy Miranda, features wire editor; Heather Munro, photo technician; Ron Nies, business copy editor; Chris Norman, sports news assistant; Pat Norton, library researcher; Nancy Olsen, night metro editor; Greg Patterson, business editor/reporter; David Peters, nation/world editor; Susan E. Peterson, business editor/reporter; Pat Pheifer, night metro editor; Jim Phillips, library researcher; Julie Rosckes, content promotions editor; Jeff Rush, Star Tribune North editor; Linda Scheimann, librarian; Sharon Schmickle, nation/world reporter; Kate Stanley, editorial writer; Beth Thibodeau, features copy/layout editor; Dan Wascoe, metro reporter; Jay Weiner, sports reporter; and Larry Werner, director of community publications.

In addition, three people will be leaving the online news department:; Robyn Dochterman, projects team leader; Mary Harnan, news assistant; and Laura Salas, copy editor

[Source: Matt McKinney, Star Tribune staff writer]

Outhouse photo missed by Fran Murphey

Here's an outhouse photo the late Fran Murphey may have missed.

Unfortunately we cannot determine if the photo is legitimate or where it was taken

You will need to click on the photo to see the labels.

46,000 visitors here since July, 2004

There have been more then 46,000 visitors to the BJ Retirees blog since in opened in July, 2004.

In the blog corner of our website, we have a weekly report on the number of visitors and posts.
The report of our site meter this week shows 643 visitors this week or an averge of 92 each day. There have been a total of 46,395 visits and 1,089 posts since the blog opened.

Conversation at lunch

Former BJ news editors Tom Moore and Dave Boerner had lunch with Bob Reese, a guard at the newspaper for at least 10 years. Here’s Tom’s report:

Dave Boerner and I had lunch with a different member of the BJ family--a fellow who checked us in and out and kept us safe. That's Bob Reese who has a guard at the BJ for nine years.*

He wanted to know if he could come to our luncheons and Dave and I assured him that we'd love to have him attend. He might have worked on the outfit who furnished guards, but he was a member of the BJ family. He knows just about everybody and can tell some great stories on his run-i
ns with folks trying to get into the building. Bob's now retired.

I thought he'd get a kick out of the story of Publisher Ben Maidenburg trying to get into the building. Ben had forgotten his ID. When he came though the door, the guard asked him for his ID. He told him he'd forgotten it, but he assured the fellow that he worked there. The guard was not satisfied. He took Ben into the office and sitting at the old horse-shoe copy desk was copy editor Art Cullison.

“You know this fellow?” the guard asked.

Art looked at Ben and said with a straight face: “Never saw him before in my life!”

Ben had to go downstairs in the parking garage and come up through the lobby. But he did have a sense of humor, so Art didn't get the can.

Bob came back with a similar story”about Publisher John Dotson.

There was a bomb scare and John was notified. Well, Bob said, he must have been at a barbecue or some such outing, because of the way he was dressed. And Bob didn't know him from Adam. Bob said the fellow came though the front door and headed up the stairs. Bob challenged him.

John said he was going to the third floor, that he was an employee. Bob wanted to see some ID. John asked him to call upstairs.

Bob did. And asked the person who answered the phone, ‘is there a Dodson or Doder or something like that worked here?” a

The person on the phone told him, “Yes, John Dotson is the publisher.

Of course Bob immediately let him go up. And he figured he'd be guarding some warehouse the next day. Then he got a call from John who praised him for his action and told him he really felt safe in the building with somebody like him on duty.

He's got a lot of stories like that about the folks we all worked with, so expect him to regale you at the luncheons.

By the way, one's coming up this Wednesday.

...Tom Moore

Friday, June 08, 2007

Followup on new BJ publisher

Here are snippets from a story by BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher on the new publisher:

The Akron Beacon Journal has its first female publisher in its 168-year history.

Andrea Mathewson, vice president of production at the Beacon Journal and a 29-year ve
teran of the paper, was promoted to publisher effective Thursday after Edward Moss unexpectedly resigned.

Advertising Vice President Alton Brown also was promoted to the new position of executive vice president and general manager.

Moss, 52, who was named publisher last August shortly after the Beacon Journal was bought by Black Press Ltd. of Canada, said he could not give much detail about his plans or whether he was leaving Akron, other than to say he had received an unsolicited business opportunity ``that I could simply not turn down.'' Thursday was his last day.

Black said Moss' departure was a surprise to him.

``It was an unfortunate surprise because I think very highly of him. I think he's a great publisher. But I'm very pleased with where we've ended up with Andrea. I think Andrea will also be a great publisher,'' Black said.

Black said he thought it would be great to promote from within.

``Andrea has such a depth of experience there and as well as being a longtime Akron resident and being a very strategic thinker and good with people. It just seemed like a logical choice,'' he said.

Mathewson, 48, said she was very ``excited and honored to lead this company.''

Mathewson, an Akron native, joined the Beacon Journal when she was 18 in her first full-time job out of Springfield High School.

She's worked in a variety of roles and departments in her 29 years, starting as a classified phone sales representative and working in advertising, the mail room and production departments.

In 2006, Editor & Publisher magazine, an industry trade journal, named her one of the nation's top production executives.

``I didn't know John S. Knight, but I had a few conversations with him, and to be able to lead this company now is just amazing to me,'' she said.

Black said that having a woman publisher is ``a bonus.''

Being a native of the community will be an advantage, Mathewson said.

``I do understand the community. We have history. My father was a tire builder and was on the other side. I understand the traditions of labor and I understand we are in a different city now.''

Black acknowledged the top management of the paper has gone through a lot of changes, but said he is confident in the team he now has in place.

``Turnover sometimes is a blessing, but not normally. There has been a lot there and there has been some downsizing because revenues were (down). With any luck, we've got that behind us,'' Black said. ``We don't think there will be any more changes, and we're not anticipating any. We really hope things stabilize and we can focus on the product.''

Black said he was pleased with the paper and had no plans to sell it.

``I'm a big fan,'' he said.

Click on the headline to read the full story which was published on Page A1 today.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Memorable Story: It's intern season

The blog occasionally posts Memorable Stories from either the past or the present. Old-timers are bound to enjoy the Firnal Word column about interns by Craig Wilson in USA Today.

(Wilson also once wrote a story about all the Craig Wilsons he could find
including our own late Craig Wilson, best known for Action Line.)

Click on the headline to read the column. Here are the teaser graphs

It's intern season in offices across America. USA TODAY is no exception.

I walked into the newsroom the other day, and what seemed like hundreds of them were sitting at desks all around me. I knew they were interns because it was 9:30 in the morning, and no self-respecting journalist is ever in the office at 9:30 in the morning.

Like mushrooms, they sprouted overnight, yet another new crop. Bright. Fresh-faced. Eager to jump into any chore.

I hate them all.

Moss quits, Mathewson named publisher

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer
The Akron Beacon Journal has its first female publisher in its 168-year history.

Edward Moss, named publisher last August shortly after the Beacon Journal was bought by Black Press Ltd., unexpectedly resigned Thursday to accept what he said is an ``unsolicited business opportunity.''

Andrea Mathewson, vice president of production at the Beacon Journal and a 29-year veteran of the paper, was promoted to publisher effective immediately.

``A few minutes ago I met with the senior managers at our company and informed them that I have made a very difficult decision to leave the Beacon Journal,'' Moss wrote in an e-mail to the staff shortly after 2 p.m. ``An unsolicited business opportunity
has come my way that I simply could not turn down.''

Moss did not say where he is going or whether he is leaving Akron. Today is his last day at the newspaper.

Alton Brown, head of advertising, was named executive vice president and general manager, responsible for driving all advertising sales and marketing for the paper, Black Press said in a news release.

The new publisher appointment follows the naming on May 25 of newsroom veteran Bruce Winges as editor and vice president of the paper.

Winges, who has been at the Beacon Journal 25 years, succeeded Mizell Stewart III, who as managing editor had been the highest-ranking newsroom executive. Stewart was named editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press.

Mathewson, a lifelong Akron resident, oversaw all aspects of printing and packaging of the paper, plus was in charge of facilities, transportation and building management. She held previous positions in advertising, legal, printing, purchasing and overall operations.

``I am excited to come into this position and build off the great progress that we have made this year in positioning the company for long-term success,'' Mathewson said in a statement. ``Our focus will be to continue our emphasis on more local news as well as strong ties to the communities we serve.''

Moss came to the Beacon Journal from an executive position with Media General in Richmond, Va. He succeeded James N. Crutchfield who had become publisher in 2001.

David Black, owner of Black Press Ltd., said Moss, a former newspaper publisher, had a reputation for improving finances.

In Moss' 10-month tenure at the Beacon Journal, the paper has tried to stem declining revenues by cutting 134 jobs, going from 734 to 600 employees, including downsizing the newsroom by 25 percent. The company also began new initiatives to attract readers and smaller advertisers, while repackaging news coverage for the paper's five-county circulation area.

``There is no doubt that we are going through a transition period that has seen newspaper readership decline, newspaper revenues and profits fall,'' Moss said in an address May 17 before the Akron Roundtable.

Moss told the Roundtable audience that since he came to the paper, he believed the Beacon Journal was a better, more nimble company that is positioned to be successful for years.

[posted on Thursday afternoon]

Abe Zaidan's Portraits of Power

A new book by Abe Zaidan, former Akron Beacon Journal political columnist and Washington Post correspondent, was introduced at a book signing on Monday at the Martin University Center on the University of Akron campus.

The book, “Portraits of Power: Ohio and National Politics, 1964-2004,” was written in collaboration with John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

“Portraits of Power” draws on Zaidan's more than 3,000 news stories, columns and feature articles spanning more than 40 years, and Green's grasp of Ohio and national politics.

Its 90 essays reflect Zaidan's witty and vivid style in covering what is called the age of giants dominated by larger-than-life politicians such as the irrepressible Gov. James Rhodes and wrenching events such as the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University.

The foreward by former BJ Washington correspondent David Hess notes:

“Abe Zaidan has fished the waters of Ohio politics, from the swirling eddies of Cleveland and Cincinnati to the quiet backwaters of small communities along the great stream that gives the state its name. Hardly any of the state's biggest political fish have eluded his net or dodged the sting of his barbed gaff.

“Most of his trophies are suitably mounted in the collection of columns, news stories, and profiles contained in this anthology of his works, the life record not only of a skilled journalist but also of a social critic and commentator whose values infuse his writing.”

Blog readers will want to check a PDF file from the U of A Press which includes the foreward, an intro by Zaidan, a biography of the author, a table of contents and some excerpts.

The book provided current BJ polticial columnist Steve Hoffman with an easy column for today’s newpaper. Check the column. . [Beacon Journal, Thursday, June 7, 2007, pagA14, col. 1]

Portraits of Power: Ohio and National Politics, 1964-2004

256 pp., 6 X 9
Cloth 978-1-931968-45-4; $49.95
Paper 978-1-931968-46-1; $22.95

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Correction of the Year

Terry Pluto's book signing Friday at Barnes & Noble in Bath Township, announced in Sunday's Book Talk column, has been canceled because of a Cavs playoff game. It will be rescheduled.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Tuesday, June 5, 2007, page A2, col. 1 in the Clarifications & Correcetions column]

Monday, June 04, 2007

Update from Jim Ricci

Reading about a few top bylines leaving the LA Times prompted us to ask Jim Ricci for an update.
The journalists remaining at the Times found some consolation in the knowledge that the news staff will continue to be the second-largest in America (behind the New York Times), with bureaus around the nation and in 18 foreign countries. Here is Ricci's reply:

'm still laboring at The Times, writing feature stories for the Metro desk. I did not apply for the buyout the Tribune Corp. offered and was spared "involuntary separation." I'm 61 now and have been working in the newspaper vineyard since coming to the Beacon Journal in 1971.I believe I'm the oldest journalist among the hundreds at the Times covering the Los Angeles region and the state of California. Just hard to get rid of, I guess...

Preparing for McBane visit

Dick McBane will be in Akron on June 18 and would like to meet with any BJ types. The BJ Retirees Blog would like to hear from anyone who would like to meet on that date about 1 p.m. for lunch. We also need to decide where to have the lunch.

Please let us know if you are interested and suggest a location for the lunch.

Send email to or just add a comment to this post.

Dick needs to know our plans soon.

John and Paula on Alaska trip

[Click on the headline to view album of photos]

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Paula and I saw Metro bus-sized humpback whales cavorting off Juneau.

We took off from Skagway and flew in a bush pilot’s 4-seater Piper Cub a few hundred feet above moose on a glacier floor, and a thousand feet below the peaks of this frozen box canyon.

We saw Steller sea lions lazily piled on shore, a bear foraging near the water’s edge and bald eagles soaring overhead in Mystic Fjords off Ketchikan.

We saw glaciers calving – when a large chunk of the glacier breaks off into the sea – particularly in Glacier Bay National Park.

We saw spectacular rainbows splashed from sky to sea during our whale-watching trip from Juneau.

And waterfalls thrashing their way into Mystic Glacier’s waters.

Paula and I were fascinated by totem poles in Ketchikan created by the First People, Alaska’s Indians.

And we spent four days in the most polite and helpful city we’ve come across in our travels – Vancouver, British Columbia – during our May 8-19 Alaska cruise and Vancouver stayover.

The Piper Cub flight, despite some wiggling in the wind, was exhilarating. The bush pilot would spot moose or sea lions or nature scenery and fly by so that Paula could video from her side, then the pilot would make a U-turn and fly by again so that I could take photos from my side. For me, this was the highlight of the 7-day Alaska cruise and the 4-day stayover in Vancouver.

After we spotted the moose, which were resting on the floor of Mead Glacier, the pilot made another U-turn and flew over the moose. A male moose came out of a bushy area, gathered up his four female friends, and they went running across the glacier floor. I felt like I was living in a National Geographic documentary.

When we looked down from the Piper Cub, it looked like ponds and lakes dotted the glacier floor. But it wasn’t. It was glacier ice that had been compacted from up to 1,000 feet deep to 10 or 20 feet. It was so compressed that it trapped only the blue from nature’s colors, and wouldn’t let it escape. Awesome!

Paula and I saw humpback whales when Holland America cruise line’s MS Zaandam sailed from Ketchikan to Vancouver through the Inside Passage Straits. Mostly, we saw fins and the tail as the whales dived to scoop up enough water to half-fill the swimming pool at my previous Cuyahoga Falls home.

While Orcas chomp on about anything they can catch or subdue, humpback whales’ teeth look like vertical Venetian blinds (called baleen) that then let the water pour back out but keep the seafood in. Their throats can’t handle anything larger than a grapefruit, though.

The weather was a pleasant surprise. The temperatures were in the high 40s to low 60s but the rain, almost a given in May along Alaska’s Inside Passage, mostly stayed away except when we were on the MS Zaandam or inside an onshore accommodation. We had been told to expect rain every day. Didn’t happen. Thankfully.

We did the usual things aboard the MS Zaandam, but that paled to being immersed in the Alaskan scenery.

Our December-January trip to China – Beijing and Shanghai – was interesting, particularly for me, because it was not what I expected to see. Our Alaska cruise was spectacular, simply because Mother Nature out-did even my expectations.

We rode the public bus in Vancouver, as we usually do on our trips, because we think it gives us a better flavor of a place and its people than the touristy arrangements. We had six pieces of luggage and only four hands between us, so a gentleman asked, “May I help carry your luggage on board?” We assented, and he carried two pieces of our luggage onto the public bus, then got off and continued with his day. As passengers got off the bus, they said “Thank you!” to the driver.

Exact change in coins ($2.25) is required to board the bus. If someone came aboard and said they only had paper currency, the driver would tell them to get on anyway because “you can pay for this the next time you get on.” Imagine trusting Akron bus riders to do that!

All over Vancouver we ran into this politeness. Keep in mind that we found this courtesy in areas that were not accustomed to catering to tourists because of the money they bring in. This is just the way that the people of Vancouver behave. It’s their nature.

We walked for hours in Vancouver’s 1,000-acre Stanley Park, and enjoyed the beauty of hundreds of thousands of blooms, a half-million trees, a plethora of totem poles, a magnificent view of downtown Vancouver and a Lion’s Gate Bridge that connects the park to North Vancouver. But even Stanley Park is overshadowed by the beauty of Vancouver’s people.

The biggest surprise of our trip: Our return flight went from Vancouver to Dallas to Chicago to Cleveland and, when we went to the Hopkins Airport luggage carousel, ALL of our luggage was there!

Click on the headline to view an album of photos.