Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here's an update on David Adams

David B. Adams, a Beacon Journal reporter from 1986 until 1999, is now Assistant Director of Global Risk Advisory Services for Ernst and Young in Cleveland.

After leaving the Beacon Journal website ( as an Online Content Producer, Adams spent 2.5 years being in charge of internal and external communications for Huntington Bank's Northern Ohio Region (including more than 60 bank branches), a Northern Ohio headquarters, a processing center and a private financial group center).

In January, 2007 Adams joined Ernst & Young's Global Risk Advisory business consulting practice in their communications, markets and business development team.

“Basically,” Adams writes, “”our team helps develop consulting solutions, educates both internal and external clients about those services, which range from climate control and anti-fraud, to internal control, internal audit, business performance improvement, IT security and enterprise resource applications (such as SAP).”

The practice has more than 14,000 employees in more than 40 countries.

“I'm running marathons, doing triathlons, spending loads of time with my two wonderful kids (Molly 9, and Charlie 7), thinking about writing a book, working on a blog, and even a fun column for a specialty publication (nothing salacious, mind you!)” Adams writes. “So, while now out of journalism, it still is the backbone of almost everything I do, and still powers my passions toward such endeavors as being a board member and communications committee chairman for the Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.”

It has been a few years since my Denise

Denise Warner, daughter of Debbie VanTassel, the Plain Dealer's assistant managing editor for features, and Stuart Warner, a PD writing coach, is the young woman in this photograph, shown at work at in New York City.

Denise, a graduate of Columbia,, has been working full time at AOL in New York since June 2006

The photo is used to illustrate an article which talks about all kinds of germs lurking in the workplace. Click on the headline to see the article.

Old time viewers of this blog might just remember a post written by the blog guy way back on January 4, 2005 about three young girls who used to visit my space in
the BJ newsroom. The head on that post was “23 young visitors ‘all growed up.” Denise was one of the trio. Click here to reminisce.

Buyout or we will sell, Star-Ledger warns

AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) Advance Publications Inc. (which owns the Plain Dealer) will sell The
Star-Ledger of Newark unless 26 percent of staff accept buyouts by October, the company told employees in a letter Thursday.

Star-Ledger publisher George Arwady said that if 200 of the paper’s 750 full-time employees do not apply for a buyout by Oct. 1, and if the company does not get new agreements from unions representing its mailers and drivers, the New Jersey paper will be sold.

Advance will also sell sister paper The Times of Trenton unless 25 staff accept buyouts, thepaper's publisher, Richard Bilotti, said in a separate letter to staff.

It is unclear how many people work at the smaller paper in the New Jersey capital.

"Athough we have implemented a variety of plans to reduce expenses and create new sources of revenue, our financial picture continues to deteriorate. We simply have been unable to offset the
unprecedented and continuing steep decline in advertising revenue," Arwady said in the letter sent to staff.

He said the paper had already retained JPMorgan Chase to “help us plan a sale.

Advance Publications said earlier this week it will close its Newhouse News Service in Washington in November.

Advance, controlled by the Newhouse family, owns 26 daily newspapers, including The Oregonian in Portland, Ore.; The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. It also owns Conde Nast Publications, the second-biggest magazine publisher in the country.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time cover for August 4 is portrait of LeBron

It sure caught the eye of BJ sports writer George Thomas. Here's his lead today:

By George M. Thomas
Beacon Journal sportswriter

With athletes prepared to march into Beijing, China, for the Olympics, it's hard to miss the cover of this week's Time magazine featuring an all-serious LeBron James on the cover.

Yes, that's the cover of Time. Not Sports Illustrated. Time. Not Sporting News. Time.

That is when you know you have made an impact. The magazine chose the Cavaliers superstar as its No. 1 athlete to watch at the Olympics. That makes sense, given that I'm probably not in the minority when I say that the only sport I'll follow religiously during this Olympiad is the basketball competition.

Click on the headline to read the rest of George.

Monday, July 28, 2008

McClatchy earnings fall in second quarter

Culled from Editor & Publisher:

The McClatchy Co. reported its second-quarter net income per share fell to 24 cents from 42 cents in the year ago period, with one-time gains from unusual events unable to offset a continuing slump in ad revenue.

McClatchy's net income for the quarter included a gain on the sale of its interest in SP Newsprint Co., a gain on paying off debt, charges related to its plan to reduce employment by 10%, and the write down of certain Internet ventures, including the sale of its stake in ShopLocal.

McClatchy said revenue for the quarter fell 15.6% to $489.7 million.

Ad revenue was down 16.8% from the year-ago quarter, with online ad revenue up 12.5%. Online accounted for 11.8% of total ad revenue in the quarter, up from 8.6% for all of 2007.

McClatchy said retail ad revenue was off 7.9% for the quarter, while national declined 20.4%.

Classified ad plunged 28.1% on big declines in real estate (down 37.1%), employment (down 39%), and automotive (down 17.8%). McClatchy has been hit especially hard from the housing downturn because it publishes papers in the Florida and California where the collapse of the housing bubble was steepest.

McClatchy said ad revenue for its California papers was off 26.8%, and ad revenue for its Florida properties fell 23.2%.

Circulation revenue fell 5.2% for the quarter, McClatchy said.

Click on the headline to read the E&P story.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ken Wrght undergoes surgery at Clinic

A message from Ken Wright intercepted:

Just thought I would update you on my condition. Had surgery Tuesday, July 15, at Cleveland Clinic. Was suppose to take 3 hours, took 6 1/2 hrs. Surgeon said because of previous radiation, some of the organs are sort of fused together and makes surgery difficult. They took out my kidney, uritor (tube that goes from kidney to bladder) and the bladder. Also took out the prostate while he was at it. The other thing they do is cut a 3 in. piece out of my small intestines, sew the back together, then use that piece to make a stoma (attach good kidney to the piece of intestine, stick it through your stomach, then sew it in place). Spent next six days in the hospital. I got home Monday afternoon. Getting along very well (everyone tells me), and I guess it's true. I have a very, very sore stomach and it hurts to get up or down, but once I'm up I can walk around pretty good. June is taking good care of me but it wears her out sometimes. I go back Tuesday 29th to see the doctor. Will get biopsy report and future treatment schedule. Won't be doing a lot for about 6 weeks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kudos a bit late for Knight Ridder Washington Bureau

John Walcott wins the first I.F. Stone Medal

John Walcott, Washington bureau chief of the McClatchy Co, is the first recipient of the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. Walcott is being honored for leading hi
s team of reporters in their probing, skeptical coverage of events during the run-up to the Iraq war at a time when most U.S. news organizations failed to question the motives and rationale for the invasion of Iraq.

Established earlier this year, the I.F Stone Medal recognizes journalistic independence and honors the life of in
vestigative journalist I.F. Stone. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the Nieman Watchdog Project and will be presented annually to a journalist whose work captures the spirit of independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly, published 1953-1971.

In 2002, Walcott, then Knight Ridder Washington, D.C., bureau chief, and two of his top reporters, Jonathan
Landay and Warren Strobel, produced dozens of stories that refuted the Bush administration’s claims about the need for war and exposed the serious reservations many intelligence, Foreign Service and military officers had about the rush to invade Iraq. [Click here to review some of the stories.]

The Knight Ridder chain was sold to the McClatchy Company in 2006. Walcott is now McClatchy’s Washington bureau chief; Landay and Strobel are senior correspondents.

In announcing the award, Nieman Curator Bob Giles said “This is belated recognition of the powerful work done by Walcott in directing his colleagues in developing stories that were unappreciated and almost totally unnoticed at the time. Because so many journalists fell short in their pre-Iraq war coverage, there’s a real need to recognize this dogged editor who went about his business in a resolute way to challenge many of the justifications for the war that proved to be false.” [Giles is a
former Beacon Journal managing editor and executive editor.]

The 2008 I.F. Stone Medal Selection Committee was chaired by journalist and author John R. (Rick) MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine. The committee also included Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Roger Wilkins and award-wining journalist, novelist and author Patricia O’Brien. They made their selection from recommendations presented by anonymous nominators, all distinguished journalists.

McClatchy profit drops over 40 percent

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co reported a more than 40 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday as advertising revenue plunged, but shares shot up 5 percent after the company said it still will be able to pay its debt.

The results, along with EW Scripps Co and Lee Enterprises Inc) which also reported financial results on Thursday, are the latest sign that a weak economy and fundamental changes in how people get their news continue to hammer U.S. newspaper publishers.

McClatchy, publisher of The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, said it expected advertising and revenue to remain weak in the near future.

"We are committed to doing more if revenues decline further in the second half," Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said. "Our board will meet during the third quarter to consider dividend policies and we will look at additional cost-saving measures as necessary."

McClatchy expects to continue meeting its debt obligations, however, an issue that has been a growing concern on investors' and employees' minds as revenue falls. McClatchy had about $2.1 billion in debt on its books at the end of the quarter, much of that related to its purchase of newspaper chain Knight Ridder.

Second-quarter net income fell to $19.7 million, or 24 cents per share, from $34.5 million, or 43 cents, in the same quarter a year ago.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Memorable story: O'Connor on Phil Dietrich

There is no regular schedule. On occasion, however, you will find a memorable story, either from the past or present, reprinted on the BJ Retirees website.

It’s time again. This time the memorable column is by Bill O’Connor. It was published in the Beacon Journal on April 3, 1997 and was one of a series of columns called “O’Connor’s Side Streets.”

The column was about Phil Detrich, a legendary Beacon Journal sports writer, who was then 90 years old. As O’Connor explains, Dietrich was not so much a writer of any particular sport, but rather a chronicler of people and how well they played the game.

Dietrich died eight years later at the age of 98. His obituary by Tom Gaffney was posted on this blog on September 7, 2005.

Click on the headline to read O’Connor’s memorable story.

See the Dietrich obit by Gaffney.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Changing Newsroom: A Pew Report

Meet the American daily newspaper of 2008.

It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner, and the stories are shorter. There is less foreign and national news, less space devoted to science, the arts, features and a range of specialized subjects. Business coverage is either packaged in an increasingly thin stand-alone section or collapsed into another part of the paper. The crossword puzzle has shrunk, the TV listings and stock tables may have disappeared, but coverage of some local issues has strengthened and investigative reporting remains highly valued.

The newsroom staff producing the paper is also smaller, younger, more tech-savvy, and more oriented to serving the demands of both print and the web. The staff also is under greater pressure, has less institutional memory, less knowledge of the community, of how to gather news and the history of individual beats. There are fewer editors to catch mistakes.

Despite an image of decline, more people today in more places read the content produced in the newsrooms of American daily newspapers than at any time in years. But revenues are tumbling. The editors expect the financial picture only to worsen, and they have little confidence that they know what their papers will look like in five years.

This description is a composite. It is based on face-to-face interviews conducted at newspapers across the country and the results of a detailed survey of senior newsroom executives. In total, more than 250 newspapers participated. It is, we believe, the most systematic effort yet to examine the changing nature of the resources in American newspaper newsrooms at a critical time. It is an attempt to document and quantify cutbacks and innovations that have generally been known only anecdotally.

The study, by journalist Tyler Marshall and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, captures an industry in the grips of two powerful, but contradictory, forces. On one hand, financial pressures sap its strength and threaten its very survival. On the other, the rise of the web boosts its competitiveness, opens up innovative new forms of journalism, builds new bridges to readers and offers enormous potential for the future. Many editors believe the industry’s future is effectively a race between these two forces. Their challenge is to find a way to monetize the rapid growth of web readership before newsroom staff cuts so weaken newspapers that their competitive advantage disappears. In recent weeks—after this survey was completed—a new round of newsroom cutbacks, made against a backdrop of steadily deteriorating advertising revenues and rising production costs, intensifies the difficulty of the challenge.

The Key Findings:

* The majority of newspapers are now suffering cutbacks in staffing, and even more in the amount of news, or newshole, they offer the public.
* Papers both large and small have reduced the space, resources and commitment devoted to a range of topics. At the top of that list, nearly two thirds of papers surveyed have cut back on foreign news, over half have trimmed national news and more than a third have reduced business coverage.
* The culture of the daily newspaper newsroom is also changing. New job demands are drawing a generation of young, versatile, tech-savvy, high-energy staff
* Newspaper websites are increasingly a source of hope but also of fear. Editors feel torn between the advantages the web offers and the energy it consumes to produce material often of limited or even questionable value. A plurality of editors (48%), for instance, say they are conflicted by the trade-offs between the speed, depth and interactivity of the web and what those benefits are costing in terms of accuracy and journalistic standards. Yet a similar plurality (43%) thinks “web technology offers the potential for greater-than-ever journalism and will be the savior of what we once thought of as newspaper newsrooms.”

Click on the headline to read this comprehensive report by

Good news from Brian Windhorst

The following note from Brian Windhorst was posted last evening on his Care Page:

"I've been coherent for about a week and read a lot of messages from this site. Those messages and postings have been very uplifting, especially during this difficult time.

I was moved from ICU the other day and have started my full-scale rehab. My doctors are very confident that I can make a full recovery in a couple months.

I look forward to speaking with many of you in the near future, getting back to covering the Cavs and returning to the business of life.

Thanks again for all your prayers, well wishes and good thoughts. It has meant a lot to me and my family."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bob Pell remembered 'Next time'

The late Robert R. Pell, a printer at the Akron Beacon Journal for 37 years, left his mark in life with dates most all of us remember. He was born on Pearl Harbor Day in 1928 and died the day before the Fourth of July lin 2008.

Bob also is remembed as the person who took care of things. He was the regular retiree at the monthly Beacon Journal Retirees luncheons. He was the regular at the Wadsworth Eagles Lodge which named a park pavilion for him because of his
service for more than 30 years as treasurer and publisher of a four-page newsletter for the lodge which he put together six times a year for eleven years.

He also is fondly remembered by Beacon Journal friends and by a nephew,
D. B. Atkins of Douglasville, GA. Atkins put his memories into words you can read on the Beacon Journal Retirees website. Just click on the headline to read his story about Uncle Bob which he titled "Next time."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Everything you need to know about BJ: Part Two

This is Part Two from the booklet titled 'Everything you ever wanted to know and more about...The Beacon Journal." Part One was posted Friday. The 7.25 X 8-inch booklet was apparently printed about 1992, according to Ken Krause who noted that the circulation figures in the booklet jibed with circulation for that year. Keep that date in mind as you read this part. Another Pulitzer was added in 1994 for "A Question of Color" and much more has changed to make a rewrite of this BJ history necessary..

The History of Akron Beacon Journal Knight-Ridder, Inc.
The Knight-Ridder story is deeply based in the tradition of two dedicated and talented families.

The Knight group of newspapers began in 1903 with Charles Landon Knight's purchase of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Founded April 15, 1839 (The Summit Beacon).

Went from a weekly to daily publication, December 6, 1869.

In 1888, the paper moved into a building at the corner of Main and Mill Street.

In 1897, the Akron Journal and the Summit Beacon, which by now had changed ownership several times and had survived three fires, merged to become the Akron Beacon Journal. The first edition of the newspaper appeared on June 7, 1897.

In 1911, the Beacon Journal moved to the corner of East Market and Broadway where it continued to grow. A new modern plant was constructed on the corner of East Market and Summit Streets in 1927.
President Calvin Coolidge, in Washington, pressed a button to start the newspaper's presses on the first day of operations in the new building on October 10, 1927.

Upon c.L. Knight's death in 1933, John S. Knight succeeded as editor and publisher. He bought the Miami Herald in 1937, which was the start of a series of purchases making the Beacon Journal the flagship of one of the largest newspaper groups in daily circulation in the United States.

In 1938, he bought the Times-Press and moved the Beacon Journal operation into its plant at the corner of High and Exchange streets. This plant was expanded in 1954 with the new edition more than doubling overall space.

During the next 33 years, the Knights purchased 15 more newspapers and became a public corporation.

The Ridder group began in 1892 when Herman Ridder purchased the Staats-Zeitung, the leading German language newspaper in the U.S.

In 1926, Ridder Publications purchased The Journal of Commerce in New York and in 1927, The St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch. Subsequently, 13 papers were purchased. Ridder Publications went public in 1969.

In 1974, Knight Newspapers and Ridder Publications merged to form Knight-Ridder, Ine.

Today, the company is a worldwide communications and information company with 28 daily newspapers, cable TV operations, business services and other subsidiaries.

AWARDS Our company thrives because of its high standard of excellence.

The excellence of writing and editing has won the Beacon Journal a number of honors.

Collectively, Knight-Ridder professionals have won 57 Pulitzer Prizes, the highest honor in American Journalism.

The Beacon Journal itself has won three Pulitzer Prizes for the following:

John S. Knight won a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for his "Editor's Notebook," a weekly column he wrote for nearly 40 years.

The Beacon Journal won another Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Kent State University shootings on May 4,1970.

Then in 1987, another Pulitzer Prize was won for coverage of the attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Our news, photo and art departments have won numerous other industry awards, including the top excellence awards in statewide competitions.

Baltimore Sun cuts 100 jobs, 55 in newsroom

The Baltimore Sun
says it has eliminated about 100 jobs in its latest round of job cuts.

Union leaders said the cuts included 55 newsroom jobs.

Baltimore Sun Media Group spokeswoman Judy Berman declined today to give an exact number of eliminated jobs but said the company had met its goal for cutting the work force by about 100 with a minimum of layoffs.

Local union leader Tanika White said 43 newsroom employees accepted buyouts, two reporters agreed to voluntary layoffs and nine other news employees were laid off involuntarily. She said one manager was transferred to The Sun's community papers.

The 171-year-old newspaper had about 280 newsroom employees before the cuts. It is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co.

Everything you need to know about BJ: Part One

Just uncovered in our pile of Beacon Journal memorabilia is this 7.25 X 8-inch booklet titled "Everything you ever wanted to know and more about...The Beacon Journal. The booklet naturally is undated. It cannot be too old because the phone listings carry the 996 exchange, the same as today. It also cannot be too recent if it is true as some say that young folks don't read newspapers today.

We are posting the first part of the information today

Our mission as a newspaper is to provide news, information and editorial opinion to our community of readers, and to offer advertising, printing and distribution services that benefit both the reader and advertiser.

The Beacon Journal serves an area located in the heart of Northeast Ohio. The primary service area includes Summit, Portage, Medina, Wayne and Stark Counties.

The Beacon Journal has almost 700 full-time and parttime employees.

There are 130 reporters, photographers, artists and editors staffing our newsroom.

We have approximately 1,350 carriers, supervised by 50 district managers.

Average Circulation:
*158,882 Daily
*227,512 Sunday

Average Paper Size: 50 Pages Daily 100 Pages Sunday

The main building has a total of 217,545 sq. ft. of space with another 55,000 sq. ft. in the Erie warehouse across Broadway.

The parking deck has five levels and covers 137,000 sq. ft. with spaces for 372 cars.

Including Erie we occupy approximately 6.5 acres.

Newsprint costs fluctuate between $300-$600 per ton and we use an average of one ton of newsprint per page. Thus, if the paper for a given day is 60 pages, it requires 60 tons of newsprint.

A roll of newsprint is approximately six miles long, or about the distance between downtown Akron and downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

* Source: ABC Publisher's Statement for six months ending March 31, 1992.

A roll of newsprint weighs approximately 1,500-2,000 pounds.

Our presses run approximately 22 miles per hour and we change the rolls of newsprint without stopping the press.

We have installed $6.2 million in new press and platemaking equipment. The new presses print with a water- based ink which has much less "rub off" than the old, oil -based presses.

Sixty-five trucks and 50 district manager automobiles are used for distribution of The Beacon Journal.

Our fleet of trucks combined put on an average 1 million miles each year.

On a typical day, we use 20-25 trucks and Sunday, we use 40-45 trucks, each making many runs.

We use 6,758,400 kwh. of electricity and 1,013,500 cu. ft. of water each year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A good bookmark for unclassified documents

If you are interested in political documents, the Pennsylvania State University books page is a good bookmark. You need Adobe Acrobat to read the files.

The Political Documents page has been updated with the following titles:

1. U. D. Department of Justice Memo of 14 March 2003 on Torture (4 files);
2. A Review of the FBI's Involvement in and Observations of Detainee Interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq;
3. Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U. S. Government Officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information;
4. Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

NOTE: These are declassified government files

Retiree Abe Zaidan writes to VOP

You should check the website once in a while. We shy away from using commentary on this blog, bujt have several spots on the website which indicate opinon is involved.

Today, for instance, there was a letter from Abe Zaidan in the BJ's Voice of the People (letters to the editor columns). We have stashed under Random Observations but you can just click on the headline above to go straight to it.

In cutting and pasting these little gems for your pleasure, we often learn interesting stuff.
For instance, did you know if you type the word "Zaidan" in the search box, you are asked the question, "Did you mean Satan?"

George W. Ball, Ad & PR official, dies at 86

George W. Ball, 86, passed away at home on Tuesday, July 15, 2008.

A resident of Akron since 1958, he was born November 9, 1921 in Lisbon, Ohio to the late Clarence and Ursilla. George graduated from Mount Union College in 1943 and completed his academic requirements at the Syracuse University Graduate School, School of Journalism in 1949.

A World War II veteran, he served in both Europe and Japan and was awarded the Purple Heart medal.

George worked in advertising and public relations his entire career. From 1946 to 1957 he served in various po
sitions at Syracuse University, Mount Union College, and his own public relations business. In 1957 he joined The University of Akron as Director of University Relations and later served as Executive Director of University Relations and Development and Executive Director of University Relations and Communications. He was Assistant to the President and Secretary, Board of Trustees at the time of his retirement in 1987. His career at the university spanned its growth from a municipal institution to the third largest university in Ohio.

George was a member of numerous professional organizations including Sigma Delta Chi Public Relations Society of America, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

He was a member of the Akron Rotary Club, the Akron Salvation Army Advisory Board and numerous other community, civic and service organizations. He was a Life member of the United Methodist Church, serving on nearly all lay committees at the First United Methodist Church of Akron, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees. George worked diligently with other church officers and committee members to rebuild the church after a fire in 1994.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Doris; he is survived by son, Eric Ball of Copley; daughters, Cynthia Ball of Akron, Carolyn (Dion) Garner of Indiana; grandson, Patrick Garner.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday at the First United Methodist Church of Akron, 263 E. Mill St., Akron with Rev. Douglas G. Meek officiating. Inurnment at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Friends may call 5 to 8 p.m., Friday at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd., Akron 44333. If desired, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Akron, the University of Akron Foundation or the Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs. (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Thursday, July 17, 2008, page B5, col. 2]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A MUST READ: Betting on David Black

Just posted today on is a MUST READ story by Don Ward on Publisher David Black.

The article is headlined “Betting on David Black."

The subtitle asks the question:

Major dailies are shedding employees, hemorrhaging cash, and losing advertisers to the Web. So why is David Black swimming in ink?

Black owns 32 papers in the Puget Sound area, Most people couldn’t tell you who David Holmes Black is. “But this month, around a million households in Washington will have a Black-owned newspaper land in their front yard, or those householders will pick one up at the local 7-Eleven so they can see which local kid won the Soap Box Derby or check the classifieds for a '77 Camaro.”

Wikipedia has only a single 94-word entry on the 62-year-old Canadian publisher.

David Black admits he prefers anonymity. "We're not a publicly held company," he demurs. "There's no reason to interview me."

Situated in his office in Victoria, B.C., Black works nine-hour days, a good deal fewer than when he was younger, giving him more time to indulge his hobbies: sailing, golf, and tooling around in his old Jaguar. In person, a poker player would be stumped by Black's demeanor, because he lacks any tells. Munching on a cookie at his desk, Black downplays his past triumphs, giving the impression that it's no great accomplishment that his media empire is not only profitable but expanding while other newspaper chains are currently bleeding red ink.

"Where else are you going to get an organization where the CEO answers the phone himself?" says Manfred Tempelmayr, president of Black-owned subsidiary Sound Publishing, who has known Black for two decades.

The supposed decline of print media is not in fact an industry-wide phenomenon. Community newspapers have generally been profitable ventures for some time, and over the past decade have attracted the attention of media giants looking for publications that can positively contribute to the parent corporation's bottom line.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Atlanta JC to cut 189 jobs, junk insert sections

As reported on

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will cut its workforce by 8 percent, or about 189 jobs, and eliminate all of its geographically targeted news sections as part of a cost-cutting plan announced Wednesday.

The moves come amid an advertising revenue slump that has ravaged the newspaper industry and has been made worse by rising costs for fuel and newsprint, executives said.

The daily Gwinnett News section, as well as the weekly NorthSide, CityLife and NorthWest sections — all inserts in the main Journal-Constitution — will disappear starting in August, the company said.

Publisher John Mellott said the AJC will maintain news bureaus in Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and North Fulton, adding that the daily newspaper's metro and sports sections will expand to handle coverage from those areas.

He said cost of producing the separate community sections has become "prohibitive," citing a 35 percent jump in newsprint costs over the past year. The AJC last year eliminated similar sections for news in south metro Atlanta counties, and it also has cut the daily paper's circulation area.

Mellott said the latest moves also include elimination of the standalone Better Health and Buyer's Edge sections, now produced once a week, with their content rolled into expanded Living sections on Wednesdays and Sundays, beginning in August.

Job cuts, which will occur between August and October, will mainly affect the news and advertising departments at the company, Mellott said.

They will be accomplished through voluntary buyouts, layoffs and job eliminations.

The AJC also has cut jobs in other departments. The company currently has about 2,300 full-time employees.

Despite the latest cuts, Mellott said the company's "transformation to a multi-media company is working."

Click on headline for this and related memos

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'Wall Street Journal' to raise cover price

Starting on July 28, the Wall Street Journal will raise its cover price from $1.50 to $2, putting it on a par with the Financial Times. Interestingly, the hike comes as the paper's editors are being urged to think more about how they can use the front page to boost newsstand sales, reports Jeff Bercovici in

An industry source says distributors are unhappy about the way the Journal has handled the increase, giving them just two weeks of advance notice and offering them only 5 cents per copy of additional revenue.

It's also bound to cost the Journal some readers, says Vercovici, unless, of course, that new, zippier front page really is that much more appealing to newsstand browsers. After the paper increased its cover price from $1 to $1.50 last year, average single copy sales fell by about 8 percent.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Circulation retiree Ned Barefoot dies at 90

CUYAHOGA FALLS - Ned R. Barefoot, 90, passed away July 11, 2008.

He had resided in Cuyahoga Falls for over 30 years after moving there from Bedford Hts. He retired from the Akron Beacon Journal's circulation dept. after 30 years, and had previously worked for Republic Steel. Mr. Barefoot was a veteran of the Army Medical Corp. having served in World War II where he earned unit citations, was a former member of VFW, Masons and had been inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Hiram College. He enjoyed sports, golf, gardening, cooking and loved baseball.

Preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy L.; he is survived by his children, Barbara A. (Timothy) Tobin of Carrollton, Ohio and Jeffrey J. (Pam) Barefoot of Kansas City, Kans.; grandchildren, Ryan, Brook and Logan Barefoot, Paul Staup, Ryan (Jessica), Matthew and Daniel Tobin; great-grandchildren, Harley and Aries Tobin; and sister, Beryl Stelle.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, 1930 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls where a funeral service will be conducted 11 a.m. Tuesday. Interment Chestnut Hill Memorial Park.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, July 13, 2008, page B5, col. 3]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Terri Tople, wife of BJ photographer, dies at 59

erri Tople, 59, passed away peacefully with her family at her side July 12, 2008.

For half of her life, she fought a courageous battle with systemic lupus and now is at rest without pain. Born in Cleveland, she lived in Fairview Park and moved to the Akron area after he
r marriage. A graduate of Kent State University and the University of Akron, she was a learning disability teacher for the Akron Board of Education for 18 years.

Preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Teresa Kyttler; she was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She will be sadly missed by her husband of 36 years, Paul; sons, Ed (Jenny) and Mike (Jamie); granddaughter, Ella Grace and sister, Connie Kyttler.

Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. WEDNESDAY at St. Hilary Catholic Church, 2750 W. Market St. Friends may call at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd., 4 to 8 p.m. TUESDAY. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Lupus Foundation of America, Akron Chapter, 2769 Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Sun
day, July 13, 2008, page B7, col. 4]

Some tips on viewing blog and website

Here are some tips on viewing our blog and web site:

About the blog:

Blog items are posted by date and time so the newest item is always on top.

The Search Feature: That little box in the upper left corner of this blog is one of the most overlooked but helpful features of the blog. Use it like you would use Google or Yahoo search engines to find items on our blog. Just type in a phrase and press enter

Links: You will notice a section on the left side of the blog called Links. Our current
links are:
Google News which just takes you to the regular Google News.

E-Mail List is a link to email address of those BJ types who have asked to be listed.
Retirees Addresses is a link to an old list of retiree postal addresses. The BJ no longer provides a list like it used to in Christmas employee publications. We have to rely on viewers to add new retirees, changes of address and deaths. Please help if you can.
Retirees Website is a link to our website. More on that below.

Archives: Only the last 30 posts are shown on the blog. Older posts are archived by the month. You can click on any month to see the posts for that month.

Click on headline: If you see the phrase "Click on the headline" or an underlined phrase in color , you can click on the headline or the underlined type to go to a new web location. It could be either an album of photos or another website where you can get more information. Often we provide a brief synopsis of a larger story from a newspaper, magazine or website. This will take you to the original source item.

Pictures: Often if you click on a photo or graphic element it will enlarge to give you a better view. If you want to copy one of the photos and save the jpeg file to your computer, just right click on the photo and save as a file to your computer.

Copy and Paste: There may be times you will want to print an article from the blog. Do not try to print the blog which is many pages long. You can copy an article from the blog and paste it to your word processing program to print. To save an article, you first select or highlight the text you want. Click at the beginning of the text, holding the mouse button down and dragging it to the end of the text. Releasiing the mouse button highlights the text. You then copy the selected text to your clipboard by pressing CTRL + C or click EDIT and then COPY. Go to your word processor and on an open page press CTRL + V or click EDIT and then PASTE. You now can save the text to your wordprocessor file to keep or print.

Contributors: This is just a list of blog contributors: Ott Gangl, Ken Krause, John Olesky and Harry Liggett.

About our website:

The BJ Reitirees website works in tandem with the BJ Retirees blog to allow longer items than we want to use on the blog.

The main or index page of the web site has a simple menu:
Blog Wall of Honor is a page on veteran employes who left during the takeover of Knight Ridder.
Commentary is our editorial page which contains opinion stuff by us or others. Send us yours.
Blog Corner tells how the blog started and lists statistics on the number of viewere and posts.
Random Observations are short items usually opionated.
Short Takes and other stuff is a page of briefs..
Addresses of Retirees is the best list we have on postal addresses of retirees. The BJ in former years published a list of retiree addresses in the emplioyee publications Sidebar or Tower Topics mailed to retired and cujrrent employees. Printing and postage costs made this too expensive. The staff does not have time even to provide us with an up-to-date list. We try to make address changes, add new retirees and delete names of the deceased, but we have to depend on viewers. The list is becoming woefully outdated. Check it if you can and provide updates if you can.
Some BJ phone numbers The BJ in July 2008 put up a list of phone numbers and email addresses for the news staff on To make that easier to find, we have placed a copy on our website to replace an earlier list of our own.
Go to Beacon Ournal online is just a link you can hit to go to
Go to BJ Retirees Blog is another link that takes you from the website to the blog.
News Index is a link to the Project on Excellence in Journalsim which reports weekly on the news getting the most play.
Reader tips is a copy of these tips

Below the menu bar is a list of items of interest. Just click on the itme. We encourage viewers to email items they would like to post in various sections.

You can find a copy of these reader tips on the website.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Akron lost 1,382 people last year

Akron lost 1,382 people within the past year. Since 2000, the city has lost 4.2 percent of its population and has had one of the biggest percentage drops among major cities in the nation. Only 14 cities — including Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo — rank worse.

Akron's population now is 207,934, down from 217,074 in the 2000 census.

Cleveland had the largest population decline among the nation's big cities in the past year and the second-worst percentage drop since 2000, trailing only Hurricane Katrina-devastated New Orleans. Among Ohio's six biggest cities, only Columbus and Cincinnati managed increases since 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in population estimates released today.

Cleveland's population dipped 11 percent from 443,109 in 2006 to 438,042 last year, the biggest numerical drop among big U.S. cities, the Census Bureau said. The city's 8.3 percent drop from 2000's 477,472 was the second greatest rate of decline in the nation, behind only New Orleans.

From 2006 to 2007, Columbus rose 0.6 percent to 747,755 and Cincinnati was up 0.2 percent to 332,458. Ohio's other big cities were population losers: Akron down 0.7 percent, Dayton 0.8 percent and Toledo 0.9 percent.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Beacon Journal.

Download a chart in PDF format which lists cities and townships in five-county area.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

23 attend Retirees lunch in memory of Pell, Levenson

Attendance at the July luncheon of Beacon Journal Retirees, held this month in memory of Sanford Levenson and Robert Pell was more than double the usual number..

Levenson worked for more than 35 years at the Akron Beacon Journal where he began as a reporter in 1966 and later served in a variety of roles including Beacon Magazine Editor and features writer. He retired as Copy Desk Editor. He then worked as News Editor of the Medina Gazette.

Pell began as a typesetter at the Barberton Herald, but within a few years moved to the Akron Beacon Journal, where he was a loyal employee for 37 years until his retirement in 1991.

Members of Pell’s family who were at the luncheon included his daughter Catherine Sandstead and her husband Lance, granddaughter Krystin Sandstead, son Bob Pell Jr. and daughter-in-law Phyllis Pell and great-grandaughter Juli.

The Pells were introduced by retired printer Calvin DeShong who also introduced retirees. There were 26 seated in the dining room at Papa Joe’s Restaurant on Akron-Peninsula Road in the valley. Because fewer than a dozen or so have been attending in recent months, retirees have been seated at a table in the main restaurant. Wednesday, however, they were moved back into the old dining room where they had met for years with much larger crowds.

Production room retirees and wives attending were Joe and Anne Catalano, Cal Deshong, Pat Dougherty, Ed and Norma Hanzel, Al Hunsicker, Armand Lear and Carl Nelson. All were printers except Dougherty who is an engraving room retiree.

Retired newsroom employees attending were David Boerner, Tim Hayes, Bill Hunter, Harry Liggett, Tom Moore, John Olesky and Don Roese.. Also there was Karen Lefton, former general legal counsel for the Beacon Journal who is now employed by the law firm of Brouse McDowell.

Retiree luncheons are at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at Papa Joe’s in the valley, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road at the intersection of Portage Trail. You need not be a retiree to attend. Former Beacon Journal employees and those still on the job are always welcome to come and learn what old friends are doing.

Please click on the headline to see photos from the luncheon provided by Tom Moore.

Terry Pluto leaves comment on Brian Windhorst

Terry Pluto left this comment on the post about Brain Windhorst being in intensive care:

I went to see Brian this morning, July 8.

By far, this is the best he has been since going into the hospital 2 1/2 weeks ago. He is still in critical care, still hook up to a lot of machines, still has very weak lungs, etc.

But he is now responding with his eyes, nodding his head, squeezing your hand, etc.

That began on Saturday.

He is strong inside, I could see it in his eyes in the 20 minutes that I spent with him. I was with his mom and a few other family members, just as I was the first time that I saw him almost 2 weeks ago. We prayed for him, and it was great to talk to him and see his facial expressions and his so wanting to engage in conversation, even though he can't talk just yet.

The best news has been no major setbacks in the last 2 weeks....progress is slow...and the road is will be months for Brian to come back from the double-pneumonia, vascular problems, etc. But I feel very good about his spirit, his determination and how all of this will work out in the end.

Keep up the prayers!

Feel free to pass this on to anyone who may want a Brian update.

terry pluto

BLOGGER NOTE: Daily updates on Brian Windhorst are posted on the CarePages web site. The site is free but you must register to view the updates. Click on the headline to check it out.

Star Tribune editorial called into question

A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial favorable to off-shore drilling may be boosting it’s owners vested intererest in that tehnology.

David Brauer in a long piece on writes that Avista’s holdings and the Strib’s editorial position could be a coincidence. Writing a pro-drilling editorial isn’t beyond the pale; however, not acknowledging the very specific corporate conflict of interest is.

are the one place in a paper where the business side formally exerts influence: Publisher Chris Harte (former BJ publisher) sits on the editorial board. And while Harte isn’t an Avista Capital partner, he’s a Strib co-owner – the partners’ partner, in other words.

It should be noted that is an alternative media to the Star Tribune and B
rauer discloses that two ex-editorial board members, Susan Albright and Steve Berg, now write for but didn't inspire or inform his article..

The editorial
: "Though some environmental advocates dispute this, drilling technology has advanced over the past quarter century. Oil companies can drill more efficiently in deeper water with significantly less risk to the environment."

Brauer points out that : "There was one unnoted fact: The company that bought the Strib last year is heavily invested in that technology."

The Strib began overhauling its editorial board nine months ago, the article states, so it shouldn’t surprise that certain editorial positions have changed. In general, the page has shucked its rep as a lefty lightning rod; on some days, it’s hard to find a call to action at all.

But a Sunday, June 29, editorial clearly moved away from the paper’s reliably pro-environment rhetoric. Writers pointedly accused offshore oil drilling opponents of “turning the issue into an ill-informed litmus test of environmental credentials. A knee-jerk ‘no’ has equaled a green candidate. A politician wanting to discuss the issue is derided as a pawn of Big Oil. … The snap judgment approach is unfortunate.”

Even though many economists link surging prices to fundamental supply-demand gaps, with new offshore oil years from market, the Strib breathily declared: “Just the possibility that domestic oil supplies are expanding would likely deter speculators, sending prices down.”

Now, Avista’s holdings and the Strib’s editorial position could be a coincidence. Writing a pro-drilling editorial isn’t beyond the pale; however, not acknowledging the very specific corporate conflict of interest is.

Editorials are the one place in a paper where the business side formally exerts influence: Publisher Chris Harte sits on the editorial board. And while Harte isn’t an Avista Capital partner, he’s a Strib co-owner – the partners’ partner, in other words.

Avista Capital Partners, which raised $2 billion in 2006, has more investments in energy (seven) than its other sectors, health care (six) and media (five). It’s impossible to tell which segment accounts for the bulk of the private company’s revenue, but the company's offshore drilling concentration is undeniable and includes:

Blake Offshore. The Metairie, La.-based company touts itself as “the only remaining privately held Offshore Rig provider left in the United States.” Avista invested $51 million in September 2006.

Frontier Drilling. The Houston-based Frontier operates and manages “conventional drillships, semi-submersibles and floating production, storage and offloading vessels,” its website says. Avista invested $27 million in the company in September 2006.

Peregrine Oil & Gas. Another Houston firm, Peregrine “conducts exploration development and production operations in the Gulf of Mexico.” Avista is listed as one of four primary equity investors who pumped in $160 million, though its share isn't specified.

Geokinetics Inc. A third Houston company, Geokinetics provides shallow-water cable and seismic data “between land and deep marine,” according to its website. Avista invested $100 million in September 2006.

The company’s three other energy sector holdings — Celtique Energie, Manti Exploration and Laramie Energy II — are on-shore companies.

Click on the headline to read Brauer’s article.

Brauer also wrote a profile on Harte in December, 2007. See the profile.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Chicago Tribune to cut 80 jobs

The Chicago Tribune began informing staff Tuesday it will eliminate around 80 of its current 578 newsroom positions by the end of August and reduce the number of pages it publishes by 13 percent to 14 percent each week.

There also will be a reduction of jobs in other Chicago Tribune departments, but that number was not immediately available. A paper spokesman declined comment.

Because some newsroom jobs have been left unfilled in recent months, the actual number of staffers to exit the paper is expected to be between 55 and 58.

"Like many newspapers, we're feeling financial pressures," Hanke Gratteau, the Chicago Tribune's managing editor for news, said.

Poynter's NewsU gets $1.4 million Knight grant

St. Petersburg, Fla. - July 8, 2008 - The Poynter Institute announced today that it will use a $1.4 million, five-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help transform journalism education by expanding the world's most successful and innovative journalism e-learning site. Launched in 2005 with a prior Knight Foundation grant, NewsU provides interactive, inexpensive courses to journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media.

The grant will help NewsU expand in four key areas:

  • . Enhance the skills and digital abilities of journalists.
  • . Find new ways to teach and inspire journalists as well as those without access to formal journalism training,
  • . Increase news literacy, and
  • . Use the Internet to deliver training in innovative and effective ways.

Specifically, NewsU plans to offer new courses to help journalists and others make the transition to a digital world, shift its current content management system to a Web 2.0 platform, deliver course content in multiple languages, and create e-learning modules on news literacy for the general public.

"More than 73,000 participants have enrolled in NewsU courses since its introduction, vastly exceeding initial expectations and making NewsU the top e-learning destination for journalists and others interested in journalism," said Howard Finberg, director of interactive learning at The Poynter Institute. "We are excited about taking NewsU to the next level and reaching journalists around the world."

Maxine Lozier sends new e-mail address

Maxine (Johnson) Lozier, retired BJ communications supervisor, sent an e-mail from Louisville, KY, with a new e-mail address:

Maxine’s husband, Ted, died April 13 in Louisville after a long illness with COPD and other health issues. Ted was a retired advertising executive with Hilary Advertising Services. Services for Ted in Louisville were private

Rx benefits report from Bob Abbott

Hey gang...

What's that old ain't over until it's over....?

A situation has arisen that possibly could give us a foothold in this battle against the BJ's actions. It's the thing I had to wait for 6 months to see if it would appeared it hadn't but lo and has reared it's ugly head and now is a fact.

What it boils down to is the fact that with the BJ "forcing" us to sign up for the Aetna/Medicare part D Rx program it has greatly limited...if not totally eliminated...any of us being able to get into a Medicare/private provider program for a Medicare sponsored medical/hospital part A and B coverage.

The only options available to us is much more expensive alternatives such as a true "supplement" program which has nothing to do with Medicare.

Even the human resources department of the BJ has told me this within the last 10 days. They have said that NO "advantage" programs are compatible with the Aetna/Medicare group part D we were forced into.

In talking with Medicare they also have verified that they will not split their payment to two different providers in any Medicare involved package.

The lawyer I have been working with wanted me to give him a call if I found that my "other" programs (Medicare part A and B) were adversly affected. I thought I had found a program that would work and almost was ready to call him and tell him that all was proceeding OK. But not so...

I still need to get in touch with Aetna to make sure that I am not eligible for their advantage program for part A and B. While this might be only a county problem (I live in Stark County) they previously had told me that I couldn't get those coverages...and that was a story in itself...a real mess...

This is also a heads up for you younger retirees/buyout people that are heading for Medicare when you or a spouse hits the age of might find that you will have some real problems with your parts A and B.

I also need to get in touch with a couple people I know have reached this point and find out what they have done and if they have any problems...

Also, one of our group has had contact with another lawyer whom has a different focus on the whole situation...I don't have any details on this yet but this is why I strongly advise everybody to try this avenue to see if we can get other opinions on what can be done.

Overall...don't hold your breath or think we are finally on our must be determined wether it will be financially viable to pursue this and if, indeed, we do have a strong case.

It ain't over until it's over...

bob abbott

Monday, July 07, 2008

Retirees lunch in memory of Levenson, Pell

The July 9 luncheon of the Akron Beacon Journal Retirees wil be in memory of Sanford Levenson and Robert Pell who died this week.

Both retirees attended the luncheons regularly.

The luncheons are not limited to retirees. Those still working at the Beacon Journal and those back in town for a visit are encouraged
to attend.

Attendance at the luncheons has now dwindled to about a dozen each month. The luncheons previously attracted 30 or more each month. Luncheon provide an opportunity to catch up on the news about what others are doi
ng and to reminisce..

Beacon Journal types now keep in touch online via email or the Retirees blog. In the past, the luncheons were the only way to keep in touch.

Luncheons are at 1 p.m. the second Wednesay of each month at Papa Joe’s in the valley, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road at t
he intersection of Portage Trail.

It would be great to see you there Wednesday, July 9.

Carol Raines, worked for short time as copy girl

Carol (CJ) Raines, 73, passed away on July 2, 2008.

She was born in Akron, Ohio on December 1, 1934. She was so named because she was considered her mother's Christmas Carol. She was the third daughter of eight children born to Jack and Mary
DeLuca. Carol grew up in North Hill, attended St Martha grade school, and worked in her family's popular Italian restaurant, DeLuca's Bismark. Carol graduated from North High School in 1953. She then worked briefly as a copy girl and the Akron Beacon Journal. She graduated from the University of Akron with an Associates Degree in Community and Technical Services. Carol retired from the University of Akron Accounts Receivable Dept. in 1993 with 20 years of service. She cherished many things in life including music, dance, books, and movies but most important of these was her Catholic faith.

Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Anthony Carl "Jack" and Mary Elizabeth DeLuca and her grandson, Brian Joseph Moore. Carol was the loving and devoted mother to sons, William T. and Daniel R. Raines; and daughters, Mary T. (Moore) Thompson, Elizabeth A. and Joan M. Raines; and precious grandchildren, Katherine E., Benjamin A. and Madeline T. Moore. She is also survived by her adoring brothers, Thomas and William (Barb) DeLuca; and sisters, Betty Jane (Pat) McShane, Grace (Nick) Spada, Frances (Joe) Gedraitis, Kathleen (Rudy) Backer and Victoria Bravo; most of who still reside in the Akron area. Carol was a "favorite aunt" to 38 nieces and nephews and numerous great nieces and nephews. Her family's loss will be shared by many life long friends. She will be forever remembered for her beautiful blue eyes, warm smile and loving heart.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at St. Martha Church, 300 East Tallmadge Ave., Akron. PLEASE MEET AT CHURCH. Friends will be received 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Hennessy Funeral Home, 552 N. Main St., (corner of York and Main St.), Akron.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Sunday, July 6, 2008, page B9, col. 3]

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Services set Tuesday for Robert R. Pell Sr.

WADSWORTH -- Robert R. (Bob) Pell, Sr., 79, died peacefully at his home on July 3, 2008 at 3:14 p.m.

He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 57 years, Peggy Ann Sizemore Pell.

Robert was born and raised in West Virginia but left with his young family in the early 1950's to make a home in Wadsworth, Ohio. He began as a typesetter at the Barberton Herald newspaper, but within a few years moved to the Akron Beacon Journal, where he was a loyal employee for 37 years until his retirement in 1991. Bob remained very active after his retirement. In addition to being an avid golfer, he volunteered his time in the community. Bob was active with the Medina County Society for Handicapped Citizens, serving on the Board of Windfall Industries for many years. He played a major role in the Society's fundraising events, and donated time and materials while doing all the yard work for many years at one of the Society's homes. In 1998 he was honored as Summit County's United Way 80th Anniversary Volunteer Celebration as one of the "80 Outstanding Community Volunteers." Bob was also an active member of the Wadsworth F.O.E. #2117. He served as their Treasurer for over 30 years, and also was the publisher of their newsletter. As Publisher, along with Editor John Kernan, the Eagles' newsletter was honored nationally as the best in 2006. As a tribute to Bob, when the Eagles built their new pavilion, it was dedicated to him, and named the "Bob Pell Sr. Pavilion."

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, John and Bertha Pell; his wife, Peggy, and his sister, Kathryn Pell Brown. He leaves four children, Catherine (Lance) Sandstead, Robert (Phyllis) R. Pell, Jr., Steven S. Pell, John E. Pell, and sister Trana Pell Atkins of Hephzibah, Ga. He also leaves seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who will also miss him very much.

The family will receive friends 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman St., Wadsworth where funeral services will be conducted 11 a.m. Tuesday, Rev. Jerry L. Penrod Jr. officiating. Interment Hillcrest Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: SOCIETY FOR HANDICAPPED CITIZENS OF MEDINA COUNTY, Inc., 4283 Paradise Road Seville, Ohio 44273. Hilliard-Rospert, (330-334-1501)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, July 6, 2008, page B8, col. 2]

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Calling hours are Monday for Bob Pell

WADSWORTH -- Robert R. Pell Sr., 79, of Wadsworth died Thursday, July 3, 2008.

The family will receive friends 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman St., Wadsworth where funeral services will be conducted 11 a.m. Tuesday. Interment Hillcrest Memorial Gardens. Full notice Sunday. Hilliard-Rospert (330-334-1501)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Pell wrote about days of old Linotype

Here's a classic Tom Moore saved from his old website. The story was written by Bob Pell

The Old Days of the Linotype Machine

By Robert R. Pell
(He played a MEAN keyboard)
It was in February, 1948 that I got my first feel of printers' ink. I was hired by the Elk Printing Company in Clay, West Virginia, as an apprentice ... incidentally, my pay at the beginning was $5.00 per week and the work consisted of sweeping the floors, cleaning the stones, putting the spacing and furniture back in it's proper place and distributing type back to the California job case.

The Linotype machine was something that you just moved on to when you had the time and one was unused. Fortunately for me, one of our operators took a job with a Charleston daily paper and that left a Linotype machine free. It was mostly self learning.

The operator in a small shop had to do everything. The distributor was a bar across the top of the machine that had a number of combinations that matched the combination of the
matrixes (mats) that cast the letters. After the assembled line went through the machine and the line was cast, the mats were carried back to the top of the machine and slid along the distributor bar until the combination matched the mat's, then it fell into it's proper channel ... or it was supposed to.

Sometimes they would get crossed and jammed up and stop the distributor. The operator then had to climb up and clear all of the mats out of the way and slide them onto the bar to get it going again. The metal (lead) pot had to be kept at a certain level and temperature. It was up to the operator to see that lead was added when needed. He also had to clean the space bands and do most of the maintenance that was required on the machines.

When the small shop operator arrived at the Beacon Journal, it was like a different world. If anything went wrong with the machine all he had to do was push a button and that rang a bell in the machinist's cage which told them which machine was having trouble and someone came out and fixed it. If the pot was too hot, they adjusted it, if the pot was too cold, they adjusted it, if the distributor stopped, they started it. All that was required of the operator was to set type.

Each operator had to put a "slug line" with his name on it at the beginning of each galley of type that he set to identify who had set that particular galley.

When a new operator came in, he was naturally nervous so occasionally one of the "old timers" would pick up the a couple of the new guy's slug lines and give him credit for a couple of galleys of type because the new operator's lines were being counted. If I remember correctly, you had to produce 300 lines in a 7-1/2 hour shift. There were "market operators" who started later in the day and stayed for the Stock Market report.

When the markets started coming in, apprentice boys would carry them to the operators and the type back to the bank to be proofed and read. When the operator had finished the three or four pages of markets that were left for him, he would yell "BOY", and an apprentice would bring more pages and pick up the type for

In the early '70's the change was made from the Linotype keyboard to the Typewriter keyboard with the introduction of the Tele-Type Setter (TTS). Most of the operators had gone to typing school to learn the keyboard, so we made the shift and started punching paper tape for the tts machines. The tape, with it's series of holes in different combinations for each letter, were then put on the Linotype machines and the type was automatically set with an operator overseeing two or three machines.

By the end of the '70's, the Linotype machine was nearly phased out and replaced by what we called "cold type". The Beacon Journal kept one machine for display purposes and it was in the Composing Room for quite a few years. Before I retired they had moved it out and I don't know where it went. I hope they still have it.

And in case you haven't guessed already, that's a young, young Bob Pell plying the magic fingers to get the lead out.

Tom Moore on his friend Bob Pell


Bob Pell.

A tall and lankly, string bean of a fellow (he reminded me of that country comic named “String bean.”

I of course knew Bob on the job… an outgoing pleasant fellow who always spoke as I would pass the machine he was operating.

You might say during the working days, ours was a nodding acquaintance…but after retirement, sitting with him at the retiree lunches, we hillbillies hit it off and became good friends.

When I owned a Subaru, I would take it to Bishop Motors in Wadsworth for service. I’d get there at 8 in the morning and Bob would be waiting in his pickup and we’d have breakfast together…many, many times.

I had purchased my first digital camera and had brought it to a luncheon. Bob liked it so well, he bought one similar. And he used it, sharing duties of taking photos of BJ retirees.

Bob made great use of his computer….I was always getting great jokes from. I tried to return the favor.

He loved to travel and he’d send me the photos he took and I’d post them on the website I had.

We had a fun time when the new blimp was rolled out at Wingfoot Lake. He picked me up that morning and we drove to the area and then boarded a bus.

All that morning we roamed the hangar area, getting photos of the new blimp and her three sisters.

I’ve always felt a kinship with the printers—and more so with Bob. Maybe that comes from spending so much time in the composing room as makeup editor.

You could never associate with a greater bunch of folks -- and Bob was right at the top of the list.

Veteran retired printer Bob Pell dies at home

It has happened to us again, twice in one week. Cal Deshong just e-mailed the sad news that veteran retired printer Robert Pell passed away Thursday at home. The obituary will probably be in Sunday’s Beacon Journal.

The past year was filled with both sad and happy times for Bob who was the mainstay at the monthly Beacon
Journal Retirees Luncheon. Often it was Bob who shot the photos of the lunch which were posted here. The two photos are from retiree lunches. One was in May 2008 which was the last lunch he attended with his son. It was reported at the last lunch in June that Bob was not up to attending. The other photo is from September 2007 when his daughter, Catherine Sanstead, son Bob and daughter-in-law accompanied him.

In March this year, Bob became a great-grandfather with the arrival of Nicholas Joseph, son of grandson Joe and Carrie.

There was sad news the month before. Bob’s sister, Kathryn “Kitty” Brown, died February 5 in Georgia at the age of 80.

The big blow came six days later on February 11 when Bob’s wife Peggy died at the age of 77. She was born August 6, 1929 in Clay, West Virginia to the late W. Erving and Daisy Sizemore.

Bob and Peggy Sizemore were married August 20, 1949 in Clay, WV, and had lived in Wadsworth for 52 years. Bob retired from the Beacon Journal in 1991 after nearly 35 years of service. They had four children, Cathy, Robert Jr., Steve and John; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Pell was honored by the by the Wadsworth Aerie #2117 Fraternal Order of Eagles which dedicated the Bob Pell Pavilion in his honor on July 18, 2004, More than 200 members attended the dedication. The honor was for more than 30 years of service as treasurer of the Aerie by Pell before he resigned because of a health problem. He also was publisher of a four-page newsletter for the lodge which he put together six times a year for eleven years. Bob and his wife, Peg, who had just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, and their son, Bob, and his wife stood proudly in front of the dedication stone at the ceremony. There was a crowd of more than 500 for the picnic after the dedication. The pavilion at 9953 Rittman Road, Wadsworth, is open for rental to members and the public.

In addition to his service to the lodge, Bob did volunteer work for Handicapped Citizens of Medina County. Peggy in her earlier years was a school teacher and a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program.

Here's an update from William Levenson

Sanford Levenson's son Bill of Washington, DC, sent us a note earlier, but here's more he is sharing:

Thank you for the wonderful tribute to my dad and your posts on this site. I knew about his work at the Beacon when I was growing up, but having the title of copy desk editor is most meaningful when you read tributes from his fellow employees at the Beacon where he spent almost his entire working career. He used his professional skills as a journalist and editor as a volunteer in our synagogue, Beth El Congregation, where for many years he was the editor of the monthly bulletin and yearbook. I remember many times my dad bringing the bulletin proofs home and laying out the bulletin on our kitchen table. In later years he used computer graphics to design countless programs for Beth El events and wedding programs. He always enjoyed doing this volunteer work and never got upset when people gave him last minute changes or additions. And as you would expect, any flyer or program he did had to be perfect before it was officially done.

I have been living in Washington, DC for several years and recently bought a condo. Although my dad was not well over the past year, he really wanted to visit and see my new place. He and my Mom came to Washington, DC for a visit this past weekend. He got to see my new place, and being the handyman that he is, was able to make a couple minor repairs to some small things despite his weakened condition. I thought of a couple DC sites that he would appreciate seeing. On Friday we went to the new Newseum, which is well worth a visit. Outside the Newseum, there are reprints of front page newspapers, one from each state. We walked by these slowly and he liked seeing how different front pages were set up (they are also online at under Today's Front Pages). He also liked seeing the history of news gathering over the years. We had lunch that day at the National Press Club, which I was able to get a guest pass so we could see where journalists in DC hang out.

We had a wonderful time when he was in Washington, DC this past weekend, and I am really glad he got to see my new condo and meet some of my friends there. He was fine until Sunday night, when he started to not feel well and lost all his strength. My Mom and he drove back to Akron on Monday. After a long battle with cancer, he went to Hospice on Wednesday morning and died several hours later.

As you know my Dad worked almost his entire career at the Akron Beacon Journal, whose initials are ABJ. Sandra and Sanford Levenson's children are Bill, Joel, and Anne, or in a different order, Anne, Bill, and Joel, or ABJ. Growing up, as you can imagine, we thought this was a very interesting coincidence!

Bill Levenson
Washington, DC

Sandy, you did it to me again

A tribute to Sanford Levenson by the BJ Retirees blog guy:

Sandy did it to me again. I was wondering, waiting, watching for any new word after I got the first urgent message from Olga Reswow in the newsroom that Sandy Levenson had died.

Was it possible he could have died on Wednesday and the funeral was already planned for Thursday? I had my wife looking through all the old Tower Topics and Sidebars for a good mug shot of Sandy. I called the newsroom to see who was writing the obit. It was apparently a young reporter who answered to say they just heard about it.

With Sandy it was always this way. I was always up against a deadline, wondering how we could manage–but Sandy always came through at the last minute.

Sandy never had a hot shot title at the BJ. He didn’t get in the front row of the photo of those who helped win the Pulitzer prize for coverage of the Kent State shootings. But he was there doing his job. He was among those great craftsman who at one time or the other edited the old Beacon Magazine.

He was a brilliant copy editor. Tom Moore, in his memories of Sandy, tells how Sandy could take a half dozen stories and weave them together. But I doubt if Tom got to the truth of the matter. The truth is probably that he and Sandy were alone on the desk. It was deadline and Moore was wondering what to do about the main story of the day. There was a ton of copy. He tossed it to Sandy who probably said. “I don’t know. Give me a minute.” And they made the deadline by a few short minutes.

The glory of those like Sandy is not in job titles, maybe not even in important work.

I can explain it best by Sandy’s earliest years as an old State Desk reporter at the Beacon Journal when he was responsible for filling the Region page for the Barberton area edition. He had to write a column, shoot a photo and write two or three stories each day to fill the page.

On most days, Sandy would have his column, a photo and a couple of rinky-dink stories ready. But you had to have a play story, something you could put a big headline on,

“Nothing’s going on,” he would tell me. “Nothing’s happening. I have to make a few calls.”

I would shout across the room to his desk 50 feet away, “Do you have anything?”

The clock was ticking and I was starting to wonder what story I would have to play from one of the other region pages to fill the hole. I look frantically toward Sandy again. He is on the phone. Finally, I get that hand single from Sandy with a twinkle in his eye meaning. “I have a good lead on the line.” The good lead who provided some relief for us often was Mayor Kenny Cox who seemed always to come up with a genuine news tip when we needed one.

So, as usual, we made the deadline with a few minutes to spare.

That is the real, unglamorous world of news.

So, as I might have expected, Sandy died on a tight schedule of the Fourth of July and the Jewish Sabbath

I can imagine God saying, “What’s the story? We have been waiting for you. But, well done, good and faithful servant.”

Retired copy editor Sanford Levenson dies

Sanford Levenson photos through the years from Beacon Journal files

Sanford Levenson, born on July 30, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio, passed away on July 2, 2008 in Akron, Ohio.

Sanford is survived by his wife, Sandra Levenson (nee Waxman); three children, Bill Levenson of Washington, D.C., Rabbi Joel Levenson (Leora Cohen) of Woodbrige, Conn., Annie Hoffnung (Ari) of Bronx, N.Y.; and granddaughter, Shir Levenson. He is also survived by sister, Arlene Lombardy of Solon, Ohio; brothers, Alan Levenson (Marilyn) of Columbus, Ohio and Jerome (Nena) Levenson of Austin, Texas. Sanford received his BA in Journalism from Ohio University. Early in his career he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his group's reporting of the Kent State riots in 1970. Sanford worked for over 35 years at the Akron Beacon Journal where he began as a reporter in 1966 and later served in a variety of roles including Magazine Editor and features writer. He retired as Copy Desk Editor. He then worked as News Editor of the Medina Gazette. Sanford also volunteered for many years as the bulletin editor of Beth El Congregation where he and his family are long time members.

The funeral service took place on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at the Gordon-Flury Memorial Home. The service was conducted by Rabbi Stephen Grundfast, Cantor Stephen Stein, and Cantor James Gloth. Burial took place at the Rose Hill Cemetery. Family will observe memorial week at their residence. Contributions in memory of Sanford Levenson may be made to Beth El Synagogue, 464 South Hawkins Avenue, Akron, OH 44320.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Friday, July 4, B4, col. 4 ]

Sandy visited Newseum and Press Club

In our first post on Sanford Levenson's death we reported that one source indicated he may have died while visiting a son in Washington. Here's a note from the son, William of Washnington, DC:

My parents did come to Washington, DC this past weekend so they could see my new condo. We went to the new Newseum on Friday, and for lunch that day went to the National Press Club, which he appreciated. He was fine until Sunday night, when he started to not feel well. My Mom and he drove back to Akron on Monday. He went to Hospice on Wednesday morning and died several hours later.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Memories of Sandy Levenson by Tom Moore

The downside of getting old:

Losing good friends and colleagues.

Sandy Levenson was both. He was a newsman who never saw a story he couldn’t edit or a headline he couldn’t write.

On deadline. Fast with no fuss.

A gentle man with a ready smile and a soft voice. He was a big, big asset to the BJ when he joined the staff.

I worked closely with him for many years. A lot of times, on Saturday nights when the Beacon was an afternoon paper, only and he and I would be left for the late trick. And in a short staff situation, he wound up as my only copyeditor. And that was a BIG, BIG plus.

Back in the days when we really published a paper that tried to give readers the best from every angle—we had several wire series…Chicago Daily News, New York Times, Knight Ridder, Associated Press among them—I would hand Sandy a dozen stories on the same subject and tell him I needed 15 inches or 20 inches…combining all those services to get the best story.

And nine times out of 10 the completed story was out to the composing room in nothing flat. And if he thought it couldn’t be done in that space, he’d let me know.

I’ll always have found memories of working with him.

And I’ll remember when he would give me a ride home to North Hill after our night shift. He had one of those first small—and I do mean small—Honda’s.

Of course he was a bit hard of hearing, so on the passenger’s side of that tiny car, he had a big, big speaker mounted under the dash—one you’d expect to find in your den.

So that speaker would be giving us music and he’d be talking over it and looking at me for my replies…as we sped along dark North Street…the car would swerve a bit and the tires hit a curb and bounce off!

Man, what a ride! You haven’t lived without talkng such a ride. I must confess I did feel a bit perturbed, but I said nothing and continued to bum that ride. After all, he was Sandy and I thoroughly trusted him…hoping that we wouldn’t wind up hoping the curb and winding up in the dog pound.

Then there’s the story he told about that little car. He was stopped at a red light when suddenly he started moving forward even though he had the brakes on.

Looking back, he found a big cement truck giving his car a nudge. Seems the driver was so high up, he couldn’t see the little car in front of him, and so he was inching up to the light!

And one Saturday night, Sandy, Dave Boerner, retired, who was news editor then, and I were working when the phone rang. Dave answered it.

He listened a moment or two and then barked: “go to bed!”

He hung up.

Then phone rang again. I answered it. It was a kid’s voice asking for Sandy.

I handed the phone to him. He listed for a minute, then turned to Dave and asked: “Why did you tell my boy to go to bed?”

Of course Dave thought he was talking to one of his kids.

Sandy came to our monthly retiree luncheons when ever he could. (The second Wednesday of every month at Papa Joe’s in the Valley.

And that group keeps getting smaller and smaller.
And now one more is gone.

Sandy, it’s been said time and time again---that old saw that when you were born they threw away the mold.

In your case, my friend, truer words were never spoken!