Thursday, December 31, 2009


Our faithful departed in 2009

Here is a hurried glance back at those faithful departed BJ types. Their obituaries were among more than 450 posts on this blog during the year. Our record keeping has been lacking of late so if we missed anyone, please let us know.  The departed:

Cleveland Phillips Jan. 20
WAKR’s Jerry Healey Feb 8
Barbara Patterson, wife of Jack, March 17
Robert Kamenar, freelance photographer, March 22
Ernest Infield, Wooster Record columnist, March 28
Watson Blanton March 25
Robert Cull, father of Mike, April 4
Nancy (Lile) Wise May 27
Paul Haney, voice of NASA, May 28
Bill Kennedy July 20       
Armand Lear June 5
Virginia Berger, wife of Bill, Aug. 5
Kevin Jackson, son of Gary, Aug. 6
Olga O'Neil Aug. 22
Stephen Schleis, father of Paula, Oct11
Terry Dray Oct. 25
Trammel Hogg Nov. 15
Kevin Vest, statistician, Nov. 18
Bob Nold Dec. 20

Miami Herald land sale uncertain

The status of a long-delayed sale of parking lots around The Miami Herald remains unclear as a contract deadline looms.

A contract to sell 10 acres of parking lots surrounding The Miami Herald's bayfront headquarters is set to expire Dec. 31, but it remained uncertain whether developer Mark Siffin would complete the long-delayed purchase.

McClatchy Co., the parent of The Miami Herald Media Co., said Wednesday that it had ``no news to report'' on the status of the contract to sell the property.

The deal was first reached in March 2005 at the peak of South Florida's real estate boom. At the time, Knight Ridder, the Herald's previous owner, agreed to sell the surface parking lots and the Boulevard Shops on Biscayne Boulevard to a group led by Miami developer Pedro Martin for $190 million.

Martin's group later agreed to flip most of the 10 acres to Siffin for at least $230 million, though the price to McClatchy would remain at $190 million. McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder in June 2006.

Siffin, who heads Maefield Development in Indianapolis, didn't return phone calls seeking comment. He has approval from Miami officials to build a big-box shopping center called City Square on the parkinglot site and also plannedto build a parking garagefor the nearby performing arts center.

On Dec. 8, McClatchy management told a UBS investors conference the land sale remained uncertain. Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive officer, told investors at that time ``We hope the buyer will be able to close this deal, but if that doesn't happen we are entitled to a $6 million termination fee on top of the nonrefundable deposit of $10 million we have already collected. We are in discussions with the buyer now and will let our investors know when this matter is resolved.''

On Wednesday, Elaine Lintecum, McClatchy's treasurer, said the company has no additional news to report.

McClatchy, which has been hit hard by the bleak advertising environment, planned to use the proceeds of the sale to reduce debt.

70% pay raise, but not for Cathy Strong

Posted on Cathy Strong's Facebook page:

How'd you like 70% increase in your pay? That's what was announced this week. So Govt undersecretaries are making US$18k a month. But only for Emirates!! Poor me.

= = = = = = = =

The "pay" includes 40% actual wages and 60% for benefits in the United Arab Emirate, where Cathy

is a communication and media sciences professor at Zayed University in Dubai. The United Arab Emirate is in the Middle East. For decades, former BJ reporter Cathy did similar work in New Zealand.

Click on the headline to read The National story on the pay raises, but only for United Arab Emirate citizens.

United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven independent states in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the Persian Gulf to the north, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east. Its seven member states are Abu Dhabi (Abu Zaby), ´Ajman, Dubay, Al Fujayrah, Ra´s al Khaymah, Ash Shariqah, and Umm al Qaywayn.

See other Cathy Strong posts

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cathy Strong, Pam McCarthy plan reunion in Boston

From Cathy Strong's Facebook writing on Charlene Nevada's Wall:

Cathy Robinson Strong wrote:

You ever get up to Boston? I'm there mid-January and Pam McCarthy is coming up to see me. Wicked!!! You should join us.

= = = = = =

Cathy and Pam both are former BJ staffers with State Desk reporting experience. Cathy spent decades in New Zealand working for various media and snowboarding before going to Dubai, United Arab Emirate, to teach journalism. Pam retired from Hoover High after decades of teaching journalism and English.

Charlene, married to former BJ art chief Art Krummel, also is a former BJ reporter.

For previous BJ Alums blog stories on both Cathy and Pam, click on the headline.

Know where Paul Facinelli is today? Tell us.

If you know where Paul Facinelli is today, please email John Olesky at

or Harry Liggett at

We'd love to hear Paul talk today about his experiences and the outcome of the Head Start sex abuse cases.

Thank you.

Click on the headline to read previous posts on Facinelli and how he was affected by his pursuit of justice.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pete Geiger's recollections of Paul Facinelli during Elyria exit

I got this email from former BJ reporter Pete Geiger after he read the BJ Alums blog post about Paul Facinelli being fired over his pursuit of justice in his Head Start convictions investigation (the convictions were overturned this year after two people spent 14 years in jail):

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and Paula. I surely hope you're as hale and hearty as you look in your occasional BJ Alums blog photos.

A little on Paul that Andrew Putz couldn't know:

Facinelli was instrumental in getting me my one-year job at the Chronicle-Telegram when Sandy and I were on sabbatical from Mongolia in the 1997-'98 school year. He told former managing editor Rudy Dicks, "What? Pete Geiger's available? Snap him up!" Dicks did.

Facinelli was in-line for an award (Cleveland Press Club? I don't recall.) for his columns insisting on the innocence of Smith and Allen. A Lorain County bulldog assistant prosecutor named Jonathan E. Rosenbaum wrote to the award committee, telling them Facinelli wasn't worth their consideration because he, Rosenbaum, after all had won convictions. Facinelli was incensed; who wouldn't be?

Unfortunately, Paul went to a putatively hungry lawyer who urged him to sue Rosenburg. When the suit was filed, editor Andy Young fired Paul.

Paul (who was cleaning out his desk) came to me when I showed up early the next morning for work.

"Pete, did I do the wrong thing?" he asked. I told him I was a strong admirer of his writing and of his championing of Smith and Allen. I was also in his debt for helping me to get my sabbatical gig, I said. But, yes, I told him, he was wrong. He should have talked to Young or to the rest of us in the newsroom before listening to the lawyer.

His face fell and he turned back to his boxes.

There were no happy faces at the C-T for weeks because of Facinelli's departure. It was the saddest damn thing in the year before Sandy and I returned to Asia.

= = = = = = = =

Pete & wife Sandy live in the St. Augustine, Florida area, where they settled after returning to the USA because of Sandy's health problems.

To see the original story about Facinelli, click on the headline.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The story of Paul Facinelli's obsession and firing

Andrew Putz has a fascinating tale in the 2001 Cleveland Scene about how former Beacon Journal reporter Paul Facinelli got involved with investigating child sexual abuse convictions in the Head Start program for the Elyria Chronicle Telegram. It cost him his career. He was fired in 1998. Facinelli was convinced that the convictions were wrong.

After the firing, Facinelli taught math to ninth-graders at Jane Addams Business Career Center on Cleveland's East Side, his days as a well-read columnist fading fast in his rear-view mirror.

In June 2009 Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge James Burge overturned the convictions of Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen. Burge, after reviewing the trial transcript and court records as Facinelli did, said that he had “absolutely no confidence” in the original guilty verdicts. The two spent nearly 14 years in prison.

On Dec. 2, 2009 Lorain County prosecutors asked the 9th District Court of Appeals to overturn the acquittal.

In 2008 Jonathan Rosenbaum, who prosecuted the cases as chief assistant Lorain County prosecutor, was shot in the back by his son and paralyzed while skeet shooting. Rosenbaum was paralyzed and today is a private attorney handling civil cases.

Former BJ news editor Dave Boerner put me on the trail of the extensive details of the Facinelli story. I didn't see Dave's email till Paula and I returned from a 15-day Panama Canal cruise, my ninth since my Beacon Journal retirement. More on that, with photos, in a few days.

Back to Facinelli.

To read the long and complicated story by Putz, click on the headline.

A nice Christmas story on CNN

Click on the headline to read a nice Chrismas story about the Modest Needs Foundation, a.grass-roots charity that pools thousands of small donations to help people get through short-term financial crises. Donors direct their dollars to the requests they want to fund

The story is by Jim Kavanagh, former BJ copy desk chief, whp now writes for CNN

Mary Beth Breckenridge, still working in the trenches at the BJ, called attention to the stor.y

Retired BJ sports writer Bob Nold dies at 78

Robert L. Nold, 78, died unexpectedly Dec. 20, 2009.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, he lived over 40 years in the Akron area. He received his B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas. During his tenure with the Akron Beacon Journal, he was inducted into the Akron Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions in support of amateur sports. Bob was a member of the American Baseball Writers Association and a voting member for the Hall of Fame inductees. He retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1996 and during his retirement he enjoyed traveling, spending time with his grandchildren and socializing with friends. He was a member of Woodland United Methodist Church.

Mr. Nold is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Autumn Delight; sons, Robert B. (Donna), Philip C. (Deborah) and Michael J. (Vivien); grandchildren, Brian, Laura, Alyssa, Kimberly, David, Sarah and Anna; and brother, John R. Nold.

A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday at Woodland United Methodist Church, with Rev. Debbie Gibbons officiating. Friends may call at the church one hour before services. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Woodland United Methodist Church, 444 N. Hawkins Ave., Akron 44313 or the Special Olympics, 1133 19th St. NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036-3604.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Tuesday, December 22, 2009, page B5, col. 3]

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas from your favorite blog

For your nostalgic Christmas–or if you have a child asking if Santa is for real–we present this book cover and remind you of the most famous ever editorial..

Each year we recall the old New York Sun editorial: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”  This year we have added three photos and a biography of Virginia.  Just click on the headline to go there.

Now about the book cover. It’s an Akron original.

Saalfied Publishing Co. published children's books and other products from 1900 to 1977. It was once one of the largest publishers of children's materials in the world.

The company was founded in 1900 in Akron by Arthur J. Saalfield who had come to take charge of the Werner Company's publishing department. During its flourishing, the company published the works of authors including Louisa May Alcott, Horatio Alger, P. T. Barnum, Daniel Defoe, Colonel George Durston, Laura Lee Hope, Herman Melville, Dr. Seuss, Anna Sewell, Shirley Temple, Johanna Spyri, Mark Twain, Johann Rudolf Wyss, and Robert Sidney Bowen. The company also published educational toys and games, including the game Blockhead!.

Among the artists employed by Saalfield was noted illustrator Ethel Hays. She worked on a variety of the company's juvenile titles, including Peter Rabbit, The Night Before Christmas, and The Little Red Hen. Her most notable work came after Saalfield had secured the license from the Johnny Gruelle Company in 1944 to produce Raggedy Anne and Andy material.

In April 1977 Saalfield Publishing Company shut down, and its library and archives were purchased by Kent State University.

If the kids want to hear about the Night Before Christmas, just click on Santa to see a video.


Helen and Harry Liggett in Akron, OH

McClatchy ad revenue is improving, says Pruitt

Advertising revenue is “finally” improving for the McClatchy Co., and all of its 30 daily newspapers are profitable, including The Sacramento Bee, chief executive Gary Pruitt said this month.

At the same time, the Sacramento-based company will continue to “look for every opportunity to reduce expenses,” he said.

Fourth-quarter ad revenue is expected to be down about 20 to 25 percent from a year ago. That’s bad, but much better than the 28 percent decline in the third quarter and 30-percent-plus drop in the second quarter, compared to a year ago.

At The Bee, meanwhile, a new round of labor negotiations got under way in November between the newspaper’s management and newsroom employees. On the line for employees are salaries, severance, job security and work hours.

From the employees’ perspective, “there’s a lot to be upset about” with management’s initial proposal, said Ed Fletcher, the Guild’s Sacramento unit chair.

Fletcher said the proposal would allow The Bee to reduce full-time employees into part-time workers, and trim the severance pay cap from 40 weeks to 26, making layoffs less expensive. If a veteran reporter was laid off, for example, the company could save $10,000 under the proposal.

And while McClatchy recently announced it would lift a companywide wage freeze, Fletcher said all raises are subject to ongoing bargaining.

It took a year for employees at The Bee’s sister paper in Modesto to ratify its contract, he said. “Nobody’s trying to drag it out,” he said. “There are complicated and important issues on the table.”

[Source: Sacramento Business Journal]

Friday, December 18, 2009

Huffington lists job losses: No. 7 is news media

Huffington Post  this week  posted a feature on the 10 industries expected to suffer the biggest job loss in the coming decade. Naturally news media  ranked high –Number 7with an anticipated 25 per cent drop in jobs to 245,000 by 2020.

 Much of the disappearing employment has to do with "services" that meant so much to us in earlier years. For example, fewer postal carriers will mean no Saturday delivery; decline in gas station attendants who no longer pump gas, clean windshields or check oil as it is; fewer department store clerks - Ever try to find help or pay for something? The list goes on and on.

Click on the headline to go to the article on Huffinton post about newspapers and then move to the next or previous top 10 listings to learn more about each one.

Also see our earlier story by Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Strupp lists E&P as #10 on his top stories

Editor & Publisher 
NEW YORK Another year of changes for the newspaper industry-- and, not to mention, E&P. We saw mobile sprint forward, print decrease, employees give back, and some familiar faces depart. Still, the news is being delivered and the newsrooms continue to hum, in most places, even at reduced volume.

With that, my annual list of the Top Ten Newspaper Industry Stories of The Year:

- Sadly, we are part of the list this year with E&P shutting down after 125 years. At the moment, talks are continuing to possibly keep us going. But if they do not prove successful, this industry "bible" will cease to exist after more than a century of chronicling everything from newspaper sales to the Pulitzer Prizes. Here's hoping it has a happy ending.

9. PULITZER PRIZE WEB EXPANSION - This marked the first year the Pulitzers accepted entries from web-only news outlets, drawing 65 entries from 37 Web sites. The Pulitzer board also acknowledged Web winners like never before, giving its national reporting prize to the St. Petersburg Times for its Politifact Web site. Politico, a predominantly Web news outlet, also was given a finalist nod. Just last month, meanwhile, the Pulitzer Board voted to allow even more Web-only entries, changing its rules for 2010 to lift the requirement that they come from sites devoted to original reporting. Bloggers, come on in!

- These artists have been losing newspaper jobs for years, but 2009 found some of the biggest cutbacks with at least 30 cartoonists forced out. Among those losing their jobs were: John Branch of the San Antonio (Texas) Express-News; Don Wright of The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post; Jim Borgman of The Cincinnati Enquirer; and Bill Day at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. David Horsey, who won a Pulitzer in 1999 and 2003, lost his job when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went Web-only.

- The Boston Globe unit of The Newspaper Guild had a bitter contract fight as The New York Times Company, its owner, sought $10 million in concessions. The union rejected one salary reduction proposal, but eventually approved another. Even that didn't end its troubles as Guild President Dan
Totten, criticized by some for poor handling of the talks, was removed from office after he allegedly broke several union policies, including charging personal expenses to a guild credit card.

- A string of top newspaper editors left their jobs, and in most cases the newspaper industry. Departures in 2009 included: Ken Paulson at USA Today; John Mancini at Newsday; Jim Willse at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.; Sandra Mims Rowe at The Oregonian in Portland; Karin Winner of The San Diego Union-Tribune; Ron Royhab of The Blade in Toledo; Janet Coats of The Tampa Tribune; Michael Cooke at the Chicago Sun-Times; Cliff Teutsch of the Hartford Courant; and John Solomon of The Washington Times. Decades of experience and institutional knowledge out the door.

- Both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News dropped a bombshell on the industry in March when they cut back home delivery to three days per week. That meant only the Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions would be dropped on doorsteps. Single-copy sales remained seven-days, but the decision is clearly a move away from print that others are likely to follow.

- The Rocky Mountain News succumbed to a long-running battle with The Denver Post, while The Seattle Post-Intelligencer gave up its print version to
The Seattle Times. Although a Web version of the P-I continues, its staff is a shadow of what it was. In both cases, the paper in control of the former joint-operating agreement came out ahead. In a related note, the Christian Science Monitor went web-only.

- Journal Register Company and Sun-Times Media Group emerged from bankruptcy, while Freedom Communications and Philadelphia Media Holdings entered that difficult world. The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis, American Community Newspapers, and alternative chain Creative Loafing went in and out of bankruptcy, while Tribune Company is still there. But, on a good note, newspaper stocks began a comeback after hitting historic lows. Let's hope that continues.

2. FURLOUGH FANATICS- After cutting jobs for years, newspapers turned to unpaid furloughs more than ever in 2009 as a way to cut costs, but not people. Gannett, MediaGeneral, Advance Publications, and Lee Enterprises were among the chains that forced the no-money vacations, along with several McClatchy and MediaNews Group papers. Even The New York Times instituted them, then later offered buyouts. The furlough craze even prompted the creation of a Web site devoted to connecting furloughed employees who wanted to trade homes during their week off,

- More than 40,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2009, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is nearly twice the 21,000 cut in 2008 and more than any single year in the past 10 years. Even with furloughs, salary cuts and numerous retirement fund freezes, publishers lopped off a tragic number of positions, even as they sought to expand online and, of course, increase workloads for those who remain. The count at the end of 2009 is 284,220 jobs. In 1999, that number was at 424,500. If things don't slow down, any attempt to properly cover news, and write and edit it, will be lost if it hasn't been already.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Former BJ staffers land at

Two Akron Beacon Journal alumni have joined, an Internet sports news site, .

Dave Wilson of Cuyahoga Falls, former deputy copy desk chief and deputy metro editor at the Beacon Journal, and Cindy Robinson of Mogadore, a retail sales manager and local ad director, both started their new positions in December.

“I’m really excited about being here,” Wilson said. “We’ve been seeing for several years that the trend in journalism, particularly in online journalism, is toward microreporting. And that’s what we do here at It’s true microjournalism.”

“There are a lot of great stories that go untold in high school sports,” Wilson said. “We want to tell those stories, and tell them well, with the kind of attention the larger media can’t devote to high school sports.”, which focuses on high school sports in Summit and Medina counties, kicked off in the fall of 2009.

Robinson, a 2003 nominee for the James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Award, was GM of Targeted Publications and helped spearhead bundled packages of print and online advertising for the Beacon Journal.  She sees a tremendous niche market.

 “Personally, I saw my kids' disappointment with the lack of local coverage of high school sports. This disappointment was echoed by their teammates, their coaches and their parents and crossed over to every sporting activity,” Robinson said. “At regional and state events, this sentiment was consistent with folks who lived in other parts of the state as well.

 “In the business world, I knew from my relationships with local and regional businesses they were seeking a way to reach out to this age group and traditional methods were not providing desired results.

“ is the perfect venue for both.  As a parent, I am excited because I can help to provide a local web site that offers ‘the inside story’ about our local high school athletes,” Robinson said. “As the sales manager, I can offer businesses a solution to their needs.” covers 35 high schools in 15 sports among five conferences in Summit and Medina counties.  The site is owned by Sports Reporting Technologies LLC, an Akron , firm that developed the web site platform through which operates.

According to President Angela Charles, is the pilot site for what the company hopes to become a national effort.  “We envision there being many SportsInk.coms across the country in areas that are underserved by existing media.   Our business model is to provide an affordable platform to individual entrepreneurs, small newspapers and radio stations that want to provide comprehensive high school coverage, but lack the financial wherewithal for the required technology investment.”

Sports Reporting Technologies plans to begin licensing its SportSiteWare™ platform in 2010, she said.       

Fed Report: Newspaper jobs to decline 25% by 2018

Editor & Publisher
NEW YORK The newspaper industry is expected to lose nearly 25% of its jobs by 2018, according to a new federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The Employment Projections Summary examines the expected job loss or gain for each industry between 2008, the last year for which data is available, and 2018. Newspapers rank seventh among the top 10 industries slated for job losses.

BLS data shows that there were approximately 326,000 newspaper jobs at the end of 2008, with a prediction that there will be just 245,000 in 2018, a 24.8% drop.

"I suspect what has happened in recent years has a big influence on how they predict the future," said newspaper analyst John Morton. "I don't know how they base those predictions. It is an unknown. A lot of it is going to depend on how the newspaper industry comes out of the recession and how successful they are in translating their business onto the Internet."

BLS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at The Poynter Institute, said the prediction is not a surprise: "That is consistent with what has been happening the past three years. But I don't think the next three years will be as bad."

Expected newspaper job losses ranked behind only department stores, semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing, motor vehicle parts, postal services, printing, and cut-and-sew apparel manufacturing.

"One thing that would be supportive of newspaper employment is that 70% of daily newspapers have circulation under 50,000," Morton added. "Those kinds of newspapers have suffered far less than big city papers have. Going forward, they will suffer less."

Just for Fun Year-end Letter

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Miami Herald asks online readers for donations

The Miami Herald began Tuesday asking readers of its Web site to voluntarily pay for the privilege, a new wrinkle in newspapers' ongoing battle to increase revenue from their online operations.

A link at the bottom of online stories directed readers to a separate page that accepts credit card information. A short message thanks them for making the site "South Florida's most-read news destination on the web," and asks them to support the content.

The McClatchy Co. newspaper has cut hundreds of employees in recent years as the weekday circulation of its print edition has fallen by almost 25 percent in the last year to about 163,000 and 14 percent on Sundays to about 238,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. By comparison, the paper says 5 million different readers visit its Web site each month.

" features all the coverage of The Miami Herald's award-winning print edition, plus breaking news and multimedia extras including video, audio, slideshows and searchable databases," the message reads. "If you value The Miami Herald's local news reporting and investigations, but prefer the convenience of the Internet, please consider a voluntary payment for the web news that matters to you."

Click on the headline to read the Associated Press story.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oblander's son gets MBA

Comment by Terry Oblander stolen from a facebook entry:

Sunday was a day of celebration for the Oblanders. Our oldest son, Terry, received his master's degree in business administration from the University of Akron. He earned the degree while working long days and taking MBA courses on weekends. We're proud.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to BJ retirees on insurance

December 9, 2009

Re: 2010 health care coverage

The rising cost of health care continues to be a problem for employers with no apparent end in sight.

Recently, we received the 2010 rates from Aetna. The rates were a 57% increase over the cost for 2009. We were expecting an increase but in a range several times less than what was presented.

The good news is that the Beacon Journal will not pass on to you any of the increase for 2010. Your current benefits and costs will remain unchanged for 2010.

If you have questions or want more information, please contact Karen Jones at 330-9963183 or me at 330-996-3184.

Very truly yours, 



Aaron Burr
Director of Human Resources

The reality about newspapers

By John F. Sturm

In the past two years, the newspaper business has faced unprecedented financial challenges. The economic meltdown and advertising recession have hit our industry hard. But make no mistake about this: newspaper media – print and digital – remains strong and will emerge from the current environment an even stronger multi-platform force.

Here is the reality about newspapers today:

1. Myth: No one reads newspapers anymore.
Reality: More than 104 million adults read a print newspaper every day, more than 115 million on Sundays. That’s more people than watch the Super Bowl (94 million), American Idol (23 million) or that typically watch the late local news (65 million).

2. Myth: Young people no longer read newspapers.
Reality: 61 percent of 18-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds read a newspaper in an average week and 65 percent of them read a newspaper or visited a newspaper website in the past week.

3. Myth: Newspaper readership is tanking.
Reality: Average weekday newspaper readership declined a mere 1.8 percent between 2007 and 2008, and about 7 percent since its peak in 2002. Compare that to the 10 percent decline seen in the prime time TV audience in 2007 alone. Meanwhile, newspapers’ Web audience has grown nearly 75 percent since 2004, to 73 million unique visitors a month.

4. Myth: Many newspapers are going out of business.
Reality: Newspapers, as individual businesses, by and large remain profitable enterprises – with operating margins that Wall Street analysts estimate will generally average in the low to mid teens during 2009. While that may be down from historical highs, such margins would be the envy of many other industries today. As consultant John Morton said in a recent American Journalism Review article, "Overall, the beleaguered newspaper industry's financial health has been weakened but remains healthy by most measures. In this environment, that is an achievement."

5. Myth: Newspaper advertising doesn’t work.
Reality: Google’s own research shows that 56 percent of consumers researched or purchased products they saw in a newspaper. Google also says that newspaper advertising reinforces online ads: 52 percent are more likely to buy products if they see it in the paper.

6. Myth: There are no creative options in newspapers.
Reality: Newspaper advertising options have exploded and now include shape and polybag ads, post-it notes, “we prints,” shingle spadeas, scented ads, taste-it ads, glow-in-the-dark, belly bands and temporary tattoos, as well as event and database marketing, behavioral targeting, e-mail blasts, e-newsletters and more.

7. Myth: If newspapers close, you will still be able to get news from other sources.
Reality: Newspapers make a larger investment in journalism than any other medium. Most of the information you read from “aggregators” and other media originated with newspapers. No amount of effort from local bloggers, non-profit news entities or TV news sources could match the depth and breadth of newspaper-produced content.

This is not a portrait of a dying industry. It’s illustrative of transformation. Newspapers are reinventing themselves to focus on serving distinct audiences with a variety of products, and delivering those audiences effectively to advertisers across media channels.

For more on the power of newspaper media, visit

John F. Sturm is president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America.

NY Times may lay off fewer than 26

The New York Times is preparing to lay off as many as 26 Guild members.

Thanks to a last-minute surge of buyout volunteers before the Dec. 7 deadline, fewer will have to be fired than was feared.

Late yesterday, the Newspaper Guild said that the Times had accepted 74 buyout applications, including 60 from the unionized ranks and another 14 from the non-union staff and management.

Click on the headline to read more in the New York Post.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Editor & Publisher to cease publication after 125 Years

By Shawn Moynihan
NEW YORK Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism institution that traces its origins back to 1884, is ceasing publication.

An announcement, made by parent company The Nielsen
Co., was made Thursday morning as staffers were informed that E&P, in both print and online, was shutting down.

The expressions of surprise and outpouring of strong support for E&P that have followed across the Web -- Editor & Publisher has even hit No. 4 as a Twitter trending topic --
raise the notion that the publication might yet continue in some form.

Nielsen Business Media, of which E&P was a part, has forged a deal with e5 Global Media Holdings, LLC, a new company formed jointly by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners, for the sale of eight brands in the Media and Entertainment Group, including E&P sister magazines Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Backstage, Billboard, Film Journal International and The Hollywood Reporter. E&P was not included in this transaction.

As news spread of E&P's fate, the staffers have been inundated with calls from members of the industry it covers, and many others, expressing shock and hopes for a revival. Staff members will stay on for the remainder of 2009.

Greg Mitchell, editor since 2002, has hailed the staff and accomplishments, including a dozen major awards and strong showing on the Web for many years. Some staff writers/editors have been at E&P for a quarter of a century. "I'm shocked that a way was not found for the magazine to continue it some form -- and remain hopeful that this may still occur," he said.

Editor & Publisher was launched in 1901 but traces its history to 1884 -- it merged with the magazine The Journalist, which had started on that earlier date.

Staff members can be contacted at:

[Published December 10, 2009 in Editor & Publisher]

Mark these words about TV journalists

Mark Dawidziak, former BJ type, writes in his Plain Dealer column about  Cleveland as a stepping stone for TV journalists. Click on the headline to read the article.  Jim Kavanagh, another former BJ type, called our attention to the Dawidziak piece.  Jim is now a TV journalist at CNN.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

McClatchy may join Kindle rival venture

Miami Herald Wire Report
Five of the nation's largest news publishers plan to challenge's Kindle electronic-book reader with their own digital format. Time, News Corp., Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith announced Tuesday they will develop a format that rivals Kindle's gray ``electronic ink.''

It promises to emphasize visuals, retaining the distinctive look of each publication, as compared to the text-oriented Kindle. The Kindle has been available since 2007. Electronic books, newspapers and other publications that Amazon sells for the Kindle will only work with that device. 

McClatchy, publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, may consider joining such a venture, said Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chief executive officer.

5 attend BJ Retirees lunch

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Wikipedia founder fears internet effects

Larry Sanger has made his living on the Internet. He co-founded Wikipedia, one of the world’s top 10 Web sites with more than 65 million visitors monthly, and he now leads two other ambitious online projects. So why does he fear what the Internet is doing to our minds and those of our children?  
Click on the headline to see article.

Monday, December 07, 2009

McClatchy to lift wage freeze

The McClatchy Co. said today it's lifting a wage freeze that's been in effect for more than a year.

Gary Pruitt, chairman and chief executive of The Bee's parent, announced the news in a memo to employees. He said the freeze will be lifted at different times at each newspaper, depending on the "financial performance and challenges at each individual paper."

The wage freeze, imposed in September 2008, was one of a series of cost-cutting moves the Sacramento-based newspaper chain has taken to cope with a devastating drop in revenue. The Bee, for instance, has trimmed more than one fourth of its work force and cut most workers' pay by 6 percent. 

McClatchy is still struggling and Pruitt said 2010 may bring "additional expense cuts." In the third quarter, total revenue fell 23.1 percent from a year earlier. But he said McClatchy is "successfully navigating through these difficult economic times." 
[Source: Sacramento Bee]

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jim Lehrer: His standards for reporting

Given that its audience is only about 2.7 million, an awful lot of people missed Friday's final PBS newcast carrying the name "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Toward the end, the anchor shared the guidelines for what he called MacNeil/Lehrer journalism, and they're worth sharing with everyone:

-- Do nothing I cannot defend.

-- Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.

-- Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.

-- Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am. Assume the same about all people on whom I report.

-- Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.

-- Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.

-- Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.

-- I am not in the entertainment business.

For nearly a half-century, both as individual reporters and as a broadcast team, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer have left many gifts for their profession. Foremost among them is what this list embodies: a high bar.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Catching up with . . . Tom Marvin

Former Beacon Journal photographer Tom Marvin lives on a farm in Guernsey County, just north of Salt Fork State Park and surrounded by trees packed into the countryside, and is winding up eight years as a

Monroe Township trustee – he didn’t run for re-election -- before he and wife Kay head for Florida and an 11-day January cruise in the Caribbean.

Tom and Kay also have traveled to Hawaii, Canada and often to Mexico and have been to every state except Alaska, and that’s on their bucket list. “We are thinking about a trip to England and would like to go through the ‘Chunnel’ to Paris,” Tom writes.

“My wife,” Tom writes, “is Kay Ann Shaffer from Coshocton. We both worked for the same school district before we retired. I was Transportation Supervisor and she was a school secretary. We have been married 21 years.”

Former BJ photography department chief Bill Hunter found Tom for me after I asked for his help. Tom’s email to Bill:

WOW !!! Nice to hear from you.

I am still at It is fun to hear from all of those I used to work with at the Beacon. My neighbor is a Beacon Journal employee and drives 80 miles every day.

I am married to Kay. We are both retired and we travel a bit. We have been in every state except Alaska, and we are planning a trip there now. We have seven kids between us and nine grandkids, two great-grandkids.

I have been retired since 2001 and loving every minute of it. I have had an amazing life, both before and after my Beacon Journal years. I would love to see you sometime. Please feel free to contact me anytime. We have kids in Louisiana, Florida, California and Ohio, so we may not respond right away, but we will get back to anyone who calls or e-mails us.

Our address is

74321 Birch Rd
Kimbolton,Oh 43749
Phone 740 498 7471

I would love to see you sometime,

= = = = = = =

At my request, Tom provided additional information.

Tom’s neighbor who works at the BJ, “a computer person,” is Mark Kovack. “They bought the land next to our farm 3 or 4 years ago,” Tom writes. “They built a new house and barn and have lived here full-time for the last 3 years.”

Tom and Kay have seven children between them. His are Steve Marvin, a bank assistant vice president who lives in Cambridge; Brian Marvin, who lives in Worthington and is a Reynoldsburg police detective; Misty Bellon, a registered nurse living in Eunice, Louisiana, who is married with a son, Nick; and Beth Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney, from Tom’s marriage to former BJ staffer and retired Hoover High School English and journalism teacher Pam McCarthy.

Kay’s children are Tim Wilson, an electric company forester in Florida; Debi Geese, who lives in Fresno, Ohio and is married with two children; and Brett Wilson, a contractor in Coshocton.

Tom and Kay have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Click on the headline to see a 1974 photo of Tom Marvin with Tom and Kay Suchan and Mickey and Suzanne Porter at the opening of the Richfield Coliseum, then-new home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Coliseum replaced a cornfield and was demolished after the Cavs moved to downtown Cleveland in what now is called Quicken Loans Arena.

Click on Tom Marvin's email address highlighted in orange if you want to drop him a note.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Editors to report to sales managers in Dallas

Dallas Morning News editor Bob Mong and senior vice president of sales Cyndy Carr sent an email to everyone at A.H. Belo Corp. Wednesday afternoon outlining what they call a "business/news integration." Which means? As of yesterday, some section editors at all of the company's papers, including The Dallas Morning News, will now report directly to Carr's team of sales managers, now referred to as general managers. In short, those who sell ads for A.H. Belo's products will now dictate content within A.H. Belo's products, which is a radical departure from the way newspapers have been run since, oh, forever.

Those sections mentioned in the memo include sports, entertainment, real estate, automotive and travel, among others.The memo doesn't mention Business or Metro by name, but there are references to "health/education" and "retail/finance"; these are not defined in the missive. Says the memo, Carr's sales force will "be working closely with news leadership in product and content development." Executive sports editor Bob Yates and Lifestyles deputy managing editor Lisa Kresl are quoted in the memo enthusiastically signing off on the unconventional marriage; says Kresl, "I'm excited about the idea of working with a business partner on an arts and entertainment segment."

Click on the headline to read the story and lenghty memo from Bob Mong..

Sad, soggy story

Remember the blog report about wedding photos that former BJ advertising customer manager Phil White took of Timothy Greathouse and his bride six years ago? A few weeks ago the Greathouses wanted to purchase the photos, which they hadn't done six years ago, from the negatives that Phil had of their wedding day.

When Timothy couldn't find Phil White, whose employment ended in summer 2008 at the Beacon Journal, we asked BJ Alums viewers to help us find Phil.

We did, and put Phil and Timothy together. Happy ending?

Emails to us from Phil and Timothy said otherwise.

From Timothy:

Our wedding negatives have been lost -- there is no happy ending to this story. Thanks anyway for your help.

From Phil:

John, unfortunately Mr. Greathouse's negatives as well as several other negatives were lost as part of water damage from a flood. We were not able to make any prints of the wedding.

Connie Bloom to be at Akron Artwalk on Saturday

Former Beacon Journal staffer Connie Bloom, whose cutting-edge quilting magazine debuted recently, will be at the monthly Akron Artwalk from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.

Emails Connie:

The Artwalk "is going to be the best of the year. The galleries have been decorated, libations and snacks will be served and there will be hundreds of pieces of art for sale by Red Light Galleries artists (in the same space as me, in the old bordello).

"Visitors can park their cars and take Lolly the Trolley around the historic art district -- for free -- and go gallery hopping. The holiday shopping will be superb. I hate the phrase it's all good, because it's usually a lie, but in this case, it's really all good."

Connie's gallery is at 111 N. Main Street in Akron, next to Luigi's Restaurant.

Click on the headline to see the BJ Alums post about Connie's unususal quilting magazine, QSDS Voice (as in Quilt Surface Design Symposium, based in Columbus.) She's the publisher and editor.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Miami Herald Cuts 24 Jobs

The Miami Herald is cutting 24 jobs throughout the company and reducing the hours of workers involved in printing and delivering the paper, Publisher David Landsberg announced in an email this morning.

Seven people will lose their jobs in the Herald newsroom: an assigning editor, two copyeditors, two designers, a photo editor, and a part-time librarian. El Nuevo Herald will lose one-and-a-half editing positions, according to Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal. The affected employees were notified this morning, Gyllenhaal wrote in an email to the staff.

For a newsroom of 200 staffers and a media company with about 900 employees, these cuts are not enormous. But they come after two years of painful job hemorrhaging at the Herald and its competitors, the Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post.

In 2008, the Herald eliminated more than 370 jobs through layoffs and buyouts. This March,  175 more jobs disappeared, followed by 16 more in August.

As one Herald reporter told New Times recently, the atmosphere in the newsroom "seems post-apocalyptic to me half the time... Overall, you just feel that the air has been let out of the balloon."

And the outlook for the paper remains grim. As Landsberg wrote in this morning's note to the staff, "The move is part of our ongoing effort to ride out this unprecedented period of economic turmoil.  While we are seeing some signs of improvement on the horizon, we expect operating conditions to remain challenging through much of 2010."

Here's Landsberg's full email, which includes some clues about severance packages for some of the laid-off employees:

    To all Herald employees:   

    Today we are announcing a reduction plan that will result in the loss of 24 staff positions and the shortening of the full-time workweek for departments directly involved in newspaper production operations. 

    The move is part of our ongoing effort to ride out this unprecedented period of economic turmoil.  While we are seeing some signs of improvement on the horizon, we expect operating conditions to remain challenging through much of 2010.    

    The reduction plan includes operational savings and the elimination of temporary labor and open positions.  The job eliminations are spread across all of our divisions. Although many of these will occur through involuntary layoffs, there also will be opportunities for employees to voluntarily elect a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure.

    Employees affected by this reduction are being notified immediately and provided with information about a transition package.  If a voluntary option is being offered to your work group, you will receive written notification with additional information today.  

    The shortened full-time workweek to 37.5 hours will affect all hourly staffers in Prepress, Printing Operations, Electric Shop, Machine Shop, Packaging and Transportation. Employees who work 37.5 hours in those areas will retain their full-time status for health insurance, vacations and other benefits. 

    There will be meetings beginning shortly for all employees in the Operations Division.    As in the past, every effort has been made to minimize the number of layoffs.  At this moment, when signs of an economic recovery are still mixed, our actions will help us navigate what we believe will be a period of moderating revenue losses in 2010. 

     These are difficult decisions, and we realize how tough it is to stay focused on the important mission we share at MHMC.  We have come a long way, and we thank you for your continued dedication and hard work.  

    If you have further questions about the plan, please direct them to your division vice president.

    David Landsberg

Connie Bloom is publisher/editor of cutting-edge quilt magazine

Former Beacon Journal staffer Connie Bloom is publisher and editor of the first edition of QSDS Voice, a magazine about quilting on the cutting edge rather than just cutting the edges. Or, as Connie writes in QSDS Voice, “renegade quilt makers.” This is not your great-grandmother’s quilt-making. This group prefers the term “fabric art.”

The QSDS stands for Quilt Surface Design Symposium, based in Columbus. It’s the leading edge of “non-traditional quilt-makers.” The QSDS conference was born in Columbus in 1990 with Linda Fowler and Nancy Crow as its midwives. Tracy Rieger replaced Crow in 2001 and joined Fowler as QSDS’ directors. The mailing address is 464 Vermont Place, Columbus, OH 43201. Go to Connie's website   and sign up to receive copies of QSDS Voice.

Connie, once my co-worker in the BJ Features Department, took a Beacon buyout in 2008 and plunged into fabric art. She has a working studio at 111 N. Main Street in Akron, Red Light Galleries (a former bordello), next door to Luigi’s. Call ahead at (330) 472-0161 if you want to meet Connie, who married Bob Shields in 2008 after 10 years of togetherness.

Click on the headline to see the earlier BJ Blog story about Connie’s love affair with fabric art.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

David Bianculli discusses new Smothers Brothers book

Former Beacon Journal TV critic David Bianculli, who regaled newsroom audiences in the 1980s while I, as his TV Editor, waited for him to meet his latest story deadline, has his “Dangerously Funny” (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone) book out after what seems like eons.

It’s about Tom and Dick Smothers, and the absurdity of the censorship of their 1960s ratings hit “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” during the Vietnam War. CBS was more concerned about what Lyndon Johnson would think than what made its audience laugh. Bianculli’s book is about that time and atmosphere. Antiwar movements, unfortunately, cause brain bowel movements by their opponents. Even today. Will we ever learn?

David will be on CBS’ “Late Show With Craig Ferguson” on Friday night, promoting his book. If you click on this headline, you can hear David discuss the book and the era that smothered the Smothers Brothers -- on National Public Radio, where Bianculli is NPR’s critic.

Check out Bianculli's  web site

See a few photos of  David

David left the BJ for the New York Post and then the New York Daily News, always as a TV critic, before becoming a Communications College professor at Rowan University. He lives in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Again, click on the headline to hear David’s NPR interview.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dawidziak is on his 'Christmas Carol' kick again

If it’s December, then it must be time for Plain Dealer and former Beacon Journal TV critic Mark Dawidziak and the Largely Literary Theater Company to stage Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol." The performances:

Sunday, Dec. 6
St. Paul Episco- pal, 317 East Lib- erty St., Me- dina, 2 p.m. $12 adults, $10 students. Information: 330-723-3355. Benefits Medina American Association of University Women scholarship program.

Tuesday, Dec. 8
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, 3512 Darrow Road, 7 p.m. Registration required at 330-688-3295 or at library information desk.

Saturday, Dec. 19
Cleveland Public Library, Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium, 525 E. Superior Avenue, 2 p.m. Library has a collection of Dickens material on exhibit.

Sunday, Dec. 20
Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Beachwood Branch, 25501 Shaker Boulevard in Beachwood, at Richmond and Shaker Boulevard, 2 p.m. Information: 216-831-6868.

Dickens is played by Dawidziak. Retired Stow High drama teacher Tom Stephan plays Scrooge. Sara Showman, Mark’s wife, plays almost all the other roles.

Over the years The Largely Literary Theater Company has taken its production of “A Christmas Carol” to Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, Kent, Solon, Kirtland, Hudson, Cuyahoga Falls and Nordonia Hills.

Dawidziak has 11 published books -- including a novel, “Grave Secrets,” and non-fiction “The Barter Theatre Story: Love Made Visible,” “The Columbo Phile: A Casebook,” “Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing,” “The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute,” “Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain” and “The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula.”

The Largely Literary Theater Company was founded in 2002 by Mark and Sara. It also does plays linked to Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain.

Stephan retired after 31 years as English and drama teacher at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. He has appeared in Weathervane Playhouse, Coach House Theater, the Stow Players, Goodyear Theater, the old Bath Players, and the Players Guild of Canton productions.

Mark and Sara also do sketches at the annual Books for Africa fundraiser at St. Bernard Church in Akron.

Contact has been made with Phil White

Phil White contacted me. I gave him Tim Greathouse's email address. Let's see how this turns out. Stay tuned.

= = = = = = =

The original post follows:

Phil White took wedding photos for Timothy Greathouse six years ago.
Phil kept the negatives since the Greathouses didn't purchase the photos then.
But they want to buy them now.

The problem?

Timothy can't find Phil White, whose employment ended in summer 2008 at the Beacon Journal, where Phil was advertising customer service manager. And neither can we, despite exploring several avenues.

If you know Phil's phone number or email address, ask him to call John Olesky at (330) 388-4466 or to email John at

Maybe we can get the couple married for six years together with the guy who photographed their wedding day.

Thank you.

John Olesky

Double delights

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Paula and I had a double dip of delight for Thanksgiving weekend. Well, make that a trifecta.

First, there was the family Thanksgiving dinner in Aurora.

Then came West Virginia’s 19-16 football upset of No. 8 Pitt at Mountaineer Field, ending with a successful field goal as the final seconds ticked off, on Friday night. A cold night turned into a heart-warming triumph.

After an overnight stay in the Waynesburg, PA Comfort Inn, we drove to Wheeling on Saturday and walked a few miles on a paved walkway along the Ohio River while we watched a tug push nine coal barges, toured historic sites in the city where West Virginia’s independence from Virginia began, donated a few bucks to the Wheeling Island Casino, had dinner at scenic, hilly Oglebay Park and took the three-mile auto tour of the holiday Festival of Lights before heading home to Tallmadge to finish the 556-mile trip.

West Virginia seceded from secessionist Virginia in 1861 during the Civil War. The convention that established West Virginia as a state was held in Wheeling, which became the first state capital, two decades before Charleston got the designation permanently. Today, the building is called Independence Hall.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge, once the longest suspension bridge in the world, connects the city and Wheeling Island.

Click on the headline to see photos of our trip.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is there any interest in a facebook group?

Is there any interest in starting a BJ Alums group on Facebook?

There already are a large number of BJ types on Facebook who would join a group.  The advantage of a group is that everything is in a central place.  There is a wall for posts, discussion topics, an events schedule and place for photos.

Our viewers always are welcome to contribute anything to the blog or our website, but it might be easier for some to just post their own comments, photos, links and video to a facebook group.

Leave a comment here if you are interested.

The value of the Beacon Journal Alums  blog depends on you.  We have a backlog of  items culled from old Tower Topics, but we need more information on what  former and retired BJ types are doing today.  We have not heard from many of you and your old friends are wondering  what happened  to you. John Olesky has been sending email to some of you and has come up with some nice posts.  It would be a  bit easier if you would just volunteer the information. As always, we would like to receive information and photos to let others know about you and your family.  If you cannot  email photos, let us know. We will arrange to scan any photos mailed to us.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Catching up with . . . Pam McCarthy, in "retirement"

Pam McCarthy emailed this correction 1/31/10
Just talked today with a friend in England who nearly gave my husband and I heart attacks when he said he read on the Internet that Kate was married! After q&a back and forth, I figured he must have found your "Catching up with...." story, so went back and read it more slowly (remember I said I was a good proofreader? Apparently only when I'm being paid!! or when I slow down to read carefully!) Either I wrote it wrong or you rewrote my info wrong, b/c Kate IS in nursing at UA, but BETHANY is married to Andy. Twins Kate and Michael just turned 21 this past weekend, so I am happy to report they are both still single!! Can you go in and fix that piece of information? Or I can just post a comment if that's easier. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner, but just gave it a quick read when it came out. Thanks for coverage either way.

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

It seemed like a simple question.

I emailed former Beacon Journal State Desk reporter Pam McCarthy concerning my attempts to get information on another former State Desk reporter, Cathy Strong, who remains Pam’s friend, and asked:

“How’s retirement going for you?”

Pam retired May 31, 2008 from North Canton Hoover High School after 33 years of teaching English and journalism. As I said, it seemed like a simple question, maybe even perfunctory.

Pam’s emailed reply:

Retirement? What's that????

I tutored kids who had failed the Ohio Graduation Test last fall, last spring and this past fall. Four weeks of tutoring, then a week of test proctoring.

Then, Business #1: Proofreader. I'm really good at it. Pays well. But spotty work, because I don't really seek it out. If people seek me out, I proofread and charge them.

Business #2: Senior pix photographer. It's fun and creative and I enjoy it. But my "business plan" was to offer my services to those students who couldn't afford the expensive studios. It was my intention to "give back." But it backfired because people who COULD afford studios saw the pix I did and started calling me. So I worked quite a bit, but developed trigger thumb and carpal tunnel (should have bought a mono-pod), so am currently not doing that!

Business #3: Became an independent consultant (and now district manager) for Arbonne International, a skin care and health products company. It's a direct marketing (direct sales, multilevel marketing, NOT pyramid) company and I'm enjoying the flexible hours, working with people, training people to do the same thing I do. Just had an open house today, with some holiday specials. Owning my own business is . . . interesting. But, so far, so good.

So, that's my retirement!

Ken (Pakenham, Pam’s husband) hopefully will retire this summer, so we can plan some REAL retirementy things. We did go to Hawaii the first summer and to Scotland to see his family last March. Plus I went to Houston to see a friend and then to Kingman, Arizona to see a sick friend in July, then back in August for her funeral. So, been busy!!

Meanwhile, the twins still have another year of school and health insurance to pay for, so I plan to stay busy for a little longer! I do miss watching the birds in the morning, though -- that's what I did the first couple of months I wasn't teaching!!

= = = = = = =


On the 2008 BJ Alums post by Harry Liggett about Pam’s “retirement” from Hoover High, she said: “It's been a nice ride. Now I get to re-invent myself.”

Boy, did she ever!

Pakenham Is an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron, teaching linguistics and English as a second language. “My sister was his secretary,” Pam says, “I met him when I was in graduate school. I'd come up from Coshocton, where I was living at the time, teaching at Ridgewood High School, and I would pop in to say ‘Hi!’ to her. And there he was!!”

Ken, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Pam were married in January 1988 and had twins Michael and Kate in January 1989. The twins are juniors at the University of Akron. Michael is majoring in history and Kate in nursing and is married to Andy.

Bethany Marvin Stevens, daughter of Pam McCarthy and former BJ photographer Tom Marvin, is a Los Angeles attorney specializing in commercial litigation. She joined the WilmerHale law firm, which has 1,000 lawyers in 12 cities, in 2008. Previously, Bethany – “Beth” to the family – was fixed income operations analyst for Lehman Brothers. She got her 2000 Ohio State degree in business administration and finance and her law degree from UCLA in 2006.

Tom Marvin is enjoying life in Kimbolton, Ohio on his Guernsey County farm with wife Kay.

Click on the headline to see photos of Pam, her family and her 1974 State Desk co-workers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Social scene

I ran into Paula and Bill Canterbury at the annual St. Sebastian Church Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday night on Mull Avenue in Akron. Bill, a former Beacon Journal reporter who later did PR work for city or county officials (I forget which), is with a private firm that prepares meals for the elderly. Wife Paula has been principal of Central Intermediate School in Wadsworth for a half-dozen or so years.

Bill grew up in Wayne County, West Virginia, which is adjacent to Mingo County, where I had my first job after my graduation from West Virginia University School of Journalism, as sports editor of the Williamson Daily News.

Accident victim was former BJ sports statistician

Kevin E. Vest, 18, a Coventry High school senior who died Nov. 18 in an auto/semi accident on I-77 near the Arlington entrance ramp, was a BJ sports statistician until a few months ago. He worked at CiCi's Pizza.

He was involved with Greenpeace, Stand Up 4 Kids and To Write Love on Her Arms. On his Spacebook page, Kevin said he owned Break A Sweat Entertainment (BASE), was founder of Arts For Aid (AFA), designer of Flye Clothing and manager of local band Steraon. Kevin also signed with a Barberton babysitting service.

There are nearly 100 entries on his Bacher Funeral Home guest book.

Donations may be made to First Merit Bank in memory of Kevin.

Click on the headline to read Kevin's obituary in the Beacon Journal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Russ Musarra learned his lesson the hard way

In "Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart . . .
Tales From the Last Glory Days of Cleveland Newspapers—Told By The Men and Women Who Reported the News," a book by former Cleveland Press reporter John H. Tidyman (Gray & Company), retired Beacon Journal and Cleveland Press reporter Russ Musarra recalls how he learned a valuable lesson concerning the cutthroat competition between the Press and the Plain Dealer in those days. The Press died, and the PD presses on.

Musarra's recollections:

You learned your lessons the hard way. I learned how to cajole pictures from grieving wives and mothers. On the night shift, if somebody got killed in an automobile accident or a shooting or whatever, you'd want to get a picture.

Michael Kelly was a reporter for the Plain Dealer. Well, Mike was a very nice person. He just couldn't do enough for you.

He and I went out to a grieving parent's home one time to get pictures of somebody who had died. We got there at the same time and he said, “Let me do the talking.” We were talking and getting information. I'm writing as fast as I could.

He said, “Do you have any pictures of little Johnny?” And so she brought out the pictures of him and he took them all. He said, “Thank you so much.”

He's leaving, and I said, “Do you have any more pictures?” She said, “Well, no. I gave them all to him.”

I said, “Well, Mike.” He said, “Screw you.” If you got there first, take them all. Screw the competition.

= = = = = = =

Russ was known at the BJ for being an excellent reporter who could be outspoken. There were times when the entire newsroom stopped while Russ aimed his anger at an editor. In the later years, as we all do, Russ mellowed. I have first-hand evidence that you couldn't ask for a nicer co-worker.

After coming to the BJ from the Press and PD, the pride of Macedonia worked 30 years at the Beacon before his 2000 retirement.

Click on the headline for photos and a Ayers sketch and the cover of "Walks Around Akron," based on a 1987-on series of articles that Russ wrote and Ayers illustrated for the BJ about Akron landmarks.

Click here to read other excerpts

= = = = = = =

Ott Gangl's comment was too delicious to leave hidden under "Comments." Here it is:

Ott Gangl said...
The best of my 35 years at the BJ were the ones on the Beacon Magazine with Russ and the late Bill Bierman.

We had so much fun, often loud, that they banned us to a far corner of the stock room, which didn't faze us a bit. Eventually they allowed us out and placed us next to the art department. Then we had a window.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Catching up with . . . Cal Deshong, for his 91st birthday

By John Olesky 
(BJ 1969-96)

When Cal Deshong was born, Woodrow Wilson was in his second term as President of the United States and another Cal (Coolidge) was five years away from taking the same office, succeeding Warren G. Harding.

Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama would follow. That's 17 presidents.

The Spanish flu pan- demic (H1N1, today called the swine flu) was in the midst of killing up to 100 million people world-wide from March 1918 to June 1920. Armistice Day had been declared 13 days earlier, ending World War I fighting.

Calvin E. Dishong was born Nov. 24, 1918 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Nan Galbreath Dishong and Daniel Calvin Dishong, an Americanized form of the French “of or from the field.” Cal adds that he lived “in a little suburb that everyone called Pole Cat Holler at the bottom of Dishong Mountain. I guess that would be a little bit of Appalachia.” For those non-mountain people who don't know, a pole cat is a skunk.

As for the discrepancy in his last name, Cal explains: “When my mother and father ‘split,’ she changed the spelling when we came to Ohio” by substituting an “e” for the “i” in the family name to make it Deshong.

“My first job,” Cal says, “was selling papers on the street the morning that President Hoover was elected. I sold Extras at 5 a.m. I was only 9 years old, but was 10 years old 20 days later. That was for the Warren Tribune in Warren, Ohio.”

In 1939, Cal joined the Naval Reserve where he served till 1941. “I was a radio operator,” Cal says. “I had a Ham Station (W8QLA).

“I was called to active duty in June 1941 and took a physical at the Naval Reserve Armory in Indianapolis, Indiana. Doctors “found a slight rupture (hernia), discharged me and sent me home and told me to register with the local Draft Board.” Cal didn't get the hernia fixed till the 1960's at Akron City Hospital.

Then came Dec. 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. declared war on the Axis powers, primarily Japan, Germany and Italy.

“A year later,” Cal says, “I hadn't heard anything. I stopped in at the Draft Board and asked for my status. They couldn't find papers (on me) until they pulled out the bottom drawer of the file cabinet. They said, 'We thought you were in the Navy.' ”

”Soon I received a letter to go to Cleveland for another exam. I passed. They asked what I wanted. I said, ‘Give me the Marines.' They said ‘No, your eyes aren't good enough.’ I said, ‘OK, give me the Army.’ The papers came back Navy.

”I was sent to boot camp at Sampson, New York, on the Finger Lakes. That's a cold place in February. From there I was sent to Norfolk, Virginia. I was interviewed for placement and was sent to the Radio Transmitter Station at NOB (Naval Operating Base) where I installed new equipment and repaired transmitters.”

Does Cal have any war stories?

“The only hazardous part of my service,” Cal says, “was climbing the 150-foot radio towers to replace the (red warning) lights so that the planes landing at the nearby air station wouldn't run into them.

“I didn't have any sea duty, but was ready to be shipped out for sea duty when (President) Truman dropped the ‘two Big Ones,’ “ -- the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When Cal, at my request, provided me with photos from his life, one was with Chief Bruce Richardson at NOB Norfolk in 1945. “Bruce,” Cal says, “escaped from Corregidor when the Japanese took over” the Phillipines. The 1942 Bataan Death March followed. Richardson “and 40 men in a small boat island-hopped all the way to Australia and almost starved to death,” Cal recalls. Richardson passed away recently.

Cal was discharged from the Navy in 1946.

He says he “went back to Warren, Ohio, in February 1946 and went to work for the Warren Tribune. We had labor problems. Finally in 1952 I quit and went to the BJ. The Tribune made me a better counter-offer, but I refused.”

Cal says: “Before coming to the BJ, I worked as a printer in the composing room at the Warren Tribune. And I worked nights, 6-12, for Radio Station WRRN. I had a (radio) engineer's license.”

Cal worked at the BJ for 31½ years (May 1952-Sept. 1983). His favorite moment? “When Mr. Church hired me. I worked two weeks at night before I was hired. If you couldn't set enough type on the linotype machine in a shift, it was 'Sayonara.’ “

At the BJ, Cal says, “I was a linotype operator, then a linotype monitor when punched tape was used to run the machines. Later, I helped run the copy desk when the BJ first used IBM computers and (punched) tape to run the linotype machines.

“Then I ran the APS/4 Room, plus marking up copy for the tape punchers. Later, the tape was replaced and each puncher had his own computer keyboard and dumped directly to the APS/4 machines.”

“It's been 26 years (since his retirement from the BJ!) and it's hard to remember everything.” You did an excellent job of recalling, Cal.

Cal was married for decades to Mary Louise, who died in February 2001. They have a daughter, Mary Pat Deshong-Kinkelaar, who lives in Akron and is married to David Kinkelaar. “I was 45 when my daughter, Mary Pat, was born,” Cal says. “Everyone thought she was my grandchild. I was almost 90 before I was a grandfather.”

After her Kent State graduation, Cal and Mary Louise’s daughter worked in Cleveland for a Chicago real estate company; transferred to Washington, D.C. to run the building that housed National Public Radio; was Human Relations VP for a computer outfit that was sold to a Belgian company; and moved to Chicago to continue in real estate, starting her own company as the founding principal of Kinkelaar & Associates.

Mary is a Certified Financial Planner in the state of Illinois and is working on her CPA for Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences.

“She still has clients in Chicago,” Cal says, “and flies back and forth every few months.”

Mary and David adopted Claire Louise Elizabeth Garcia Kinkelaar from Guatemala when she was six months old – Cal’s only grandchild. Claire will be three years old on March 26. When Cal sent me a photo of Claire at a computer, he commented: “Could you use a ‘mouse’ at 2½ years old? Claire can. I couldn't use a pencil” at that age.

As for his longevity, Cal says “My grandfather died on his 90th birthday. My great-grandfather died in Andersonville Prison (in Georgia) after he was captured in the Civil War. My mother died at 93.”

In an understatement, Cal says, “I come from a line of long livers.” Indeed!

Cal provided a great ending thought to this tale: “I'm convinced there are guardian angels. Everything worked out very well for me.” It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

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If you want to mail Cal a congratulatory card or note, his address is:

Calvin Deshong
3682 Vira Rd.
Stow, OH 44224

If you want to email Cal, his email address is:

To see photos of Cal, from 1918 through the Navy years to today, click on the headline.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

7 Ohio papers plan joint report on pensions

A group of Ohio newspapers that began sharing content nearly two years ago, and have also conducted several joint polls, are about to publish their first joint reporting project.

An investigation into public employee pensions that will utilize staffers from seven Ohio papers is set to run Nov. 29, according to Editor Ben Marrison of the Columbus Dispatch.

"It has been an issue in this state," Marrison, whose newsroom is the lead on the report, says of the pension issue. "Looking at if they are sustainable given the increasing expense and the increased inability of school districts and towns to pay for them."

Marrison said his paper is providing the main report, with contributions from The Repository in Canton, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Blade of Toledo, the Dayton Daily News and The Vindicator in Youngtown.

"They are each contributing examples from around the state," Marrison said of the other papers. "We decided we wanted to do the main part here and crunch the numbers in one place. But we are getting examples from around Ohio."

Marrison said each paper has at least one reporter assigned to the story, and each will run the main piece with other local content related to the issue.

The consortium, known as the Ohio News Organization, began to share content in early 2008 after complaints about the Associated Press coverage of some state issues. At least three polls have also been jointly conducted by the group.

"We are always looking for ways to make better use of what we have and what we can do jointly to better the state," Marrison said, adding that other such projects are likely in the future.

[Above report by Joe Strupp in Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tom Moore at work in Florida sunshine while we shiver in Northeast Ohio

Retired Beacon Journal deputy news editor Tom Moore keeps busy for six weeks every autumn, working for former Beacon Journal sports editor Tom Giffen at the 21st annual Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series in Fort Myers, Florida.

The players, in ages into the 70s and maybe beyond, compete on 186 teams from around the nation and other countries, such as Russia and the Dominican Republic. They play on the fields the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins use for spring training.

The Hobbs World Series runs through this week.

Tom Moore writes and takes photographs for “Inside Pitch,” a daily newspaper that the Roy Hobbs company publishes daily. Game results and schedules also are printed.

To see the photos of Tom Moore, taken by Tom Giffen, and a photo of Tom Giffen riding his bicycle to the fields, taken by Tom Moore, click on the headline.

See  earlier story on Tom Moore and Tom Giffen in Fort Myers.

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Tom emails me that he plans to leave Fort Myers on Thursday to return to the #$#@% Northeast Ohio weather.