Thursday, January 31, 2008

Charlotte Observer to outsource some ad design

The Charlotte Observer said Wednesday it will cut 25 of 41 jobs in its ad design group as it sends the work abroad, joining other large companies using foreign outsourcing to trim costs.

The newspaper has been testing outsourcing options for the work since last summer and chose Affinity Express, an Illinois company with facilities in the Philippines and India.

Employees, who have known layoffs were coming, received official notice Wednesday. They can apply for the 16 remaining jobs as artists, designers and "traffic coordinators" working with their overseas counterparts to complete ads, said Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins. Some people also may take positions elsewhere at the paper, which has about 1,000 workers.

Caulkins called the job-cutting discussions "brutal."

"It's a hard conversation to have," she said.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Stella M. Hopkins in the Charlotte Observer.

Editor can order reporters to shoot photos

The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader may now require reporters to take photos, and may create five new salaried reporter jobs without overtime, under a Newspaper Guild contract approved late Tuesday, according to the union

Joe Strupp reported in Editor & Publisher that the five-year agreement, unanimously approved by union members, also includes new layoff procedures that require the paper to cover half of health benefits for 60 days following a layoff and give one month's notice before jobs are cut.

"While this is far from an ideal compromise, this is a compromise that we can live with," Lexington Newspaper Guild president Brandon Ortiz said in a statement. He said only about half of the union's members voted in the election. The union represents about 100 newsroom employees.

Ortiz said the requirement that reporters be willing to shoot photos was not opposed by the guild, but he said the union "came up with language to make sure they are not disciplined if they take a bad photo."

Publisher Timothy Kelly called the change "a natural progression."

The contract, which was forged after negotiations with a federal mediator on Jan. 19, is retroactive to January 1, 2007, and will expire December 31, 2011.

The major sticking points in negotiations, which had been ongoing for more than a year, were company proposals to reduce paid time-off and cut health insurance for part-time workers. Under the contract, part-time health insurance benefits will be protected until Jan. 1, 2010. After that date, the Herald-Leader may eliminate part-time health insurance with 90 days notice.

Paid time-off also will remain unchanged until Jan. 1, 2010. At that time, the Herald-Leader or the Guild may renegotiate the benefits. The company would have to reach agreement with the Guild or bargain to legal impasse to implement changes.

Click on the headline to read Stroup's article.

BJ Retirees blog helps kin find each other

I discovered another value to Harry's blog when Lionel Speranza of Cayuga Lake, NY (they spell and pronounce it differently than we do with Cuyahoga Falls), my late wife Monia's second cousin once removed, emailed me. We've never met. We didn't know about each other although Lionel lived near Beckley till 1950, when he was 10 years old and the family moved to Rochester, NY.

But Lionel, 68, in doing his genealogy research, came across Monia's obituary that I wrote in the Beacon Journal after her Feb. 4, 2004, death. When he figured out that Monia's maternal grandmother was a sibling of his paternal grandfather, Lionel wound up on the BJ Retirees blog. That's where he got my email address from the BJ Retirees email list, which Harry continually updates.

Lionel emailed me. I emailed back. We have connecting kin in our genealogy reports, and probably will be able to fill in each other's blanks. In part because the BJ Retirees blog is a valuable source of information, beyond just the posts.

Coincidentally, when Paula and I toured New York state last July, we had lunch at the Montage Restaurant, which has a great view of Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. And enjoyed Watkins Glen State Park, near Lionel's residence.

Thanks, Harry, for providing your lists.

JSK piled up doctorates

Another item from the July, 1969 issue of Tower Topics


Editor John S, Knight received two honorary doctor of laws degrees this year -- from tile University of Michigan and Oberlin College.

This makes six doctor of laws degrees he's received since 1945, when Akron U awarded the first. Others have come from Northwestern (1947), Kent State (1958) and Ohio State (1961).

In each instance, JSK was cited fur his achievements in journalism, which, if listed, would take up all the space allotted to Tower Topics.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What to do with the BJ: A story from 1969

A few posts below someone asked what changes we would like to see in the Beacon Journal operations. Here’s a report from volume 2, issue No. 4 of Tower Topics from July 1969. It’s a report which notes that the late Bill Schlemmer, then managing editor, was studying just that. Also in that issue is a lead article by Mickey Porter about plans for the BJ Jamboree at Myers Lake Park. Well there are no more Jamborees, no more Meyers Lake Park, no Beacon Magazine, no more afternoon newspapers. But here’s the story:

Managing Editor Bill Schlemmer has been TDY'd [ a 1960s expression for temporary duty] to the general manager's office for the next few months to research the feasibility of making changes in the Beacon Journal's current method of operation.

Among things Schlemmer is studying is the possibility of converting the Saturday paper to a morning publication like Sunday. Among considerations is how many subscribers are off on Saturday, like Sunday, and would an a. m. edition better serve the reader and advertiser· during a leisure period.

Another subject under study is our edition structure. We now have eight editions Seven star for Northern Summit County including Copley and Tallmadge; Six star for Barberton, Norton and Portage Lakes; Five star for Medina County; Four star for Stark and Wayne counties; Three star for Portage counties; Two star the Cuyahoga Falls area; One star for Akron and Night Final for late street sales.

SCHLEMMER IS trying to determine whether we can adequately cover this broad area under our present setup, taking into account reader acceptability, mechanics and logistics.

"The idea is that we have to stay abreast of our readers' desires and needs," said GM Sam McKeel, "and make sure we are able to continue to grow and expand in the areas we serve."

At this time it is not known whether there will be fewer or more editions. "We're just taking a good internal look and we hope to set up goals for the future," said Schlemmer. He is also taking an analytical look at Parade Magazine and its value . . . whether to discontinue it and beef up Beacon Magazine.

He also is looking at the advertising and circulation operations, particularly at the 30,000 readers who subscribe only on Sunday.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mac Tully leaves Kansas City Star

Mac Tully, publisher of the Kansas City Star since 2004, is leaving to take a job with Denver-based MediaNews Group, which owns and runs 57 daily newspapers in 12 states.

Mark Zieman, editor of The Star since 1997, was named interim publisher.

Bob Weil, vice president of operations for the Star’s owner, McClatchy Co., said the newspaper chain had started a search for a new publisher. Zieman is among those being considered, Weil said.

Tully, whose newspaper career began in the Star’s advertising department in 1978, became publisher of the newspaper Jan. 1, 2005. Before that he was a top executive with Knight Ridder Inc., then the owner of the Star.

Before that, he served for three and a half years as president and publisher of the Bradenton Herald in Florida. He was publisher of the Arlington Star-Telegram in Texas, an edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, before moving to Florida.

Tully announced his impending departure at a gathering of Star employees shortly after 11 this morning. He praised McClatchy as one of the best newspaper companies in the country. Tully said he was leaving because MediaNews had offered him an opportunity “too difficult to say no to.”

Helen Louise Cullison as moderator in 1962

There could not be another Helen Louise Cullison. That had to be retired copy editor Art Cullisojn’s wife in the five-column photo in today’s Beacon Journal illustrating a story by Mark Price in his regular series called This Place, This Time Local History.

Helen Louise looked absolutely grand in the center of the photo as 4th ward moderator of Akron’s First Neighborhood Forum on January 31, 1962. She was a past president of the League of Women Voters.

WAKR-TV aired the live TV program called Neighborhood Forum. Once a month a moderator led a panel discussion on a key topic before a studio audience from Ward 4. Public meetings were held simultaneoulsy in the city’s other nine wards for residents to view and disuss the telecast on Channel 49. M. O’Neil Co. And Rimer Schoool PTA provided portable TV sets with rabbit ears.

Others on the panel were Levi L. Smith, director of the Institute for Civic Education at the University of Akron; Mayor Edward O. Erickson, Panul Belcher, chairman of the mayor’s financial task force and Neal Heintz, city finance director.

The photo here, scanned from newsprint, does not compare with the amazingly good photo which appeared on the front of D1.

Blogger Note: I could not believe that I could not recall this moment in history until I realized it took place just three years before I started working at the Beacon Journal in 1965.

Here is contact information for Cullison
Ardent L. Cullison
3000 Riggs Ave.
Erlanger, KY 41018
Tel: 859-342-4018

Click on the headline to read the full story done as usual in Mark Price’s excellent craftsmanship style.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Here are Tower Topics issues on hand

There is enough copy to last forever and I am still trying to get organized so we don't get any repeats of pieces already used. . There are 25 issues of Tower Topics alone and many more of the successor Sidebar. Does anyone have an earlier Tower Topics issue or one not listed here? A list of Sidebar dates will be posted later.

Here's what we have:

Tower Topics

July 1969 Porter on Jamboree at Meyers Lake (duplicate copy) red headlines
Mar 1970 BJ is 15th in news in U.S. Sidewalk pipes renewed
May 1970 Rube Falloon bowling ball head
April/May 1971 (Photo of old news guys used) Horner Freedom award VonRhein used.
May/June 1971 Ed Lattimer retiring.
Dec 1972 Seasons Greetng.
Feb 1973 Kezziah photos used.
Nov/Dec 1974 City/State Desk merger, Coliseum photo used
Jan/Feb 1978 Murray Powers on Bill Murty; John Kidder tribute
Apr/May 1978 BJ wins typo title by Maxine Revay; zoned editions
Jan/Fe b 1977 Crazy photos used
Jan/Feb 1980 New employes: Dale Allen; Line boss Kathy Fraze; Jacksons feature, Earlicia Dickinson.
May/Jun 1980 Dave Pagnard, grads
Sep/Oct 1980 Transportation.
Mar/April 1981 Management Coffee Breaks.
Jul/Aiug 1981 Walt Neal hats (duplicate)
Sep/Oct 1981 Ken Nichols issue
Jan Feb 1982 Boerner, Grna, Walls, Pell (Haferd, Kirkesy, Capretta, Osmar
Mar/Apr 1982 New employees Jodon, Beeds, Marchione, Vantassel.
May/Jun 1982 BJ becomes historic site used. Murray Powers death noted.
Ju/Aug 1982 BJ intern on business side.
Christmas 1982 (undated)
May/Jun 1983 Pollu Paffilas JSK award (duplicate)
Undated 1983 probably.

Happy Birthday to Howard Wood

Blogger Note: When we try to sort through old employee magazines for a photo or information on a retiree it is often a difficult chore. When we posted a story this morning about Howard Wood marking his 87th birthday we did not even try to locate anything and just listed him as a a retired maintenance department employee. He was much more than that, we learned, when we were just sorting through old publications and came upon his retirement story in an old Tower Topics. This photo, much clearer than the reproduction in today’s Beacon Journal, was printed with the story. The issue is undated but it must have been a 1983 issue. The headline said “Goodbye Howard.” We hope, if he happens to see this, that it will be sort of a birthday gift.

Here’s the article:

Goodbye Howard

February 28th is a milestone in the life of Howard Wood. After more than 36 years of electrical experience, Howard hangs up the tools of his trade and joins the millions of senior citizens in the gOlden years of retirement.

Born in Goodyear Hts. in 1921, much of his youth was spent in Arizona and Texas. Howard's father was a test car driver for Goodyear which necessitated a somewhat nomadic life. In 1940, Howard graduated from Green Township High and in 1942 he enlisted in the Navy. His tour of duty included five major battles in the Asiatic and Pacific areas and he was a member of the Philippine liberation forces.

Discharged in 1945, he enrolled in the first veterans training program of electricians in the Akron area. After completing the course he accepted a position with Loomis Electric Company and was the company"s oldest employee in terms of tenure. In the early 1950's, Howard started working at the newly constructed addition of the Beacon Journal and in 1964 was farmed out to the Beacon Journal on a regular weekly basis.

Today, in nooks and crannies, corridors and conference rooms, from the computer banks to the pressroom, traces of Howard's work can be found. Working out of the maintenance department, trouble shooting, repairing and installing new electrical circuits, he became somewhat of a permanent fixture.
Management, as well as employees at Loomis Electric and the Beacon Journal have one phrase to describe Howard, "He's a real nice guy." Howard is a gentle man, slow to anger, quiet (in a mouse like manner) and proficient. Always working on some project. Willing to assist if you have a problem. A saint, you say? No, Howard is a practical joker. He won't admit it, he won't deny it. Shrugging his shoulders, he will walk away, leaving one with the feeling that he is too nice a guy to play pranks. He loves it that way and snickers to himself as he fades into surroundinCl scenery.
As retirees, Howard and his wife, Pauline, plan to garden, travel and babysit. Gardening will be a seasonal project. Travel will play a major role in their future. Howard likes to drive the back roads and enjoy the scenery of rural living, that one can't see on an interstate route.

Gardening and travel may take a back seat to babysitting. Howard and Pauline have three children. A son, Tom of Chardon, the father of a boy and girl. A daughter, Linda of Cuyahoga Falls and the mother of three sons. Barbara of Copley, the mother of a boy and girl. In his role as a babysitter, Howard plans to pamper and spoil his grandchildren. When they become restless, cranky or sleepy, he will take them home to their parents.

Will Rogers once stated" I never met a man I didn't like." Of Howard Wood, one would be compelled to say, "There's a man you have to to like."

Howard Wood marks 87th birthday

Thee was a birthday greeting for Howard Wood on page E7 of the premier section of the Beacon Journal on Sunday. Wood worked in the maintenance department. Here is the notice:

Howard Wood will have his 87th birthday on January 27, 2008. He is retired from Loomis Electric and the Akron Beacon Journal.

He cherishes the memory of his wife, Pauline Wood who passed in 2004. He is a resident at Rockynol Towers.

His children are Tom and Lin Wood of Chardon, Ohio, Linda Beckwith of Fairlawn and Barb Wilmoth of Norton. He has seven grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

He also mourns the loss of his son-in-law, Christian Wilmoth in 2004.

We love you Dad and wish you

Note: There was a line of type missing at the end and and photo was too poor to reproduce here.

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, January 27, 2008, pacge E7, col. 6]

Friday, January 25, 2008

A letter from Beth Thomas Hertz

The following letter by former Beacon Journal staffer Beth Thomas Hertz appeared in Voice of the People on page A8 of Friday’s Beacon Journal. Beth and spouse, David, are both former BJ employees.

Women's advances are
no defense of abortion

As I read the Jan. 17 commentary by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Christine Link ("Roe v. Wade: Thirty-five years on.”) a quote by Mother Teresa entered my mind: ''It·js a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you live as you wish.”

I have heard many justifications for abortion, but the concept of killing unborn children to advance women's socioeconomic status equal to that of men is among the most heartless.

Link stated that access to abortion and contraception is the primary reason women are now seen in greater numbers than ever in classrooms, boardrooms and legislatures.

While I agree that contraception has done a great deal to empower women, abortion is an entirely different matter. Being able to flush a life away purely because you really want that next promotion is the ultimate in narcissism.

Furthermore, if equality between genders is truly the issue when considering abortion, where is a man's right to avoid the lifelong economic impact of an unplanned pregnancy? Eighteen years of court-ordered child support payments await many of them.

Instead of seeing abortion as a means to help women be equal in the modern work force, a far more humane, compassionate strategy would be to advocate for better maternity leave, more part-time and flexible-hour jobs. that include benefits, and better access to affordable child care.

Beth Thomas Hertz
Copley Township

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How about some info ethics?

How about a little “info ethics” in addition to “bio ehtics” and all the others.?

That was basically the message of
Pope Benedict XVI on the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.

"In view of their meteoric technological evolution, the media have acquired extraordinary potential, while raising new and hitherto unimaginable questions and problems," the Pope writes. Commenting on the increasing power of the mass media, he notes that the communications revolution has helped to increase world literacy, speed the flow of information, and sometimes strengthen democracy and international understanding.

However, the media can also be exploited, the Pope warned, in the interest of "subjecting humanity to agendas dictated by the dominant interests of the day." That danger is heightened, he said, "when communication is used for ideological purposes or for the aggressive advertising of consumer products."

Equally dangerous, the Pontiff continues, is the use of the media to "legitimize or impose distorted models of personal, family or social life." He added that the means of social communication can be corrupted by users who are prone to "vulgarity and violence, and to overstep the mark."

The distortions that occur through the means of modern communications technology, the Pope continued, are particularly dangerous because the media "claim not simply to represent reality, but to determine it."

In light of this extraordinary power and influence, the Pope suggested the development of a new field of special moral analysis, covering the proper use of modern information technology. He observed: "Many people now think there is a need, in this sphere, for 'info-ethics,' just as we have bioethics in the field of medicine and in scientific research linked to life."

Today is fhe feast day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), patron of the Catholic Press, who was known as the “Gentleman Saint.” He wrote the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God)

Sun-Times staffers get pink phone

Chicago Sun-Times newsroom staff members were being notified of layoffs by phone Wednesday night, part of parent Sun-Times Media Group's effort to cut $50 million in operating costs in a bid to return to profitability.

Sun-Times Media, which owns the Sun-Times and dozens of area publications, is making reductions at all its area publications and in all its departments, including advertising.

Layoffs began earlier this month in the editorial department of the Sun-Times with the exit of seven non-union reporters and editors and at least eight union reporters, editors and other staff age 55 and older accepting buyouts.

Click on the headline to read the story by Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune media columnist

Don't shoot the messengers

Don’t shoot the messengers, says Alan D. Mutter, writer of a blog called Reflections of a Newsosaur.

Chris Harte [a former BJ publisher] and Brian Tierney aren’t enemies of newspapers., Nutter writes. “They are just messengers reporting the danger the industry will face if it doesn’t adjust its e
conomics to the new realities of the marketplace.

"Sniping at them won’t change the message. So, hold your fire and listen closely to what they have to say:

"Newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer and Minneapolis Star Tribune are getting dangerously close to defaulting on their debt – a development that would require far more draconian layoffs and expense reductions than anyone has imagined to date.

"Worst case, and no one is saying the worst case is upon us, some newspapers could go out of business. Then, where would be?

"In the interests of saving as many jobs and as much quality journalism as possible, it’s time for journalists – and their colleagues in the sales, production, circulation and other departments – to stop whining about the glories of yesteryear and start thinking of creative ways to make or save more money.

"The deteriorating economics of the industry were underscored for the third day in a row this week when publisher Brian Tierney told union representatives of the two Philadelphia dailies that their company will face “a dire situation” by summer if it he cannot cut operating costs by 10%, according to a Newspaper Guild press release.

"The Philadelphia meeting was reported the day after Chris Harte, the publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, issued a strikingly similar warning to his staff.

"Two days earlier, editor Jim O’Shea departed the Los Angeles Times after excoriating the evidently modest reductions in the $120 million newsroom budget that had been requested by his publisher, David Hiller.

"The Strib’s operating profits fell by 50% in one year’s time to approximately $41 million in 2007. As recently as 2002, profits would have been more than triple that amount, according to knowledgeable sources, who asked not to be identified.

"Chris declined to comment on these calculations, saying the newspaper does not publicly discuss its finances.

"Based on what I estimate to be the structure of the financing that enabled the Strib to be bought from McClatchy in late 2006, I would put the annual interest on the debt at about $33 million.

"If I am right, this would have left the Strib a scant $8 million last year to cover the costs of everything from website initiatives and new video cameras to replacement vehicles and updated pressroom equipment.

"While the interest costs would remain essentially the same in 2008, weaker sales or higher costs could quickly erode the $8 million cushion. If the company could not fully pay its interest payments, it would default on its loans and the bankers would step in to restructure the business as rapidly and pitilessly as possible.

"In the worst case, Chris and his partners at Avista could lose some or all of the $125 million that I estimate they invested in the newspaper.

"Like Chris and Avista, Brian Tierney (plus his investors) and Tribune’s Sam Zell have put hundreds of millions of their own dollars at risk to try to save a few newspapers at the most perilous time in the history of the industry.

"Who among us would have been willing to do that?"

Click on the headline to go to Nutter’s blog..

Note: Alan D. Mutter began his career as a newspaper columnist and editor in Chicago, starting at the Chicago Daily News and later rising to City Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1984, he became the No. 2 editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He left the newspaper business in 1988 to join InterMedia Partners, a start-up company that within five years became one of the 12 largest cable-TV companies in the U.S.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tierney to Unions: “We Must Cut Costs by 10 Percent”

Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News chief Brian Tierney held a meeting this morning with representatives of all the unions at which publisher Brian Tierney described a grim financial picture for Philadelphia Newspapers. Citing the struggling economy and PN problems meeting debt requirements, Tierney predicted “a dire situation” by summer or fall if the company cannot find ways to cut costs by 10 percent.

Company executives intend to meet one-on-one with each union to discuss ways in which savings might be achieved.

They did not say what would happen if savings targets are not met, but made references to outsourcing jobs overseas. Tierney said he is determined to not lose investors’ money.

The Guild’s representatives at the one-hour session were PN Unit Chair Diane Mastrull and Local Representative Bill Ross.

Sadly, Tierney was especially harsh about our advertising sales staff, saying its union affiliation hampers him from getting the results the company needs. He threatened job cuts if the Guild prevails in arbitrations over what it contends were unjust firings of five advertising reps. In essence, the company is asking the Guild to violate the law by refusing to represent its members. Quite simply, the Guild will not oblige.

The Guild news release said, “We will, however, as we have been doing, work with the company to attempt to find ways the Inquirer, Daily News and can thrive and be a leader in an industry that needs creativity—not finger-pointing—to guide it through these difficult times.

“We urge all members with any ideas for building revenue or cutting expenses to communicate them to Guild officers or to We will then prepare a comprehensive response to the company’s request for help.

Click on the headline to read the full story at

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My back-door pension cut for 2007

My prescription costs for 2007 under the Aetna Medicare Part D foisted upon us by the Canadian Beacon guy:


My prescription costs for 2006 under the United Health Care plan when Knight-Ridder owned the Beacon:


The back-door pension cut, which is what the prescription coverage changes amount to since we have to pay the extra costs out of our BJ pension that pales when compared with our Social Security checks:


And that's for 11 months of Aetna coverage. In 2008, you can add more than 8% to our back-door pension cuts. And I'm taking the same drugs that I did in 2006.

Fortunately, so far, the Canadian is paying our Part D prescription premiums. THAT would be the other shoe that might drop. Which would add at least another $800 to the back-door pension cut.

I know there are those out there paying more, mostly former BJ management types and/or people who took buyouts or those who retired after 1996, when I did. But those who retired by the time I did had a Guild contract and retirement-day letters that said that this wouldn't happen. So much for keeping your word.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coming Together is falling apart

It had to happen on Martin Luther King Day. Coming Together is falling apart.

See our comment in "Short Takes" on the web site.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

L.A. Times editor fired

Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea has been fired just 14 months after assuming the post, over a budgetary dispute with publisher David Hiller. "The dispute arose from Hiller's desire to cut the newsroom's expense budget during the heated presidential campaign, a time when such expenses usually spike," writes Richard Perez-Pena in the New York Times. O'Shea was Chicago Tribune managing editor before joining the Times in November 2006 as executive vice president and editor. Hiller was named publisher a month earlier. He had held the same position at the Chicago paper. The Wall Street Journal was first to report O'Shea's dismissal.

The removal of the editor, James E. O’Shea, by the publisher, David D. Hiller, mirrors the odd spectacle of a little more than a year ago, when the previous publisher, Jeffrey M. Johnson, was fired for refusing to eliminate newsroom jobs as directed by the paper’s owner, the T
ribune Company. In each case, a longtime Tribune executive was expected to rein in costs at the paper, but instead sided with the newsroom and lost his job for it.

The removal of the editor, James E. O’Shea, by the publisher, David D. Hiller, mirrors the odd spectacle of a little more than a year ago, when the previous publisher, Jeffrey M. Johnson, was fired for refusing to eliminate newsroom jobs as directed by the paper’s owner, the Tribune Company. In each case, a longtime Tribune executive was expected to rein in costs at the paper, but instead sided with the newsroom and lost his job for it.

Click on the headline to read the New York Times piece by Richard Perez-Pena

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tire Town Chapter to honor Maxine Revay

Tire Town Chapter, International Association of Administrative Professionals® (IAAP) will salute member, Maxine Revay, as the 2008 Outstanding Chapter Member at the Tuesday, January 22, meeting.

Maxine Revay was a charter member of Tire Town Chapter, National Secretaries Association (NSA) when it formed on August 27, 1946. She was chosen for this honor in recognition of her long-standing membership and mentoring of her peers over the la
st 61 years.

Maxine served as Chapter President in 1972 and has participate
d on numerous committees. Always a poised and excellent speaker, Maxine is an ambassador of her profession inspiring others to do their best and serving as a role model for executive assistants.

Maxine Revay was a former executive assistant at the Akron Beacon Journal for 22 years retiring in December
1987. Former Publisher, John McMillion was quoted via email saying, “Maxine and I met in the spring of 1986… Maxine accepted this change with grace, understanding and humor. She and I quickly developed a good working relationship and she was invaluable to me in that time of transition. Like Lou Grant once told Mary Tyler Moore, "You got spunk". And Maxine had spunk…”

The chapter will present a plaque commemorating this event and present Maxine with its symbol, a red rose, in honor of this achievement.

Blogger Note: Maxine has been at Pebble Creek assisted living facility at 670 Jarvis Road off Interstate 77 south of Akron since falling in her home November 2. She had no broken bones, but bruises have made it impossible to become fully mobile since then, she said in a phone conversation today. The two photos are from Beacon Journal files.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

PD takes look at who needs cell phones

Plain Dealer staffers got a memo from editor Susan Goldberg on Wednesday saying that the PD is spending too much on cell phones for staffers who do not need or use them. Management is going to make a case-by-case study to see who really needs them. Staffers will still get reimbused for necessary calls they make.

Click on the headline to see a copy of the memo sent to Jim Romensko at Poynter Online.

Edward Harm dies at 69

BARBERTON Edward William Harm, 69, of Barberton was received into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Tu
esday, January 15, 2008.

[Harm, we are told, worked in the composing room as a proofreader in 1970-1983]

Edward was born in Phil-adelphia, Pa., on October 3, 1938, to the late Mary and Harry Harm. He ret
ired as Lieutenant from the Parma Fire Department after 38 years of service. He was a graduate of Barberton High School in 1956 and served his

country proudly in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1959.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his in-laws, Helen and John Brasko Sr.; brother, Harry Harm of Bardstown, Ky. Edward will be deeply missed by his loving wife of 48 years, Carol; daughters, Juliana Johnson, Cynthia and Jennifer Harm of Barberton, Laura (Gary) Steele of Scottsdale, Ariz.; son, Edward Harm of Miami, Florida; brother, Eugene (Doris) Harm of Wilmington, N.C.; sister, Joanne Harm of Akron, Ohio; grandchildren, Jacob, Noah, Natalie and Dane and many loving family members.

Prayers will be Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Campfield-Hickman-Collier Funeral Home, 566 W. Park Avenue, Barberton 44203 with Mass of the Christian burial at 10 a.m. at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, 193 15th St. N.W., Barberton 44203, Fr. Edward Lajack, celebrant. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery with military honors conducted by Firestone V.F.W. #3383. Family and friends may call on Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family.

(Campfield-Hickman-Collier, 330-745-3161.)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Thursday, January 17, 2008, page B6, col. 6 ]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cheery news from overseas

Sometimes you have to go overseas to get any good news. It may be good news or not, but the Manchester Guardian website suggests:

Cheap US newspaper stocks may reward the patient

The article says in part:

U.S. newspapers promise misery for investors this year as advertising sales erode and a possible recession looms, but steady cashflow and cheap shares may reward shareholders who grit their teeth and ride it out.

The perception on and off Wall Street is that the newspaper business is in big trouble as readers flee to the Internet, and things will only get worse this year as the real estate and financial industries slash spending on ads.

While these trends are real, some investors are holding -- and even increasing -- their stakes in newspaper publishers, attracted by low valuations after stock prices have fallen by as much as 70 percent over the past 12 months.

Thomas Russo, partner at Gardner, Russo & Gardner, keeps a small position in McClatchy Co, The Washington Post and EW Scripps Co, saying shares are reasonably priced and opportunities abound for newspapers to cut costs.

McClatchy has "substantial flexibility left to reduce operating spending," Russo said, pointing to shaving the width off newspapers, cutting staff from the 2006 purchase of Knight Ridder Inc, and relying on more user-generated content -- writing, audio and video that they do not have to pay for.

Another investor, Private Management Group, raised its stake in Journal Register Co to more than 9 percent from 6 percent, according to a filing with U.S. securities regulators this week.

"We look at these stocks and say, if we didn't own them, we would buy them here, and that is because we think they are just ridiculously cheap," said another investor, who declined to be identified. "If you have something that's trading at six times its cashflow, you can get your money back real fast."

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Retired retail ad salesman Mike Wheeler dies

Donald Michael Wheeler

Michael Wheeler, 75, of Akron, died January 10, 2008 at Hospice Care Center.

He attended Kansas State Teacher College and later spent four years in the United States Air Force.
Mike retired after 33 years from the Akron Beacon Journal. (He was a retail advertising salesman)

in death by his brother, Robert Wheeler and sisters-in-law, Eunice Lancaster and Fran McGuire, he is survived by his wife, Mary Ann (Elwood) and their children, Mike Wheeler and Cathy (Mark) Stewart; grandchildren, Matthew and Amy Stewart; sisters, Peggy (David) Kane and Dorothy (Joseph) Sebrey; sisters and brother-in-law, Lucille (George) Mamas, Joanne (Ed) Beil and Robert Elwood; and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Mass will be held on Monday, January 14, 2008 at 11 a.m. at St. Sebastian Church. Private in
terment of ashes. Memorials may be made to St. Sebastian Elementery School, 476 Mull Ave., Akron, OH 44320 or Hospice of VNS, 3358 Ridgewood Rd., Akron, OH 44333.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Monday, January 14, 2008, page B5, col. 6]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

GM named for Suburbanite in Green

Dan Mucci has been named general manager of the Suburbanite newspaper at Green by GateHouse Media Inc.

Mucci, a 1987 graduate of GlenOak High at Canton and 1991 graduate of Mount Union College, began his newspaper career as a journalist with the former Canton Free Press.

For the last 11 years, Mucci has served as district marketing manager at the Repository at Canton.

Dan and his wife, Tera, live with their two children, Serena, and Joshua (J.J.), in Plain Township of Stark County.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Study shows Ohio population getting older at faster rate

COLUMBUS, O. (AP) – A new study shows Ohio'spopulation is quickly getting older.

The Ohio Public Expenditure Council says the number of people turning 65 will increase from 14 people a day now to 119 by 2012.

Demographers with the research group say the trend is going to strain the state's economy, property tax base, and health care and retirement systems.

Council President Rick Yocum says that's a disaster for state and local budgets, with no obvious solution.

The study predicts that during the next decade, retirees will outnumber those entering the work force by 750,000. And by 2030, the state's median age is expected to rise from 36 to 40.

WSJ now offers free access to all editorial page offerings

Most Wall Street Journal editorial page offerings had been behind a paid subscription wall at, while offered a few free pieces. Those two sites have merged to become a single free site.

Since 2000, we've operated in a dual world on the Web. The majority of our daily editorial offerings have remained behind a paid subscription wall at, while our free site,, offered select stories plus a few Web-only features. As of today, those two sites will merge and become a single free site for all Journal opinion, both in the U.S. and overseas editions, book reviews and leisure and arts.

Readers will be able to access the site either through or, and they will see the same page. OJ readers won't have to change their bookmarks, and they'll have access for the first time to every editorial, daily columnist and clips from our weekly TV show on Fox, the Journal Editorial Report. Meanwhile, those who come to the site via will for the first time be able to see James Taranto's irreverent Best of the Web Today column, John Fund's dispatches from the campaign trail, among other features.

Click on the headline to see the WSJ announcement.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Memorable Story: A stubborn old barn

The blog occasionally posts Memorable Stories from either the past or the present.

This one is about this old dairy barn which stood on its stone foundation for more than 120 years and refused to surrender quietly when workmen started bringing it down.

This memorable story from the Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, OH, even includes a video showing the final collapse of the old structure–but not its final end..

The old dairy barn, believed to have been built in the 1870s, will get a new life in supporting and decorating houses in Colorado, Utah and England. Its frame and siding were constructed from virgin old growth hickory, poplar, beech, maple and oak w
oods, which J&J Barnboard’s Joseph Smyth, who specializes in lumber acquisitions, said are desirable in the wood market.

Smyth said the density of virgin old growth wood is tighter than wood harvested today, and he expected to save 10,000 to 12,000 board-feet from the barn

Even the rotten wood that made the barn unsafe still has a future.

“The rest, the lumber that’s garbage, will be placed into piles for the owner to take care of,” Smyth said. . “The owner’s got a woodburner. He’ll wind up using quite a bit of it.”

Click on the headline to read the ful story by Julie Watts, the Times-Reporter web editor.
There’s also a video on the website.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fewer Americans believe media reporting

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—A Sacred Heart University Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll, just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4% in 2003. Just under one-quarter, 23.9%, in 2007 said they believe little or none of reporting while 55.3% suggested they believe some media news reporting.

Because of interest, we are providing a link to the full article. Click on the headline.

8 make it to Papa Joe's for January gathering

There were 8 at the monthly gathering of BJ retirees at Papa Joe's today.

From Composing were Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan, Cal Deshong, Carl Nelson.

From Engraving was Pat Daugherty.

From the Newsroom were Tom Moore, Tim Hayes and John Olesky.

For those who would like to join this happy group, we assemble at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month at Papa Joe's Restaurant in the Valley (Portage Trail at Akron-Peninsula Road). Laughter commences within minutes.

Click on headline for Tom Moore's photos.

Monday, January 07, 2008

They don't deliver this way much anymore

Our upload file gets crowded with all the stuff we plan to post and it's necessary to clean up--especially at the start of a new year. Cannot remember where this photo came from, but it certainly was from an old BJ employee publication like Tower Topics. Anyway, as the headline indicates, you probably won't see this sort of newspaper delivery today. Ours arrives magically very early each morning and the only sign in wintertime are footprints in the snow. Perhaps we are just lucky, but ours seems to arrive on time each morning within a step or two of the front door.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A question for our viewers

One of our non-BJ type viewers asks us to pose this question:

What wiould you like to see the Beacon improve in 2008?

Leave your comments on this post.

Ghost of JSK demands accuracy

Here's an anecdote sent to the blog by Philip Meyer, the Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Meyer was the Washington correspondent of the Beacon Journal 1962-1966. He is the author of Precision Journalism, the seminal 1973 book (and subsequent editions) that encouraged journalists to incorporate social science methods in the pursuit of better journalism.

Meyer writes:

In 1989, David Arant (now of Memphis State University) and I published an analysis of the copy editing accuracy of 58 newspapers. Electronic archives were a novelty then, and we figured you could evaluate the copy desk by searching for common misspellings, e.g. judgement for judgment and miniscule for minuscule. The Akron Beacon Journal was the best edited of the 58 by a full standard deviation -- a remarkable achievement.

I called Dale Allen to congratulate him and to learn his secret for avoiding bad spelling. "That's the residue of Jack Knight spending six months of the year here," he said. "He hated stuff like that." Knight had been dead for eight years, but the culture he left behind had persisted. His ghost was still watching over the newsroom.

In the period 1995-2003, my students and I ran another series of tests among 20 newspapers that I was studying for a project that eventually became "The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age" (University of Missouri Press, 2004). The Beacon's spelling accuracy had fallen to 9th place. By then, of course, Knight Ridder was under different management. As Kurt Vonnegut liked to say, so it goes.

Phil Meyer
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Beacon Journal hires marketing director

Christine Sabo, who has spent most of her career in markeing communications with the Newspaper Asspociaton of America, has been hred as marketing and community relations director for the Beacon Journal.

Sabo replaces Rita Kelly Madick, who left the Beacon Journal in November.

Sabo was raised in Norton and graduated from Norton High School and the University of Akron. After college, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a reporter for a few years at a weekly newspaper before joining the NAA.

Sabo moved back to the Akron area 10 years ago but continued to work for the NAA, eventually on a contract basis through her business, Partners Institute Inc.

The 43-year-old said she moved back to Akron because it was home, her family was here and because of ''the exceptional community we have here.''

Sabo lives in Bath Township with her husband, Edward Sunkin, also an Akron native. They are finalizing the adoption of their 1-year-old son, Joseph

Click on the headline to see the full story by Betty Lin-Fisher which appeared on the Business section front today.

Rx note from Bob Abbott

I hope the holidays were good to everybody. I found them horribly busy but OK.

Here's the clarification I promised a couple weeks back.

On the advice of the counsel our slush fund hired we did not enter into any class action type of process. The reason being that, in his opinion, Summit County judges usually don't look favorably on class action suits. And, of course, that's the county we would have to work with. He also thought that the best area would be investigating the action the BJ initiated to those retirees over 65 and on Medicare. In short, we were literally "forced" to sign up for Medicare part D (prescription). This is in essence an "Advantage" program administered by Aetna. That means that Medicare pays Aetna to (in this case) take care of the BJ's obligation of our prescription card. Those monies come from our continuing payments to Medicare.

We did discuss those under 65 who were having problems with their prescription cards. He said that since that was entirely in the BJ's court that it should be up to the union lawyers to straighten it out and that probably would be difficult at best. As we know, there was no action from any of the different unions' lawyers. My understanding is that the company has a lot of latitude in administering that under the different union contracts.

So, what happened was an investigation and correspondence as to the BJ's stance on forcing those on Medicare into the Aetna Advantage prescription program. Their stance (and they did respond quickly) was that they were interpreting this in accordance to the contract in effect at the
time of each retirees separation/retirement from the BJ. This, as I understand, is pretty much the standard approach throughout the country. The part I didn't...and still don't...understand is that with our signed (by the company's representative in the human resources department) a separation or retirement agreement spelling out what we were to receive doesn't take precedence over the union contract. I even suggested that the company was misleading at best and fraudulent at worst but counsel said no.

It was evident that the company was going to be rather hard in their position and weren't likely to adjust or change their stance. So, at this point there still hasn't been any actual "legal" action but many areas were explored and a new situation arose that is still being investigated. This will probably take a few more weeks to find out if there is anything there.

We still have some monies left and I'm doing most of the legwork and contacts to save some on his fees. It's not as hard as you might be thinking as I would have had to do half of it anyway in my efforts to resolve the new "situation". I'll try to inform all of you as soon as the dust settles and we can determine where we're at.

It is a frustrating and very slow process as Medicare and medical providers are involved. And to get the same answer from two different parties even in the same department or company is almost impossible. But we have to try.

Those under 65 be aware of the train coming down the tracks. When you get "forced" to sign up for the part D Medicare program it can (and usually does) affect all your coverages even in the Medicare part A and B. It can get ugly.

Ultimately, it might require us to get another person's name on the dotted line once they are affected by the upcoming situation. Legal action can't be started until the person is directly affected. And from some of the stories I have heard...I think some of you have a strong
position to start from. I can't use it because I wasn't directly involved. Then it becomes heresy and doesn't stand up in court.

I want everybody to understand that the only angle we have investigated involves those who were forced to sign up with Aetna part D coverage. The idea there was that if we could breach the dam would favorably affect all parties. But, even if that were to happen those under 65 probably wouldn't get any relief until they reached 65 and were then in the same boat. In other words, there is two different situations which would require two different solutions.

If there are any me. I will try to explain further what we have and haven't accomplished and some alternatives that some of you might be able to take but I want everybody to know what our main focus has been to this point.

thanks for your patience

bob abbott

Friday, January 04, 2008

Chicago Sun Times to cut 35

Chicago Sun-Times executives told the union representing reporters, editors and columnists at the paper that it intends to eliminate 35 union positions in the newsroom. In addition, the newspaper plans to eliminate five non-union management positions, sources said.

The newspaper's plan was outlined in a letter Thursday from Sun-Times labor relations chief Ted Rilea to Chicago Newspaper Guild executive director Gerald Minkkinen.

"We knew it was going to be bad, but it's worse than people were expecting,'' said one reporter who spoke on background.

Chicago Newspaper Guild officials will meet with management at the paper over the next two weeks to negotiate in an effort to avoid as many "involuntary layoffs'' as possible, said Minkkinen, who added that he was out of the office and had not yet seen the letter.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Chicago Tribune reporter
Jim Kirk.

Market value of papers falls 42 per cent

The market value of the American newspaper publishers entering 2008 as independent, publicly traded companies has fallen by $23 billion, or 42%, since the end 2004, the year before the wheels started coming off the industry.

Nearly half the slide in the market capitalization of newspaper stocks came in 2007, when the shares lost a collective $11 billion, or 26%, of their value. Thus, newspapers lost nearly as much value last year as they did in the two prior years put together.

The vaporized value of newspaper shares in 2007 exceeded the combined $10 billion market caps of Gannett and McClatchy, the nation’s two largest publicly held publishers by circulation. And the $23 billion drop in shareholder value since yearend 2004 equals the current total value of all the common stock of Belo, Gannett, Lee Enterprises, Media General, McClatchy, the New York Times Co. and the Washington Post Co.

The biggest losers in the three-year period were Journal Register Co., whose shares fell 91% to close 2007 at a mere $68.9 million in value; Sun-Times Media Group, which slid 86% to a market cap of $176.7 million, and McClatchy, which fell 82% to a value of $1.03 billion.

Click on the headline to read the full story

8 trends to track in '08

The Newspaper Association of America magazine cover story is "8 Trends to Track in '08."

One trend is "leaner operations," and the story cites MediaNews' consolidated copy desks as an example. David Butler, the new Mercury News editor, says the system "allows you to operate more efficiently because you're editing common stories and pages once" and not at every paper in the chain. But he acknowledges that "if a copy editor doesn't know the local community, the potential to look stupid -- putting Broadway Avenue rather than Broadway Street -- is presumably higher."

Since April 2007, Dispatch Printing Co., which prints The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, has been outsourcing its ad production to Affinity Express (, a graphics services provider headquartered in Elgin, Ill., with production offices in Pune, India, and Manila, Philippines

“The reality for newspapers is to save costs as much as possible,” says Joe Gallo, Dispatch Printing’s vice president and chief information officer. For newspapers to continue offering clients free ad design, they must find cost effective ways to provide the service. One option is outsourcing, Gallo says.

In contrast, the San Jose Mercury News had a better experience when it outsourced ad production to Express KCS ( in July 2007. “We’re doing 100 percent of our ad production offshore,” says Mary Evans, director of advertising operations. The move also provided a way for several newspapers in the San Francisco Bay area—all members of the California Newspapers Partnership—to standardize ad production business operations.

Last August, MediaNews consolidated news operations for its cluster of 11 daily newspapers in northern California under the Bay Area News Group-East Bay. The group installed a new front-end system to link the newsrooms and allow staffs to work together on stories, and a common copy desk in Walnut Creek, Calif., will soon edit all content. Staff training began last month for the new system, which should be fully operational by the end of April, says Kevin Keane, executive editor of the group.

Click on the headline to read the NAA article.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good Iraq coverage inherited from Knight Ridder

Michael Massing who writes for the New York Review of Books notes that McClatchy Newspapers have always done things differently in Iraq. From the start, McClatchy's Baghdad bureau has made a special point of reporting on the lives of ordinary Iraqis and on the impact the war has had on them, he notes. About a year ago, McClatchy Newspapers set up a blog exclusively for contributions from its Iraqi staff. "Inside Iraq," it's called, and several times a week the Iraqi staff members post on it about their experiences and impressions. "It's an opportunity for Iraqis to talk directly to an American audience," says Leila Fadel, the current bureau chief. As such, the blog fills a major gap in the coverage.

Former BJ copy desk chief Larry Froelich doesn’t think any credit should go to McClatchy however. The Iraq reporting strategy evolved on the watch of the Kniight Ridder Washington Bureau which was the only major news service to break from the pack on WMD during the runup to war, warning that the administration's 'evidence' was thin and unsupported; “I ran the story on A1 way back when,” writes Froelich.. :”But at least McClatrchy isn't backing off. An in-house advisorysays a series is almost ready on those counterfeit N. Korean-made U.S. $100 bills that were supposed to be circulating a few years back to disrupt the world economy. Just like the WMD scam, the bogus bills report is turning out to have no merit. Another disinformation ploy, courtesy of our government.”

Tony Ridder unloads 30,000 more MNI shares

Former Knight Ridder chairman and CEO Tony Ridder sold another 30,000 shares of McClatchy stock late last November, and now has unloaded nearly 90 percent of the company’s stock he received from the 2006 sale of K R.

Ridder, who serves on the McClatchy Board of Directors, realized proceeds of $409,834 for the Nov. 23 and Nov. 30 stock sales, which ranged in price from $13.35 to $13.91 per share.

In February 2007, Ridder sold 75,576 shares of McClatchy at around $38 a share, pocketing almost $2.9 million.

Ridder now owns only 14,276 shares of McClatchy, or about 12 percent of the 118,652 shares he obtained upon the close of the K R sale on June 27, 2006.

McClatchy stock closed Wednesday at $12, down nearly 85 percent from its all-time high of $76.05 on March 22, 2005.

Click on the headline for Ridder's MNI stock transactions.

Letter to editor praises Bob Downing

Beacon Journal reporter Bob Downing was praised in this "Voice of the People" letter in the newspaper today:

The Beacon Journal’s Bob Downing is a national treasure. He survived the paper’s downsizing by increasing his writing. He’s there for us as he hires a plane to overlook Stark County’s fiery landfill.

If you happened to walk the Ohio & Erie Canal on a summer holiday, you couldn’t
blink, because that would be Downing whizzing by on his bike. That is, if he wouldn’t be out West hiking the trails he writes about.

Isn’t there a national media award for an outstanding environmental writer.

Joanna Dobbins

Scroll down a bit to read our nostalgic piece about Downing’s daugther, Caitlin, who praised him in a drawing contest way back in
1981. In a statement she submitted with the drawing reprinted in a Sidebar issue in July/August 1981 she wrote, "My dad’s a good reporter”

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Akron U's Zippy is No. 1 mascot

Zippy, the University of Akron kangaroo, was named the Capital One Mascot of the Year.

The announcement was nationally televised during halftime of the Capital One Bowl game Tuesday.

Zippy made page A1 in today’s Beacon Journal.

An outpouring of support from fans, friends and alumni carried the fuzzy marsupial over second-place finisher Goldy Gopher of the University of Minnesota.

UA Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said the school is grateful to the thousands of Zips fans who cast their votes in the online popularity contest.

''This award is testament to the strength and loyalty of our fan base and is something we can all share and be proud of,'' he said.
In addition to winning the title,

Zippy's victory secured a $10,000 scholarship fund from Capital One to support the UA mascot program.

According to UA's Web site, Zippy the kangaroo was declared the university's mascot on May 1, 1953, having been recommended by a committee and approved by the student council.
Click on the headline to read the full story by Paula Schleis

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Details on Jennifer Garner and her West Virginia connection

The Charleston Gazette-Mail, which selected Garner as West Virginian of the Year, is the combined Sunday paper of the morning Gazette and afternoon Mail (yes, there are still afternoon newspapers in America, although not many).

You can click on the headline on my post to read the Gazette-Mail story about Garner.

A few details:

Jennifer Garner was born in Houston.

Pat Garner, Jennifer’s mother, is from Oklahoma.

Her father, Bill, is a Texan. The Union Carbide engineer moved his family to West Virginia in 1976, when Jennifer was 3. I think that was the age that John S. Knight was when he moved from his birthplace, Bluefield, WV, heading toward an historic newspaper career and building the Akron Beacon-Journal into a respected chain of newspapers that Anthony Ridder later soiled and sold.

Back to Garner. Her parents still live in Charleston.

Jennifer is "pretty passionate about her love of West Virginia,” mom Pat Garner said. “She just considers it home.”

Susannah Carpenter, Jennifer’s younger sister and one of three Garner siblings, is an accountant who also lives in Charleston.

Jennifer attended Oakwood Elementary School in Charleston.

She performed with Charleston's Light Opera Guild and youth ballet. The athletic prowess from a childhood of dance helped win Garner the role of super-spy Sydney Bristow on the long-running TV series “Alias.”

She played a character from the fictional town of Sugarmaple, West Virginia. Sydney’s “Alias” call sign was “Mountaineer,” as in the nickname of West Virginia University's sports teams.

When she's in Charleston, Jennifer goes to the church of her youth, Christ Church United Methodist.

She was named Gazette-Daily Mail West Virginian of the Year because she praises West Virginia so often and so publicly.

It probably didn't hurt her chances that WVU football coach Rich Rodriguez, a WVU alumnus, former WVU player and West Virginia native, lost to Pitt in the final regular-season game, thus blowing a chance to play in the national championship game, then left for Michigan. Otherwise, Garner might have finished second.

The Bad/Good News to start the year

There’s good news and bad news in today’s Beacon Journal.

Getting the bad news out of the way for those of you who kept your stock in McClatchy Newspapers:.

The BJ year-end stock tables show stock dropped $30.78 during the year to a low of $12.52. That means it was worth $43.30 when the year began. Worse yet, we kow that it was once $76 a share.

Next the good news–especially for our home-grown West Virginia readers.

The ArtsEtc section on page A2 reported that Jennifer Garner was named star of the year by her hometown newspaper the Gazette-Mail. They used a mug shot of Jennifer at the top o
f the first column, but neither the cutline nor the item said where Jennifer’s hometown is located or where the Gazette-Mail is printed.

Our West Virginia readers know, of course, that it is the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail. For those of you who missed the December 30 issue on Jennifer, click on the go to the story headlined:

Jennifer Garner: our ambassador to Hollywood

Jennifer actually was born in Houston, TX, on April 11, 1972, But the family moved to WV in 1972.

The Globe-Mail also printed several photos of Jennifer including this one with her older sister, Melissa. If you want sexy photos, you will have to Google them.

“To me, most states are very similar,” Garner said in an e-mail interview. “There are very few that have their own personality, so of course I feel like every West Virginian has a little something special that makes them different.”

The Gazette-Mail also noted that Garner was on the cover of Glamour magazine as one of the magazine’s women of the year. (We ,missed that one)

So here’s part of what the Gazette-Mail printed:

“Garner is known as one of the hardest-working women in entertainment. Directors gave her two whole days off — Christmas Eve and Christmas day — from her Broadway smash “Cyrano de Bergerac,” where she stars alongside Kevin Kline. Garner has a critically acclaimed film, “Juno,” slated for major release after touring the festival circuit, and the actress is scheduled to start two new films, said publicist Nicole King.

“At the same time, Garner is juggling raising her 2-year-old daughter Violet and her marriage to actor Ben Affleck. She’s constantly learning the lines for one project while working on another, never forgetting her competing roles as mother, wife and celebrity.”