Thursday, December 31, 2009


Our faithful departed in 2009

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

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

Miami Herald land sale uncertain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

70% pay raise, but not for Cathy Strong

Posted on Cathy Strong's Facebook page:

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

= = = = = = = =

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

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

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

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

See other Cathy Strong posts

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cathy Strong, Pam McCarthy plan reunion in Boston

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

Cathy Robinson Strong wrote:

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

= = = = = =

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

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

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

Know where Paul Facinelli is today? Tell us.

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

or Harry Liggett at

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

Thank you.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pete Geiger's recollections of Paul Facinelli during Elyria exit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His face fell and he turned back to his boxes.

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

= = = = = = = =

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The story of Paul Facinelli's obsession and firing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Facinelli.

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

A nice Christmas story on CNN

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

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

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

Retired BJ sports writer Bob Nold dies at 78

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas from your favorite blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Helen and Harry Liggett in Akron, OH

McClatchy ad revenue is improving, says Pruitt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Source: Sacramento Business Journal]

Friday, December 18, 2009

Huffington lists job losses: No. 7 is news media

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Former BJ staffers land at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fed Report: Newspaper jobs to decline 25% by 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just for Fun Year-end Letter

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Miami Herald asks online readers for donations

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

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

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

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

Click on the headline to read the Associated Press story.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oblander's son gets MBA

Comment by Terry Oblander stolen from a facebook entry:

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to BJ retirees on insurance

December 9, 2009

Re: 2010 health care coverage

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

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

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

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

Very truly yours, 



Aaron Burr
Director of Human Resources

The reality about newspapers

By John F. Sturm

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

Here is the reality about newspapers today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more on the power of newspaper media, visit

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

NY Times may lay off fewer than 26

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Editor & Publisher to cease publication after 125 Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staff members can be contacted at:

[Published December 10, 2009 in Editor & Publisher]

Mark these words about TV journalists

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

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

McClatchy may join Kindle rival venture

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

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

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

5 attend BJ Retirees lunch

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Wikipedia founder fears internet effects

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

Monday, December 07, 2009

McClatchy to lift wage freeze

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jim Lehrer: His standards for reporting

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

-- Do nothing I cannot defend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- I am not in the entertainment business.

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

Friday, December 04, 2009

Catching up with . . . Tom Marvin

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

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

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

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

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

WOW !!! Nice to hear from you.

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

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

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

Our address is

74321 Birch Rd
Kimbolton,Oh 43749
Phone 740 498 7471

I would love to see you sometime,

= = = = = = =

At my request, Tom provided additional information.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Editors to report to sales managers in Dallas

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

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

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

Sad, soggy story

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

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

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

Emails to us from Phil and Timothy said otherwise.

From Timothy:

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

From Phil:

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

Connie Bloom to be at Akron Artwalk on Saturday

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

Emails Connie:

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Miami Herald Cuts 24 Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    To all Herald employees:   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    David Landsberg

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

David Bianculli discusses new Smothers Brothers book

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

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

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

Check out Bianculli's  web site

See a few photos of  David

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

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