Thursday, July 30, 2009

12,840 newspaper layoffs & buyouts -- and still counting

2009 total: 12,840+ jobs
Layoffs and buyouts at U.S. newspapers in 2009

The pins that locate the layoffs on the map are so dense that you cannot see the names of any state between Maine and a line that runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. And, from Maine to the south, only the name of Louisiana is visible.

There are posts for the Dayton Daily News, Hamilton Journal-News, Middletown Journal and Springfield News-Sun in only the past two days.

So sad.

Click on the headline to check on newspapers that have been in your life or in the lives of your friends and former co-workers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You name it; they're laying people off

Newspapers aren't the only ones being totaled by what is euphenistically called a "recession." I don't mean to be a downer, but it's hard not to be when you see the width and breath of these job losses. And we're not just talking about the USA either.

Check these out (if you want more information, click on the headline):

Expected job losses and announced layoffs in 2009
· GM - 47,000 second round of layoff announcements (restructuring) total = 57,000
· Cambodia Garment Industry - 51,000 jobs lost
· Japan's top 12 automakers - 25,000 combined layoffs expected
· The State of Georgia - furlough 25,000 workers (forced unpaid time off)
· Nissan - 20,000 layoffs
· Caterpillar - 20,000 layoffs
· NEC Corp - 20,000 layoffs
· AstraZeneca - 15,000 layoffs by 2013
· Panasonic - 15,000 layoffs
· KBG Toys - 15,000 expected layoffs
· Pioneer - 10,000 layoffs
· GM - 10,000 layoffs (also cutting pay by 10%)
· Boeing - between 4,500 and 10,000 layoffs pending
· GlaxoSmithKline PLC - 10,000 job losses expected
· Anglo Platinum - 10,000 layoffs
· Sprint Nextel - 8,000 layoffs (14% of staff)
· Pfizer Pharmaceutical - 8,000 layoffs (by end of 2011)
· Hitachi - 7,000 layoffs
· Home Depot - 7,000 layoffs
· Starbucks - 6,700 layoffs
· ING - 7,000 layoffs
· Phillips Electronics - 6,000 layoffs
· Intel - 6,000 layoffs (second round)
· PNC Financial - 5,800 layoffs
· Scandinavian Airlines - 5,600 layoffs
· Lonmin Plc (Mining) - 5,500 layoffs
· UBS - 5,000 layoffs (mostly management, second round)
· Goodyear - 5,000 layoffs
· Whirlpool - 5,000 expected layoffs
· Microsoft - 5,000 layoffs
· Ericsson - 5,000 layoffs
· Freescale - 4,800 layoffs
· Kodak - 4,500 layoffs
· Toshiba - 4,500 layoffs
· Texas Inetrument - 3,400 layoffs
· Nortel Networks - 3,200 layoffs
· Cisco - 3,000 layoffs
· Spansion - 3,000 layoffs
· IBM - 2,800 layoffs
· Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) - 2,300 layoffs
· Micron - 2,000 layoffs
· Estee Lauder - 2,000 layoffs
· General Motors - additional 2,000 layoffs over 2008 total
· Swiss bank UBS AG - 2,000 layoffs
· Fidelity Investments - 1,700 layoffs (second round of 4,000 job cuts announced in 2008)
· Bell Canada - 1,500 early retirement buy outs
· Sun Microsystems - 1,300 layoffs
· Unisys - 1,300 layoffs
· Time/Warner (TV) - 1,250 layoffs
· Harley Davidson - 1,100 layoffs
· Pratt & Whitney (jet makers) - 1,000 layoffs
· United Airlines - 1,000 layoffs
· Walgreen's - 1,000 layoffs
· BorgWarner - 750 layoffs
· Merck & Co. - 750 layoffs (sales reps)
· Liz Claiborne - 725 layoffs
· AOL - 700 layoffs
· Virgin Airlines - 600 layoffs
· Neimen Marcus - 450 layoffs
· Harrah's Memphis - 250 layoffs, 50 transfers to Las Vegas
· Ryanair - 200 layoffs
· John Deere - 200 layoffs
· Walt Disney - 200 layoffs
· Michelin Canada - 95 layoffs
· Billy Graham Crusade - 55 layoffs
· Dow Chemicals - unspecified number of expected layoffs
· BigLots - unspecified number of expected layoffs
· AK Steel - unspecified number of expected layoffs
· Waterford/Wedgewood - unspecified number of layoffs

How to contact Olesky

First, Helen has all of our best wishes.

To contact me:

John Olesky
By phone: 330-388-4466
By email:

At least through Monday, Aug. 3.

But I'll be leaving with Paula for a week in Michigan on Tuesday, Aug. 4, and probably won't be back till Tuesday, Aug. 11.

John O.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Liggett out of touch, contact Olesky

Note from Harry Liggett:

I will be out of touch with blog for several days with Helen at Cleveland Clinic for exam involving stomach and kidneys.

If you need to post something, please contact John Olesky

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Putting Dunphy comment up front

Former BJ staffer John Dunphy, now at the Orange County Register, added his comment to our post about the newspaper situation n Orange County, CA.

It is repeated here as a post by itself since some may have missed the comment.

Hi everyone: It's been interesting being here of late. I have so far survived three rounds of layoffs over the last 18 months. In the months ahead the corp that owns the register (freedom communications) will restructure it's debt and will essentially let bankers take control of the corp. how that will play out is unknown..but the bankers will form a new board of directors and new CEO. As for me..I'm a local news team leader...responsible for daily filings to the web first, newspaper second and I'm responsible for 4 weekly community papers that we publish on thursdays.

Go to earlier post

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Long, embarassing correction in NY Times

Columbia Journalism Review reports that New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley this week was responsible for a long, embarrassing correction

An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkite’s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite’s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. “The CBS Evening News” overtook “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents’ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of “The CBS Evening News” in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor. Because of an editing error, the appraisal also misstated the name of the news agency for which Mr. Cronkite was Moscow bureau chief after World War II. At that time it was United Press, not United Press International.

Click on the headline to read the rest of the CJR article.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Are things looking up in Orange County?

Are things looking up in the Orange County, CA, newspaper world? The publisher of the Orange County Register says the newspaper will have double-digit operating margins this year.

"There is zero chance the Register will close its doors," says publisher Terry Horne. "Those people who say newspapers are dead are wrong. What's happening is newspapers are changing. Those that don't, will die." RE WEB SUBSCRIPTIONS: "At this time we don't plan to charge for online. I'm certainly interested in these experiments going on at other newspapers that plan to charge for some or all of the content on their newspaper websites. We'll have to determine if it's the right strategy for the Register."

Click on the headline to read more from publisher Home this week.

So, how about some comment from former BJ staffers John Dunphy and Rick Reiff who are now in Orange County: Last we heard, Dunphy was an editor of the Register and Reiff was editor of the Orange County Business Journal.

BJ photo coverage of Obama's visit.

There were three photos on page A-1 of the Beacon Journal today on President Barrack Obama's visit to the Cleveland area--two were shot by Associated Press p\hotographers and one by the New York Times.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tribune seeks OK to pay millions in bonuses

Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co. filed a motion in Delaware bankruptcy court Wednesday seeking authorization for a plan to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to more than 700 managers and other key employees for their work this year.

If Tribune Co. and its various units meet their cash flow targets for this year, the total bonus payouts would be at least $21.5 million with a cap of around $66.7 million if those goals are greatly exceeded, documents showed.

Additionally, Tribune Co. asked to pay nine of its top 10 executives $3.1 million in belated 2008 bonuses. Those incentive payments were deferred this spring when Tribune Co. sought court approval for last year's performance bonuses to expedite the process. Sam Zell, the company's chairman and chief executive, is not part of the group of 10.

"There can be no serious debate about whether the top 10 executives have earned their 2008 [Management Incentive Plan] awards," the motion says.

Tribune Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection in December because it was struggling to manage the heavy debt it took on in going private a year earlier.

Click on the headline to read the full story on

New York Times turns a profit

The New Yorjk Times on Thursday reported second-quarter net income of $39.1 million, up from $21.1 million in the period a year earlier, as another steep drop in advertising revenue was largely offset by aggressive cost-cutting.

A favorable tax adjustment inflated the earnings in the most recent quarter. But even discounting that factor, Thursday's results marked a return to profitability — albeit slight — after a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million.

The net income was 27 cents a share, compared with 15 cents a year earlier. Excluding special items like one-time charges and the tax adjustment, net income in the most recent quarter was 8 cents a share; analyst had forecast, on a comparable basis, a 4-cent loss.Ad revenue at the company’s newspapers and related Web sites fell 31.9 percent in the quarter, the sharpest decline yet in the industry’s severest contraction since the Depression. The drop was about the same, 31.7 percent, at the company’s New York Times Media Group, consisting primarily of the flagship Times newspaper — a departure from the pattern through most of the downturn, in which The Times held up better than the other newspapers, including the Boston Globe.e.

Times Company circulation revenue rose 1.5 percent in the last quarter, based on newspaper price increases.

Overall operating revenue in the quarter was $584.5 million, down 21.2 percent. At the New York Times Media Group, revenue fell 21.8 percent, to $374.8 million. At the New England Media Group — primarily The Boston Globe — it dropped 19.2 percent, to $109.4 million.

Click on the headline to read the full article in the New York Times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PD photographer Bill Kennedy dies at 54

Bill Kennedy, 54, of Medina, passed away on July 20, 2009 at home surrounded by his family.
Bill was
a photographer and photo editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As an artist, he also was a founding member and guitarist for the country cover band Bottleneck.

Bill is survived by his wife, Megan (nee MClelland); sons, Patrick of Medina and David of Cincinnati; his beloved Golden Retriever, Jazzy; his former wife, Beth Ann Savard and her triplets, Samantha, Sarah and Jacob.

Private burial services will be held at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Medina. A Celebration of Life Luncheon will be held 12 Noon Saturday at Waite & Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., Medina 44256. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the MD Anderson Cancer Ctr., Sarcoma Medical Oncology, Unit 450, Attn: Dr. Benjamin, 1400 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030. (Waite & Son, 330-723-3229.)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Wednesday, July 22, 2009, page B5, col. 1]

Check the photographers' blog link at left for Kennedy tribute.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

McClatchy reports 50 cents per share income

McClatchy Company today reported net income from continuing operations in the second quarter of 2009 of $42.0 million, or 50 cents per share - more than double the earnings per share in the second quarter of 2008. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations,(1) excluding several unusual items in the second quarter of 2009, were $25.2 million, or 30 cents per share, up 42.9% from the 2008 quarter. Total net income including discontinued operations was $42.2 million, or 50 cents per share.

The company's second-quarter 2008 earnings from continuing operations were $20.1 million, or 24 cents per share. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations,(1) excluding several unusual items in the second quarter of 2008, were $17.3 million, or 21 cents per share. Total net income including discontinued operations was $19.7 million, or 24 cents per share.

Click on the headline to read the full news release from McClatchy.

Boston Globe Guild OKs $10 million in cuts

The Boston Globe’s Newspaper Guild overwhelmingly approved a package of $10 million in wage and benefit cuts last night, ending more than three months of tense bargaining and brinksmanship.

The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office workers, became the last of the Globe’s major unions to ratify sizable financial and other concessions that the paper’s owner, The New York Times Co., has said it needs to keep operating the 137-year-old paper. The Globe was projected to lose $85 million this year if significant cost reductions were not made, according to the Times Co.

With a turnout of about 80 percent, Guild members voted 366 to 179 to approve the contract, which includes pay cuts, furloughs, and unpaid vacation that reduce earnings by about 9 percent; deep reductions in health and retirement benefits, including a pension freeze; and elimination of lifetime job guarantees for about 170 veteran employees.

“The ratification strengthens the stability of The Boston Globe and,’’ Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley said in a note to employees. “Since we now have settled contracts with all our major unions, let me take this opportunity to thank every Globe employee, union and nonunion, for the sacrifices you have made to meet the unprecedented challenges we faced at the beginning of the year.’’

[Click on the headline to read the full story on]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Analysts expect McClatchy $6.45/per share loss

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. is scheduled to report its second-quarter results before the stock market opens Tuesday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Hardly anything has gone right during the past few years for the owner of The Miami Herald and 29 other daily newspapers. The hard-luck theme is unlikely to change in the Sacramento-based company's second-quarter earnings report.

With the newspaper advertising market in ruins, another loss seems certain.

As the losses mount, the chances of a bankruptcy filing rises. That's because McClatchy is saddled with $2 billion in outstanding debt with a steadily shrinking cash flow to cover its future obligations and adhere to the financial requirements — known as covenants — set by its secured lenders.

Several other major newspaper publishers, including the owners of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past eight months. Many analysts think McClatchy is now headed down the same path, although the publisher's management hasn't discussed the possibility publicly.

McClatchy hoped to whittle about $900 million from its debt in a complex exchange, but only 9 percent of the bondholders accepted the offer.

Most of the debt stems from McClatchy's 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder, which was completed during the early stages of an advertising slump that has grown progressively worse.

McClatchy's ad revenue plunged 30 percent in the first quarter after falling 18 percent for all of 2008. The second quarter is expected to include another share drop, based on the 32 percent decline in print advertising suffered by Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect McClatchy to lose $6.45 per share on revenue of $369 million. The company earned 24 cents per share on revenue of $490 million at the same time last year.

ANALYST TAKE: Fitch Ratings analyst Michael Simonton is among the camp that believes McClatchy will wind up in bankruptcy court at some point. "Default is imminent or inevitable," Simonton predicted after McClatchy's debt exchange flopped.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Unless the advertising market rebounds soon, McClatchy may have to lower its expenses even more to pay its bills and remain in good graces with its bankers. That could mean even more layoffs at a company that already jettisoned about one-third of its work force in the past year.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: McClatchy shares added a penny to end the quarter at 50 cents.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Way it was--not way if ought to be

Walter Leland Cronkite (1916-2009) died Friday at the age of 92 at his home in New York

The Beacon Journal’s Rich Helenfels in a sidebar calls Cronkite
“The man who told you the way it was, not the way it ought to be.”

Whether the quote is original or not, it describes Conkrite well.

If any of you out there aspire to those lofty heights, do your own reporter’s work to learn more:

See the New York Times coverage

Follow this lead to a search review of stories on Cronkite’s legacy.

Check out the front pages on Newseum from A to Z from the Anniston (AL) Star to the Virgin Islands Daily.

That’s the way it was

And here's a humorous addend:

Someone at the Chicago Tribune went crazy with the search-and-replace while writing Walter Cronkite's obituary—replacing every instance of "Cronkite" with "Mr. Cronkite.

"His last regularly scheduled assignment with CBS News was a 90-second radio segment called "Walter Mr. Cronkite's 20th Century."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guild, Indianapolis Star in federal mediation

A federal mediator will be at the August 6 meeting of the Indianapolis News Guild with the Indianapolis Star management, the Guild said Friday.

The Guild also filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint claiming the company threatened to issue its final offer if the union did not agree to certain bargaining dates.

Guild President Tom Spalding, whose unit represents 184 Star employees, revealed the moves in an e-mail to members Friday, a day after employees met with Publisher Michael Kane.

"Star management and Gannett corporate lawyers want people to believe that we are unduly dragging out negotiations," Spalding said in the e-mail. "Given the circumstances, we firmly believe we are acting appropriately in seeking the time to fully reconstitute our bargaining committee and seeking more information about the company's supposed financial needs."

Spalding also revealed that the company's latest proposal includes a 12% salary cut and a two-year salary freeze. He told E&P Friday that management agreed to the arbitration and the first session will be Aug. 6.

Click on the headline to read the Editor & Publisher report which includes text of the email.

Enjoying a week in New York City

By John Olesky
Paula and I enjoyed a 1,109.7-mile week-long journey to fascinating New York City, hitting a lot of sights familiar to others, and maybe a few not so familiar:

1. Took free rides on the Staten Island and Governor’s Island ferries.

2. Went inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

3. Sat on lawn chairs on Broadway (David Letterman has fun with this one on his show). New York City’s version of Cuyahoga Falls’ Front Street.
4. Relaxed in Central Park sunshine with thousands of other people.
5. Strolled the Coney Island boardwalk where I had my usual Nathan’s hot dog. Larry King made Nathan’s famous in the early days of his radio show, long before he donned suspenders for CNN’s TV cameras.

6. Got splendid views of the New York skyline from Governor’s Island and the Brooklyn Esplanade. 7. Had dinner at former West Virginia University and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Amos Zereoue’s Manhattan restaurant, called Zereoue, on 37th Street. We toasted “To the Mountaineers!” since WVU is our alma mater.
8. Found excellent Polish food at Theresa’s in Brooklyn, which reminded me of dining at Babushka’s Kitchen in Northfield.

9. Attended a concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with Columbian and Venezuelan bands. I couldn’t understand a word they sang, but enjoyed the music and the female fans’ reactions (which mostly involved their behinds vibrating).

10. Went inside Trump Tower and its copper world.

11. Visited the United Nations headquarters.

12. Drove to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with its scenic vista on the Hudson River.

13. Got tremendous views of the Statue of Liberty every day. What we didn’t do was have a planned lunch with former BJ newsroom folks Kathy Goforth and Charles Buffum because work found Buff. Maybe next time. Next up: A week in Michigan with my friend since first grade at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Monongah, West Virginia.

To see photos of the trip, click on the headline.

PD alumni to meet July 31

PD alumni gather for lunch on the last Fridays of January, April, July and October Spouses and guests always welcome

NEXT LUNCHEON: Noon, Friday, July 31

PLACE: Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights
(top of Cedar Hill)

COST: $20.50 includes soup, salad, non-alcoholic beverages, tax & tip

CHOICES: Roasted Duck Breast Salad (baby greens, shallots, walnuts)
Dublin Lawyer (lobster and mushrooms in whiskey sauce)
Chevre Chicken (stuffed with cheese, shallots, walnuts)
Grilled Vegetable Plate

RSVP by July 24:
JoAnn Pallant (440) 734-1923, or

[Sourcer: PD alumni news by margie and rosie]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gary Post-Tribune staffers want to buy newspaper

Gary (IN) Post-Tribune staffers want to buy their paper from the Sun-Times, Andry Grimm,
a Post-Tribune reporter and president of the Gary Newspaper Guild, is optimistic. "We might be the only people in the world who believe in our newspaper right now, and I think we'll get in and get a bargain."

Click on the headline to learn more in the Chicago Reader.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Indy Guild wants members to wear red at meeting

Report from Editor & Publisher

NEW YORK The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, which overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from The Indianapolis Star two weeks ago, is asking members to show up in force and wear red during a meeting Thursday with Publisher Michael Kane.

In an e-mail to members Wednesday, Guild President Tom Spalding stated: "The Guild officers and stewards understand that, for whatever reason, we have members who have not felt comfortable showing their support for the Guild by wearing lanyards or displaying signs on their desks in the newsroom. But after seven months of contract negotiations in which the company has refused to negotiate and has presented progressively worse proposals at the bargaining table, after two weeks of unpaid furloughs, after three rounds of layoffs in less than a year in which the company disregarded the seniority provisions of our contract, there comes a time when you have to show the company which side you are on. This is one of those times."

The call for unity also follows last week's companywide layoffs of some 1,400 employees by parent company Gannett. Those resulted in the loss of 14 guild members at the Star, including guild secretary Sylvia Halladay. Spalding has said contract talks are continuing, but no new agreement has been put forth.

Gannett beats forecast with 2Q profit; shares jump


NEW YORK (AP) -- Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, topped expectations for its second-quarter earnings Wednesday as it reversed a loss from a year ago, even though advertising revenue continues to dive. Its shares jumped 19 percent in premarket trading.

The McLean, Virginia-based company, which publishes USA Today and other daily newspapers, reported a profit of $70.5 million, or 30 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $2.29 billion, or $10.03 per share, a year ago, when the company took a hefty write-down on its declining market value.

Excluding special items, Gannett posted adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share, exceeding the average analyst forecast of 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue in the latest quarter fell 18 percent to $1.41 billion, below analysts' projection for sales of $1.46 billion.

Ad revenue in Gannett's publishing division, which includes more than 80 U.S. daily newspapers, dropped 32 percent. That was slightly better than in the first quarter, when the unit posted a 34 percent decline.

Gannett's stock shot up 67 cents, or 19 percent, to $4.16 ahead of regular trading. The shares remain near the low end of their 52-week range of $1.85 to $21.68.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PD staffers debate value of blogs

Impact editor John Kroll tells PD reader representative Ted Diadiun that there are blogs that break news. Steve Outing says: "If there are too many folks in that newsroom with views like Diadiun's that the newspaper is best and other media are inconsequential in comparison, the Plain Dealer doesn’t have a rosy future."

Click on the headline to view a video conversationa bout blogs by PD staffers on

Monday, July 13, 2009

BusinessWeek for sale

BusinessWeek, the McGraw-Hill Cos. magazine that lost 30 percent of its advertising revenue in the second quarter, is up for sale, according to a person close to the situation.

McGraw-Hill hired Evercore Partners Inc., the boutique investment bank founded by Roger Altman, to sell BusinessWeek, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Spokesmen for McGraw-Hill and Evercore, which are both based in New York, declined to comment.

The recession and competition from the Internet have cut into ad sales at BusinessWeek and competitors. Condé Nast said in April that it was closing its two-year-old Portfolio business magazine after it failed to meet revenue forecasts.

“Magazines are vulnerable to the same decline in advertising revenue that has been hitting the newspaper industry,” said Tom Corbett, a Morningstar Inc. analyst in Chicago. “Because of that, the environment for sales of magazine properties is going to be pretty challenged.”

Click on the headline to read the full story on

Email: Reader who misses old BJ to Chip Bok

Ott Gangl sends us this email conversation between an old friend, Gene Foraker, and former BJ cartoonist Chip Bpk:”

Foraker: I went to his site and registered for his email list. I left a comment that I missed seeing him in the Beacon and that it is not the same paper after going so far to the left. It must be part of their plan to increase their subscriber base in this declining business
by leaning so strongly only to one side and upsetting the people on the other side.

Chip: Thanks, Gene. I miss being in the BJ but it's not the same paper anymore. I'll put you on the email update list for Bokbluster if that's okay.

Foraker: Thanks Chip. I'm a good friend of Ott Gangl (but much younger), if you remember him. Most all of the ex employees miss the old Beacon.

Chip: Ha. Tell Ott everyone's younger than him. Those were very good times

A few more copy editors might help

Thanks to Marvin Katz for forwarding this nice article. This blog has no copy editors and, therefore, tons of errors in our rush to get something posted. . It is easy to excuse an error like typing Jacon for Jacob. {The N on the keyboard is next to the B) Still we strive to remember a quote from an old master, Joseph Conrad
"Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line."

Fewer Copy Editors, More Errors

By Andrew Alexander Sunday, July 5, 2009
The front of Tuesday's Metro section directed readers to turn to Page B3 for a story about the suspected kidnapping of a Wheaton woman. But no story could be found.

The previous day, a key passage in a Metro feature about gay and lesbian families living in the suburbs ended in mid-sentence, leaving readers hanging.

Errors such as these seem to have increased in recent months. A story referred to the "Democratically" (instead of Democrat-) controlled Congress. Another mentioned the Marine "Corp" (instead of Corps). A story on Arlington County's plans for the old Newseum building misspelled Rosslyn as "Rossyln" four times. A column about plans to fire a federal employee said he had "spitted" (instead of spat) on his boss. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter was described as a "ferocious" (instead of voracious) reader. A photo caption mistakenly referred to a boy with the odd first name of "Jacon" instead of "Jacob" (clue: "b" is next to "n" on the keyboard).

Growing numbers of readers are contacting the ombudsman to complain about typos and small errors.

"As a virtually lifelong subscriber, I am disheartened by the increasingly poor quality of the editing of The Post," wrote Richard Murphy of Alexandria. If typos can't be caught by a spell-checker, "then The Post should restore a couple of copy editor positions. You have cut that staff too much."

The Post's copy editors are among the best I've worked with during nearly four decades in the newspaper business. But they've been badly depleted by staff cuts as the money-losing paper struggles to control costs. Those who remain are stretched thin while The Post expands to a 24-hour news operation in print and online.

Between early 2005 and mid-2008, the number of full-time copy editors dropped from about 75 to 43 through buyouts or voluntary departures. It has declined further since then, but Post managers won't provide precise figures beyond saying that six took a recent buyout offer. The need is so critical that most are being hired back on contract through at least the end of the year, and part-timers are taking up some of the slack.

Copy editors are the unsung heroes of newsrooms. Unknown to the public, and often underappreciated by their colleagues, they're the last line of defense against a correction or, worse, a libel suit.

They're skeptics who revel in the arcane. They know the difference between median and mean, and can speak knowledgeably about topics from Methuselah to the Milky Way. They write headlines, design some pages, check facts and make sure assertions are supported. They spend entire careers working horrible night-shift hours.

"By definition, you'll see more errors when there's reduced staffing," said Bill Walsh, the A-section copy desk chief. On a typical weeknight a few years ago, Walsh said, the three copy desks handling national, foreign and business news could rely on perhaps 20 editors. Those desks have since been combined into one desk, headed by Walsh. Today, he said, "there are some shifts where I'm looking at seven or eight people total."

Little mistakes take a huge toll on credibility. A groundbreaking newspaper industry study on credibility a decade ago warned that "each misspelled word, bad apostrophe, garbled grammatical construction, weird cutline and mislabeled map erodes public confidence in a newspaper's ability to get anything right."

"If readers can't rely on our accuracy, why should they even pick up the paper?" asked Chris Wienandt, an editor at the Dallas Morning News and president of the American Copy Editors Society, which has roughly 600 members.

He said technological tools, such as computer programs that check spelling and grammar, are of limited value. "It won't catch the difference between Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan," he said. "A copy editor will."

The Post this week began moving to a new, centralized "universal desk" intended to streamline the editing process for readers to get information in print, online and on mobile devices. Numerous copy editors told me they anticipate more errors will slip through as the kinks are worked out.

Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli did not disagree that more errors have appeared lately. But over time, he predicted, a universal desk will be "more effective" in serving print, online and mobile audiences.

Post managers have few choices but to cut staff while restructuring for the future. To survive, The Post must simultaneously hold on to its print readers while expanding its online audience.

It's a tall order. Small errors will continue. Loyal Post readers should continue to note them when they're small and complain loudly when they're large.

But I hope they also show some patience and understanding.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It was a great newspaper. . . and then some

This is a reproduction of a tattered copy of a full-page newspaper promotion ad which ran Sunday, May 7, 1972 on page A33

In the photo from left are Al Fitzpatrick, city editor; Hal Fry, editorial writer; Don Bandy, metropolitan desk; Charles Buffum, city desk; Joan Rice, fashion writer; Bud Mo
rris, artist; Julius Greenfield, chief photographer.

[Click on image for better view]

The copy block below the photo reads:

The people pictured here are only a handful of the 835 men and women who are the Beacon Journal.

The talents of this diverse group make up a fa/ntastic data bank of information and diverse skills. . . a smooth human machine gathering, sorting, writing and printing millions o
f words daily.

You can bet your bottom dollar that to turn out an informative, interesting and award-winning newspaper takes unbelievable teamwork. . . by editors, reporters, featur
e writers, copy editors, make-up men, photographers, artists, proofreaders and copyrunners.

By compositors, stereotypers, keypunchers, paperhandlers, pressmen and printers. By motor route men, truck drivers and carriers. By salesmen, secretaries, operators, administrators and managers.

·We know that the success or failure of the Beacon Journal depends on these people. . . people who are just like you, but who have a special love for the newspaper business.

Because we have so many people with this special dedication, the Beacon Journal is a great newspaper.

And then some.

Blogger Note: We tried to iron out the folds but did not want to apply too much heat to the badly faded and tattered news page.

[From Charles Buffum memorabilia]

Fran Murphey: Newspapers covered her

Murphey asleep in women's room with newspapers for blanket. Click for better view

By Harry Liggett
It is strange to recall that I used to report for work on the old State Desk at the Beacon Journal at 4:30 a.m. My job was to make a budget of the stories for that day and, on many mornings, to knock on the door of the women's room to wake Fran Murphey.

It wasn't always the women's room. Sometimes it was in her car or some other location in the building.. Murphey would leave me a note to wake her at a certain time. As you can see, she often used newspapers for a blanket if it was a bit chilly.

Some viewers might think it insensitive to post such a photo of the dearly departed. If she were still with us, she would probably shout "Go to Hell, Liggett!" That was her insensitve reply when I asked her questions like, "Murphey, when the hell are you going to get your column over?"

There are many stories you all might recall about Murphey. She had a wierd name fetish, for instance. You could write Fran Murphey and she did not mind, but if you wanted to be formal and write Frances Murphey you damn well better use her middle initial. A formal name is formal after all.

I once made a statuette of Fran from a photo Paul Tople shot of her in her coveralls. It was displayed at her funeral and many of you have seen it on bookmarks and elsehwhere.

This photo, however, ranks right near the top in Murphey images. An 8 X10 copy was provided by Charles Buffum. It is priceless because Fran's signature (shown here) is written in pencil on the back with a note "Return to Kathy Goforth." The BJ photo stamp has a date of October 17, 1974, but no photographer name.


Please keep in touch

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.

One of our retiree viewers says he is getting so old that if he has any friends in heaven, they are going to think that he just didn't make it. As many of you know, the retiree mailing list on our website is from information provided years ago. The Beacon Journal will not provide an update, so there could be a lot of people on the list who have gone to one of those places the USPS does not reach. Check it and let us know if we need any updates.

We would like to know where you have gotten too.

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, You can send them regular mail and we will arrange to scan them and return them to you. The Commentary section of our web site was added for opinion pieces that needed to be plainly labeled as commentary. If you want to add your own commentary or have content that might interest BJ types, please send e-mail to

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bob Paynter: Rent-a-reporter

Former BJ staffer Bob Paynter, who took a buyout from the PlainDelar last year,. says it’s an industry that can no longer support the investigative reporting he did at the Akron Beacon Journal and the Plain Dealer. Sitting outside a coffee house on Cleveland’s west side, he recalls that work was rooted in some ideals that he developed over thirty years ago. Here’s the interview with station

BOB PAYNTER: Keep in mind, I’m of an age, immediately post-Watergate, so I’m one of those people who went, thinking, “Woodward-Bernstein, look what they did. Wow, the sky’s the limit.” Journalists could really play a role, make a difference, save the world. Those kinds of things.

The Plain Dealer...and other large newspapers...still do investigative work...uncover corruption...expose abuses oif power. But, it is expensive. Paynter says he was a “cost center” because his reporting involved hours of digging through public records, finding a thread that connected the thousands of dots in front of him, and writing it all up in a way that the average person could understand. That work often takes months to yield a single story…an investment fewer papers are willing… or able… to make.

BOB PAYNTER: It just became clear to me that the future was limited --- if there was a future at all. And I was 58, and I’m thinking, “I’ve still got some miles on the tires, and I want to try something else.” And there was a modest buyout offer on the table, and I decided to take it.

So, what do you do if you’re a guy who likes to comb through haystacks for facts…piece together details and get to the bottom of something? What’s the next career move for a person with those skills? Would you believe…private investigator?

BOB PAYNTER: I call myself “Investigative Communications, LLC”. It’s a fancy way of saying “investigative reporter for rent.” I’ll look stuff up, I’ll find stuff out, I’ll write it up if you want it.

One of his early clients was an attorney representing someone who had gotten bilked in a real estate scam. Rooting through public records on a case like that wasn’t far removed what he had been doing as a journalist for years. Still, it isn’t the same.

BOB PAYNTER: I guess what I’m doing now is intellectually engaging…it keeps me busy…it brings in some revenue…but it doesn’t engage the soul. And, at the moment, I’m not really missing that. But I think I will.

Read an earlier post on Paynter from January, 2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Freep exempt from Gannett layoffs

The Detroit Free Press is exempt from the mass layoffs taking place today at McLean, Va.-based corporate parent Gannett Co. Inc.

“We had a staff reduction and expense reduction at the beginning of June,” said Rich Harshbarger, vice president of consumer marketing for the Dedtroit Media Partnership, the Gannett-controlled company that handles the joint business operations of the Free Press and The Detroit News, which is owned by another publishing company. MediaNews Group.

The Freep, News and the partnership collectively cut 125 positions in early June.

Gannett is reducing the staff in its U.S. community newspaper division, which has more than 80 daily papers, by 1,000 to 2,000 jobs today out of a work force of about 41,500.

The publisher cut 4,600 jobs last year.

The Free Press is in a separate unit with Gannett flagship USA Today and isn't subject to the community newspaper division's headcount reduction mandates. However, Gannett newspapers in Lansing, Battle Creek and Port Huron are expected to be affected.

The newspapers in recent years have steadily trimmed staff through buyouts, early retirement incentives and layoffs, including 220 jobs in December. The Free Press was exempted from other rounds of cuts because of its plan to reduce home delivery to three days a week while increasing its online presence.

The two Detroit newspapers and the partnership operation have, combined, nearly 1,800 employees.

The cuts stem from continued print advertising revenue declines throughout the newspaper industry. In the first quarter, Gannett's net income was down nearly 60 percent to $77.7 million compared with the same period last year.

Gannett, which reports second-quarter earnings in mid-July, had $3.7 billion in debt at the end of the first quarter, the Wall Street Journal reported.

[Source: Crain's Detroit Business]

Reuters Handbook of Journalism goes online

The handbook is "the guidance Reuters journalists live by," and until now, it hasn't been freely available to the public. Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger says "the handbook is a living document, one that preserves rules that have guided Reuters journalists through a century and half but also one that may change when the times change." He adds that "it's produced by humans who aren't infallible -- and it's used by humans who aren't infallible, so sometimes we make mistakes."

Click on the headline to see it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Her presence recalled lunch tribute one year ago.

Sandi Levenson, Dave Boerner, Tom Moore and Harry Liggett

Printers Carl Nelson, Calvin Deshong, Gene McClellan, Al Hunsicker and Joe Catalano

Attendance at the Beacon Journal retrees lunch on Wednesday tied last month’s total of 10 which was the best attendance since the July 8 lunch in 2008 in memory of Sanford Levenson and Robert Pell. There were 28 at that lunch.

Levenson’s wife, Sandi, was among those attending this luncheon which was almost a year to the day retirees paid tribute to her husband and Pell.

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

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

On one side of the table this week at Papa Joe’s restaurant were the four most loyal lunch attenders: retired printers Calvin Deshong, Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan and Carl Nelson. Joe Catalano, another retired printer, rounded out the total of five for printers.

News types at the lunch were Dave Boerner, Tim Hayes, Harry Liggett and Tom Moore. The news types could claim Sandi to bring their total to five to tie the attendance of printers.

Photos provided by Tom Moore. There was no photo of Tim Hayes.

Monday, July 06, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle presses stopped

Stop the presses.

The San Francisco Chronicle got out of the newspaper printing business today after more than a century of producing the paper in-house, shifting tonight's production to new presses in Fremont owned and operated by Canada's Transcontinental Inc.

Faced with aging presses and strapped for cash to replace them, the move will significantly cut costs at a p
aper that lost $50 million in 2008, and allow it to focus on news gathering, Publisher Frank Vega said. The new presses, he said, will also enable The Chronicle to deliver high-quality color reproduction that is unparalleled in the newspaper industry.

"Our presses are about 50 years old," Vega said. "Several years ago we made a conscious decision that we need to be in the news and information business, and that printing was better left to professional commercial printers."

The shift means the paper will be able to print magazine-quality photos on crease-free pages.

It comes amid an industrywide downturn that has seen readers and advertisers migrate to the Internet. It also marks the end of an era for the paper's pressmen.

That working tradition at the paper, often passed from generation to generation, began not long after the first Daily Dramatic Chronicle was churned out on hand-cranked presses in 1865. In-house printing had been interrupted only briefly, including after the 1906 earthquake, when flames torched the Chronicle building and production shifted to Oakland, and again during a 52-day strike in 1968 when the paper was cobbled together by typesetting it in pieces and pasting it onto office paper.

More than 200 union workers - press operators and related staff- are losing their jobs as The Chronicle's Union City printing plant closes down.

Paper signs were taped beside the entrance to the plant, telling workers to turn in their badges to security.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Blame another flu season for this caption

The caption on this photo of Sen. Byrd is a bit of a stretch. You cannot really make yourself an orphan. They might have been referring to the death of his mother when he was one year old and was given to the custory of an aunt and uncle. That was a while ago.during another flu epidemic. Byrd will be 92 on November 20.

Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1917. When he was one year old, his mother, Ada Mae Kirby, died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic. In accordance with his mother's wishes, his father, Cornelius Calvin Sale dispersed the family children among relatives. Sale Jr. was given to the custody of an aunt and an uncle, Vlurma and Titus Byrd, who renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd and raised him in the coal-mining region of southern West Virginia.

Byrd was valedictorian of Mark Twain High School[7] and, in 1937, he married his high-school sweetheart, Erma Ora James. And that’s only if wipipedia is a bit more accurate than the 1974 BJ caption.
[Clip from the Buffum memorabilia]

Regina Brett receiving Silver Gavel award

Click on the headline to see a video of Regina Brett receiving the 2009 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association

The Silver Gavel Awards recognize entries from communications media that have been exemplary in helping to foster the American public's understanding of the law and the legal system. Past winners include To Kill a Mockingbird, Hitler's Courts: Betrayal of the Rule of Law in Nazi Germany, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court and Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power, to name just a few. Regina won the 2009 Award for the columns she wrote about Open Discovery. Regina is a metro columnist for The Plain Dealer. For more information, please go to and

BJ trio: Another photo from the past

Here's another photo from the past in the Beacon Journal newsroom. Seated with his back to camera is Abe Zaidan with Charles Buffum and Richard McBane. Guy standing with back to camera could be Albert Fitzpatrick. The photo by Paul Tople is dated September 18, 1973. Doing the math for you: The photio was taken 36 years ago. Tople is still shooting photos for the BJ. Zaidan is still in town, Buffum lives in New York City and McBane is retired in Georgia. The photo is among memorabilia supplied by Buffum

Click on the image for a better view.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Interesting article on Aetna

Wendell Potter, Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, takes aim at Aetna Insurance's jobs-slashing and dropping companies whose employees file too many claims.

The title of the article is

Obama's False Friends of Health Reform

The insurance companies see the probable program as a chance for them to have millions more customers and their eyes glaze over at the thought of billions more in profits.

Click on the headline if you want to read Potter's article.

For a CNN article on Potter's testimony before a Senate committee, go to:

This is scary stuff. Include the scare-words that billion-dollar companies, through their camoflaged surrogates, throw at the public to keep more billions rolling in.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Oh? Canada, eh?

Since I've hit the Aetna Medicare donut hole already, which means I pay ALL the costs of my brand-name drugs, I've made my yearly trek to Canada, by Internet.

Aetna charges $316.49 for 90 Celebrex 200 mg capsules. charges $36 plus $5 mailing costs ($41 total) for 90 Celebroxine capsules. Celebroxine is the generic drug for Celebrex, but it's not available in the United States.
That's a savings of $275.49 for 90 days.

Even before I hit the donut hole, my co-pay through Aetna is $80, almost twice what the generic for Celebrex cost.

Once I'm in the donut hole, Aetna charges $271.55 for 90 Uroxatral 10 mg capsules.
Before I hit the donut hole, my Aetna co-pay is $40 for 90 Uroxatral 10 mg capsules. charges $61 plus $5 mailing costs ($66 total) for 90 Afluzosine 10 mg capsules. Afluzozine is generic for Uroxatral, but the generic is not available in the United States.
It's cheaper to get Uroxatral from Aetna as long as I'm not in the donut hole.
Once I hit the donut hole, I save $205.55 for 90 days.

So, once I hit the donut hole, I save $481.04 every 3 months by getting both the Celebrex and Uroxatral generics through Canada, even if I order them separately and pay $5 mailing costs for each.

All of this is done online. You need your doctor's prescription, which you can scan with your computer and then attach it to the order form that you also get online. Give your credit card number and save. Or you can write a check and mail it with the forms, if you prefer.

Questions? Email me or call me at (330) 388-4466.

For those who don't understand the donut hole: Once you hit a specified amount -- $2,700 this year -- for the actual cost of the prescriptions (your co-pay plus Aetna's payments) -- you're in the donut hole. Then it switches to your actual out-of-pocket (the totals of your co-pays, but not the actual cost of the drugs) and you stay in the donut hole to buy brand-name drugs till you spend $6,153.75 of your own money (your co-pay for generics remains the same in or out of the donut hole). That guarantees that Aetna isn't paying any more for my Uroxatral or Celebrex for the remainder of the year. And it's barely July. Last year, I didn't hit the donut hole till September. Maybe that's because the pharmaceutical lobbyists helped write the law that set up the donut hole.

Click on the headline to go to
If you want to try another non-USA online pharmacy, go to

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

McClatchy looks perilously close to bankruptcy

An agreement between McClatchy Co. and its banks puts the country’s third-largest newspaper chain at risk of defaulting on its debt by the end of the year, according to credit analysts. If that happens, Bank of America and other creditors could either show leniency and rework the terms of their agreement or push the publisher of 30 daily newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee, into bankruptcy.

In the current environment, banks are less likely to sustain companies on life support, said Shelly Lombard, an analyst at Gimme Credit. She pointed to the example of Idearc ( IAR - news - people ), a Yellow Pages publisher, which breached debt agreements and filed for bankruptcy in March. “Banks are starting to pull the plug on companies,” she said. “It used to be that banks worked with the clients because they were better alive than dead. Some of them may not be worth it.”

Elaine Lintecum, the company’s treasurer, declined to comment, citing a quiet period before its earnings announcement. Lintecum said McClatchy ( MNI - news - people ) will address its financial health during the earnings call in late July.

Like other newspaper owners, McClatchy, based in Sacramento, Calif., has suffered from declining advertising sales, which dropped 30% in the first quarter from a year earlier. What’s different about McClatchy is that it shoulders $2 billion in debt, much of it a result of the $4.6 billion acquisition of Knight Ridder in 2006.

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy’s chief executive, has slashed costs through laying off about a third of employees, cutting the dividend on its stock and trimming pay (see McClatchy Aims To Have The Last Newspaper Standing).

The newspaper chain’s agreement with the Bank of America ( BAC - news - people )-led group requires it to keep its debt below a ceiling of seven times one measure of its earnings (earnings before interest tax, debt and amortization). With declining revenues and $2.05 billion in debt, McClatchy’s debt ratio will sit at 5.7 after the debt exchange, according to estimates. From there, it’s a short slip to breaking its bank covenants: trailing 12-month EBITDA would only need to drop from $362 million to $294 million.

An analysis by the research firm CreditSights says a 40% drop in EBITDA each quarter--a more optimistic scenario than some estimates--would put McClatchy in violation of its bank agreement by the fourth quarter.

Banks may see little reason to give the newspaper owner more time to raise earnings or trim its debts, especially after its exchange offer failed to sway many bondholders. Its 7.125% notes currently yield 92%. From a bank’s perspective, that cash rewarding bondholders could be better used paying down its loans, Lombard said.

CreditSights estimates that McClatchy's assets are worth $750 million, less than the $950 million in bank loans. Banks may worry that these assets will sink further given more time.

McClatchy's fate looks increasingly out of its hands, Lombard said. “A lot of it depends on the economy.” If Internet advertising and print advertising rebounds before McClatchy manages to avoid tripping its covenants, then maybe it’s one newspaper chain that survives the recession. “It’s certainly within the realm of possibility,” she said.

Click on the headline to see the story on and links to related stories.