Friday, February 27, 2009

Say goodbye to Rocky

Today was the last day of publication for the Rocky Mountain News. The Rocky isn't struggling financially any more than the Denver Post, says Rocky editor John Temple. "But its owner, the E.W. Scripps Co., sees losses in Denver worsening and little prospect that the business can be turned around, even in a one-newspaper town. That's why they decided to leave Denver, after running newspapers here for more than 100 years."

Reprinted below is the goodye message on the final edition of February 27, 2009
We also show the regular front page.

Columbia Journalism Review is collecting comments from staffers.

Poynter online has a number of links to fetures on the last day of publication. Don't miss the video.

Here also is a lnik to nice array of front pages from the Rocky

Goodbye, Colorado

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to you today. Our time chronicling the life of Denver and Colorado, the nation and the world, is over. Thousands of men and women have worked at this newspaper since William Byers produced its first edition on the banks of Cherry Creek on April 23, 1859. We speak, we believe, for all of them, when we say that it has been an honor to serve you. To have reached this day, the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, just 55 days shy of its 150th birthday is painful. We will scatter. And all that will be left are the stories we have told, captured on microfilm or in digital archives, devices unimaginable in those first days. But what was present in the paper then and has remained to this day is a belief in this community and the people who make it what it has become and what it will be. We part in sorrow because we know so much lies ahead that will be worth telling, and we will not be there to do so. We have celebrated life in Colorado, praising its ways, but we have warned, too, against steps we thought were mistaken. We have always been a part of this special place, striving to reflect it accurately and with compassion. We hope Coloradans will remember this newspaper fondly from generation to generation, a reminder of Denver's history -- the ambitions, foibles and virtues of its settlers and those who followed. We are confident that you will build on their dreams and find new ways to tell your story. Farewell -- and thank you for so many memorable years together.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain News to print last paper tomorrow

Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision on the future of the
Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper's newsroom on 2/26/09
in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky's parent company put the paper up
for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses. (Joe Mahoney © The Rocky)

The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper tomorrow.

Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Scripps, broke the news to the Rocky staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper's future. He called the paper a victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.

"Denver can't support two newspapers anymore," Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news.

On Dec. 4, Boehne announced that Scripps was looking for a buyer for the Rocky and its 50 percent interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company that handles business matters for the papers, because it couldn't continue to sustain its financial losses in Denver. Scripps said the Rocky lost $16 million in 2008.

"This moment is nothing like any experience any of us have had," Boehne said. "The industry is in serious, serious trouble."

Boehne said there was nibble from one potential buyer, who withdrew after realizing that it would cost as much as $100 million "just to stay in the game."

The Rocky has been in a joint operating agreement with The Denver Post since 2001. The arrangement approved by the U.S. Justice Department allowed the papers to share all business services, from advertising to printing, in order to preserve two editorial voices in the community.

Since then, Scripps said, it has been working with Post owner MediaNews Group to come up with a plan to allow it to exit Colorado. It also shares 50-50 ownership with MediaNews of Boulder's Daily Camera and a handful of other smaller papers in the state.

The closure of the Rocky will mean Denver will have just one major newspaper, like the vast majority of American cities today.

Scripps said it will now offer for sale the masthead, archives and Web site of the Rocky, separate from its interest in the newspaper agency.

Today's announcement comes as metropolitan newspapers and major newspaper companies find themselves reeling, with plummeting advertising revenues and dramatically diminished share prices. Just this week, Hearst, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, announced that unless it was able to make immediate and steep expense cuts it would put the paper up for sale and possibly close it. Two other papers in JOAs, one in Seattle and the other in Tucson, are facing closure in coming weeks.

The Rocky was founded in 1859 by William Byers, one of the most influential figures in Colorado history. Scripps bought the paper in 1926 and right away entered into a newspaper war with The Post. That fight ebbed and flowed over the course of the rest of the 20th century, culminating in penny-a-day subscriptions in the late '90s. Perhaps the most critical step for the Rocky occurred in 1942. The paper was struggling and facing death when then-Editor Jack Foster switched its format from the more common broadsheet to the tabloid style it has been known for ever since. Readers loved the change and circulation took off.

In the past decade, the Rocky has won four Pulitzer Prizes, more than all but a handful of American papers. Its sports section was named one of the 10 best in the nation this week. Its business section was cited by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as one of the best in the country last year. And its photo staff is regularly listed among the best in the nation when the top 10 photo newspapers are judged.

"I could say stupid things like 'I know how you feel.' I don't," Boehne said. "We are just deeply sorry. I hope you will accept that."

Blogger Note: Click on the headline to go to the site. Please notice the related stories including the slide show. Faces in the slide show tell the story.
We have not hear from him but among those in the newsrooom certainly was Kevin "Moose" Huhn, a sports statistician at the Beacon Journal in the late 1970s. Ken Krause notes that Barry Forbis, former BJ assistant sports editor, is the sorts editor of the Rocky Mountain News and Kevin Huhn is deputy sports editorl.

Trashing the hometown newspaper

Blogger Note: Old timers love to recall "the good old days" and deride the new generation and all folks love to trash their hometown newspaper. Have you experienced this? The following is reprinted in its entirety from the San Francisco Chronicle:

By Debra J. Sanders
A couple of years ago, when speaking to a local group, I mentioned that The Chronicle was losing money. A couple in the back of the room rudely applauded. How thrilled those two must have felt when - if - they learned of Chronicle Publisher Frank Vega's announcement Tuesday that the Hearst Corp. will implement "significant" workforce cuts. If the cuts don't pay off, then the Hearst Corp. will "offer the newspaper for sale or close it altogether."

Bloggers and e-mailers are crowing. If The Chronicle is shuttered, they'll be dancing a jig.

Many conservatives feel a warm glow at the possible demise of an institution that they believe to be failing because of liberal bias. On the far left, that same glow will satisfy those who think newspapers are not liberal enough.

As for those who only read their news online, here's a news flash: News stories do not sprout up like Jack's bean stalk on the Internet. To produce news, you need professionals who understand the standards needed to research, report and write on what happened. If newspapers die, reliable information dries up.

Reduced ad revenue and falling newspaper circulation mean that there will be fewer people to cover the same number of stories. In the middle of an economic crisis and President Obama's federal spending bonanza, there will be fewer watchdogs to guard the shop.

So to those of you who argue that the demise of liberal newspapers (The Chronicle in particular) is deserved, I offer a caveat: Be careful what you wish for.

Remember the ugly consequences of San Francisco's sanctuary city policy for juvenile offenders, who were sent abroad instead of to jail? Or Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums' failure to tackle crime in Oaktown? Or reports on corporate bonuses for execs at bailed-out banks? Imagine that those things happened, but there was no journalist to investigate and report.

I wonder who will be around in five years to cover stories. Or what talk radio will talk about when hosts can't just siphon from carefully researched stories, because they never were written.

Newspapers are the public's referees as to which information is credible. You can go online and read no end of fiction and smear about public figures. But when you read content in a newspaper, you consistently can rely on it.

As every conservative pundit knows, there is a special credibility that comes with being able to say, "as the New York Times reported," or "as the Washington Post reported." Even "as The Chronicle reported."

One of the great American pursuits in my lifetime has been to trash the local paper. It is a healthy, cathartic exercise - and, at times, practiced in this column.

But at some point in recent years - and publishers' decisions to post material online at no charge no doubt contributed - this very American pastime devolved from spirited criticism to foolhardy prickliness. News consumers somehow moved from thinking their paper let them down to thinking that their paper was not worthy of them.

Despite all the solid stories, and all the reliable information, and all the articles that tell you something you did not know, and all the opinion pieces that made you stop and think, a growing number of people have decided that it is more important for their news to be pure than it is for the public to be informed.

And I hear this from people who say they care about news. They look to the site-rich Internet for salvation, unaware that the decline of newspapers means that those shiny new Web sites are linking to fewer real news stories. What looks like more choice isn't. It's more doors leading to fewer rooms.

When a newspaper dies, you don't get a comprehensive periodical to fill the void. You get an informational vacant lot into which passers-by can throw their junk.

To comment, e-mail Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Roundup of newsroom cutbacks

Providence Journal to lay off 100 more

An additional 100 Providence Journal workers are to be laid off by March 6 by A.H. Belo, the Dallas company that bought the newspaper in 1996. The Journal reported the impending layoffs Jan. 31 (A.H. Belo, owner of the The Providence Journal, plans to cut 500 jobs) but today we learned how many of those lost jobs would be in Providence. (A.H. Belo's other newspapers are the Dallas Morning News, Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise and the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle.)

See the full story on the ProJo website

Denver unions agree to cuts that average 11.7%
Unions representing workers at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent.

The agency, a joint venture that handles the business operations of the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, approached its unions in December. The agency sought $18 million in concessions as part of a broader $35 million cost-cutting package.

It’s not clear if the tentative agreement, reached at 1 a.m. today, meets that $18 million goal.

Tony Mulligan, administrative officer at the Denver Newspaper Guild, said the concessions were made with the awareness that the agency was struggling financially but working through a process to protect union members as much as possible.

Mulligan could not rule out agency layoffs even after a deal is approved. “I don’t know if there will be staffing reductions or not,” he said.

The agency has about 1,080 union employees, including about 900 subject to today’s deal.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Rocky Mountain News

San Antonio Express-News cuts 75

"Incremental staff and budget cuts, we are sorry to say, have proven inadequate amid changing social and market forces now compounded by this deepening recession," editor Robert Rivard told the staff at San Antonio Express-News "No one is being asked to leave the Express-News today unless you so choose. March 20 will be the final day for those whose jobs are being cut."

See the memo from an Antonio Express-News' editor which was sent to Poyner Online’s Jim Romenesko

And Bob DeMay, who is also a Newspaper Guild officer at the BJ, reports on a differendt kind of cut on his News Photographers blog. Use the link at left to go there.

The latest cuts in Canton at The Repository are not in staff but in the product itself. Top Repository editors have been hosting live chats on the newspaper's Web site in response to reader reaction to a redesign of the paper which made its debut Tuesday.

Several major changes have taken place in the repackaging of the paper. Page one has now been designed in billboard fashion primarily to tease inside content. For the first two days page one had only one story on it.

The newspaper's Living section has been eliminated and the Local section is being replaced by a new section called Your Life. The new section will be primarily one calendar page with canned material, obits, with citizen journalist copy within.

The content from the former Local section will now be rolled into the A section bumping most of the world, national and state news. The editorial page was shrunk to one page to make room for the local content.

Washington Post 4Q earnings down 77 per cent

The Washington Post Co. earnings fell 77 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2007, as a large impairment charge drove down net income.

The Post Co. reported fourth-quarter net income of $18.8 million ($2.01 per share) on revenue of $1.16 billion, compared with net income of $82.9 million ($8.71) on revenue of $1.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The company's newspaper division, which includes the flagship Washington Post, reported a $14.4 million operating loss for the fourth quarter and a $192.7 million operating loss for all of 2008, nearly half of which came from the cost of early-retirement packages taken by some 231 Post employees. The charge dragged The Post Co. into the red in the second quarter of 2008, for the first time in its 37-year history as a publicly traded company.

The company's magazine division -- largely Newsweek -- reported a $10.9 million operating profit for the fourth quarter but a $16.1 million operating loss for 2008.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Washington Post.

BUT FIRST: Here are the bad and some good numbers from :MediaMemo blog by Peter Kafka

▼ Newspaper division revenue was down 13 percent; the previous quarter it declined a mere seven percent.

▼ Print advertising declined 21 percent; that’s worse than the 14 percent decline the previous quarter.

▼ Revenues at the company’s magazine group were down 18 percent; in Q3 they were down a mere four percent. Newsweek’s revenue dropped 22 percent, and that decline will continue as the company pares back its circulation base.

▲The good news: Online revenue was up five percent, and display ads were up 10 percent. Both of those numbers represent decelerations from Q3, when overall online revenue was up 13 percent and display was up 32 percent.

A quick update via email

Email from Sandy Bee Lynn - former BJ Librarian

I retired in October of 08 from the Wadsworth Public Library (I was there for 4 years and at the Orrville Public Library for 4 years before that). I went to Orrville from the Beacon, after being there for almost 18 years! I am so surprised at the numbers of people who I worked with that are gone now.

I have a nice little pension from the BJ - emphasis on "little" but everything helps...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hearst to sell/close SF Chronicle if cuts aren't made

NEW YORK -- The Hearst Corp. today announced an effort to reverse the deepening operating losses of its San Francisco Chronicle by seeking near-term cost savings that would include "significant" cuts to both union and non-union staff.

In a posted statement, Hearst said if the savings cannot be accomplished "quickly" the company will seek a buyer, and if none comes forward, it will close the Chronicle. The Chronicle lost more than $50 million in 2008 and is on a pace to lose more than that this year, Hearst said.

Frank J. Vega, chairman and publisher of the Chronicle, said, "It's just a fact of life that we need to live within our means as a newspaper - and we have not for years."

Vega said plans remain on track for the June 29 transition to new presses owned and operated by Canadian-based Transcontinental Inc., which will give the Chronicle industry-leading color reproduction.

If the reductions can be accomplished, Vega said, "We are optimistic that we can emerge from this tough cycle with a healthy and vibrant Chronicle."

The company did not specify the size of the staff reductions or the nature of the other cost-savings measures it has in mind. The company said it will immediately seek discussions with the Northern California Media Workers Guild, Local 39521, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853, which represent the majority of workers at the Chronicle.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Philly news execs skip raises in bankruptcy case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bankruptcy lawyers say three Philadelphia newspaper executives will roll back their 2008 raises while the company tries to shed debt and stay afloat.

Chief Executive Brian Tierney's 38 percent pay hike in December has boosted his salary to $850,000.

It has raised eyebrows when it was disclosed in this week's filing by owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News to seek bankruptcy protection. The raises have come as two newspapers shed staff amid declining circulation and revenues.

Lawyers in court Tuesday say Tierney and two other executives will roll back their recent raises as the case proceeds in Philadelphia.

Another newspaper publisher, Journal Register Co., has its opening hearing later Tuesday in a bankruptcy court in New York

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boss got raise as Philly papers tanked

CEO Tierney got 38% increase
as The Philadelphia Inquirer
headed toward bankruptcy

As the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News slid toward the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing it made over the weekend, one employee did well on the pay front: CEO Brian P. Tierney.

Documents filed Sun
day by Philadelphia Newspapers LLC and seven affiliates said that the pay of Tierney, a public relations executive who put together the investment group that bought the paper from McClatchy in June 2006 for $562 million, was boosted just two months ago by 38% to $850,000.

But an affidavit by Richard R. Thayer, executive vice president, finance, said the company was still saving money
because Tierney "without an increase in compensation" became publisher of both papers in the fall of 2006 after the $565,000-a-year incumbent resigned. Even though Tierney in January 2008 demanded a 10% cost concession from workers, his own pay was bumped up 3% in May 2008 to $618,000. Then came the big boost around Christmas.

The Inquirer and
Daily News join a growing list of newspapers forced into bankruptcy after sharp declines in advertising destroyed their ability to service big debts taken on when they changed hands. A day earlier, Journal Register Co. people ), parent of Connecticut's New Haven Register and 178 other weekly and daily newspapers, sought bankruptcy-court protection. The same fate befell the Minneapolis Star Tribune last month. In December, Tribune Co., whose holdings include the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Newsday, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. All newspapers have suffered sharp ad revenue declines due to Internet competition and the recession, but those that recently changed hands in leveraged deals are the most vulnerable.

The bankruptcy threatens to wipe out the $150 million equity investment made by Tierney's group, which included local labor unions and business interests. It also raises the prospect of big losses by the lenders that provided the balance of more than $400 million in debt financing. The list of largest unsecured creditors was topped by Royal Bank of Scotland, which is owed $22 million. As of Jan. 31, the company said it still owed $395 million to lenders.

Click on the headline to read the ful story on

Phila Newspapers file for bankruptcy

Philadelphia Newspapers ., which owns The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and, filed for bankruptcy protection in a bid to restructure its $390 million in debt load.

The company, bought by a group of Philadelphia-area investors for $562 million in 2006, said the voluntary Chapter 11 filing would not interrupt its daily operations.

"This restructuring is focused solely on our debt, not our operations," chief executive officer Brian P. Tierney, who led the group that provided about $150 million of the purchase price three years ago, said in a news release.

"Our operations are sound and profitable," said Tierney, referring to operating profits before interest and certain other costs.

The Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom and other employees of the company, alerted its members of the bankruptcy filing yesterday. See the memo

The financial burden from an advertising downturn, rising costs for newsprint, and the migration of readers to the Internet caused Philadelphia Newspapers to fall out of compliance with its loan agreements last year. The same conditions have devastated the broadcast industry.

The company said it decided to turn to Bankruptcy Court after negotiating with its lenders for the last 11 months. During that time, the company was billed $13.4 million in penalty interest and fees.

It is not clear whether the current owners will retain a stake in the company if the debt is successfully restructured with the help of a bankruptcy judge. Ideally, a restructuring would reduce the amount of debt and lower the interest rate.

Citizens Bank is the agent for the senior lenders, who have included Angelo Gordon & Co., CIT Group Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co.

To fund operations during the restructuring, the company asked for court approval of $25 million in debtor-in-possession financing that was arranged by NewSpring Capital in Radnor.

The Philadelphia Newspapers filing follows last month's bankruptcy filing by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Journal Register Co., based in Yardley and the publisher of a number of local daily and weekly newspapers, filed for bankruptcy Saturday. Just last week, the publicly traded New York Times Co. suspended its dividend to cope with the economic downturn.

The Tribune Co., which was saddled with a massive $13 billion debt load when Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell bought it in 2007, filed for bankruptcy protection in December.
[Source: Philadelphia Inquirer]

PD reporter wins ASNE award

Plain Dealer reporter Joanna Connors won the Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors for Beyond Rape: A Survivors Journey. The series focuses on Connors experience with rape and beat out finalist entries from the St. Petersburg Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

In addition, Regina Brett (formerly at BJ) was a finalist for the organization’s Batten Medal, which recognizes journalism that touches real people. She was nominated for her body of work last year, including columns on open discovery and Cleveland police officer Jim Simone and part of her series on passing the breast cancer gene on to her daughter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Newspaper executive Mary Jacobus dies at 52

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mary Jacobus, a veteran newspaper executive who in 2006 became president and chief operating officer of The New York Times Co.'s Regional Media Group, died Friday. She was 52.
Jacobus was former publisher of the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune and the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-entintel when they were owned by Knight Ridder
Jacobus died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, The New York Times Co. said in a statement. She had been hospitalized after she unexpectedly became ill at work Feb. 2.

"Mary was brilliant, dedicated, focused and witty," said Janet Robinson, president and CEO of The New York Times Co. "She passionately cared about all those around her and all that she did, personally and professionally. In many ways, she was one of our company's most popular and effective ambassadors for all that we hold dear as an organization."

Since 2007, Jacobus also had been a member of the board of directors of The Associated Press, and she served on its Revenue Committee.

"Mary was a special leader who took on the big problems, made them smaller and inspired many along the way," AP CEO Tom Curley said. "She was a dear friend who will be missed."

Jacobus had been named president and general manager of The Boston Globe, owned by The New York Times Co., in January 2006, then took the regional newspaper group job later that year.

The New York Times Regional Media Group has 15 daily newspapers and 24 weeklies, mostly in the southeastern United States and California, as well as regional magazines and Web sites.

Before that, Jacobus held a variety of newspaper executive jobs in several states.

In 1998, she became publisher of the Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune, owned by Knight Ridder Inc. In 2001, she moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where she was publisher of Knight Ridder's News-Sentinel and president and chief executive officer of Fort Wayne Newspapers.

Before going to Duluth, she had been vice president, sales and marketing, at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., owned by Freedom Communications Inc.

She also served as director of sales and marketing at the Times Advocate in Escondido, Calif.; and held advertising and circulation management positions at the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram and the Buffalo News and Buffalo Courier-Express in New York.

Jacobus was one of several news executives who took part in a panel discussion in 2007 about the future of the industry at the North Carolina Press Association's annual meeting.

The group of executives agreed that the challenge facing the industry is to figure out how to profitably deliver the news. But Jacobus said the opportunities on the Internet mean "we have never had a larger audience for our content."

In 2000, she was co-chair of a committee of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which tabulates circulation for the newspaper industry, that developed revised rules to allow papers to count more heavily discounted copies in their totals for paid circulation.

She grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., and attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., graduating in 1979.

Jacobus is survived by her husband, Dean, and her 15-year-old triplets, Kelly, Kimberly and Bill.

See also the obituary in the Boston Globe, a Media Group newspaper.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Six editors laid off at Denver Post

Six major layoffs took place today at the Denver Post. All of those involved in non-union positions. They are: Stephen Keating, the former editor of the Post's political website,, who will continue to work on a project for Post-owner MediaNews Group; assistant city editor Cynthia Pasquale; assistant design director Ingrid Muller; online director Mark Cardwell; systems editor Eric Strom; and the biggest name of all, managing editor Gary Clark.

Clark, who has been employed by the Post since January 2003, confirmed the names above, and described the reasons for the move as "cost-cutting." He added, "I just wish the Denver Post well, and everybody who's still there. It's a fine group of journalists. They put out a good newspaper, and they've got to strive to make it great."

Here's the staff memo from Moore that announced the layoffs:

From: Moore, Greg
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 3:25 PM
To: D-Post-All
Subject: A message from Greg Moore


Today, I gave separation packages to people who have meant a lot to
this newspaper. Leaving us will be Gary Clark, Mark Cardwell, Erik
Strom, Ingrid Muller, Stephen Keating (who will continue work on a
project with MediaNews) and Cynthia Pasquale. Their last official day is
Friday, though some of them understandably chose to leave this
afternoon. Our colleagues will be deeply missed. These departures were
forced by budget cuts I have to make. I had hoped to avoid having to
make any more personnel reductions, but that was impossible. I want to
thank each and every one of them for all their contributions to The
Post. I will miss them all, but especially my right-hand man, Gary,
whose hard work, dedication and friendship has meant the world to me.

I will have a staff meeting tomorrow at 4:30 to talk about this and
other matters. I think you all know the financial challenges facing this
industry and this newspaper. Today's action should drive it all home for



[Source: Westword, Denver*s alternative news weekly:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Collapse of newspapers accelerating

A Blomberg News article today by Greg Bensinger paints a gloomy picture for the industry:

The collapse of the U.S. newspaper industry is accelerating as a deepening plunge in advertising forces publishers to consider curtailing print editions or shutting down altogether.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will shut down or appear only on the Internet if its parent company can’t find a buyer for it by March. The Tucson Citizen in Arizona will close if it can’t be sold. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News is up for sale, and Detroit’s two dailies cut their publishing schedule to three days a week.

“There’s going to be a lot of papers giving up days of the week that they publish editions and an acceleration of movement from print to digital publishing,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst at media consultant Outsell Inc. in Burlingame, California.

New York Times Co., Gannett Co. and McClatchy Co., which altogether own about 135 dailies, posted publishing ad revenue declines of more than 13 percent in 2008 and anticipate further drops this year. The publishers are selling assets and cutting at least 5,000 jobs amid the worst recession in more than 70 years.

The article picks up this Feb. 5 quote from McCatchy CEO Gary Pruitt:

“We don’t have any better sense than other market observers as to how long the current recession will last.”

Click on the headline to read the full article.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sacramento Guild asks Pruitt to take pay cut

The Newspaper Guild in Sacramento has asked McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt to take a pay cut. Her'e the letter to Pruitt:

Dear Gary,

These are extraordinary times - in the economy, in our industry, and at McClatchy. The company is in deep financial trouble. To pull through, it will take sacrifice by those who care about the company.

Newspaper Guild members and other employees are doing our part. In quick succession, our salaries and our pensions have been frozen. The company match has been eliminated from our 401K plans. We've gone through two rounds of buyouts. Our ranks are thinner. But, that is only the beginning. An unknown number of us will be sent out the door in the coming weeks, laid off during the worst economic climate in 80 years.

Those of us who remain will work harder, but we will work for less. The company has told the Guild we all will be furloughed this year, and beyond that, we will be asked to take additional voluntary pay cuts. If not, more of us may be terminated.

Yes, these are extraordinary times. We come to work each day dealing with a sense of personal uncertainty we have never before felt - sudden worries about making our mortgage payments, about setting a few dollars aside for childrens' college education, about saving enough to someday buy a house of our own.
Forget, for now, about getting ahead; we're just gutting it out, hoping to survive.

But, we care about this company. We care about its cause. We have sacrificed in hopes of helping the company weather the storm.

Today, we ask you to step forward and join us in a meaningful way. We ask you to work harder for less.

Your most recent publicly released annual compensation package is $4.6 million, of which $1.1 million is listed as base salary. We understand you recently relinquished one of your two pension accounts. We ask you to agree to reduce your full compensation this year to $500,000. You may have read recently that is the amount of executive pay the president of the United States has suggested he believes is appropriate in dire circumstances.

It would not be a symbolic move. We don't want symbolism. It's about dollars and cents at a moment when every dollar counts. A voluntary reduction on your part would save jobs. Simple as that.

Join us in sacrifice for the sake of the company,

Sacramento Unit of the California Media Workers Guild

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Neiman J Lab lists 15 top newspaper websites

Nieiman Journalism Lab editors have ranked the top 15 by average monthly unique visitors, according to Nielsen Online, which is the source of all our data (via Editor & Publisher’s monthly reports). Here’s the list:

1. The New York Times 19,503,667 average monthly uniques Increase of 33% from 2007
Peak month: 21,340,000 uniques in March [Eliot Spitzer]

2. USA Today 10,845,000 average monthly uniques Increase of 12% from 2007 Peak month: 12,314,000 uniques in January

3. The Washington Post 10,260,167 average monthly uniques Increase of 19% from 2007 Peak month: 12,956,000 uniques in September

4. The Los Angeles Times 7,886,250 average monthly uniques Increase of 54% from 2007 Peak month: 11,136,000 uniques in November

5. The Wall Street Journal 7,169,333 average monthly uniques Increase of 60% from 2007 Peak month: 9,047,000 uniques in September [Lehman Bros.]

6. The Boston Globe 5,211,083 average monthly uniques Increase of 22% from 2007 Peak month: 8,610,000 uniques in September [Red Sox]

7. New York Post 4,335,583 average monthly uniques Increase of 30% from 2007 Peak month: 5,000,000 uniques in October

8. Chicago Tribune 4,271,833 average monthly uniques Increase of 34% from 2007 Peak month: 5,235,000 uniques in December [Blagojevich]

9. New York Daily News 4,226,083 average monthly uniques Increase of 68% from 2007 Peak month: 5,888,000 uniques in November

10. San Francisco Chronicle 4,158,000 average monthly uniques Increase of 10% from 2007 Peak month: 5,129,000 uniques in September

11. Newsday 3,163,000 average monthly uniques Increase of 7% from 2007 Peak month: 3,911,000 uniques in February

12. Politico 3,113,000 average monthly uniques Increase of 132% from 2007 Peak month: 4,565,000 uniques in October

13. Chicago Sun-Times 2,884,417 average monthly uniques Increase of 26% from 2007 Peak month: 3,982,000 uniques in October

14. The Houston Chronicle 2,808,750 average monthly uniques Decrease of 10% from 2007 Peak month: 3,414,000 uniques in May

15. The Dallas Morning News 2,647,500 average monthly uniques Increase of 52% from 2007
Peak month: 3,777,000 uniques in September

What’s value of U. S. Newspapers?

A brief from the Guild Reporter January / February 2009 issue

Newspaper stocks have been hammered so relentlessly that the entire industry is now valued at less than Tribune Co.'s debt. As of Jan. 30, the market capitalization for McClatchy was $54.49 million; for Lee, $13.97 million; and for Gatehouse, $4.07 million. Throw in another $1.32 billion for what the market says Gannett is worth and theoretically you could own 264 U.S. dailies for less than $1.4 billion; add another $715 million, for a total of $2.1 billion, and you also could own the New York Times empire. It was just three years ago that McClatchy shelled out $4.5 billion for the Knight Ridder chain of 32 dailies, then turned around and unloaded eight of its new acquisitions for . . . $2.1 billion.

CWA has identified 29 financiallytroubled companies at which it represents more than 70,000 employees, fully a third of them in the newspaper sector.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Free Press writers win Bingham prize

Staff writers Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick and their colleagues at the Detroit Free Press are winners of the 2008 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism for their comprehensive series “A Mayor in Crisis.”

During their yearlong investigation, the reporters chronicled in detail the lies, false testimony and insider dealings that led to the downfall of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his top aide Christine Beatty, who together attempted to bury a lawsuit settlement that threatened to expose their romantic affair.

The Bingham Prize will be presented at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., on March 5, 2009. The Nieman Foundation is the new administrator of the prize and will present the $20,000 award for the first time this year. Previously, the prize was presented during the National Press Foundation’s annual awards dinner in Washington.

For the 2008 prize year, honorable mention goes to The Seattle Times’ Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry for their four-part series “Victory and Ruins,” which showed how a community’s blind loyalty to the celebrated University of Washington football team, which won the 2001 Rose Bowl, compromised judges, prosecutors, police agencies, the university itself and the media. The Rose Bowl team included at least two dozen players who were arrested during their time at UW, some for violent felonies. Armstrong was a 2001 Nieman Fellow.

Click on the headline to read the full story on the Nieman Foundation website.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Photo of Year story finally told

© Anthony Suau for Time / via World Press Photo
Suau's photo of a sheriff's detective in Cleveland never ran in Time
magazine but became World Press Photo of the Year for 2008.

Last spring Anthony Suau pleaded with Time magazine – where he's been a contract photographer for 20 years – to publish his photo essay on the economic crisis in Cleveland, Ohio.

"When I arrived there I was in shock," Suau recalls. "There was almost not a single street in Cleveland that didn't have a house that was boarded up because of a foreclosure." He compared the scene to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Time decided not to print the story, and Suau's pictures ran only on, where it drew little attention in the U.S. – until today, when one of Suau's Cleveland pictures won the World Press Photo of the Year award.

In an interview shortly after the award was announced, Suau said he worries the economic crisis may leave him having to find another job or leave the home he just purchased for his family.

The last two months have been especially bad, Suau says. He hasn't had a single assignment except for covering the presidential inauguration for a Japanese book publisher.

"If the situation continues like it has in the last two months, down the road I would be in danger," Suau says. "Do I have to get another job to do something? I don't know. I may have to do something else besides photography."

Suau has covered conflicts and human crises around the world and has won two World Press Photo of the Year awards, the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, and numerous other recognitions.

He shot the Cleveland story in March, a few months before the devastating impact of the mortgage crisis was fully understood. It would take until September, when investment banks began to fail and financial markets to begin to fall, for most Americans to take notice.

Last year Suau took one trip to Cleveland for three days, then requested that Time send him back for a longer return trip. On the second trip he arranged a two-day ride-along with a sheriff's detective who was handling evictions.

"I wanted so badly for that series of pictures to be published in the magazine, and everywhere people could see it," Suau says. Though it never ran in print in the U.S., the project had more luck with secondary sales in Europe, where several magazines published it.

Suau says he was busy with assignment work last year and saw his archive sales go up in the fall as magazines turned to stock as a less-expensive alternative to assignments. Then business dried up.

At least three of the editors Suau worked with at Time have since left the magazine, some taking buyout packages, he says. (Time director of photography MaryAnne Golon was one of them; she is also the jury chair of this year's World Press Photo competition.)

Suau says he and other documentary photographers want to work on stories about the human impact of the economic crisis, but the decline in newspapers and magazines has made it hard to find funding. "It's incredibly frustrating for photographers in America," he says. "We need to be working."

Suau recently purchased a home in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lives with his wife and eight-year-old daughter. "We live in a nice area," Suau says, adding, "I know what's happening to me, but what's happening to other people is worse."

[Source: Photo District News. The photo with links to prize winners and other photos is posted on Bob DeMay's ONPA blog]

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Old is in: An emerging trend of 2009?

Yet another sign of the emerging trend of 2009: Old is in.

That’s the report from a New York Tmes article noticed by Charlie Buffum.

On Tuesday, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel named Stump won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club, becoming the oldest dog to win the title in the show’s 133-year history.

Stump, whose hobbies are sleeping and sleeping, is actually Champion Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, but nobody his age can remember all that. After a refreshing workout that involved a short walk around the driveway, he trotted onto the stage and wiped the floor with his younger competition, the most notable of which was a poodle that was conceived with the 25-year-old semen of a long-dead champion named Snapper.

Stump would be around 70 in human years, but Snapper — wow. Even given the fact that it was frozen, Snapper’s seed has to have been the equivalent of at least 150.

Click on the headline to read more laughs on aging.

Dr. Howard Kea: Copy runner to diplomat

Folks who once toiled at mundane jobs at the Beacon Journal and then reached prominence are sometimes hidden in plain view.

Overlooked by us this week was an item in a column by Jewell Cardwell with congratulations to a former Beacon Journal copy runner who became a diplomat.

Dr. Howard Kea, the son of retired Akron educator Marian Kea of Akron, was recently appointed to a four-year term with the Human and Societal Dynamics Panel by the NATO Committee for Peace and Security. The panel, which will meet twice a year in Brussels, will oversee the review of international grants in the areas of public diplomacy.

Kea worked as a copy runner while attending the University of Akron where he receivedl a bachelor of science degree in electronic technology.

He has a master's degree from George Washington University in engineering administration and a Ph.D. from Antioch University in leadership organization change. He serves as organization
development consultant with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, DC. He's also working with the University of West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, developing and designing the practicum for its Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and serving as a visiting faculty member.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Printers outnumber editorial 4 to 2

Composing Room Side
Printers Cal Deshong, Carl Nelson, Gene McClellan and Al Hunsicker

Printers outnumbered editorial types 4 to 2 at Wednesday's luncheon of BJ retirees at Papa Joe's in the Valley.

Tom Moore managed to get photos of the entire half dozen. The best one-- the one of Tom -- no doubt was taken by someone else.
Publish Post

Cal Deshong, the veteran from the composing room, said he would like to thank all those who sent him birthday cards. He celebrated his 90th on Novemer 24. Other composing types were Carl Nelson, Gene McClellan and Al Hunsicker. Moore was joined by Dave Boerner on the news side.

Star-Bulletin announces layoffs

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, owned by Black Papers Ltd., the publisher of the Beacon Journal, announced this week that it will cut 17 jobs.

The newspaper’s publisher says the company had no other choice but to layoff employees because of the decrease in ad sales.

The Star-Bulletin was at one time Hawaii’s largest newspaper. The Star-Bulletin has about 92 full-time newsroom staffers. About 80 workers are unionized, according to the Hawaii Newspaper Guild.

A staff meeting was held to inform employees learned that 17 people will be laid off from the newsroom, and the neighbor island bureaus will be shut down.

“They talked about a number of things. And told the people they were going to have a wage freeze. The problem is they have to negotiate that with union. We have a contract that runs till next year,” said Wayne Cahill, Hawaii Newspaper Guild.

Generally speaking, the people who are being let go are those who started working at the Star-Bulletin from August 2006.

“Lowest man on the totem pole is the way to do it — last hired is the first fired,” said Cahill.

The Guild in 2001 made some wage concessions to stall layoffs, but this time the publisher just wanted to cut the staff.

The Star-Bulletin almost came to an end in 1999, following a 117 year run.

But Canadian-based company Black Press bought the Star-Bulletin and saved the newspaper, and saved all the jobs at the Star-Bulletin.

Black Press then created Oahu Publications to oversee the Star-Bulletin, as well as MidWeek.

“They came to us in ‘01 and told us what the problem was, how much money they needed to save, and we worked out a package that gave them wage concessions in return for keeping everyone working. We think that’s the way it should’ve been done this time,” said Cahill. But the company’s publisher says the job cuts this time are necessary.

“It’s been pretty weak for a year. But the last 3 or 4 months it seems to have accelerated. We feel fortunate that it’ll only be at 17, and clearly there will be more operationally, but we haven’t finished that yet and probably be making further reductions in next couple weeks,” said Dennis Francis, Oahu Publications President and Publisher.

The Star-Bulletin will still be published seven days a week, but it will have a different design and format. Instead of the large broadsheet format, the newspaper will be smaller, in a tabloid format similar to the size of MidWeek.

(Source: KHON 2 News)

Mainstream media in DC declines

The press corps covering Washington D.C. has not so much declined as been dramatically transformed, according to a study released today by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. While the number of mainstream outlets monitoring the federal government has shrunk, a sector of more narrowly focused niche publications has grown significantly and there has been a dramatic increase in the ranks of foreign journalists based there.

The PEJ report documents the marked decline in the reporting power of the mainstream media, a trend especially evident in the newspaper sector. Since the 1980s, the number of papers accredited to cover Congress has fallen by two-thirds. The ranks of newspapers with a general presence in Washington have been thinned by more than 50% in the same period.

At the same time, there has been major growth spurt for more narrowly targeted publications in Washington . The number of niche newspapers, newsletters and magazines often offering specialized information to more elite audiences has increased by half since the mid-1980s.

And despite cutbacks in foreign bureaus by many U.S. media outlets, the number of overseas reporters working in Washington has dramatically increased—rising nearly tenfold since the U.S. State Department opened a Foreign Press Center in the nation’s capital in 1968.

Among the report’s findings:

◆ Of the nation’s 1,400 newspapers, 32 of them—representing just 23 states—had their own bureaus in Washington at the beginning of 2008. That is roughly half the number in the mid-1980s, when 71 newspapers representing 35 states were operating in the city.

◆ The number of local TV and radio stations with access to feeds and news stories from corporate news bureaus in Washington has fallen 37% from the mid-1980s to 92 stations, down from 146.

◆ The number of news executives, correspondents and anchors in Washington for the three traditional broadcast networks has fallen by more than half since the 1980s, from 110 in 1985 to 51 in early 2008. And that was before another round of cutbacks in 2008.

◆ In the past year, a number of bureaus vanished altogether, while others were reduced exponentially. Newhouse Newspapers, Copley and the Copley News Service, Cox (in March of 2009), the (Salt Lake City) Deseret News, the Fairbanks News-Miner, the Portland Press-Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the (MA) Lowell Sun and

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New feature on Newseum's front pages

Dave Boerner points to a feature of Newseum which is new to us. On a map of the U.S. you just click on the dots on the map and the newspaper of that location pops up.

We have used Newseum’s front pages often to show how a particular news event is played, but this is a nice feature that grabs front pages quickly for review.

Click on the headline to try it out.

Monday, February 09, 2009

1943 pamphlet charges smear by BJ

A story in the Beacon Journal on January 21, 1943 prompted a pamphlet by the Nationaol Maritine Union of America to issue a pamphlet in February, 1943 in defense of accusations abut mariners who refused to unload ships at Guadalcal during World War II.

The headline was Ship ‘Strike' Ires Guadalcanl Fighters

Here’s the lead on the story”

Flaming with indignation, at least six battle-scarred veterans of Guadal
canal have come back to Akron with the incredible claims that their buddies have been forced to unload their own supplies from a merchant ship on that island battleground because of the refusal of civilian crew men to work on Sunday.

Rumors and innuendo were picked up by Westbrook Pegler and others and resulted in a smear against the union. The Beacon Journal published the story even thought the story itself indicated there was no certainty about the validity of the claim.

One paragraph said:
But confirmation has come from a high official source in Washington, who though he witnessed these conditions during his service in Guadalcanal, must necessarily remain anonymous.

Another said:
One source in Washington put these reports down to "exaggeration that we find quite common when boys are under the stress of emotion."

The story spread rapidly:
A check with the Beacon Journal Washington bureau disclosed that not only has the same story been confirmed by an eyewitness of high standing, but further that the reports are beginning to be circulated widely in congress and that a blow off is imminent.

But here was the Navy Message re Guadalcanal

Date: 23 Jan 1943
Fro Coderoom 1044

Decoded by Barco

Paraphrased by Stiner
Lt Hill 280248 NCR 5309

(COMSOPAC Sends. CTF 62 has for Info)

Your 260231* Total of 14 American merchant Marine Manned Vessels including 6 Army transports have unloaded in the Guadalcanal area under the close supervision of experienced Naval officers. There have been no refusal of these crews to discharge cargo at Guadalcanal. There have been many reports praising the courage, ability and hearty cooperation of officers and crews engaged in this hazardous duty under enemy attack. Implication of refusal to work a base canard and is not understood here. I repeat I am currently forwarding by mail strong recommendation for special recognition of the fine work of these ships and their patriotic personnel.

*Probably refers to confidential 261835

The pamphlet concludes with a statement from Brigadier General Robert L. Denig of the United States Marine Corps:

"The Marine Corps knows nothing about the published charges. The people in Akron called us about it and we told them we knew nothing about it. We referred them to the Navy Department and I understand the Navy told them there was no basis for the story."

Thanks to John “derf” Backdorff who found the links to the old pamphlet.

Click on the headline to get started then scroll down to the Beacon Journal image here.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

S&P, Fitch lower McClatchy Co. ratings

Two ratings companies dealt another one-two blow to the cash-strapped McClatchy Co., lowering the newspaper giant’s debt rating deeper into junk status Friday.

Standard & Poor’s dropped the Sacramento-based company to “CCC-plus,” seven steps below the “B” investment grade. Also, Fitch Ratings downgraded McClatchy to “CCC” from “B-minus.”

A lower grade increases the cost to borrow money, a major concern for corporations such as McClatchy reeling from the recession.

Fitch and S&P analysts are concerned about McClatchy’s ability to pay off its $2 billion-plus debt, incurred when the company bought Knight Ridder Newspapers Inc. in 2006. McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) could endure an almost 20 percent decline in revenue this year, forcing the company to miss debt payments and renegotiate deals with lenders who may balk at the proposal, according to S&P.

McClatchy — publisher of The Sacramento Bee and 29 other daily newspapers — reported a fourth-quarter loss of $21.7 million Thursday and will take aggressive cost-cutting efforts to trim $100 million to $110 million from expenses this year. The compay has already had two rounds of buyouts and layoffs, frozen pay increases, and chairman and chief executive officer Gary Pruitt will not accept bonuses during the next two years. McClatchy also has frozen pensions and halted employee-matching contributions to the 401(k) program.

In addition, the company could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because its shares are below $1. The company has until Feb. 19 to detail a plan to boost its sagging share price. Shares of McClatchy remained unchanged at 71 cents Friday, near a one-year low and well off its price of $33 two years ago.

McClatchy, like newspaper chains nationwide, has been battling declining advertising revenue and fewer subscribers.
[Source: Sacramento Business Journal]

Friday, February 06, 2009

Cool vacations--at least with pay

Beacon Journal staffers are being encouraged to take a week of vacation now, -- appearently because it will show that David Black is meeting his fiscal ogligations in a timely fashion. See the recent report on financial status of Black Papers Ltd.

At leasf BJ employees are not being asked to take vactaion without pay as some other publishers are asking.

Here is Mansfield’s blog entry:

“Everyone -- reporters included -- looks forward to vacation time, but how would you feel if you were encouraged to take your vacation right away.

“That's what's happening at the ABJ where staffers tell me that a mass push is underway to get every employee to take one week's vacation in the next month or so.

“The paper's bottom line can apparently benefit from being able to show that vacation time is being paid and not accrued. Represented employees can say "no" but one writer told me that he's planning to go ahead and do it to "be a good sport" and help the company.

“Still, for an organization that isn't quite staffed by even 50 percent of what it once was, how can it afford to have larger quantities of folks out on vacation at the same time?

“And by the way ... Bob Dyer's comments about the NewsNight Akron set were right on the money. Some viewers hate it that I stand (or used to stand) while others aren't bothered; some folks hate the moving traffic in the background while others seem to like it. I'm just pleased that the show has a large enough audience (#1 on Western Reserve Public Media) that complaints warrant discussion.”

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kansas City Star to cut more jobs

McClatchy chief Pruitt declines bonus

The Kansas City Star will cut more jobs as part of a restructuring plan its parent company announced Thursday.

The McClatchy Co. plans to cut an additional $100 million to $110 million in costs in the next year, starting later in the first quarter.

McClatchy, based in Sacramento, said in a release that it hasn’t finalized details of the plan, and the company didn’t say whether layoffs are part of the plan. But The Star reported on its Web site Thursday that it will cut more jobs, though it didn’t say how many.

A spokeswoman at the paper couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Star , one of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers, has laid off a number of employees in the past year, including 10 in accounting, announced in November and about 120 announced in June as part of McClatchy’s cut of roughly 1,400 full-time-equivalent jobs nationwide, or about 10 percent of its employees.

Also on Thursday, McClatchy reported that it lost $21.7 million, or 26 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 28. This compares with a loss of $1.4 billion, or $17.46 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter was $470.9 million, down 18 percent from $573.4 million the prior year.

For all of 2008, the company reported earnings of $1.35 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.7 billion, or $33.37 a share, for 2007. Revenue for the year was $1.9 billion, down 16 percent from $2.26 billion in 2007.

In Thursday’s release, McClatchy said it will extend a salary freeze for senior executives in 2009 that it had implemented in 2007. The company earlier had frozen salaries companywide from September 2008 through September of this year. Chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt has declined any bonus for 2008 and 2009.

McClatchy previously said it would suspend its quarterly dividend after paying a first-quarter dividend of 9 cents a share, declared on Jan. 27.

The company released the news in its fourth-quarter and full-year financial report.

McClatchy is the third-largest newspaper company in the United States, with 30 daily newspapers, about 50 nondailies, and direct-marketing and direct-mail operations.
[Source: Kansas City Business Journal]

Downsizing claims Warren photographer

Bob DeMay reports on his ONPA blog that another photographer is victim to newspaper downsizing. Steve Schenck has been laid off at the Warren Tribune Chronicle leaving one full time photographer, R. Michael Semple holding down the fort in Warren. Schenck had been at the paper for quite some time and previosuly worked at the Morning Journal in Lisbon.

See DeMay’s post

Jerry Healey: veteran announcer, WAKR host dies

Jerry Healey, longtime announcer in the Akron area, died peacefully Tuesday, Feb. 3, at City of Hope in Duarte, California.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1932, Healey began his career in Philadelphia when a scout came to his ele
mentary school classroom and auditioned youngsters for a children's serial radio show, "The Magic Lady". All the boys in the cast wore knickers except Eddie Fisher, whose mother allowed long pants.

The dominant areas of Healey's career were as a sports broadcaster and as a radio morning show host. A product of Syracuse University, he was the voice of football for the University of Illinois, Ohio State, the University of Akron, Kent State University, and UC Davis. In basketball, he was the voice for the Cleveland Cavalier
s and the Buffalo Braves. His popular morning shows for WAKR in the late 60's and 70's were unique for the inclusion of two `alter egos', Sam and Serena, voices and personalities which he totally fabricated daily. In Los Angeles, he was part of the original TranStar/UniStar team, at one time broadcasting American standards music to over 200 markets.

Whimsical and imaginative by nature, he created "Golf with Sam Snead", which ran on both ABC and NBC networks in the 1960's. He was also a man ahead of his time; he created and patented Quickie Golf, which is similar to target golf today, and Frame Game, an interactive TV concept involving bowling that went to pilot years before today's many interactive shows.

A resident of La Canada, California since 1991, Healey largely involved himself in the life of St. George's Episcopal Church, where he was a eucharistic lay minister and a member of the vestry. Healey also loved entertaining dear friends at the piano and on the harmonica, and the fellowship of his monthly poker group. He was possibly the oldest person to be named Rookie of the Year by the La Canada Kiwanis Club.

Jerry Healey is survived by his wife of 35 years, Judi, a former Beacon Journal writer, now an educator in La Canada, and their daughter, Kathryn, a teacher in Thousand Oaks, California. He is also survived by his father-in-law, Ted Davis of Akron, and daughters, Gale Hoert of Middleburg Heights, Linda Evans of Macedonia, and Jill Clarkson of Paradise, California. His grandchildren are David, Brian, Leah, Taylor, Justin, and U.S. Marine Sargent Vince Clarkson, plus great-granddaughter, Cabrie Clarkson.

Services will be at 10 a.m. SUNDAY at St. George's Episcopal Church, 808 Foothill Boulevard, with a mimosa reception following.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to St. George's or the Salvation Army.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Thursday, February 5, 2009, page B4, col. 5 ]

Huhn in fight to save Rocky Mountain News

Some visitors to BJ Alums might remember Kevin "Moose" Huhn, a sports statistician at the Beacon Journal in the late 1970s.

Now the deputy sports editor at the Rocky Mountain News, he writes about his career and the state of journalism on the "I want my Rocky" website, created by several Rocky employees to help save the paper, and encourage readers and supporters to voice their opinions on
why the Rocky should stay. See our earlier post on a rally at rhe newspaper.

The E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the News, has said it may close the newspaper if a buyer can't be found. That would leave The Denver Post as the last major newspaper in the city.

Go to Kevin's "Meet the Rocky" page

Read about the cause

Huhn worked as a sports statistician from 1976 to 1982. He left the BJ after graduating from Kent May 1982. He joined the Rocky Mountain News in Denver in 1989 and
was promoted to deputy sports editor.

Thanks to Ken Krause for sending us the links. Krause worked with Kuhn at the BJ

You can send email to Keviln "Moose" Huhn

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jim Kavanagh's blog: Nothing about journalism

Former Beacon Journal copy desk chief Jim Kavanah, now with CNN in Atlanta, also has a blog called The Freakin’ Deacon – which is basically about faith. . It is sort of an anonymous blog.. His real name is nowwhere on the blog and you would need to know him well to learn it was his.

The blog, Jim says, resolutely avoids journalism issues, You can find it at

His first post, after a welecome notice, is headlined My Miraculous Move about moving from Ohio to Georgia.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reports from Editor & Publisher

Gannet shares fall to lowest level ever

Shares of Gannett Co. Inc. fell to their lowest level ever Tuesday on heavy trading.

Gannett closed at $4.96, the first time its share price has gone below $5 in its more than 23 years as a publicly traded company. Gannett declined 35 cents a share, or 6.59%, in Tuesday's session.

More than 14.3 million shares -- including a trade of 1.19 million shares minutes before the closing bell -- traded hands Tuesday, nearly three times the average volume of the past three months.

Three Ohio dailies quit Tuesday editions
Three western Ohio newspapers are halting publication of Tuesday editions because of the weak economy.

The Troy Daily News, Piqua Daily Call and The Sidney Daily News will begin the new schedule next week. The Troy newspaper will print six days a week, continuing the Miami Valley Sunday News on Sundays. The Piqua and Sidney newspapers don’t have Sunday editions and will print five days a week.

Publisher Frank Beeson says the move will help avoid newsroom layoffs. The newspapers’ combined total work force has been reduced by about 10 percent by layoffs in recent months.

In case you were looking for Ott

Retired Akron Beacon Journal Photographer Ott Gangl has a new server for his website. If you have had trouble finding Ott’s site, just click on this link and then bookmark it.

Ott has hundreds of pictures to give away, which is the reason he created his web site. In a house cleaning move, rather than destroying the prints, he is trying to give them to the subjects depicted or to their families. All pictures are ten years old or older. Most are about 8x10 inches in size, but many which are
up to 16x20 inches and mounted.

Monday, February 02, 2009

More blogs, more email, more offers

I told you it would be like the old email list.

An email from former Beacon graphic artist John Backderf (aka Derf):

Hey! I've been at it for longer than ANY of you guys! I started mine in 1998, while I still worked at the Beacon.

derr’s blog is part of his website (blahblahblah.html)

For Laid-Off Journalists, Free Blog Accounts

If you have been laid off, you can get a free blog spot on typepad. Otherwise you pay. Clck on the link below to see a New York Times story on the offer sent to us by Ken Krause.

The TypePad Journalist Bailout Program offers recently terminated bloggers and journalists a free pro account (worth $150 annually) on the company’s popular blogging platform. In addition to the free yearly membership, the 20 to 30 journalists who are accepted will receive professional tech support, placement on the company’s blog aggregation site,, and automatic enrollment in the company’s advertising revenue-sharing program.

Typepad home is at

Maybe BJ is just going to the blogs

The demise of Knight Ridder and in these trying times for the newspaper industry our viewers often lament the passing of the good old days and the loss of the Beacon Journal we once knew.

Well maybe the BJ is just is going to the blogs.

If you miss Debby Stock’s Recipe Roundup from the old Beacon Journal, you can just log on to her blog called “Reckless Tarragon.” She’s been doing it since August, 2008

We started a list of BJ types (see below) who now have their own blogs. Ken Krause, a contributor to this blog, sent an email to let us know of two we neglected. Debby' Stock is one. The other one is David Adams' blog which he calls “Just won the lottery.”

Old age is catching up with blogger liggett. There was a post last December announcing the start of Dave’s blog. The old man also caught a little bit of flak on the last post for typographically referring to Bob DeMay as Bob Decay.

Never trust Spell Check. If you replace words Spell Check does not like with its recommendations you will get Decay for DeMay and Lagged for Liggett.

[Lord have mercy on me for rushing things into print, and Thanks be to God we still have guys like Bob DeMay struggling in the trenches.]

So add to the list:

David Adams “Just won the lottery" November 2008

Debby Stock “Reckless Terragon” August 2008
A blog for food lovers: “There are certain people, whom certain herbs, the good digestion of disturbs. Henry the VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon because of her reckless use of tarragon.” – attributed to Ogden Nash

Still sentimental for the old Recipe Roundup? Well click on it to read the last one on BJ newsprint..

Now here’s Debby’s first online post:

Welcome to my chaos,er, kitchen

I love cooking and baking almost as much as I enjoy eating. I’m all about kitchen experiments, or as Alton Brown says, playing with my food. I seldom follow a recipe exactly anymore. I’ll at least increase the garlic or cinnamon or substitute another herb for the cilantro that I don’t like so much. Sometimes the recipe is just a suggestion, kind of like speed limits or the Ten Commandments are for some people.

What I hope to do here -- God willing and pilot error not withstanding -- is share some recipes, cooking tips and various observations that may or may not have anything to do with what normally goes on in a kitchen. I'll test recipes from cookbooks and periodicals that catch my eye, and there will be at least one photo of each one (this is where pilot error may occur).

Everyone who cooks welcomes a new, tested recipe, and I welcome you to my blog.

For a while my posts will be intermittent, because we recently moved, still need to sell our house in Akron, and my sister and I are busy sorting through mountains of stuff in my parents' old condo. Then we get to put THAT on the market.

My blog name was born when I stumbled upon the above rhyme online about King Henry supposedly dumping his wife because of her use of herbs. To this I say, "You go, girl." Didn't the man eat everything in sight? How picky could he be?

Being a journalist by trade, I tried to prove that the very clever Ogden Nash wrote the rhyme (only one of the many references mentioned him), but I never could. And believe me, I looked through as many library books as I could find after my Internet search proved fruitless. I gave up because I'm not anal retentive, after all. I'm not. Or maybe it's that I'm not obsessive compulsive. Are those hyphenated? Wait, let me go look it up....