Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beaming Up Ann Mezger to the good life

Ann (Sheldon) Mezger got a really nice liftoff from her BJ friends yesterday, we hear.

Ann, a real Star Trek fan, has finally escaped the Battle Star Gallactica wars at the BJ. Someone photo-shopped a picture of the crew with Ann in the middle.

We tried to get a copy but -- alas -- a photo editor type was afraid of getting in trouble with copyright infringement and said you would have to go to the Christmas party to see it.

Star Wars, you know, stresses the self-destuctive nature of fear, anger, hate, selfishness, and lust for power,
Since 9/11 the Force has taken a buyout.



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bob DeMay starts blog for photographers

Bob DeMay at the Beacon Journal has started a blog for the Ohio News Photographers Association at

A link to the blog has been added at left.

Here is an early post by DeMay

Downsizing - subtraction by subtraction

By Bob DeMay

Get a couple of media types in a conversation these days and the subject is more than likely going to be about industry downsizing rather than what story they are pursuing. Hard to blame em - first you need to have a job before you can worry about what you're going to produce..

David Carr with the New York Times compares the newspaper industry with Circuit City who has recently filed for bankruptcy. There are many who think the demise of the electronic retailer was tied to its decision to rid itself of its "high priced" sales force and hire cheap and inexperienced replacements.

Newspapers are shedding talent and want to embrace their future on the Web. Problem is there is no one left to produce the content to feed the beast. The same journalists who have been turned loose by their publishers are now the competition. A second Times story by Richard Perez-Pena looks at and other non-profit journalistic entities.

Not only do publishers lose talent and content with their downsizing - now there is one more place for their advertisers to divert their spending to.

See the article for links to stories in the New York Times and Voice of San Diego.


Blog Note: The top three officers of the photographers' association are:

Board Chairman - Bob DeMay
Akron Beacon Journal
(330) 996-3887

President - Ed Suba Jr.
Akron Beacon Journal
(330) 996-3880

Treasurer - Kimberly Barth
Akron Beacon Journal
(330) 996-3884

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pluto gets Cleveland Press Club Heaton Award

Plain Dealer and former Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter Terry Pluto is the recipient of the first annual Chuck Heaton award.

The award, presented by the Heaton family, was given at the Press Club of Cleveland's Journalism Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies Thursday night, November 13, at the LaCentre b
anquet and meeting facility in Westlake.

The Press Club presented the Heaton Award, named in honor of the legendary and beloved Plain Dealer sportswriter who died earlier this
year. Press Club President Ed Byers said the award will be presented annually to the print, radio or television journalist who best exemplifies the sensitivity and humility which, along with his writing talents, were traits exhibited by Heaton.

You can read about it on the Cleveland Press Club website and download a PDF file ot the program which includes a Pluto column.

There also is a Picasa web photo album with a couple of photos of the Plutos, several of Stuart Warner, a couple of TV talker Dick Feagker who once wrote a column for the BJ and some of Cleveland TV guys including Danny Couglin. The link says captions are coming soon (from Nov. 13?)

Guess who is 90 years old today

Why, of course, it is none other than Calvin DeShong


Saturday, November 22, 2008

BJ departees join continuing staff for a brew

Soon to be UA English prof David Giffels and reporter David Knox at left
Former photo staffers Ken Love and Lew Stamp ham it up at right

Beacon Journal editor Bruce Winges invited recent newsroom departees to join the continuing staff at Ohio Brewing Company building downtown in the old O’Neil’s building. Mitch McKenney who provided these photos said it was nice to get the band back together. There were 35 to 40 at the get-toether. At right are deputy metro editor Craig Webb, Mitch McKenney (now at Kent State University) and sports editor Rich Desrosiers

Former columnist Carl Chancellor and artist Kathy Hagedorn at left
Yuvonne Bruce with former features colleague Betsy Lammerding at right

Rx information from Abbott


OK, the computer is up and running. I'm going to attempt to add some e-mail addresses to our basically "slush fund" group. But most of our contacts will probably be through the BJ alums blog. We will be needing to contact many more of the retirees if there's a chance of making a class action suit in regard to the way we're being treated by the BJ.

One common thread through our slush fund attorney and attorneys some of the group has talked to is that if you were cut off totally from either the Rx or medical coverages you have a case! Keep that in mind and keep all records of any payments you might have paid out that you believe should have been covered. You would be well served if you can have a copy of the contract in effect at the time of your separation/retirement from the BJ. That is main thing (at this point) the courts look at when there is any legal action. I'm even looking at some possibilities (in some limited cases) that would move the basis from the union contracts to making the separation/retirement letter as being interpreted as yet another superseding contract. That would really help the Rx coverages at least.

Even the small claims approach is still a viable possibility. I haven't heard from Bob Brown in regard as to how his claims are doing at this point. I would assume that the BJ appealing some of them is still in the process of being brought to court. If Bob would, of course, open the flood gates in that approach.

There are other interesting and significant developments in our cause. While it still won't be easy it's at least a shot.

More later...

bob abbott

Friday, November 21, 2008

A deja vous for Tom Moore

What are the odds of recalling an event from 57 years ago in a chance meeting? That's a question Tom Moore was asking after meeting a photographer while working with
Tom Giffen at the Roy Hobbs World Florida.

Let Tom explain:

One of the ballplayers from the Washington, D.C. area came into Hobbs
headquarters to enter team statlistics on our computers. got to talking with him and he worked at one time for the Washington Post. I asked him if he knew a photographer by the name of Dick Darcey. Turns out he worked with him. Darcey took my wedding picture 57 years ago. At the time of the wedding Darcey was the photog assigned to my PR office at Bolling Air Force Base in D.C. It's really a small world..

heading home Monday after a great month here.


AP staff to shrink 10 percent

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Associated Press will trim 10 percent of its work force over the next year as a cut in fees paid by member newspapers and a declining economy take their toll, Chief Executive Tom Curley said Thursday.

The staff reduction will amount to a loss of more than 400 positions from a global staff of 4,100, and Curley said the cuts will include some of the news cooperative's 3,000 journalists.

Curley told the staff in a meeting webcast to AP offices globally that he hopes most of the cut will be achieved through attrition, but he did not rule out layoffs.

Asked if the cuts would include newsroom jobs, Curley noted that 75 percent of the staff are journalists. "Everybody's going to participate," he said.

The AP is still profitable, but cash flow is expected to decline from $95 million this year to $66 million in 2009, largely due to a $30 million reduction in fees paid by newspapers facing unprecedented financial hardships.

The remainder of the AP's cash will be spent funding the pension plan, taxes and capital equipment, and the staff cuts are meant to prepare for a possible further economic decline, Curley said. The staff reduction is intended to save $25 million a year.

The news organization also announced the location of two regional editing centers: One in Phoenix will cover the Western United States, and one in Chicago will cover in the Midwest. The first such hub launched this year in Atlanta will cover the south. Another, based in Philadelphia to cover the Eastern United States, is in the works.

The cooperative intends to shift 91 editor positions from its New York headquarters and U.S. state bureaus to the new centers through 2009.

Paul Grna's stepmother dies

Joan E. Grna, 78, passed away Wednesday, November 19, 2008.

She was born in Akron and retired from Firestone Tire and Rubber Company after 34 years of service. She was a dedicated member of and worker for St. Mary Catholic Church where she worked every Friday in the church office for many years. She was an avid golfer and was a member of the Akron Woman's City Club, St. Monica's Guild of St. Mary Church and the Legion of Mary.

She was preceded in death by husband, Paul I. Grna and brothers, Ralph and Richard Young. She is survived by stepchildren, Paul D. Grna of Akron and Deborah Rogers of California; nieces, Corrinne Markley of Medina, Theresa Ford and Kathryn Young, both of Florida; and nephews, Paul Young of Florida and Eric Young of Michigan.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, 9:30 a.m. at the Anthony Funeral Home Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Chapel, 1990 S. Main St. (PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION) in Akron and at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, Fr. Edward Burba officiating. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery. The family will receive friends Friday, 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Donations may be made to St. Mary Catholic Church, 750 S. Main St., Akron 44311.
(Anthony Funeral Home Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz, 330-724-1281,
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, November 20, 2008, page B6, col. 5]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Yorker tells Addie Polk story

“The day they came for Addie Polk’s house” is the title of a New Yorker article this week that puts Akron in the spotlight of today’s tough economic times of home foreclosures.

By the end of June, 2.4 million homes were in foreclosre or prolonged delinquency and Addie Polk and Akron are a postcard for those unfortunate home losers.

The article by Peter J. Boyer is in the November 24 issued of the New Yorker.

Here are a few graphs from his story:

In the early afternoon on October 1st, Donald Fatheree, a sheriff’s deputy in Akron, Ohio, drove his black-and-gold cruiser into one of Akron’s dying neighborhoods and came to a stop in front of a small white wood-frame house, with a neatly trimmed lawn and a beige Chevrolet parked in the driveway. He had been there many times before. Part of Fatheree’s job is to execute writs of possession, legal orders turning people out of their foreclosed homes—a disagreeable task mitigated, if only slightly, by the long grind of the process. Akron is so beset by foreclosures (there were several hundred last month) that it often takes a year or more for a foreclosure to result in an eviction.

You could never be sure what awaited on the other side of the door. As a precaution, Fatheree brought along another deputy, Jason Beam. Fatheree knocked on the front door, and, once again, no answer came. According to department policy, the evicting officers could not enter the premises unless they were accompanied by a representative from the bank. In this case, the defaulted loan had been made by Countrywide Home Loans, and had been assumed by the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, which had acquired the house at a sheriff ’s auction in June. The house, appraised at forty-two thousand dollars, had sold for twenty-eight thousand.

Fatheree was ready to leave, and have the eviction rescheduled, when the men heard a noise inside the house. Dillon, worried that Addie had fallen and needed help, said that he knew a way to get in, and Fatheree told him to try. Dillon fetched a ladder, climbed to a second-floor bathroom window, and worked it open. He stepped inside and called for Addie, but heard no reply. Fatheree’s official eviction notice, the duct tape attached, lay on a bedroom dresser. Dillon found Addie in bed, reclined on her side, apparently asleep. A gun lay beside her, and he recalls wondering, Huh? Why is Miss Polk sleeping with a gun in her bed?

Two days later, Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic congressman from Cleveland, was in his Washington office browsing the Internet when he came across the story of Addie Polk from the Akron Beacon Journal:

At the age of 90, Addie Polk found herself in foreclosure this week, about to be forced from the home she’s lived in for nearly 40 years.

So, with a gun in her hand, the Akron widow apparently shot herself in the chest Wednesday afternoon as deputies were knocking on her door with eviction papers in hand.

Polk thus became the national poster child for victims of predatory lenders.

Fannie Mae forgave the mortgage after congressman Dennis Kucinich pleaded her case before Congress The Beacon Journal on October 8 reported a fund has been established to help a Polk as she recovers in Akron General Medical Center. Donations to the Addie Polk Benevolent Fund can be made at any FirstMerit bank.

Dillon said that the week after Addie shot herself he and his wife visited her in the hospital. The gun she had used, a .38-calibre handgun, had inflicted a serious wound in her shoulder, and no journalists have been allowed to speak with her. Dillon said that Addie seemed remorseful about the incident, and told him, “It was a crazy thing to do.”

She brightened, Dillon said, when he told her that she was getting her home back. “She said, ‘I am?’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re gonna get it back.’ She was real happy to hear that.” But Dillon didn’t know how or if she would return home.

You should want to click on the headline to read the full article.

About the author: Peter J. Boyer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. Boyer's pieces for the magazine include an early report on President Clinton and the Whitewater affair, a long profile on Hillary Clinton, and an account of the trial of the "L.A. Four," and a 1995t article on Waco--"Children of Waco." Prior to joining The New Yorker, Boyer was a contributing editor at Vanity Fair from 1988 until 1992. His coverage of the media, business, sports, and political worlds included articles on Rush Limbaugh, Bob Kerrey, Robert Maxwell, Rodney King, Mike Tyson, and Jesse Helms' dispute with the National Endowment for the Arts. Boyer began his career in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press when he was still in graduate school, and in 1978, he became a columnist for the Associated Press. In 1981, he started working at The Los Angeles Times where he reported on the entertainment industry and eventually became the paper's Southern correspondent. Also in 1981, Mr. Boyer acted as the television critic for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and in 1984 assumed the post of media and television correspondent for The New York Times.

PD Guild plans auction to aid laid-off staffers

The Guild is inviting Plain Dealer retirees (both Guild members and former managers) to join them at their holiday gathering at the Town Fryer on Dec. 18.

Brie Zeltner is looking for donations for a silent auction that will raise money for the folks who are laid off. So far she has photographers giving framed photos, knitters giving sweaters and afghans, people who have raided their gift closets, and hand-made jewelry, etc.

She is also happy to accept services. Debbi Snook may be donating a dinner. You can share your talents - a guitar lesson, golf lesson, a hayride at Rosie's farm. Use your imagination.

Contact Brie at or

[Source: PD Alumni News blog]

There also is a new blog for PD departees:

Jo Ellen Corrigan has launched a blog aimed at helping PD departees make the transition to life outside of the newsroom. The blog is at

Here’s the first post:

No Reason to Quit
This is meant to be our space of reinvention. Whether you stay or go, you are welcome here at 1801 Zoned.

This site will evolve with your help, suggestions and input. It is not meant to be a rant zone. It is meant to be a support for life transition.

Seeking help with finances or sharing a joke? Post it here. Health insurance advice? Helpful reading material? Know good advisors? Employment or schooling suggestions? Please post.

Nobody can avoid what is on all of our minds most of the time these days.

Admittedly, I'm not good about conflict or confrontation, I'd rather break the tension with a little levity. Here goes:
I'm hoping you'll send in suggestions for a THEME SONG.

Personally I like just the title of Willie Nelson's song, No Reason to Quit.

Email other song suggestions to

Intern at TV station erupts after firing

An intern for KSTP-TV in St. Paul, MN, did not take well to being fired. She began hurling threats at an executive producer and kicked out the glass of a conference room door in an attempt to get at her, according to a criminal complaint filed November 17..

Jennifer Nicole Anato-Mensah, 21, a University of Minnesota student, was told about 7:15 p.m. Oct. 13 that things weren't working out for her.

"This is a young girl who was not understanding concepts in a television newsroom," said Danielle Prenevost, 33, executive producer of the station's early evening newscasts. "I said, 'I don't think your level of college experience is enough for this job.' "

At that point, Prenevost said, Anato-Mensah "just lost it."

Reached at her residence hall Tuesday, Anato-Mensah declined to comment.

According to the criminal complaint:

Several newsroom employees heard Anato-Mensah shouting, yelling obscenities and threatening Prenevost, saying, "You don't know where I'm from. I'll mess you up, b ——-."

Prenevost attempted to walk away from Anato-Mensah, but the intern followed her. A male employee stepped between her and Prenevost, who went into a nearby conference room. The male employee tried to get Anato-Mensah to calm down and pack up her things, but Anato-Mensah left her desk and again tried to get to the conference room, the complaint said.

Several male employees then stood at the conference room door as Anato-Mensah continued to yell and swear and try to push her way in. At one point, she kicked at and broke a window in the conference room door. She had to be restrained to keep her out of the room, the complaint said.

"The whole situation was very scary," Prenevost said.

Finally, employees escorted the intern out of the newsroom. She was gone when police responded to the call at the station, 3415 W. University Ave. in St. Paul.

Anato-Mensah was charged with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. Both are misdemeanors.

News director Lindsay Radford said Anato-Mensah began the part-time paid internship Sept. 8. Prenevost said her responsibilities included logging tape and organizing tapes for the newscasts.

[This report was filed by Emily Gurnon, a Pioneer Press reporter.]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Newark newsmen reassigned to mailroom

Joe Strupp reports in Editor & Publisher that Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger reporter Jason Jett and Assistant Deputy Photo Editor Mitchell Seidel have been reassigned to the mail room and have been filing, sorting, and delivering mail for more than a week.

Jett and Seidel, who could not be reached for comment, apparently declined to take one of the buyouts offered this fall as part of a company-wide move to cut costs.

Publisher George Arwady threatened to sell or close the Advance Publications daily last summer if at least 200 buyouts were not taken and new deals forged with two unions.

In the end, the buyouts were met, with 151 of the newsroom's 330 staffers taking them, along with other non-newsroom employees. In recent weeks, news folks have been leaving little by little, with all of those taking buyouts expected to depart by the end of the year.

Editor Jim Willse declined to comment on the mailroom assignment, while other staffers confirmed the move and revealed their surprise but requested anonymity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Merry Christmas from Chris Harte

In a companywide memo Monday, Minneapolis Star Tribune publisher Chris Harte (formerly a BJ publisher) set up his employees for a lousy Christmas. "Star Tribune revenue in 2009 will be substantially lower than it was in 2008," he writes. "We will have to cut much deeper, and many of the reductions we make will be painful."

Harte didn't use the "layoff" word, but it's impossible to read the memo (reprinted below) without knowing that tomorrow's Strib will have fewer bodies than today.

Indeed, Harte's missive could've been printed on a razor blade, since he notes the paper's $400-million-plus debt problem remains "unworkable," and the only reassurance he can offer is times stink for the rest of the industry, too.

Still, he observes, "We will get to the other side by staying true to who we are."

Here's the memo:

A Preview of 2009

Over the past few weeks, many of us have working intensely on the 2009 Star Tribune budget. Even in normal times, budgeting is often hard and unpleasant. In times like these, it is agonizing.

Against the backdrop of the sudden and unexpected worldwide economic meltdown, we know — with near certainty — that Star Tribune revenue in 2009 will be substantially lower than it was in 2008. That means we will have to continue the aggressive cost reductions we have been pursuing these past two years in order to keep our diminishing revenue aligned with our expenses.

We will have to cut much deeper, and many of the reductions we make will be painful. But we absolutely must get our budget in line with our revenue.

Plus, we still have the compound problem of having to fix an unworkable debt structure. We continue to work with our lenders on what form a debt restructuring will take.

There is just no getting around that these are bleak times — the worst I have seen in the 45 years since my first newspaper job. The only reassurance I can offer is that we are not alone.

A respected industry observer analyzed 12 major market newspapers and wrote the other day that:

"the average profitability of newspapers tumbled 18 1/2 times faster than sales fell in the third quarter of this year ... In a three-month period when advertising and circulation sales among the 12 publishers dropped by an average of 10.3 percent from the prior year's level, the average operating profits of the group in the third quarter plunged by a staggering 198.3 percent."

And this performance is reflected in the tumbling stock prices of all major newpaper companies. For example, stock in McClatchy [the Strib's former owner] is selling for just over a dollar a share — down from its peak of $75 just three years ago.

We will survive this unprecendented set of bad circumstances we are in, but we will have to make sacrifices that we don't want to make. The retail, housing, jobs and automotive markets will all come back at some point. But technological changes and powerful economic forces at work right now are not in our control. And we will never regan the dominance we once had in employment classifieds and many other categories.

This is a perfectly bad storm that we will weather by making the touch choices that keep us on the course to recovery. In making these choices, I outlined a set of principles to the Operating Committee, which I would like to review with you:

1. We must maintain products that our readers and advertisers will find useful enough to buy in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

2. We must reduce every cost we can in all areas of our business, despite the pain, while maintaining the best service we can afford to our readers, advertisers and employees.

3. We must look for other new sources of profitable revenue, always with very careful analysis.

4. We must stop doing things that no longer work well, and question old ways of doing things that no longer make sense.

5. We must develop and maintain the best possible sales force for all our products.

6. We must keep the Star Tribune Company a good place to work, recognizing accomplishments and rewarding the best performance, while as quickly as possible improving weak performance.

7. We must set an example for our teams by our own actions.

8. We must figure out ways to thank people, encourage people, and generally try to motivate people through perilous times.

9. We must try to make decisions and institute changes faster than we have historically.

10. We must keep in mind that what do is critically important to our communities and our state. We make a difference every day.

Knight Fellowships to emphasize innovation

t's not the same old story, not in journalism and not at the Knight Fellowships program. Beginning with the 2009-10 fellowship year, the program will put a new emphasis on journalistic innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.

The program is transforming itself in order to serve the needs of journalism and journalists as much in the years ahead as it has in the past. The dizzying landscape of layoffs and consolidation, Internet media sites, citizen journalism and bloggers make journalism a chaotic and exciting proposition today. We are making bold changes to meet these new realities.

The changes will build on the excellence of the Knight Fellowships program to create an enhanced fellowship experience and to generate benefits that go beyond the individual Fellow. Changes in the program will enable Fellows who embrace the challenges facing journalism to focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. The bedrock goal remains the same: promoting excellence in journalism.
What's changing

* The program will focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership to foster high quality journalism during a time of profound transformation.
* Given the emphasis on innovation, the program will expect Fellows to come to Stanford with a coherent proposal that will lead to a tangible result.
* Fellows will embody a broader range of experience, media and skills, both in the U.S. and abroad.
* The program welcomes applications from all qualified international journalists, but will pay particular attention to international journalists who can have a direct impact on the development of a free press and flow of information in their countries.
* The program will rely more on Stanford faculty and regional resources, specifically including the rich pool of innovation and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.
* The program will enlist Knight Fellowship alumni more directly in the program and in the improvement of journalism.

Click on the headline to read the Foundation news release.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Fear the Roo' slogan makes Crankshaft

The University of Akron's "Fear the Roo" slogan made its debut in the nation's comic strips on Thursday which was the day the Zips played their final game in the Rubber Bowl.

Mindy, the granddaughter of Crankshaft in the popular com
ic strip, was wearing a "Fear the Roo" T-shirt in Thursday's comic strip.
More than a year ago, Dave Osterland, associate vice president for community relations, suggested to Crankshaft illustrator and retired BJ artist Chuck Ayers that he should feature the slogan in the comic strip.

"It certainly wouldn't hurt my career if you featured Akron in one." Osterlund told Ayers.
It was just coincidence that it appeared on the day of the last AU game at the Ribber Bowl.

"Fear the Roo" items are UA's top sellers in merchandise, according to athletic director Mack Rhoades.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Newseum website gets record hits

Editor & Publisher reports that
traffic to the Newseum's Web site was more than doubled in the week after Election Day, prompted by the heavy interest in Page One images on Nov. 5 proclaiming the victory by Barack Obama.

"It is definitely the busiest week we've ever had," said Paul Sparrow, vice president for broadcasting and education at the news museum. "The average of the time spent on the site also jumped to 11-and-a-half minutes per visit, up from the usual eight-and-a-half minutes."

Sparrow said the Web site, which posts hundreds of front-page images daily, set a new daily record on Nov. 5 with 229,000 visitors, well above the daily average of 58,000.

In the seven days following Election Day, some 919,300 visitors logged on to the site, more than doubling the 406,000 weekly average. He also said the site posted images of 700 dailies for the first time.

Bob Pell’s son, John, dies at 44

Blogger Note:
Pell was the son of the late retired printer Robert Pell Sr. and wife Peggy.
The elder 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. He died July 3 at the age of 79 at his home in Wadsworth. His sister Kathryn “Kitty” Brown died February 5 and then his wife Peggy, died February 11 at the age of 77. Bob and Peggiy Sizemore were married August 20, 1949. They had four children.

John E. Pell, 44, of Fenn Rd., Medina, died Tuesday November 11, 2008 following a four-month battle with brain stem tumors.

Born February 14, 1964 in Wadsworth to the late Robert and Peggy Pell. John graduated from Windfall School and was employed for 21 years at Windfall Industries. He was active in Special Olympics, medaling in bicycling, skiing and track and field. He qualified for and attended the Speci
al Olympic State Games in Columbus numerous years. He loved Camp Paradise, the Blue Tip Parade, the Medina County Fair, the Lodi Corn Festival, bicycling, watching late night news, people and going out for breakfast at Buehlers in Wadsworth. He was a part of the Society for Handicapped Citizens family. He was known for his brilliant memory and never forgot a name, address or birthday. He loved going for a drive. John could give directions to every location he had ever traveled to. His favorite road trip was traveling with his father to Pensacola, Florida. He was outgoing and had many friends which he stayed in touch with every day by phone. He remembered every one he ever met. John would take time daily to remember the names of all his friends and family who had passed away.

John is survived by his sister Catherine Pell and Lance Sanstead of Gulf Breeze, Fla., brother and sister-in-law Robert and Phyllis Pell of Wadsworth, brother Steven S. Pell, nieces and nephews; Krystin, Stephanie, and Katharine Sanstead, Robert Pell III, Jon Horvat, Mike (Sandi) Horvat, and Joe Horvat, 5 great nieces and nephews , and his aunt Trana Atkins of Ga.

The family will receive friends 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman St., Wadsworth where funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday with Rev. Jerry Penrod officiating. Interment Hillcrest Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Society for Handicapped Citizens of Medina County, 4283 Paradise Rd., Seville, OH 44273.
Hilliard-Rospert (330-334-1501)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, November 13, 2008, page B7, col. 1]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PD to increase job cuts to 50

The Plain Dealer is reporting today that it is increasing the number of jobs that will be cut in the newsroom by the end of 2008.

The job cuts will rise from 38 to 50. Last month, the newspaper reported worse-than-expected ad revenue and hard times hitting newspapers across the country were factors in eliminating jobs held by reporters, copy editors, photographers, artists and page designers.

Editor Susan Goldberg says economic news for the Plain Dealer has worsened in the last 30 days, necessitating more reductions.

Plain Dealer Guild members met last week with labor relations for the third meeting about layoffs and the Guild’s push to get the company to provide health care coverage.
The company is now proposing that the Guild pay for health care

Where are the new BJ alums?

From left are Gene McClellan, John Olesky, Cal Deshong, Al Hunsicker and Dick Gresock
The sixth retiree at the luncheon was Carl Nelson who shot these photos

Only six showed up today for the monthly BJ alums lunch at Papa Joe's restaurant at Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail. We'd love for the more recent BJ alums, via buyouts or retirement or whatever, to join us.

The talk mostly revolved around which artificial body parts we have, and grandchildren's exploits, and our travels, and humorous BJ recollections. Dick Gresock and John Olesky compared their experiences in Yellowstone, the Arches, the Tetons and Monument Valley national parks.

Others there were Cal Deshong, who will be 90 years old on Nov. 24, and other former BJ Composing types Al Hunsicker, Carl Nelson and Gene McClellan.

It's a great opportunity to enjoy laughter and chatter with former BJ co-workers. We get together at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month. Try it; you'll like it. And we'd love to have you.

Otherwise, we'll become the Last Man Club.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vote for top news events of 75 years, win $1,000

Vote for the “Top Ohio News Events of the Past 75 Years” on for a chance to win $1,000.

The contest to choose the top news events is sponsored by the Ohio Newspaper Assoc1ation to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

An ONA web page featuring 75 newspaper pages includes several from the Beacon Journal, including this one on Harvey Firestone’s death and the Plain Dealer from page on the 1948 World Seriesw w3in;

Click on the ONA logo on to review he list and vote for what you think are the 5 top news events of those 75 years by filling out the entry form at the bottom of the page. The deadline is December 15. See the details on

If you cannot locate the ONA logo, click on the headline

Monday, November 10, 2008

W as in WVU, the West and Wow!

Paula and I went to a West Virginia University Mountaineers football game and rode into a sensory overload of spectacular, scenic national parks, free beer and tea, free-range Boulder and Salt Lake City’s Mormon cultures and tranquilizing body-dipping in hot springs.

WVU lost to Colorado in overtime, 17-14, after a one-bison stampede up and down the football field by Ralphie V, the Colorado mascot, with his four handlers hanging on to their “controlling” ropes for dear life. Now, THAT was an entrance that even out-does WVU’s musket-toting Mountaineer.

That was just the beginning of our superb adventure with elk, deer, bison, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain goats, bald eagles, moose, wolves, prairie dogs, cattle, horses, squirrels and chipmunks parading before our eyes.

Our 2,500-mile, seven-day bus tour through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Idaho and Montana provided surround-sound Mandarin chatter from all but several passengers (including us and the driver). The others were from mainland China, including the tour guide, or folks with a Chinese heritage living in North America. It made me realize what it feels like being unable to speak the predominant language.

The awesomeness of Yellowstone National Park cannot be conveyed in words and photos. Take my word for it: You have to be there to capture it. It was as if some gargantuan mad painter flung his palette at the geothermal wonderland in Wyoming and seasoned it with a Noah’s Ark of animals.

Utah's Arches National Park is a red splash of rocks and a variety of holes-in-the-cliffs gouged out by nature over hundreds of centuries. There were more red rocks at, well, Red Rocks in Colorado. And an amphitheatre that seats 9,450 people who are immersed in music and incredible scenery in every direction.

Wyoming’s Grand Tetons are grand, indeed, with each summit trying to out-do the others. You can see your reflection and that of Mount Moran in the Snake River.

Devils Tower is another nature-made sight, carved by the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming. It is America’s first national monument.

We visited Mount Rushmore, where the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were carved into South Dakota's Black Hills. And Crazy Horse, another South Dakota mountain memorial that eventually will become the world’s largest sculpture. So far, there’s only the Indian chief’s head, but that is large enough to encompass all four of the Rushmore Presidents. Some day the chief, his spear and his horse will complete the work. The chief would be at home, and is one of the subjects, of the Leanin’ Tree gallery of Western art in Boulder.

Nature easily out-does such man-made sights as Colorado’s capitol building in Denver and Utah’s in Salt Lake City, but the Church of the Latter-day Saints’ Tabernacle in Salt Lake City was a wonder, too. The acoustics are so perfect that there are no microphones needed to hear the famous choir. An LDS member standing on the altar dropped three pins that we heard clearly while sitting in the last pew of the building. Admission to the adjacent Mormon Temple is limited to LDS members.

I dipped my finger in the Great Salt Lake and tasted the brine (19%, topped only by the Dead Sea’s 20%). My mouth continued to feel salty for another hour.

On the seventh day of the bus trip, we relaxed in the Glenwood, Colorado hot springs, which are cooled from nature’s 132 degrees to 104 degrees (the therapy pool, for no more than 10 minutes at a time) and 93 degrees (the other pool). A lot of tiredness exited from our bodies as we drank in the mountain scenery.

Boulder is a foot-of-the-mountain bastion of liberals and Buddhists, who built and run Naropa University. Its library is named for poet Allen Ginsberg. Imagine climbers and backpackers taking lunch breaks from work to indulge in their avocations and you nail the downtown Pearl Street Mall scene.

Golden, Colorado has the Coors brewery where you get three cups of free beer while you’re touring the plant, and another three free glasses afterward. And a euphoric feeling.

Celestial Seasonings in Boulder offers a free choice of 100 tea flavors. Less buzz than Coors, but a fabulous taste test marathon.

Our Sept. 17-27 trip -- our 25th in our four years together and my 49th since my 1996 retirement from the Beacon Journal -- indeed provided a whirlwind ride through our senses.

Click on headline to see the trip photos.

To slow down the slideshow so you can read the captions, click on the triangle between the left and right arrows to stop the slides, then click on the right arrow when you’re ready to go to the next photo.

Rita Madick is now PR manager at AGMC

Rita Kelly Maddock, longtime Newspaper in Education manager at the BJ, left the newspaper in November, 2007 as director of Community Relations and Marketing. After what she calls an "amazing sabbatical" she is now back to work as public relations managee of Akron General Medical Center. She can be reached by email at

They left without saying goodbye

Chip Bok and Dave Giffels said "goodbye" in two posts below, but as one of our faithful viewers points out there are three others just leaving who did not have the opportunity to say farewell to their readers in print.: Their photos are here in a vain effort to make up for our own feeble efforts.

Current city hall reporter Carl Chancellor, deputy metro editor Keith McKnight are gone and Metro Editor Ann (Sheldon) Mezger will .be staying only until Thanksgiving to help Rick Desrosiers with the transition of what's left of the staff.

Except for this blog, there would have been no public mention of the 18 leaving the Beacon Journal this mornth with more than 273 years of service. Chancellor had 24 years and 10 months of service. We do not know how many years Ann and Keith had because as managers they are not on the Guild roster.

We, of course, would love to hear any farewell comments and our viewers want to know what happens to the careers of each of them.

We can only say "Well done" to the good and faithful BJ employees.

Giffels: on his privileged career

The goodbye column of David Giffels which was published on page A1 on Sunday was among the top read stories on in the last 24 hours. You may want to click on the headline above to read it for yourself.

Gifflels' farewell, after 14 years at the newspaper, was under these headlines:

Writing for Akron has been a privilege

Beacon Journal newsroom offers vantage point
for historic moments and for personal history.

Perhaps these five graphs best capture the essence of his thoughts:

There have been times like Tuesday, when being in a newsroom has felt like an honor, a unique vantage to history and opportunity to tell it.

This is the room where I witnessed tragedy, on September 11, 2001, when it felt like we were swallowing history whole. And it's the room where we looked out across the massive August 2003 blackout. And where we flirted with something agonizingly close to victory: autumn 1995, when we all believed the Indians were going to grant us the World Series and the team chose instead to keep us in our perpetual state of hard-bitten humility.

On most days, however, the privilege for me has taken place outside the newsroom, as I was set free to explore the world around me, to enter the lives of ordinary people at extraordinary moments, to ask the questions that my neighbors wanted answered, to bring dispatches home from the big events, to wander a shared territory looking for stories to tell.

That's what makes leaving difficult. I've written all my life, but after 14 years at this newspaper, writing has become the act of writing for you, the people who share my hometown and who speak the language of Luigi's and lighter-than-air.

So moving on doesn't mean I'm finished writing about Akron. That would be impossible. Akron remains as rich a subject to me now as it was when I first walked into this newsroom.

Chip Bok says Goodbye with cartoon

Chip Bok’s final cartoon in the Beacon Journal was printed Sunday. Next to it was the regular column of editorial page editor Michael Douglas who devoted the last section to Bok who has been the editorial cartoonist for 22 years.

The cartoon shows Bok standing on a window ledge of the third floor of the BJ holding an inside-out umbrella and saying “What do you think of my golden parachute?” The headline on the
BJ tower reads “Bok bolts.” Standing on the street below are the movers and shakers of Akron answering Bok’s question by shouting Jump! Jump! Familiar caricatures include Council President Marco Sommerville toting a handgun on the left and deputy mayor Dave Lieberth on the right.

Here is Douglas’ tribute in full:

The newspaper industry certainly knows innovation and change, and the upheaval that results. The Akron Beacon Journal and other papers have been confronting a collapsing revenue model, not to mention changing lifestyles. That has meant searching for ways to save money, or put another way, saying goodbye to colleagues.

Chip Bok, our editorial cartoonist for the past 22 years, spent his last day at the paper on Friday. Most know Chip through his cartoons – clever, biting, infuriating, outrageous. He has brought national attention to the paper, through his many awards, his cartoons appearing elsewhere via syndication.

No surprise that Chip and I differ on many issues. We’ve had a continuing argument for two decades. That has been such a valuable part of his presence at the paper, challenging our thinking, prodding us to look differently at a matter, and doing so in an engaging, even charming, way, a winning variation on The Godfather lesson: It’s strictly business, nothing personal.

Yet it is personal. Heated as the clashes may be, there remains an abiding respect, a nagging impulse (albeit often readily repressed) that I may be wrong. That’s right, a cartoonist at his best, ever dishing out humility.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Letter to newspaper readers

Topic: Letters Sent to Romenesko
Date/Time: 11/7/2008 12:04:08 PM
Title: To newspaper readers everywhere
Posted By: Jim Romenesko

From PAUL FARHI, Washington Post:
To: You
From: Your newspaper

Dear You:

Every day, I was there for You, rain or shine, good times and bad. I was always available. Like a puppy, all I ever wanted was to please You.

Was it lively conversation You wanted? Cackling opinions? The latest news and gossip? I gave You all that. I even tried to keep up on all the sports and business stuff because I knew you cared about that, too.

Oh, we had so many beautiful years together. Sometimes I made you mad. Often, I moved you. But we always made up.

And then a few years ago you rewarded my loyalty by straying. You went elsewhere. You sought the company of others who, you thought, gave you something that I could not. Fickle and faithless, you went looking for something faster, newer and younger.

Oh, You.

I wondered, incessantly, had I failed you? Was it me?

And then one day this week, You wanted me again. Hungrily. Desperately. You searched everywhere for me. You lined up outside my door, stood in the rain and cold, on the chance that I would be available to You again.

And I wasn't there. How ironic!

Finally, You recognized something in me again. Something that had been dormant all these years. That You needed me.

That You needed to hold me again. If only for one special day.

I feel so.... used.

I should be aghast at your behavior. I should cast you aside forever and move on, somehow. But I know in my heart what I have always known:

That I need you, too. Every day. And I want you back. Desperately. Hungrily.

So won't you use me again?


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Live webcast: The Future of Journalism

A posting here last week reported on the Christian Science Monitor’s decision to cease publication of its daily print edition and report news only on the Web starting in April.

Thursday night from 7 to 8:30 EST, the Monitor is hosting a timely panel discussion on the future of journalism. The event is part of the Monitor’s celebration of 100 years of journalism and will originate from the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston. Details are below.

The event also will be carried live via webcast. Click on the headline to go to the event page.

You can also email a question or a comment before, during or after the live event, to:

The Future of Journalism
Newspapers are reeling. Business models are broken. But we’re convinced there is a solution - and that excellence in journalism can be sustained and expanded in the digital age. Join us in a conversation with media experts, readers and journalism students.

The panel:

John Yemma, moderator: As Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, John is leading the newsroom into the digital era - and drawing on his previous experience as deputy managing editor for multimedia at the Boston Globe. John is also a 2008 Sulzburger Fellow at Columbia University. Previously, he held several senior positions at the Globe - and reported in Washington and the Middle East for the Monitor.

Ellen Hume: As Research Director of the Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ellen focuses on how media can strengthen social bonds in a community and spark civic engagement among its residents. She is founding Editor and Publisher of the New England Ethnic Newswire - and previously headed Harvard's Shorenstein Center and PBS’s Democracy Project.

Mark Jurkowitz: As Associate Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Mark focuses on the changing landscape of American media. He has spent nearly two decades covering media for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix, teaching courses on media ethics, and commentating on media-related issues on CNN’s "Reliable Sources," NPR’s "On the Media," and other broadcast shows.

Douglas K. Smith: As Executive Director of The Sulzberger News Media Executive Leadership Progam, Doug works directly with editorial- and business-side leaders guiding news companies through the chaos of change. He has spent nearly 30 years working with leaders in fifty industries and is the author of several books, including, 'On Value And Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me.'

Sree Sreenivasan: As head of the new media program and Dean of Student Affairs at Columbia University’s journalism school, Sree mentors the best and brightest among the next generation of journalists. He is also a technology reporter for WNBC in New York and has written on technology trends for The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Rolling Stone and Popular Science.

A few front pages on the election

Here are a few election front pages. Click on them to enlarge. There is a William Hershey byline on the lead story in the Dayton Daily News. See others on the Newseum front pages website.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We just hit 1776 posts: That's the Spirit

While we are citing numbers like our 100,000th visitor, perhaps we should cite another one:

Since this blog was started in July 2004 there have been 1,776 item posted. This is post No. 1777.