Monday, September 29, 2008

The Rosenberg crescendo

Whether it is Cleveland sports or even, it seems, Cleveland music the fans go wild.

Former BJ type Don Rosenberg, who has covered the Cleveland Orchestra for nearly three decade
s, was told September 17 by the paper's editor that he will no longer be covering the famed Cleveland Orchestra. Rosenberg will still be a music critic, but Zack Lewis is now the orchestra's reviewer.

The cry when up immediately and seems to be growing every day.

"So what did he do wrong?" blogged Baltimore Sun classical music critic Tim Smith who was one of the first to spring to Rosenberg’s defense.. "He has questioned, more than once, the sanctity of the Cleveland Orchestra's music director, Franz Welser-Most. ...The Plain Dealer has clearly caved into pressure from a faction representing the orchestra and the man on its podium."

Next a bunch of bloggers and the New York Times jumped into the fray. It is a chore just trying to provide viewers with links to all of them.

Not unexpectedly, the best discourse on the sour notes comes from Greg Sandow, a composer, critic and consultant who writes about classical music for–yes–the Wall Street Journal.

“And what kind of newspaper coverage will the Cleveland Orchestra now get?” asks Sandow. “ In Cleveland, the coverage now might look tainted. If Mr. Lewis writes friendly reviews, he might have been told to write them. If he writes unfavorably, he might be bending that way to prove that he's independent. How can anyone know?

“”Nationally, things might look even worse. This whole affair highlights something the orchestra surely doesn't want widely publicized -- that Mr. Welser-Möst has detractors. Who now won't know that? And what will critics write? The orchestra tours every year. Won't critics listen with even more critical ears? They're primed, now, to listen for trouble. And, if only unconsciously, they might want to support Mr. Rosenberg.”

And finally, weighing in Sunday was PD ombudsman Ted Diadiun who wrote:

“Should we believe that, after standing up to angry industry leaders, county commissioners, advertisers and others on issues of journalistic principle, [editor Susan] Goldberg would wither in front of some orchestra patrons? I don't.

“Like many of you, I am sad to lose Donald Rosenberg's voice as orchestra critic of this newspaper. But it doesn't follow that the decision to remove him was based on anything other than Susan Goldberg's honest belief that the change would be in the best interests of the newspaper and its readers - a decision that is her right and responsibility to make.”

Top executives of newspapers often are members of the board of things like the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Clinic, a Chamber of Commerce or any number of community organizations.

Good newspaper reporters know they cannot belong to organizations they might have to cover. It is not that the reporter might write a prejudiced report but sometimes there could be an appearance of a conflict of interest so that what he writes cannot be trusted.

Don Rosenberg was the classical music critic at the Beacon Journal from 1977 to 1989.
You can send email to Rosenberg at

Here are the other links

Baltimore Sun

Wall Street Journal

New York Times

Plain Dealer Ted Diadiun

Arts Journal

Arts Blog of Orange County Register

Andrew Patner

McClatchy renegotiates loan to avoid default

This report is from Edtiror & Publisher

McClatchy Co. said Friday it has renegotiated its agreement with lenders to gain flexibility, winning concessions that help the company avoid a potential default as advertising revenue continued falling.

McClatchy said the amendment to a $1.175 billion debt agreement will change its terms to account for the company's reduced cash flow. In return, McClatchy agreed to put up more collateral and pay higher interest rates.

“It's important for the company to get additional flexibility,” said Mike Simonton, media analyst at Fitch Ratings, which analyzes corporate debt. “The company had exhausted much of the room it had under its prior covenant package.”

Simonton said McClatchy might have come close to hitting a technical default if it hadn't renegotiated the terms by Sept. 30. Such a default ultimately could have forced the company to sell assets or declare bankruptcy.

Other newspaper companies have been in similar situations this year.

“There are a number of newspaper companies negotiating with their bankers right now,” said Ken Doctor, media analyst for the research firm Outsell Inc.

Simonton said McClatchy's efforts to renegotiate debt started long before the meltdown in the financial services industry over the past few weeks, but “certainly getting a deal done in this environment had to be a challenge.”

Click on the headline to read the full story

Do you recognize any of these buyout types?

As promised in mid-August there are some well-known bylines and key personalities at the Beacon Journal who are calling it quits.

Those who have definitely accepted buyouts offered in mid-August are Connie Bloom, Diane Leeders. Ken Love, Mitch
McKenney and Brian Windhorst. Clerk Telli Gulledge also acepted a buyout and found employment so this is her last week. This also i the last week for Leve and Wheeler.

Other extremely possible buyouts are Chip Bok, Dennis Earlenbaugh, Betsy Lammerding, Ann Mezger, Keith McKnight,. Charles Montague, Ted Schneider and Paul Tople.

The newspaper is trying to cut costs by about 20 staffers. One prevailing thought among staffers not only at the Beacon Journal but at other troubled newspapers, including the Plain Dealer, is that it might be best just to take the money and run.

Former Beacon managing editor Stuart Warner and Brian Windhorst have confirmed reports last week on Grumpy Abe’s (Abe Zaidan) blog about their moves. Warner, a writing coach at the PD, says he has accepted a buyout at the Plain Dealer.and is looking at teaching and writing opportunities. Warner, just returned from a Nieman conference at Harvard where he gave a writing presentation, said both his editor and managing editor asked him to stay. [Comments received in an email from Warner have been placed under Comments below.]

The PD apparently has been courting Cavs reporter Windhorst to cover the Cavs for them so he put in for a buyout and will start Oct. 6. Even if his buyout is not accepted, he can get severance pay under a Guild provision. Windhorst has been with the BJ for 15 years.

The newspaper is offering those 55 or older a lump sum payment of their pension entitlement plus $25,000. Younger staffers would get two weeks pay for every year of service plus an extra two weeks pay.

Newspapers are cutting to save money so if staffers pulling down large salaries leave, they can keep more of the younger staff members. Val Pipps, for instance, decided last April to become a full-time teacher of communications at the University of Akron. Could he count for a job plus of the 20 that must be cut?.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dawidziak busy signing his 11th book

Former Beacon Journal –now Plain Dealer– television critic Mark Dawidziak of Cuyahoga Falls Is busy promoting his 11th book:, The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula, just released by New York publisher Continuum.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

This Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to the world’s most famous vampire looks at all aspects of the Dracula phenomenon in often unexpected ways. Illustrated with dozens of photographs, sketches and maps, the painstakingly researched book includes entries o
n the psychological and sociological implications of the novel and the stage plays; the movies; television versions; actors, and, of course, the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.

Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the last of the nineteenth century’s three major horror stories. It followed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but Stoker’s novel had the greater impact on our culture and our nightmares. Count Dracula has been called the king of the vampires, but, in truth, he is the king of all the monsters, and his influence can be seen everywhere today: in everything from the number-obsessed count on Sesame Street to the vast fandom for vampire novels appealing to all ages.
A bit about Mark:

Dawidziak has been the television critic at the PD since July 1999. During his fifteen years at the Beacon, he held such posts as TV columnist, movie critic and critic-at-large. Also an author and playwright, his many books include the 1994 horror novel Grave Secrets and two histories of landmark TV series: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (1989) and The Night Stalker Companion (1997). A recognized Mark Twain scholar, his acclaimed books on the author include Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing (1996) and Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain (2003).

He is currently collaborating with Paul Bauer on Broken Shadows, a biography of “hobo writer” Jim Tully, a forgotten author hailed as “America’s Gorky” and as a literary superstar in the ’20s and ’30s. It will be published in 2010 by the Kent State University Press.

Here’s the list of book talks and signings:

Monday, September 29, 7 p.m.: North Canton Public Library, 185 North Main Street . Please register at 330-499-4712 (ext. 323 or 320)

Thursday, October 9, 7 p.m. Akron Woman’s City Club, 732 West Exchange Street,, Windows of the World Film Series (dinner & movie, or just the movie)
Dracula (1931) film screening Reservations: 330-762-6261

Friday, October 10, 7-8 p.m. Border’s Books, 335 Howe Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls, 330-945-7683

Saturday, October 18, 11 a.m.-4p.m.: GhoulardiFest, Holiday Inn, Cleveland/South
Rockside Road, Independence

Thursday, October 23, 7 p.m.: Nordonia Hills Branch Library, 9458 Olde Eight Road, Northfield, 330-467-8595

Monday, October 27, 7 p.m.: Cuyahoga Falls Library, 2015 Third Street
Cuyahoga Falls, 330-928-2117

Tuesday, October 28, 1 p.m. Akron Woman’s City Club, 732 West Exchange Street Book talk after luncheon

Thursday, October 30, 7 p.m.: Joseph-Beth Booksellers , Legacy Village,
Lyndurst, 216-691-7000

Saturday, Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m.-4p.m.: Buckeye Book Fair, Fisher Auditorium
OARDC Campus, Wooster

Friday, September 26, 2008

Readers want source they can trust

Philip Meyer, the Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil and Washington correspondent of the Beacon Journal 1962-1966, still knows how to write a good lead.

Here’s the lead on his latest thoughts on newspapers in the October/November issue of American Journalism Review:

By Philip Meyer
The endgame for newspapers is in sight. How their owners and manage
rs choose to apply their dwindling resources will make all the difference in the nature of the ultimate product, its service to democracy and, of course, its survival.

Meyer in December 1995 in another article urged stakeholders in newspaper companies to accept the inevitability of lower returns and to apply their resources to
maintaining their community influence. A decade later he wrote a took titled “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age.”

Most took away the wrong message, Meyer writes today. Even he underestimated the velocity of the Internet effect.

“It is now clear t
hat it is as disruptive to today's newspapers as Gutenberg's invention of movable type was to the town criers, the journalists of the 15th century.”

The old town crier’s audience was limited to the number of people who could be assembled and the newspaper changed everything, Meyer writes. And now the intenet moves information with zero cost..

So how do you compete:? By narrowing your focus, Meyer suggests.

What service supplied by newspapers is the least vulnerable?

Here is Meyer’s conclusion?:

I still believe that a newspaper's most important product, the product least vulnerable to substitution, is community influence. It gains this influence by being the trusted source for locally produced news, analysis and investigative reporting about public affairs. This influence makes it more attractive to advertisers.

By news, I don't mean stenographic coverage of public meetings, channeling press releases or listing unanalyzed collections of facts. The old hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no longer sufficient. Now that information is so plentiful, we don't need new information so much as help in processing what's already available. Just as the development of modern agriculture led to a demand for varieties of processed food, the information age has created a demand for processed information. We need someone to put it into context, give it theoretical framing and suggest ways to act on it.

The raw material for this processing is evidence-based journalism, something that bloggers are not good at originating.

Not all readers demand such quality, but the educated, opinion-leading, news-junkie core of the audience always will. They will insist on it as a defense against "persuasive communication," the euphemism for advertising, public relations and spin that exploits the confusion of information overload. Readers need and want to be equipped with truth-based defenses.

Click on the headline to read Meyer’s article.

Vradenburg writing Summit Parks' history

Sarah Vradenberg, retired from the Beacon Journal ivory tower, has completed the first four chapters of the history of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

The plan is to have he writing filnished next year and the book designed next year, according to a story by Bob Downing on page B4 in Thursday's newspaper. The book then would be in print for the 90tj anniversary of the district in 2011.

Gup named J-Department chair at Emerson College

Former Beacon Journal reporter Ted Gup has been named chair of the Journalism Department and professor of journalism at Emerson College in Boston beginning in the Fall of 2009.

Gup is the author of Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life (Doubleday, 2007), which won the 2008 Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard's Joan Shor
enstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy.

A former investigative reporter for The Washington Post and Time magazine, he is also the author of the bestseller, The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA (Doubleday, 2000), and is currently the Shirley Wormser professor of journalism at Case Western Reserve University.

Gup has taught at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing as a Fulbright Scholar. He has written for a wide range of publications, incl
uding Smithsonian, National Geographic, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Village Voice, Sports Illustrated, Slate, GQ, USA Today, Mother Jones, Audubon, Columbia Journalism Review, NPR and Newsweek.

Type Gup in the search box at left above to read earlier posts about Gup on this blog.

Mace Parvin, circulation manager 33 years, dies

Mason Joseph "Mace" Parvin

Mason Parvin, 90, passed over peacefully with family by his side at Summa Palliative Care.

Mace was born in Ashland but lived his entire life in Akron. He retired from The Akron Beacon Journal after 33 years of service as a circulation manager. You never met Mace without a big smile and a "How are you doing?" to greet you. Because of his career with the Beacon, he seemed to know everyone in Akron.

Mace was a kind, caring and wonderful man, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and loyal friend. He was blessed with a happy and long life. He was a member of St. Paul Catholic Church.

He lo
ved sports and the outdoors, especially fishing. He loved his annual trip to Canada with his Dad and brother, Harvey. He loved the company of others and sharing one of his many stories about sports. Mason was a gifted athlete earning many honors at Kenmore High School as a left handed pitcher. He was to try out with the NY Yankee's when World War II changed his and so many other lives. Mace joined the U.S. Air Force and due to his athletic prowess they made him a drill instructor and he pitched on the Armed Forces baseball team. Mason was also a skilled bowler with several certified 300 games in his long league career where he made many life long friends.

Mace was preceded in death by his mother and father, sisters, Wanda and Deborah and brother, Donald. Mace is sadly missed by son, Gary (Nancy); daughter, Cheryl (David) Childress; and dear friend and companion of 33 years, Betty Gephardt. He adored his grandchildren, Stacee (Bob) Mikolich and Valerie (Doug) Ambrose; great- grandchildren, Jack and Sam; brother, Harvey (Shirley); sister, Linda (Kenny) Johnson; close friends, Annie and Rick Volk and Maryann and Denny Davis and their families; many nieces and nephews; his loyal Shepherd Mercedes, and a long list of friends.

Heart felt thanks to the Summa Palliative Care team.

Cremation has taken place. The family will receive friends TODAY from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral Home Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Chapel, 1990 S. Main St. A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church in Akron. Inurnment of ashes at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Paul Catholic Church. (Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz, 330-724-1281, ANTHONY FUNERAL HOME
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Friday, September 26, 2008, page B7, col. 3]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sour Notes from Cleveland reach NY Times

Former BJ type Abe Zaidan is having fun with his new Grumpy Abe blog. There's no end to fodder in politics and music and Abe is watching them both. Here's his latest on the "reassignment" of PD music critic Don Rosenberg which has now caught the attention of the New York Times in an article today headlined "Music Critic vs. Maestro: One Loses His Beat."

Here's Abe's take, stolen verbatim, except for the photos and the link to the New York Times Click on the headline for that.

Rosenberg's wake in NY Times

THE NEW York Times picked up the beat today on the Plain Dealer's rendition of its longtime classical musical critic Donald Rosenberg. In a lengthy report on Rosenberg's demotion that exceeded the paper's own spare announcement by a kilometer or two, the Times filled in much of the score while at the same time failing to get some clarifying words from Susan Goldberg, the paper's editor. She was quoted as saying that she couldn't discuss the issue because it was an "internal personnel matter." Oh?

At this point, I should tell you that I was a colleague and friend of Don at the Beacon Journal, where he was an astute, sensitive and dedicated workaholic. That friendship continues to this day. Make of it what you will.

Having said that, I still must wonder about Goldberg's decision that was bound to raise suspicions that the mighty PD serves masters outside the newsroom, a matter that should alarm most caring journalists in a day when the newspaper business is in tattered retreat both in circulation and credibility. We can hope that his dark event will not be picked up around the country as another Cleveland joke.

My friend Bill who made it out of Firestone Park

Please permit your humble servant, blog guy Harry Liggett, a few remarks to tease an old friend.

As old geezers from Firestone Park are wont (want) to do on occasion, I stretched out on my couch yesterday and clicked on MSNC to lull me to sleep. Suddenly one of those talking heads popped up with the name Bill Hershey underneath. I sat up to get a better look. Sure enough it was our Bill Hershey looking very distinguished (we are all getting older) answering a question from o
ne of those good-looking anchors. She asked how presidential candidates might grab some of those independent Ohio voters. Bill replied that they will have to come to Ohio.

Those good-looking anchors alwayso ask the best questions. If I were more technically astute I might have been able to get an instant replay to show you on the blog. Oh, well.

I have known Bill since he lived on Dresden Ave. in Firestone Park. My memory is
not that great but I sort of recall that he helped me assemble a junky Sears pool table in the basement for my kids,. Older viewers here might remember him as the Mogadore Bureau Chief under the late Pat Englehart.

I stayed on in Firestone Park. Bill went on--mostly to Washington --and is now Columbus Bureau Chief William Hershey of Cox Newspapers. Click on the headline to read one of his recent stories.

If you try to google him, don't just type in Bill Hershey. That will get you all kinds of characters. Try instead Bill Hershey Cox Newspapers.

All about 'Akron Kings of Nonfiction'

R.D. Heldenfels wrote a piece on page B6 in today’s Beacon Journal about a library event involving three former BJ types and and a former WKSU type now with National Public Radio.

Heldenfels tries to explain the program’s title: “Akron Kings of Fiction.”

The BJ types are Dave Giffels, still laboring there, and Chuck Klosterman and Michael Weinreb who have moved on to New York City. The fourth king is Eric Nuzum, who lives in suburban Maryland.

You will find previous posts on this blog about all but Nuzum so we will use his photo.

Nuzum, who is director of programming and Acquisitions for NPR, Outside of public radio, has written, published, and lectured extensively on popular culture, music, and free expression issues.

The Main Event series at the library features ''prominent voices from the worlds of literature, the arts, politics and journalism,'' and each of these four is an established writer.

Giffels' latest work is All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House, which the New York Times called ''sweet and funny.'' He also has co-written Wheels of Fortune, a history of Akron's rubber industry, and Are We Not Men? We Are Devo.

Nuzum's books include Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America and The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires From Nosferatu to Count Chocula. A Beacon Journal review called the latter ''not only hilarious, but highly informative.''

Weinreb's latest work is The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Genuises Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team — which has been published in paperback as Game of Kings. It made's list of the top 10 editors' picks in 2007.

And Klosterman has gained a national reputation with mostly-nonfiction books, such as Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Fargo Rock City and Chuck Klosterman IV.

The event, with free admission, will begin at 2 p.m. in the main library auditorium — long enough after the end of the Road Runner Akron Marathon to make library parking feasible.

Click on the headline to read Heldenfels explainer.

You can find previous posts about the kings by typing their names in the search box at left above. If you only know how to click:.

Go to Giffels

Go to Klosterman 2006 2007

Go to Weinreb

Go to Nuzum's blog to read and listen to him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rx info from Bob Abbott

VIEWERS PLEASE NOTE: Every post from Bob Abbott about the prescription situation that has appeared on this blog now carries a label at the bottom "Rx from Abbott." If you click on that label, it will bring up all of the posts.


Everything takes so long...sorry for the delays...

In my latest contact with attorney Piatt it turns out that there doesn't appear to be anything legal I can do at this point. But he does say that if the BJ refuses to pay what they are paying now there will definitely be a case.

Still not what we signed up for but...

More interesting and hopeful...the BJ HAS paid off a former BJ employee in regard to the prescription card. That case also is continuing on another line...but a check has been cut! And it was done with a small-claims court approach!!

I will have to get his permission to tell you his name and the situation that is ongoing.

It did have to do with the BJ not paying any of his prescription bills. I'm still not up to speed on the details but it sounds like the best break we've had so far. Ruth West knows more about it than I do so you might want to get in touch with her to get a better picture of the situation.

Meantime...I would like to suggest that all of you...and anybody else that's a BJ to your friends and relatives to try to find a lawyer that might help us out. You'll need some details up front to give any legal counsel a heads up on what possibly might be involved. We need to find counsel that has a different approach than the counsel I've been working with. This will take some time but it's worth while if we can pressure the BJ into living up to their agreement for retirees. And remember...even if the prescription card wasn't in writing...if you were getting the benefits of a prescription card at is just as good as in writing.

Let's not just lay down and take it...let's keep trying. I really believe we have a chance...

If I get permission to give out the retiree's name I will let all of you know. As I will as I find out the details of what took place.

A light on the horizon...


bob abbott

Faking It: LA Times writers sue readers

The Fake LA Times is more fun than the real thing. Here’s the latest

L.A. Times writers sue readers
Recent lawsuit against newspaper's owner is expanded to include ex-subscribers who "failed to appreciate our bodacious journalism and recklessly canceled their subscriptions."

By Perry Mason, Staff Writer
On the heels of a class-action lawsuit accusing L.A. Times owner Sam Zell of wrecking the newspaper, dissident Times writers are now suing 425,000 former subscribers for "failing to appreciate our bodacious journalism."

"By recklessly canceling their subscriptions, these morons have caused irreparable harm to the newspaper, breached their civic duty to stay fully informed, and missed some totally awesome articles by Pulitzer Prize-winning auto columnist Dan Neil, as well as money-saving Sunday coupons that could easily offset the subscription price," the lawsuit alleges.

Times employees contend they did everything possible to maintain a relationship with the former readers. "In January 2005, to cite just one example, we published a 2,600-word Home section cover story on decorating your house in the Viennese Secession style of Art Nouveau," the lawsuit said. "You can't get more in touch with average readers than that!"

Additional efforts to entice subscribers included frequent use of the word schadenfreude, a front-page redesign that made the paper look like a ransom note, and gutting the Sports section, according to the lawsuit.

The 425,000 ex-subscribers who were named as defendants declined to comment, saying they started to read the lawsuit this morning, but the opening argument took forever to get to the point, and when they saw the jump was 10,000 words, they put the case down and played online Sudoku instead.

The lawsuit seeks damages of $2.99 a week from each AWOL subscribe

Click on the headline to go to the Fake LA Times site.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your penny's worth for today

Four different designs for pennies in 2009 (Click to enlarge designs for better view)

Honest Abe will remain on the front of pennies in 2009.

Abraham Lincoln's image has been on the front of the penny since 1909. That image will remain in place but four different designs will be on the back of coins to be issued next year. The four different images highlight parts of Lincoln's life. These coins will be issued about 3 months apart in the order they happened.

* His birth in Kentucky (1809 to 1816)
* His youth in Indiana (1816 to 1830)
* His professional life in Illinois (1830 to 1861)
* His presidency in Washington, DC (1861 to 1865)

The U.S. Mint has been producing cents for circulation for 215 years since 1793 Pennies which aren't even made of copper anymore (It's zinc with a copper-coating) are considered by many to be growing more and more unnecessary...and expensive.
Besides the regular circulating version of these coins, a special version may be made for collectors. This version would contain the same metals as the original 1909 cent (95 percent copper, 5 percent tin and zinc) instead of the modern cent's normal mix (2.5 percent copper, the rest zinc).

The U. S. Mint unveiled the new designs during a ceremony Monday at the Lincoln Memorial. The new coins are part of the commemmoration next year of the 200th anniversary or Lincoln's birth.

Penny Lexicon

* A penny for your thoughts (tell me what you're thinking)
* Not one red cent (not giving up a single penny)
* Penniless, not a penny to his name (poor)
* Penny wise and pound foolish (being thrifty in small things but wasteful in important things)
* Put your two cents in (give your opinion)
* Pennies from heaven (small blessings)
* Penny-pinching (stinginess)
* Penny ante (small-time)
* Penny whistle (toy flute)
* Penny arcade (part of an amusement park with coin-operated machines)

Former Guild president Charles Perlik Jr. dies

Reprinted in entireity from the New York Times, September 20, 1948

Charles A. Perlik Jr., who as president of the Newspaper Guild from 1969 to 1987 took liberal stands on issues like the rights of minorities and women in journalism, died Wednesday in Falls Church, Va. He was 84 and lived in Springfield, Va.

He died of natural causes, said his wife, Marion.

As the leader of a union that now represents more than 33,000 reporters, editors and photographers around the country, Mr. Perlik took positions that sometimes led to controversy.

During his tenure, the union appointed a human rights coordinator to work toward guaranteeing equal rights for minorities and women in the news industry. While leading the Guild, Mr. Perlik was also the North American vice president of the International Federation of Journalists and played a prominent role in the federation’s support for journalists’ unions in poor countries. In 1984, he was one of several labor leaders arrested in Washington while protesting apartheid in South Africa.

Mr. Perlik came under criticism in 1972 when, for the first time since its founding 40 years earlier, the Guild endorsed a presidential candidate, Senator George McGovern, Democrat of South Dakota. Then, in 1983, a similar controversy arose when the union backed former Vice President Walter F. Mondale in his unsuccessful run against President Ronald Reagan.

While some members of the Guild expressed concern that such endorsements called journalistic impartiality into question, Mr. Perlik said, in 1983, “We should not surrender our right to speak out on issues of such consequence.”

Charles Andrew Perlik Jr. was born in Pittsburgh on Nov. 13, 1923, a son of Charles and Theresa Perlik. After working on the school newspaper at West View High, Mr. Perlik began studying journalism at Northwestern University. World War II intervened, and after serving in the Army in the Pacific, he returned to Northwestern, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism.

Mr. Perlik’s first job was as an $18-a-week copy boy for the International News Service. He then worked in Chicago for United Press. In 1950, he became a reporter for The Buffalo Evening News, and three years later he was elected president of the newspaper’s Guild local. He began working full time for the union in 1957.

Besides his wife, the former Marion Ford, Mr. Perlik is survived by two sons, Paul and Stephen; a daughter, Lesley; and eight grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Perlik met in 1948, when both were reporters for United Press and she was a Guild representative.

“When he got a 25 percent raise, he thought he was pretty good,” Mrs. Perlik said on Friday. “Then, unfortunately, I had to tell him that it was a Guild-negotiated raise. We used to say that our marriage was union-made.”

[Photo from the Northwestern University Alumni Association Hall of Achievement. See item.

McClatchy: Two years after Knight Ridder buy

Troubled times for McClatchy is the headline for a long (nearly 7,000 words, 48 graphs) artilcle by Dale Kasler on the Sacramento Bee’s busienss pasge on Sunday. It is a good report. Here are a few basic graphs:

The McClatchy Co. has slashed its work force by 20 percent, cut its shareholder dividend in half – and might have to trim some more. In its 151st year, America's third-largest newspaper chain is facing "the biggest challenge in the company's modern history," said Gary Pruitt
, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive officer.

Like practically every chain, McClatchy is struggling with a media revolution. Its newspapers, where it still makes most of its money, are losing ground to the Internet, though its combined newspaper-online readership is growing. But because of the insanely competitive nature of the Web, McClatchy's own Web sites can't grow their revenues quickly enough to mak
e up the difference, even as their audiences grow.

To make matter worse, McClatchy is deeply in debt due to its $4 billion takeover of Knight Ridder Inc. in 2006, a deal that Pruitt now describes in much more sobering terms than before.

In an interview last week, Pruitt said it's "too early to tell" whether McClatchy made the right move in buying Knight Ridder. He believes the acquisition will eventually work out, but said the debt load – now $2.1 billion – has put McClatchy in an uncomfortable spot. Investors are nervous. McClatchy's stock has fallen almost 90 percent since the purchase was completed.

"It's hard to claim it's a good deal when you see the stock performance," Pruitt said.

He said McClatchy is facing "the biggest challenge in the company's modern history," even though it's "strongly profitable."

Despite the power of the Internet, he said most of the lost revenue will come back when the economy recovers. But some experts are more skeptical – and predict the industry's struggle will be lengthy.

"It's going to be a long time before the companies are whole and healthy again," said Peter Zollman, a Florida advertising consultant whose clients include McClatchy.

Pruitt said McClatchy has a growth strategy that's actually working – marrying newspapers and the Internet to dominate the audience in each of its local markets. The weak economy, however, has obscured the progress.

The economy overtook Pruitt's plans to downsize the company gradually. He had been reducing head count through attrition and voluntary buyouts for a couple of years, and in January he OK'd a five-year plan to cut staffing some more, from 14,000 to about 10,000.

Then the bottom fell out. The rate of decline in advertising doubled. By August, sales were off 16.7 percent for the year. Profitability fell in half. Although Pruitt said McClatchy isn't in any danger of defaulting on its debt, the downturn began eating into its margin for error.

The cost cutting was stepped up.

"It ended up being a five-month plan," Pruitt said.

In June, McClatchy announced it would eliminate 1,400 jobs, many through the company's first-ever mass layoffs. Last week, the ax fell on another 1,150 jobs. Staffing will fall to 10,500 by the end of 2008. McClatchy also imposed a one-year wage freeze.

Pruitt wouldn't rule out further reductions.

"It may get worse before it gets better," he said.

Because of its heavy concentration in hard-hit California and Florida, McClatchy's revenue is falling faster than most media companies.

Click on the headline to read the full storyl

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Was PD music critic too tough on Orchestra?

Former BJ type Don Rosenberg, who has covered the Cleveland Orchestra for nearly three decades and i
s the author of a book about the orchestra.was told Wednesday by the paper's editor that he will no longer be covering the famed Cleveland Orchestra

"So what did he do wrong?" writes Baltimore Sun classical music critic Tim Smith.. "He has questio
ned, more than once, the sanctity of the Cleveland Orchestra's music director, Franz Welser-Most. ...The Plain Dealer has clearly caved into pressure from a faction representing the orchestra and the man on its podium."

Grumpy Abe Zaidan’s blog also blasted the PD on this move.
See his blog.

Here’s the lead on Smith’s column:

Don Rosenberg, music critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer for 16 years, was told yesterday by the paper's editor that he will no longer be covering the famed Cleveland Orchestra. He has been given the option of reviewing other musical events in town, as well as dance. Another writer at the paper, Zack Lewis, was told he will now be orchestra's reviewer. First, the full disclosure: I've known Don and Zach for years; both are members of the Music Critics Association of North America and its board of directors; Don is the immediate past president of that organization; I'm the current president. Now, the full, unbridled response to this news: It stinks.

Franz Welser-MostMusic critics are hired to deliver critical opions. If those opinions are not popular with some people, tough. As long as the critic demonstrates musical knowledge and a keen ear for what is involved in the art of music-making, the critic is fulfilling the job requirements. Don's musical background is as good as it gets, his evaluations reasoned and sensitive. He has covered the Cleveland Orchestra for nearly three decades (including a stint with another area paper), and he's the author of the definitive book about that orchestra. So what did he do wrong? He has questioned, more than once, the sanctity of the Cleveland Orchestra's music director, Franz Welser-Möst, who started in 2002 and has had his contract renewed a couple times, the last extension taking him all the way to 2018. Don has judged that Welser-Möst is lacking in certain abilities in certain repertoire, that he doesn't necessarily get the best out of music or the eminent ensemble. Yet, Don is also the first to admire what the conductor does best, as was the case a few months ago after a performance of Dvorak's Rusalka. Don wrote that Welser-Möst "was in his element ... shaping a performance full of atmosphere and energy. He emphasized flexibility and shaded Dvorak's luminous paeans to nature with tenderness." Don went on to suggest that more spacious phrasing would have benefited a couple of passages, "but Rusalka is surely one of the highlights of Welser-Möst's tenure."

BJ is, of course, the other area paper.

Click on the headline to read Tim Smith’s Clef Notes column

That's the Baltimore Tim Smith not the former BJ Smith at KSU.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our man in Lexington gets the axe

Our man at the troubled Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader is no longer there as our man at the Herald-Leader.

Larry Froelich retired as news editor of the newspaper in 2005, but then went back to work part-time.

That ended abruptly Wednesday, however, but let Larry explain the upheavel at that McClatchy (former Knight Ridder) newspaper.:

Hell, they even gave my parttime contribution the axe today. Asked me to "report" to HR @ 5. I said I'm retired & don't "report" to anyone but my wife. Then I was told all parttime work was being eliminated and I wasn't getting any severance. I laughed. Like I expected anything. Ten more newsrm jobs disappeared today. They were using me to plug the leaks. Scheduling has to be the worst job.

You can send congratulations to Froelich at

See earlier post about the trouble in Lexington

Bradenton Herald seeks competitor for printing help

They’ve been competitors since the beginning, but now they’ll be working together -- sort of.

The Bradenton Herald plans to have its paper printed by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in a cost-savings measure that is part of an overall plan by the McClatchy Co. to snip off $100 million in expenses.

McClatchy took ownership of the Bradenton paper when it acquired Knight Ridder in 2006 for $6.5 billion in cash and debt. Earlier this week, McClatchy said it was removing 1,150 jobs from its payrolls, representing 10 percent of its work force.

Despite decades-old rivalry, the current economic climate – especially for print publications – made such a move necessary, said Diane McFarlin, publisher of the Herald-Tribune in the newspaper’s report Wednesday.

“Printing presses are so expensive and our production facilities are only 10 miles apart,” McFarlin told her paper. “We probably should have done this a long time ago, but competition got in the way.”

The Bradenton Herald boasts a 41,200 daily circulation while the Sarastoa Herald-Tribune, owned by The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), delivers 118,300 issues every day.

Click on the headline to read the story in the Tampa Bay Busness Journal.

Moody downgrades McClatchy ratings

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded McClatchy Co.'s corporate family and probability of default ratings to B2 from Ba3 and its senior unsecured notes to Caa1 from B1. "The downgrade reflects our expectation that ongoing significant declines in advertising revenue will continue to pressure EBITDA -- leading to an increase in leverage and heightened risk of a credit facility covenant violation," said Moody's. The move follows the company's announcement that it will lay off about 1,150 employees, equivalent to 10% of its total workforce, in an effort to reduce costs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lexington (KY) Guild: on selling corporate jet

Lexington Newspaper Guild release

Sept. 17, 2008

In the last nine months, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader journalists and employees have endured a wage freeze, seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket and had their short-term disability benefits gutted by 40 percent. In June, McClatchy announced corporate-wide layoffs of 1,400.

On Tuesday, McClatchy announced further staffing reductions of 1,150 nationwide. The Herald-Leader announced today it is laying-off 22 employees in Lexington, including nine employees represented by the Newspaper Guild-CWA.

Yet McClatchy's corporate headquarters has been spared the brunt of cost cutting. In fact, McClatchy has added to its corporate bureaucracy. And not long ago CEO Gary Pruitt was even awarded an $800,000 performance bonus as the company's stock tanked. Even when considering the wage freeze implemented for executives, corporate compensation is still excessive.

To add insult to injury, McClatchy only grounded its corporate jet (a 2005 Dassault Falcon 2000EX jet, tail number N57MN) in the last month. As McClatchy was making its employees bleed to pay off crushing debt incurred by corporate decisions, McClatchy executives were jet-setting in luxury. From April 16 to Aug. 5, the jet was flown 30 times, according to Many of the destinations were only a one- or two-hour drive away.

As workers were asked to do more with less, McClatchy executives enjoyed a plane that features two large flat-panel TVs, with 10 leather passenger seats and a wet bar with quarter fig mahogany cabinetry. A basic Falcon 2000ES cost $23.5 million in 2003. To put that in perspective, $23.5 million is more than the annual profits of many small- to medium-sized newspapers. The Guild applauds the company for selling this extravagant luxury (, but we ask how many jobs could have been saved had McClatchy sold this jet a year ago?

We find it deeply disturbing that the company looked to push loyal employees into the unemployment line before it forced its overpaid executives to sit in an hour or two of traffic.

Gawker on Wall St. Journal corrections

From the Gawker:

WSJ Misidentifies Canada. Twice.

An Aug. 9 essay on Jamaica runners in Weekend Journal that referred to Jamaican immigration to Canada in the 1960s incorrectly identified Canada as New Canada. Separately, an Aug. 16 Olympics article on Canada’s medal count incorrectly referred to the country as the Commonwealth of Canada.

This is what happens when you let an Australian-born media mogul buy an American newspaper and import his chief editor from Britain: Suddenly no one on staff can correctly identify the country to the north (for the record, it's "Canada" — just "Canada"). And to think we actually believed Robert Thomson would make the Wall Street Journal more globalist!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McClatchy to cut 1,150 jobs, trim dividend to 9 cents

"We’re past all the stages of death and mourning and denial and rage and we're now in the acceptance mode. We’re building fucking Edsels in Detroit here. Some of us are going to do this until we die. Or until they kill us. And it looks they’re killing more of us now." –Miami Herald reporter

The McClatchy Co. said today it is reducing its workforce by an additional 10 percent and cutting its quarterly dividend in half.

The job cuts, which are already underway and include voluntary buyouts announced earlier this month, will cut about 1,150 full-time jobs nationwide.

The moves are intended to help the company as it contends with an advertising slump that continues unabated. In August, advertising revenue fell by 17.8 percent compared with the same month last year, according to a statement released by the Sacramento, Calif.-based company.

It is McClatchy's second mass job reduction effort in the past three months. In June, the company implemented its first companywide layoffs that eliminated 1,400 full-time jobs.

"It is painful to announce these staff reductions, but the continued restructuring of our company is necessary given the relentless economic downturn and its impact on our business," McClatchy Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a statement. "McClatchy is committed to remaining a healthy, profitable company positioned to meet current challenges."

The company is reducing its third quarter dividend to 9 cents per share from 18 cents in the second quarter, the statement said. The job cuts will save the company $100 million over the next four quarters.

OC Register: Interested buyers; cost-sharing with LA

By Rick Reiff

Orange County Business Journal Staff
Businessmen and philanthropists George Argyros and Larry Higby are interested in buying the Orange County Register, the Business Journal has learned.

Separately, the Register is said to be in talks with once-bitter rival the Los Angeles Times about combining some operations in a cost-sharing deal.

The Register also is considering a switch to tabloid-size paper to save on newsprint. And the Santa Ana-based daily paper recently announced a trial project to cut costs by outsourcing some layout and copy editing to India .

“We are having a lot of conversations that in the past in a different environment would have been inconceivable,” said Scott Flanders, chief executive of the Register’s parent company, Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc.

Argyros, a real estate and investments billionaire, and Apria Healthcare Group Inc. Chief Executive Higby have talked with Flanders about their interest in buying the Register, according to sources familiar with the situation.

When asked about the talks, Flanders declined to comment.

Argyros and Higby weren’t reachable late last week.

The businessmen reportedly expressed a desire to keep the Register independent and locally owned.

The conversations were described as preliminary.

The overture from Argyros and Higby comes as the Register and almost all other daily newspapers are reeling from declining readership and a steep drop in advertising revenue, particularly in once-lucrative classified ads that have moved to the Internet.

In April, the Register announced its third round of layoffs within a year, cutting another 80 to 90 jobs, about 5% of its workforce. Publisher Terry Horne hasn’t ruled out more layoffs.

Earlier this year, the Register reported a 12% yearly drop in daily circulation. Horne recently said that advertising revenue had posted a double-digit percentage yearly drop. Other papers, including the Los Angeles Times, have reported similar, if not worse, declines.

Freedom Communications, which owns dailies, weekly community papers and television stations across the country, has revenue of more than $750 million a year, down from more than $800 million last year. The flagship Register accounts for about a third of its revenue and now a smaller share of profits.

In recent years, the Register’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were estimated at about $70 million, though it is believed to be much lower now.

Privately held Freedom doesn’t disclose detailed financials.

The situation at the Register and elsewhere at Freedom has raised doubts that the heirs of company founder R.C. Hoiles, who own an estimated 55% of the company, will be able to engineer their hoped-for buyout of private equity investors next May.

That’s when Blackstone Group LP and Providence Equity Part-ners LLC can force the buyback of the roughly 45% stake they bought in 2004. The investment was part of a restructuring that enabled dissident heirs to cash out of the company.

But analysts and others have said it’s possible the private equity firms won’t exercise their “put rights” next May because they’re unlikely to recoup their investment, given the declining values of Freedom and other newspaper companies.

Valuing the Register would be tricky. The paper once was valued at about $700 million. Now it could be worth $150 million or less based on current results.

Argyros, chairman and chief executive of Costa Mesa-based real estate company Arnel & Affiliates and the money behind investment firm Westar Capital LLC, is one of the county’s best-known figures.

He’s a major benefactor of Chapman University , where schools and buildings are named after him, and served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to Spain earlier this decade.

A newspaper would fit in with his eclectic taste in investments, which through the years has included the Seattle Mariners baseball team, airline AirCal and doghouse maker Dogloo.

A longtime friend of Argyros, Higby was recruited by Argyros to Lake Forest-based Apria, a provider of healthcare to patients in their homes. Argyros was an investor and driving force behind the creation of Apria in the 1990s.

Higby recently negotiated the sale of Apria to Blackstone (the same company that’s invested in the Register) for $1.6 billion. The deal is expected to close by year’s end.

Higby brings newspaper knowledge. He was at the Los Angeles Times from the late 1980s to 1994, with stints as executive vice president of marketing and as president of the OC edition. He also was an executive with Unocal Corp. and PepsiCo Inc.

Meanwhile, the Register and Los Angeles Times are said to be exploring the combination of some operations.

The potential move would have some similarity to a joint operating agreement—an anti-trust exemption device little used in the past decade but permitted by Congress under the 1970 Newspaper Preservation Act.

But any move may not be as formal as a traditional joint operating agreement, sources said.

Under the plan, according to sources, the ownership and editorial operations of the Times and Register would remain separate. Printing, distribution and mailing would be combined. Whether advertising would be combined is in question, according to sources.

The potential move would be a dramatic change from the 1990s, when the two papers waged war for readers in OC. The battle faded with Chicago-based Tribune Co.’s 2000 buy of the Los Angeles Times and a shift to a more regional focus.

Joint operations are one of several moves the Register is looking at to deal with a newspaper slump that seems to be getting worse.

Register publisher Horne recently told trade publication Editor & Publisher that his paper is studying a switch to a tabloid size.

The potential move would cut the size of the paper by about half, taking it from a vertical, broadsheet that folds in the middle to a more compact size like those of the Register’s weekly community newspapers.

In May, Horne said in a speech that he wouldn’t be surprised if every paper in the country became a tabloid in five years, although the Register had no plans to switch at the time.

With the switch under consideration, Horne says he prefers a tabloid as it is easier on readers.

[Reiff is a former BJ staffer]

'Radical Islam' video angers subscribers

A controversial DVD distributed to millions of Americans during the past week through direct mail and newspapers, including the Beacon Journal, Miami Herald and others,, has angered many Muslims.

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West is being packaged as an advertising insert by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit organization that promotes ''national security through education.' The hour long preview of the documentary was send to 28 million households, many in election swing states such as Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, through next week.

The DVD includes montages of terrorist training camps and suicide bombers paired with narration by commentators such as Daniel Pipes, founder of the conservative Middle East Forum think tank. Many of the film's pundits are known for controversial views on Islam. In one part of the DVD, clips of Muslim children being recruited as suicide bombers are interspersed with images of Nazis.

''My cellphone has been ringing off the hook . . . We feel that it's going to incite more hate and bigotry against our community,'' said Altaf Ali, Florida chapter director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The DVD does not do enough to differentiate between terrorists and mainstream Muslims, he said.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Remember young Jeff? He's faculty member now

Do you remember Jeff Sallot, the young Kent State University student who was a member of the actual staff that won the BJ Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the shootings at the university?

Jeff in 2007 accepted a position on the faculty of the Journalism and Communiction at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, after a long reporting career at the Globe and
Mail and

Sallot has been the Globe’s bureau chief in Moscow, Ottawa and Edmonton, the lead political correspondent for the Globe’s website during recent federal elections, and has reported from every corner of Canada, and from more than 30 foreign countries.

A graduate of the Kent State University journalism school, he shared the Pulitzer Prize with colleagues for his eyewitness coverage of the shooting of four Kent State students by t
he Ohio National Guard during an anti-war demonstration.

His coverage of Royal Canadian Mounted Police security service scandals in Quebec for the Globe resulted in the publication of his book on police corruption.

As the Moscow bureau chief from 1988 to 1991, he covered the disintegration of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War.

Sallot was the Globe’s diplomatic and security correspondent, based in Ottawa, from 1992 until he joined the faculty. He’s covered violent conflicts in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Russia, Armenia and Lithuania. He was a National Newspaper Award finalist for political reporting in 2004.

He’s been awarded fellowships with the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament in Ottawa and the Asia Pacific Foundation in Japan and China.

He’s been a guest commentator for the BBC, CBC Radio and TV, CTV and other broadcast networks.

Carleton has nearly 900 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in its journalism and mass communication programs. In 1977, the School of Journalism at Carleton University formally launched an undergraduate program in the academic study of mass communication, leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. A Master of Arts program was added in 1991, and in September 1997, the school introduced its Ph.D program. In order to reflect the dual streams of study, the name of the school was changed in 1992 to the School of Journalism and Communication.

You can send email to Jeff at

Beacon Journal plans another layoff of 11

The Newspaper Guild has been given a 60-day layoff notice for reducing the Beacon Journal newsroom staff by 11, including five reporters and three copy editors plus a photographer, artist and clerk. Photographer Ken Love who has already signed up for a buyout would not be included in that number, but the staff would then go down by a dozen.

Viewers should not take much much stock in the next graph since some could voluntarily step forward to accept a buyout and other factors would have to be considered.

If the layoffs were to be by seniority though some of the top staff members with least amount of seniority could be hit including reporters Rich Armon, Patrick McManamon, Lisa Abraham, Stephanie Storm and Malcom Abram, copy editors Susan Gapinski, Elissa Murray and Jamie Hogan, photo assignment editor Bob Demay, artist Rich Steinhauser and clerk Telli Carter.

It is doubtful, for instance, that the company would want to cut two reporters from sports. Armon and MaManamon are the only two Guild reporters with less than five years of experience. The copy editors mentioned above are the only ones with less than five years experience. Steinhauser, the artist with the least seniority, has been an employee for more than 13 years. Demay has been at the BJ for eight years; the other photographers for 11 to 37 years.

Galveston paper hasn't missed an edition yet

Hurricane Ike blew the roof off Galveston's daily newspaper and reduced its equipment to a single cell phone, but the Galveston County Daily News never missed an edition. Editor Heber Taylor said readers who evacuated would receive every edition they missed when they returned.

The Daily News printed its Saturday edition Friday in advance of the storm, but the mandatory evacuation made distribution difficult, editor Heber Taylor said.

Taylor was blogging as the eye of the storm passed over Galveston Island and the natural gas that powered the generator was cut off. The power went out as Taylor put the period to his last sentence: "We are about to lose contact."

The newspaper plunged into darkness, and the wind tore off the roof soon afterward, allowing in rain that soaked the interior. The storm surge lapped at the newspaper's doorstep.

"We have no newsroom to go to," reporter Rhiannon Meyers said.

The next morning, Taylor made arrangements with the Herald Zeitung in New Braunfels to do the layout and the Victoria Advocate to do the printing.

"We haven't missed an edition yet," Taylor said.

Meyers and reporters Leigh Jones and Sara Foley dictated their stories, using up their cell phone batteries in the process.

"The sole equipment we have is my cell phone," Taylor said.

Photographer Jennifer Reynolds had to borrow equipment from photographers from another newspaper to transmit her photos to New Braunfels.

The Sunday edition was trucked in from Victoria late in the day after uncertainty about whether officials would allow an exception to the city's closure of the island.

Taylor said readers would receive every edition they missed when they returned.

Reporting was difficult for reporters who knew the community well.

"I interviewed people today who are my neighbors, my friends and my sources," Meyers said. "Some of them are not coming back or nearly died. I seriously cried a couple of times."

Jones learned that her house was a total loss from a volunteer firefighter she encountered.

Jones hopes that she and her fellow Daily News reporters bring something special to their coverage because they live on the island.

"It makes our reporting deeper and more meaningful," she said.

[Source: Houston Chronicle]

BJ plans more cuts in Ad Creative Services

The Beacon Journal is planning more staff cuts in the Ad Creative Services department. By eliiminating personnel and shifting some graphic designers to a new second shift. The purpose apparently is to meet deadlines. Pay increases have been frozen. Errors affecting advertisers like Wayside and IGA have made it necessary to print retractions apologizing for them. The ad errors occurred after Phil White, advertising customer service manager, lost his job in earlier cuts in June. . White is 55 years old and began working at the Beacon Journal on June 23, 1975.
See our earlier post on White.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

PD and BJ stars in latest Jargon issue

Jargon, the magazine of Kent State University's School of Journalism which arrives in the mail this week, includes the usual smattering of alumni from the BJ and PD.

Four Plain Dealer stars are featured at length in the main article and one, Regina Brett, is a BJ transplant. Others who tell how KSU prepared them to excel in journalism careers are Connie Schultz, Mary Kay Cabot and Rachel Dissell. Mentioned are:
  • Brett, '86, for a series "The Inheritance" about the battle she and her daughter both fought against cancer,
  • Schultz, '79, for a series on the band journey toward playing in Beijing weeks before the Olympics
  • Cabot, '84, for a series of videos covering the 2008 Browns trainng camp.
  • Dissell, '01, on an 18-year-old girl who overcame a near fatal attack that left her emotionally and physically scarred.
Beacon Journal types In a list of KSU's Pulitzer Prize winning alums, some of whom actually worked on the stories, were Albert Fitzpatrick, Lacy McCrary, Ron Clark, Jim Toms, Jeff Sallot and Chuck Ayers. John Filo, who shot the famous photo of Mary Vecchio at Kent State, also was mentioned. Photographer Paul Tople was not in the list but was quoted in an accompanying story.

Friday, September 12, 2008

BJ carriers to deliver the PD

Effective Monday, Akron Beacon Journal carriers will also be delivering The Plain Dealer in select counties, reported this afternoon.

“It's strictly a business decision," says Jim DeLuca, Vice-President of Circulation for the Akron Beacon Journal. He adds the newspapers are not merging.

The site has audio of DeLuca explaining the collaboration. Carriers in some cases may be delivering both newspapers to one home. At least, they will be delivering both papers along the same routes they have now.

DeLuca says it will save The Plain Dealer money and generate money for the Beacon.
Names of Plain Dealer newspaper carriers in Summit, Medina, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties, were given to the ABJ. They'll be out of jobs unless the Beacon wants to use them as their carriers.

For delivering both papers, the publication carriers will get almost double the pay.

Go to the site to listen to the video

Note from Rick Reiff in Orange County, CA

A note from Rick Reiff in Orange County, CA:

Life is great here in OC, if you put aside the "recession" and tumbling home prices. But we were due, too much exuberance. Got married to a wonderful lady in February, my second grandkid is on the way!

Anyway, regarding OCR [plans to go to tabloid format] I reported back in June a comment by OCR publisher Terry Horne that he wouldn't be surprised if every daily in the country became a tabloid within five years to save on print costs, although he told me at the time the register had no plans to do so. Now, per E&P, that has changed, as he is studying it. I am further told that advertisers are now being pitched on the idea and it will happen. Horne says he prefers the tab format. When/if it happens, I'll be happy to send you a jpeg etc.

And how's ABJ doing in this brave new world?

Still rooting for the Tribe, tho this season I'm more focused on my boyhood White Sox and adopted Angels. Tell everybody hi!

Rick Reiff
Executive Editor/Columnist "OC Insider"
Orange County Business Journal
Executive Producer/Host "Inside OC"
phone (949) 683-2414

Berenice T. (Suppan) Boehme dies at 88

Berenice T. (Suppan) Boehme
Berenice T. Boehme, born in Catasauqua, Pa. on June 9, 1920, passed away in her sleep on September 9, 2008 at the Pebble Creek Nursing Facility.

She worked a
t the Akron Beacon Journal, O'Neils and Ankore Exhibits, a family owned business until 2001. She was also a member of the St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Sr.; brother, George and sister, Magdelina. She is survived by her children, Marilyn "Lyn" (Dick) of Columbus, Carol, Rebecca and Carl Jr. (Claudia) of Akron; sisters, Helen, Hortense and Annamae (Joe); brothers, Norbert (Harriet), John and Raymond (Donna); sister-in-law, Anna; grandchildren, David and Kaylin; great-grandchildren, Kendall and Jordan.

Cremation ha
s already taken place. Memorial service will be on Sunday September 14, 2008 at 4 p.m. at the Schermesser Funeral Home, 600 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road (Route 619). Calling hours will be prior to service from 2 to 4 p.m. A private inurnment will take place at a later date at the Holy Cross Cemetery. (SCHERMESSER-GREEN 330-899-9107)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Friday, September 12, 2008, page B6, col. 5]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sympathy for the CEO in Sacramento

The Sacramento, an alternative news site to the Sacramento Bee, has posted a long, convuluted treatise by R.V. Scheide on Gary Pruitt with this header:.

Sympathy for the CEO
Sacramento Bee parent McClatchy Company is headed for the bottom. Company head Gary Pruitt aims to stem the tide, or go down with the ship.

The article has only three or four graphs focusing on Pruitt's problems. One is the speculation about the company’s future created when Pruitt resigned from four McClatchy trusts. The rest of the article mosty talks about how Scheide and Pruitt are both Rolling Stones fans. The photo of Pruitt with his sleeves rolled up accompany the article.

Here are the three graphs.

Since Pruitt began engineering the risky, controversial purchase of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain three years ago, McClatchy’s price per share has plummeted nearly 90 p
ercent. It’s as if the company clawed its way up the Cables Route, only to plunge down the 4800-foot precipice on the other side.

As this issue was going to press, Pruitt resigned from four trusts that control 80 percent of McClatchy’s voting stock, sparking speculation that the publicly traded company may go private—a move that would undoubtedly anger shareholders—with Pruitt cast as the fall guy.

Pruitt says that’s nonsense, but everyone’s waiting for the splat. However, Pruitt has defied the odds before. In a decade of industry decline and stiffening competition from the Internet, the boyish, charismatic CEO known to quote Rolling Stones lyrics charted a steady course to the top. Then the bottom fell out of the real-estate market, sucking McClatchy and the entire newspaper industry down with it. They’re already calling 2008 the year the newspaper died.

It is the worst year of Gary Pruitt’s life.

Click on the headline if you like.

Sacramento Bee takes 87 buyouts

Under continued pressure to reduce costs, The Bee cut its work force on Wednesday by another 7 percent, this time through voluntary buyouts.

The Bee said 87 full- and part-time employees accepted a buyout offer that followed a previous round of layoffs and attrition in June that shrank the staff by 8 percent.

The buyouts went to 23 newsroom employees.

It wasn't clear whether that's the end of the staff cuts. At the time buyouts were offered, Publisher and President Cheryl Dell said more layoffs were possible if there weren't enough takers.

She said on Wednesday the paper won't know for a couple of weeks if the buyouts did the trick.

"I know there's anxiety with not having an answer today," she said.

The newspaper industry has been hobbled by the economic slump and competition from the Internet, prompting layoffs at almost every chain.

Revenue is down 15 percent this year at The Bee's parent, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento. Advertising has fallen 22 percent at McClatchy's California papers.

McClatchy is also dealing with speculation about its future following the resignation last Friday of Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt as a co-trustee of four trusts that control much of the McClatchy family's company stock. Pruitt sharply denied a Wall Street Journal column Wednesday suggesting that his resignation was a first step toward a financial restructuring of the company.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.

Mexican billionaire buys 6.4 pct. stake in NY Times

Carlos Slim Helú, the Mexican telecommunications billionaire, and his family have acquired a 6.4 percent stake in The New York Times Company, he revealed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Carlos Slim Helú has a history of buying depressed assets.

Mr. Slim, sometimes called the wealthiest man in the world, controls cellular and landline phone companies, a
nd has major investments in retail, construction, banking, insurance, railroads and mining. In March, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $60 billion.

His spokesman, Arturo Elias, was traveling and not available for comment. His primary company, Teléfonos de México, declined to comment.

The Times Company also declined comment. Its stock closed on Wednesday at $13.96 a share, down 4 cents, giving the Slim family’s 9.1 million shares a value of $127 million.

Mr. Slim has a history of buying depressed assets he can later sell at a profit, and several analysts familiar with his investments say they see the purchase of the Times Company stock in that vein.

In recent years, he has acquired stakes in several companies in the United States, where he has not been known to take a direct role. Those companies have included Saks, owner of the Saks Fifth Avenue stores; the tobacco company Altria; and the telecommunications company Global Crossing.

Click on the headlinne to read the full story in the New York Times.

See also the Editor & Publisher story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rick Reiff, hopefully our OC correspondent

Probably you all knew this, but it slipped our feeble mind. After posting an item about the possibility that the Ora
nge County Register was going tabloid, the thought occurred that there was a former BJ type around there who might know a little more.

Finally after a couple of days pondering, the name Rick Reiff popped into our head. You have probably "been there,done that" but I had to google to find

There was a photo of a little older looking, but still distinguished, Reiff we now remember.

Be sure to check out this bio:

Rick Reiff is executive editor of the Orange County Business Journal, California's second largest business weekly, and author of its popular "OC Insider" column. He is also the host and executive producer of the weekly "Inside OC" program on KOCE-TV, the nation's sixth-most wat
ched public television station.

In addition, he is a media and journalism professor at Chapman University, a media consultant and a public speaker.

Reiff has received a Pulitzer Prize and a Golden Mike Award, distinguishing him in both print and broadcast journalism.

He was a staff writer with Forbes magazine and a reporter at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, where he was the lead reporter on a team that won a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Goodyear's battle with a corporate raider.

Reiff is a native of Chicago and a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

He is a director of the Orange County Press Club and a preliminary judge for the annual Gerald Loeb Awards in business journalism. He has performed in seven of the annual CHOC Follies benefiting Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Rick is married to Mary Ann Brown, senior vice president of Pacific Life Insurance Co. He has a daughter, Jennie; a son-in-law, OC Fire Authority Capt. Steve Miller; and a grandson, Elias Miller.

Email was sent to Reiff to ask what he knows about the tabloid. If you want to get in touch, it is:

Press release from Gary Pruitt

[last update 2:26 p.m. EDT Sept. 10, 2008]
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 10, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall) Gary Pruitt, chairman and CEO of The McClatchy Company, issued a statement today regarding a recent Wall Street Journal "Heard on the Street" column about the impact of his recent resignation as a co-trustee of four trusts for the benefit of McClatchy family members.

"I have been one of four trustees of these trusts for the past five years and it has always been my intent to name a successor trustee to replace me," Pruitt said. Last week Pruitt named McClatchy board member Leroy Barnes, Jr. as his successor trustee. "Given Leroy's tenure on our board, his financial expertise and his working relationship with McClatchy family members, I felt it was the right time to make this transition. This was my independent decision and it should not be read as a precursor to any move by the company or McClatchy family, including taking the company private or altering its capital structure. Any statements or speculation to the contrary are incorrect," he added. "The company is working hard to navigate this period of transition in our in industry and we are continuing to make good progress on a number of fronts. I remain confident of McClatchy's future success," Pruitt said.

About McClatchy
The McClatchy Company is the third largest newspaper company in the United States, with 30 daily newspapers, approximately 50 non-dailies, and direct marketing and direct mail operations. McClatchy also operates leading local websites in each of its markets which extend its audience reach. The websites offer users comprehensive news and information, advertising, e-commerce and other services. Together with its newspapers and direct marketing products, these interactive operations make McClatchy the leading local media company in each of its premium high growth markets. McClatchy-owned newspapers include The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, the Charlotte Observer, and The (Raleigh) News & Observer. McClatchy also owns a portfolio of premium digital assets, including 14.4% of CareerBuilder, the nation's largest online job site, and 25.6% of Classified Ventures, a newspaper industry partnership that offers two of the nation's premier classified websites: the auto website,, and the rental site, McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI.

Additional Information:
Statements in this press release regarding future financial and operating results, including revenues, anticipated savings from cost reduction efforts, cash flows, debt levels, as well as future opportunities for the company and any other statements about management's future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans or prospects constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing the words "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," estimates and similar expressions) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, including: the duration and depth of an economic recession in markets where McClatchy operates its newspapers may reduce its income and cash flow greater than expected; McClatchy may not consummate contemplated transactions which may enable debt reduction on anticipated terms or at all; McClatchy may not achieve its expense reduction targets or may do harm to its operations in attempting to achieve such targets; McClatchy's operations have been, and will likely continue to be, adversely affected by competition, including competition from internet publishing and advertising platforms; McClatchy's expense and income levels could be adversely affected by changes in the cost of newsprint and McClatchy's operations could be negatively affected by any deterioration in its labor relations, as well as the other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's publicly filed documents, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 30, 2007, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. McClatchy disclaims any intention and assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this release.
SOURCE The McClatchy Company