Saturday, January 31, 2009

We're starting a list of BJ type blogs


By Harry Liggett (I really need a byline for this post)
When I retired in March 1995 I started keeping a list of email addresses of former and
retired BJ types so I could let others know what is happening to that old gang. I started this blog in July, 2004 and tried to explain what a blog was. Now it appears I may have to start keeping a list of all the blogs..

There are at least five BJ types who have blogs. The latest is Tom Moore who once had a website but closed it.. And the blogs are getting like email addresses.. Beth Hertz once had one for Bowling Green alumni on blogspot, but blogger says that blog address is now available or shut down. Geoff Gevalt had a blog for a while and then quit but has added it again as part of the website for his Young Writers Project mentioned in previous blog posts.

Well here’s the start of my list::

Tom Moore: “Old newsmen never retire, they just write away” January 2009

http://oldnewsmenneverdietheyjustwriteaway.blogspot.com/

David Hertz: “Inner View” January 2009

http://www.dix-eaton.com/blogs/mediainnerview/


Bob DeMay: “ONPA” a blog for Ohio Newspaper Photographers Association November 2008

http://onpanews.blogspot.com/


Abe Zaidan: “Grumpy Abe” a blog about politics August 2008

http://grumpyabe.blogspot.com/

Geoff Gevalt: "Young Writers Project" Geoff writing blog as part of this website.

http://youngwritersproject.org/Geoffblog/?p=47


Moore, a former news editor, and Zaidan, political columnist, are both retired. David Hertz, former BJ business editor et. al. now with DIix & Eaton in Cleveland, and Bob Decay (God bless him) still at the BJ as photo and Guild ,honcho.

This blog began as “BJ Retirees’ in July, 2004. Our website was established in September, 2006,. The name of the blog and website was changed to BJ Alums on October 14, 2008 to better reflect our viewers. We get 150 or so viewers a day. Our 100,000th visitor was on October 31, 2008. We are getting close to our 2,000th article posted on the Blogs. This is No. 1912..

Weather report for homesick viewers


For viewers homesick for Akron, here are some notes courtesy of a Beacon Journal story today by Bob Downing:

The Akron-Canton area has already gotten 44.8 inches of snow this winter. Normal snowfall is 26.2 inches. The 8.6 inches of of snow this week was the biggest snow of January in Akron-Canton. Through Friday there has been at least a trace of snow on 24 of the 20 days so far. The average temperature has been 16 degrees, nine below normal. In 1932 Akron recorded only a trace of snow all month.

Top 10 snowiest Januaries recorded at Akron-Canton airport:

1978...... 37.5 inches
2009.......28.6 inches
1999.......24.3 inches
1994.......23.5 inches
1904.......22 inches
1979.......21.9 incches
1914.......21.4 inches
1976.......25.1 inches
1919.......21 inches
1985,,,,,,,,20.9 inches

Friday, January 30, 2009

LA Times to cut 70 newsroom employees


The Los Angles Times will cut 70 newsroom employees, about 11 per cent of the staff. Here’s the memo to the staff from editor Russ Stanton:

Colleagues:

As you saw from Eddy's note, the tough economy is causing the company to implement another round of job cuts, including in the newsroom. In the coming weeks, the number of jobs across Editorial will be reduced by 70 positions, or 11%. As part of this move, we will be putting into place the final pieces of the newsroom reorganization that we began last year. This includes reclassifying jobs, reconfiguring desks, revamping our workflow and exploring new topic teams. The goal remains to operate a 24/7 newsgathering operation that delivers information to Southern California residents in any medium they consume it.

Other departments at The Times will be undertaking similar cost-saving measures, some more painful than the ones we will experience. We are all too familiar with this process, but over the past year in particular, we have come through each of these downsizings and continued to produce some of the highest-quality journalism in our industry. We simply don't know how to do otherwise.

John, Davan, Meredith and I, as well as your section editors and department heads, are available to answer your questions. We remain commited to providing our readers with an excellent general-interest newspaper and website with top-notch local, national, foreign, business, sports, feature and entertainment reporting.

The future is now: A report from 1981


“Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer," the narrator says with a hint of sarcasm, continuing, "but that's a few years off." Indeed.

The piece from 1981 is about the earliest days of digital media, when the lucky few home computer users could view content from a handful of prominent papers on their "television screens" by dialing into their CompuServe Information Service with their rotary phones.

It's interesting to see how many people involved in the project had a resolutely realistic take on the whole thing, assuming, despite how clunky current technologies were, that digital media was the unavoidable future—a sentiment that has since lost favor in newsrooms, now that it's actually coming to pass.

Click on the headline to listen to a viedo of the 1981 report

Thanks to Jim Kavanagh (BJ copy desk chief now at CNN} for sending us the link.

3 ad managers laid off at BJ


Three Beacon Journal advertising managers have been laid off. They are
Lisa Miree-Luke: Recruitment
Laura Rolph: Marketing Research
William Goddard: Sales Manager

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Supporters rally for Rocky Mountain News

Supporters of the Rocky Mountain News plan to hold a candlelight rally for Colorado's oldest newspaper.

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

On Thursday evening, the group I Want My Rocky plans to have 150 marchers meet at the Denver Press Club and head single-file to the building that houses both newspapers. They will ring the building, with each marcher holding a candle and placard to represent one year of the newspaper's 150-year history.

Scripps hasn't said how many offers it has received for the News or when it might make a decision on its future.

Rosenberg seeks state court settlement


Rosenberg drops all but one claim

against PD and his editor


Cleveland Plain Dealer
Donald Rosenberg's amended complaint eliminates claims that the Plain Dealer defamed him, breached public policy and broke promises he had relied on. Instead, the former music critic's only remaining claim is that his reassignment to cover dance, arts and entertainment was an act of age discrimination. This was done so the case would be tried in state rather than federal court.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cub Scouts thank, honor Watson Blanton

Watson Blanton (seated at left) gets a salute from Cub Scouts

Beacon Journal staff writer Jim Carney tells how a half-dozen Cub Scouts said thank you this month to retired BJ engraver Watson Blanton, a decorated Navy veteran from World War II..

In a patriotic ceremony of kindness and respect, the Webelos den from Pack 3075 in Akron, in full uniforms, marched single file up the steep steps leading to Blanton's home on a snowy Saturday.

Inside the house, the 9- and 10-year-old boys stood at attention around the 87-year-old Navy veteran, who was wounded from shrapnel during World War II in the South Pacific. The
boys thanked him for his service to America.

The ceremony was one requirement for a citizen activity badge for the Scouts.

Webelos are the oldest Cubs before becoming Boy Scouts.


Blanton, a Florida native, was a fire-control sailor in the Navy. His job was to aim guns at the enemy.

He served from 1942 to 1948 and was on the destroyer USS Tingey during the war.

The Scouts and their den leaders read copies of Blanton's six-page memoir, My Naval Career, and all had questions for the retired photo engraver, who worked at the Beacon Journal for 22 years.

''I give thanks and praise to Almighty God for hearing and answering the intercessory prayers on my behalf by my parents, family and friends while I was in harm's way,'' he wrote in his memoir. ''In spite of all the dangers and hardships that I encountered, I enjoyed my tour of duty with the U.S. Navy and am proud of my service to my country.''

Seeing a living member of the Greatest Generation and hearing his story impressed the boys.

'Den Leader Phil Schuchter, 48, of Akron, a FirstEnergy engineer, said it is important to let veterans like Blanton know that what they did during the war was important.

''We need stuff like this to honor our elders,'' he said.

Click on the headline to read Carney’s story published on the Community Sectioon front in the Wednesday (January 28) Beacon Journal

NY Times 4Q profit off 48 percent


NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Times Co. said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings plunged 48 percent and online sales fell for the first time as the recession depressed spending by advertisers. The results still beat analyst estimates, and its shares rose more than 7 percent.

The Times also announced it has retained investment firm Goldman Sachs to help explore a sale of its 17.8 percent stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team, Fenway Park, a portion of a cable sports network and other properties.

The company, which publishes the Times, The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and 16 other daily newspapers, earned $27.65 million, or 19 cents a share, in the October-December period, compared with $53 million, or 37 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2007.

Excluding various one-time charges, earnings totaled 36 cents a share, above the 27 cents per share that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected.

Its shares rose 42 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $6.02 in morning trading.

Revenue totaled $772.1 million in the fourth quarter, slightly above expectations of $767.5 million but 11 percent below the $865.8 million in the year-ago period.

Click on the headline to read the full Associated Press story


McClatchy to quit paying dividends.


The McClatchy Co. said today it would suspend paying shareholder dividends after April 1.

The Bee's publisher said it would make its last quarter dividend payment April 1 and then suspend the payouts "for the foreseeable future in order to preserve cash for debt repayment."

McClatchy cut the dividend in half last fall, to 9 cents a share. Then, pressed by declining revenue, it renegotiated its bank loans. Under the new agreement, the Sacramento-based chain was forbidden from paying dividends if its "leverage ratio" exceeded a certain threshold.

The ratio compares debts to profitability, and as McClatchy's profits have fallen, the ratio has risen. It's possible the company could exceed the threshold Feb. 5, when fourth-quarter earnings are reported.

"We are not waiting to see that," said Treasurer Elaine Lintecum, explaining the decision to halt future dividend payments. "We think ... it's important to focus on future cash flow and debt repayment."

McClatchy stock closed Tuesday at 85 cents a share, up 2 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.


Monday, January 26, 2009

BJ publisher makes E&P blog


The Beacon Journal publisher today made headlines in one of the Editor & Publisher blogs which also used the famous BJ front page on the sale by McClatchy to Black Press Lfd. The blog called Fitz & Jen is written by editor at large Mark Fitzgerald in Chicago and associate editor Jennifer Saba in New York.


S&P Downgrades ‘Akron Beacon Journal’ Publisher Deeper Into Junk On Debt


Add Black Press Ltd. to the list of newspaper companies who are now hurting because they “won” in bidding for former Knight Ridder papers.

British Columbia-based Black Press -- no relation to imprisoned former Canadian newspaper mogul Conrad Black -- bought the Akron Beacon Journal in 2006 when The McClatchy
Co. unloaded a dozen dailies after acquiring Knight Ridder.

Now Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is citing the debt taken on to swing that deal as part of reason it downgraded Black Press corporate credit rating to B from B+. The downgr
ading pushes the publisher deeper into junk territory.

S&P also took Black Press’ senior secured debt two notches down to B from 'BB-',
and lowered its “recovery ratings” for the company and its subsidiary to 3 from 2. The higher number reflects S&P’s view that creditors can now expect to recover between 50% and 70% of their investment in the event of a payment default, down from the 70% to 90% recovery suggested by the 2 rating.

"The downgrade reflects our view of Black Press' weakened credit protection measures and reduced financial flexibility stemming from lower EBITDA and higher debt levels," Toronto-based S&P credit analyst Lori Harris said in a note.“Furthermore, we believe the impact of lower profitability and higher debt levels has resulted in the tightening of financial covenants. While management is taking steps to strengthen its operations and liquidity position, we believe that Black Press will remain challenged in fiscal 2010, largely because of difficult industry conditions.”

Black’s biggest problems are in the United States, with its Canadian community newspaper providing at least a temporary cushion against the industry weakness, S&P said.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

French government to aid newspapers


PARIS (AP) — The French state will help provide free newspaper subscriptions to teenagers for their 18th birthdays, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Friday. But the bigger gift is for France's ailing print media.

Sarkozy also announced a ninefold rise in the state's support for newspaper deliveries and a doubling of its annual print advertising outlay amid a swelling industry crisis.

Sarkozy argued in a speech to publishers that the measures are needed because the global financial crisis has compounded woes for a sector already suffering from falling ad revenues and subscriptions.

In a speech to industry leaders, Sarkozy said it was legitimate for the state to consider the print media's economic situation.

"It is indeed its responsibility ... to make sure an independent, free and pluralistic press exists," he said.

This is sensitive territory for Sarkozy, who has been accused of cozying up to media moguls and exerting influence over them. He is also no stranger to heavy criticism in the country's often opinionated newspapers.

In measures to take effect next month, the state will increase its annual support for newspaper and magazine deliveries to euro70 million ($90 million) from euro8 million last year, and spend euro20 million more a year for its advertisements in print publications. The state will also defer some fees the publications face.

[Source: :Larry Froelich called our attention to this AP story. Click on the headline to read a little more of the story.]]

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pope channel makes debut on YouTube

VATICAN CITY (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI launched himself into the digital age today with the Vatican announcing that a YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/vatican dedicated to his activities and events at the Vatican is now online.

The Vatican’s announcement of its new partnership with Google’s YouTube coincides with the release of the Pope’s annual message for the World Day of Communications, which this year focuses on how to utilize new technologies to promote a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See’s press office, described the Vatican’s YouTube Channel at a press conference Friday.

Currently, the Channel contains clips of Pope Benedict XVI delivering his Christmas Message and Blessing, the January 1 celebration of the World Peace Day and some segments of the Pope speaking about the advantages of new social technology. The footage for the clips is being provided by the Vatican Television Center (CTV) in conjunction with journalists and the web team of Vatican Radio (RV).

According to Fr. Lombardi, the new channel will be updated daily with one or two news pieces each day, none longer than two minutes.
[Source: Catholic News Agency]


Blog Note: Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), the patron saint of the Catholic Press. He wrote many pamphlets in addition to his books, “Introduction to the Devout L
ife” and “A Treatise on the Love of God.”

Access issues concern those covering Obama

NEW YORK (AP) — News organizations that cover the White House sparred with the Obama administration on Thursday over access issues for photographers and rules for briefings.

Representatives from Obama's press office held a conference call with photo editors, who are concerned that the administration prefers distributing photos taken by a White House photographer in cases where photojournalists have been permitted access in the past. It was unclear whether the two sides had reached any accommodation.

The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse refused to distribute photos taken by the White House of the new president on his first day in the Oval Office because of the dispute. Still photographers were also not given access to Obama's do-over oath of office administered Wednesday night by Chief Justice John Roberts and an economics meeting on Thursday.

Television network bureau chiefs also protested the exclusion of video cameras from the second oath of office.

"We're in an awkward phase and there will be bumps in the road," said Christopher Isham, CBS News Washington bureau chief. "Hopefully they will be speed bumps rather than obstacles."

Four reporters witnessed the oath of office and shared their observations with others, and a White House photo was released.

"We think it was done in a way that was upfront and transparent," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a briefing when questioned why video cameras were not present.

Pressed on the matter, Gibbs said, "we would have had to get a bigger room."

The Associated Press also questioned on Thursday why reporters were not allowed to use the names of administration officials giving a background briefing on issues regarding the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

Background briefings are hardly new in Washington, and were frequently conducted during the Bush and Clinton administrations. But the AP wanted to establish early with the administration that it's important to get information on the record as often as possible, said Michael Oreskes, managing editor for U.S. news.

"Information is a lot more valuable to the public if you know where it's coming from," Oreskes said. "So we try very hard in all source situations to identify sources as fully as we can."

Gibbs did not directly address the issue when asked about it later, saying that "I hope that you all found the exercise that we did the morning helpful."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ted's pen may be mightier than his words


Plain Dealer Reader Representative Ted Diadiun kicked off his series of weekly chats this week on cleveland.com,. Among the topics Ted addressed in his initial chat was this teaserL

“Will The Plain Dealer merge with The Akron Beacon Journal?’

He has heard nothing about it lately, he says. He then talks about OHNO, the dumb, save money consortium of story sharing by 8 Ohio newspapers.

Click on the headline if you have time to listen to much dullness. Push about three fourths of the way on the progress bar to get to the couple of sentences on the teaser.

We liked Ted a lot better when we did not try to listen to him prattle on and on.

New agencies refuse to use Obama photo


NEW YORK Three news agencies refused to distribute White House-provided photos of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday, arguing that access should have been provided to news photographers.
\
The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse said the White House was breaking with long-standing tradition in not allowing news photographers to capture the president at work in the Oval Office on his first day.


"We are not distributing what are, in effect, visual press releases," said Michael Oreskes, managing editor for U.S. news at the AP.

The news agencies have used White House-provided images in the past for areas in the White House where media access is generally not permitted, such as the Situation Room or the private residence. But they contend that the Oval Office is the public office of the president and photographers should have access rather than rely on a government handout.

"Using these photos would be a major break with established precedent and would compromise the long-held tradition of independent photo coverage of the president and the White House by the major news agencies," said Courtney Dolan, spokeswoman for Thomson Reuters.

There was no immediate reply to e-mail and phone messages left with Obama representatives.
The White House later released a photograph of the president retaking the oath of office with Chief Justice John Roberts, which the AP also rejected.

Vincent Amaluy, director of photography for North and South America for AFP, said he suspected first-day confusion was more at play than an attempt to clamp down on access.

"We are hopeful of negotiating an amicable solution," Oreskes said.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great links to inaugural coverage


Everyone is blogging these days and it helps us all.

David Hertz, once Beacon Journal business editor and a Metro editor before that, now has a blog at his new home of Dix & Eaton in Cleveland. His blog item today, headlined Inaug
ural history captured, is important because it provides links to coverage on the inaugural.

Dave reported the information from former BJ copy chief Jim Kavanagh about the immense interest shown by the page hits at CNN and then provided a link to a New York Times
story about the web overload that occurred.

Most impressive is the display provided by Poynter Insitute on newspaper front pages and of the national newspaper web pages – far better than BJ Alums could provide,


Here are the links

Newspaper front pages

Web pages

New York Times story


And, of yes, take a look at Hertz’s blog

Hertz’s Inner View blog

800,000 attend Inaugural, satellite images show


An Arizona State University journalism professor using satellite images calculated that 800,000 people attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony.

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication professor Stephen Doig calculated the official inauguration crowd estimate after analyzing a GeoEye-1 satellite image shot at 11:19 a.m. from a height of 423 miles. GeoEye-1 is a military-controlled satellite.

Doig said the image was taken 40 minutes before Obama’s swearing-in, but adjusted his estimation to include people who were still coming in before the swearing-in.

“The space-based image is fascinating because all the low-level shots make you think the crowd is much larger,” Doig said. “You see the very dense clots of people in front of the Jumbotrons but then the wide open spaces elsewhere.”

Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, said Doig’s involvement in measuring the crowd size is significant.

“Steve is one of the real stars in understanding how data and journalism fit together,” Gillmor said in an e-mail. “So it makes perfect sense for him to be involved with this.”

Gillmor said aerial imagery has become a useful tool when making crowd estimates.

“In the past, we’ve had deliberate over- and under estimating of crowds to fit political agendas,” Gillmor said. “If technology can help us be more accurate, all the better.”

Click on the image to read more.

Front page views ot the Inauguration

New Philadelphia-Dover Times Reporter, Massillon Independent, Youngstown Vindicator




Here are a few of the front pages of Ohio
newspapers on Inauguration of the
44th presidenf of the United States.

You can find others throughout the U.S.
by googling "Front Pages" to go to the
Newseum's site.

But hurry. They will be gone tomorrow.

Click on images to enlarge

Canton Repository, Wooster Daily Record and Dayton Daily News

Page views reveal enormity of coverage


Jim Kavanagh, former BJ copy desk chief now writing for CNN, gives this paragraph capsule of Inauguration coverage:

Our senior VP just sent out a memo saying we had 20 million unique visitors on Jan. 20, generating 180 million page views and 26 million live video streams. At one point we had 1.3 million live streams going simultaneously. These live stream figures are believed to be a record not only for CNN.com, but for the entire Internet.:



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Careers Beyond the Newsroom on Jan. 24


The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalist is sponsoring a workshop on “Careers Beyond the Newsroom” at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Rikode Road, Westlake. The fee is $10 per person

Here is the program schedule:

10 - 10:45 a.m.
Job Opportunities for Journalists
Presenters: Marketing communications recruiter Doug Levin and Kelly Blazek, founder of the Cleveland Job Bank list.

11-11:45 a.m.
Making the Switch from Journalism to Public Relations
Presenters: Mary Anne Sharkey, veteran Ohio print reporter, former Plain Dealer editorial page director and former communications director for Ohio Governor Taft; and Mike Conway, a longtime reporter for Cleveland TV station WJW and now director of corporate communications & investor relations for Sherwin-Williams.

12 to 12:45 p.m.
Entrepreneurship and Branding
Presenter: Pat Cirillo, Cypress Research

For reservation, contact Tom Moore at tmoore56@msn.com

The event is open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome.

Beacon Journal gives AP two-year notice


From Bob DeMay's photographers' blog:

By Bob DeMay

Playing catch up with a few items that fell through the cracks during the holiday season by me, and went unreported in traditional media outlets.

The Akron Beacon Journal joined The Columbus Dispatch giving the Associated Press its required two-year notice to cancel its contract. While the cancellation notice by the Beacon Journal could be just saber rattling in their dispute with AP, the paper has begun to look at alternatives for AP produced content.

This follows the formation of the Ohio News Organization, a content sharing cooperative by the eight largest papers in the state who have grown dissatisfied with AP's service. While the OHNO arrangement was formed by the larger papers it appears that smaller Cox Ohio properties are taking advantage of some of the content that is posted.

In New Philadelphia, The Times Reporter is laying off 14 people at the newspaper. No photographers were among those let go. These follow cuts by GateHouse in Canton where a total of 25 employees where shown the door in last quarter of 2008 at The Repository. In the newsroom, two reporters, a wire editor and a graphic artist were among those affected.

GateHouse has also announced that 401K company matching contributions would be discontinued for non-union employees.

We reported a few weeks ago that former ONPA member Mike King was among those who were laid off from his staff position at the Appleton Post-Crescent. King is now a visual journalist at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. King will be doing multimedia work for www.GreenBayPressGazette.com as well as provide multimedia training to other staffers at the Gannett property.

Obama will be riding on Goodyear tires

Barack Obama will be riding on a little bit of Akron-based technology after he takes the oath of office for president today.

The president's official customized Cadillac DTS limousine will be riding on a set of specialized Goodyear tires.

They're Goodyear Regional RHS tires, size 285/70R19.5. The products are actually truck tires designed to handle the limousine's extra weight.

All four rims contain a run-flat device that allows the car to be driven with zero air pressure.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. says that for decades it has been the exclusive supplier of tires for U.S. presidential limousines.

[Source: Akron Beacon Journal,

Billionaire invests in NY Times


The New York Times Company said Monday it had reached an agreement with the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim HelĂș for a $250 million loan intended to help the newspaper company finance its businesses.

Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Slim, who already owns 6.9 percent of the Times Company, would invest $250 million in the form of six-year notes with warrants that are convertible into common shares, the company said in a statement. The notes also carry a 14 percent interest rate, with 11 percent paid in cash and 3 percent in additional bonds.

The deal comes as the Times Company looks to raise money amid flagging advertising sales and approaching deadlines to pay back $1.1 billion in debt in the next few years.

The company will use the proceeds from the transaction to refinance its existing debt. One of its two $400 million revolving credit lines is set to expire in May. The $250 million investment should help free some of the company’s borrowing capacity.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Eric Dash in the New York Times

Monday, January 19, 2009

NY Times in talks with Mexican billionaire


The New York Times Co. is in discussions with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim about investing in the newspaper publisher to help ease its financial problems, according to people familiar with the matter.

The talks are ongoing and may yet fall apart but one of the options being discussed is a preferred-
stock issue. Under this scenario, the Times Co. would issue Mr. Slim preferred stock, which carries no voting right but pays an annual dividend, in return for his investment. The investment would be similar to a loan. Preferred shares are often convertible into common stock after a defined period.

It's not clear how much Mr. Slim would be willing to invest but the people familiar the matter said it would likely
be several hundred million dollars.

Times Co. is said to be planning a special board meeting next week.

A spokeswoman from New York Times Co. declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Slim also declined to comment.

It's still possibl
e that another investor could emerge to provide the Times Co. with a capital. One possibility is Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund. Harbinger holds about 28.5 million Class A shares, or about a 20% stake, in the Times Co. Last year the fund waged a proxy battle in which it sought four seats on Times Co.'s board and strategic changes at the company including the sale of non-core assets like the Boston Globe. In March, Times Co. granted the group two board seats. But a deterioration both in the value of its Times Co. and other investments may make it unlikely that Harbinger would be willing to commit even more capital to the ailing newspaper company.

Click on the headline to read the full story in the Wall Street Journal

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two more leave BJ's advertising art


Two more members of the Beacon Journal's advertising art department were released Friday Susan Miller lhad more than 25 years of service. Todd Fowler had worked part-time and eventually turned full-time, having over a year of service. There are only eight left in the department. Dave Cummings, a former composing room employee, is the only printer left who is still setting ads.

Friday, January 16, 2009

PD gets CJR dart for not backing Paynter


The January issue of Columbia Journalism Review throws a dart at the Clevelvand Plain Dealer for “failing to stick by” a series by investigative reporter Bob Paynter, a former BJ projects editor. It was the lead item in the magazine’s “Darts and Laurels” section.

Paynter, at the urging of Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg. produced “Justice Blinded; Race, Drugs and Our Legal System," a series of articles last October that, illustrated that Cuyahoga County blacks arrested on first-time; drug-related violations "were 66 percent more likely to be saddled with a felony record , than their white counterparts," who were more liikey to get treatment as an alternative to conviction. Pa.ynter's series , also showed that whites were more likely than blacks to have, their charges reduced to misdemeanors.

The stories, drew sharp criticism from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, who alleged that they unfairly pointed a finger at his office for its involvement in deciding which defendants would be admitted into treatment programs. In an op·ed published by the Plain Dealer; Mason wrote that "the reporter left out significant facts or information." He suggested that his office alone was not to blame for the racial disparity, because, in fact, the decision to recommend alternatives to incarceration rested with judges.

Paynter series had reported that the prosecutor's office had come to exert significant influence over who would be admitted into treatment programs, according to dozens of interviews with county judges and defense artorneys.

Goldberg says Mason was notified of the series findings before publication, but Mason chose not to go on record about the perception that his office had inftluence over the programs.

Paynter was never allowed to comment or respond, the article says.. The Plain Dealer's editorial page was silent.

Paynter took a buyout offer and left the Plain Dealer on the day after Mason's op-ed piece appeared. He says he stands by his stories. Stuar Wamer, an editor on the project and also a former BJ type, also left the paper shortly before the stories ran. He says he has full confidence in Paynter's reporting.

The Dart concludes:

The Plain Dealer's failure to aggressively back its reporter risked allowing Mason,'s gripes to overshadow the outrageous injustices revealed by Paynter's strong and painstaking work. Still, change may come as a result of the series: Mason has ordered an investigation of the county's handling of drug convictions.”

Intercepted email: Froelich to Buffum


This email from Larry Froelich to Charles Buffum in response to the recent update from Buffum:

It's funny to reflect back on our days at the BJ now, realizing from the perspective of the Internet Age and how that is turning the newspaper business upside down, that we probably practiced journalism in its golden age, if it ever had one. The Twenties and Thirties were yellow, the Forties and Fifties grey, but the 60s and 70s were the bust-out decades: Vietnam, political assassinations, the race riots, Watergate, Pentagon Papers, Kent State, Nixon, Maidenburg, JSK and his Pulitzer, the insane politics of Summit County, it goes on and on. How could that journalism be practiced in today's climate? I've seen the paper I last worked at (Lexington Herald-Leader) become as skinny as a legal pad with 6-page sections and down to two news services. When I transferred there from Detroit, nightsiders had to wait until 6 pm to get a desk from the daysiders. Now there are so many empty "work stations" in the newsroom that you have to wonder how they get anything accomplished. Last Sunday, for example, there were only two locally generated stories in the Metro section. Hell you and Clary each produced more than that on a daily basis, and they were a darn side more interesting.

Sorry, I always get worked up when I see how the business is evolving. But I still don't believe it has to be inevitable.

No need to respond; I'm just venting. Suz and I keep wanting to get to the Big Apple for a visit. I'd loved to see both of you if/when we ever get there; we also have a number of Free Press expatriots who landed at the NYTimes and elsewhere.
But until then ...

Window in Esquire cover cost Discovery $250,000

ESQUIRE magazine is offering readers — and advertisers — a window into its front covers, literally and figuratively.

The cover of February’s Esquire prompts readers (or passers-by) to “open here.” The flap reveals an ad for the Discovery Channel and teasers to articles inside.

The February issue of Esquire, on its way now to subscribers and to newsstands, has a
window, or flap, in the middle of the cover, next to an invitation to “Open here.” Opening the window reveals quotations from articles inside the issue, adjacent to an advertisement for “One Way Out,” a new series on the Discovery Channel cable network.

Those who leave the window unopened do not see the ad or the quotations.

The Discovery series is, appropriately enough, about an escape artist, Jonathan Goodwin, and his feats. The ad, showing Mr. Goodwin seemingly trapped inside the small space, was created for the cover window.

Esquire charged Discovery Channel about $250,000 for the ad, which includes production costs as well as a regular ad page for “One Way Out” inside the issue. Esquire is considering another kind of unconventional cover, with a pull tab, for the June issue; it would be accompanied by advertising to be sold to BMW of North America.

The cover ads are indicative of efforts by magazines and other traditional media to find additional ways to raise revenue during one of the most challenging economies in decades.
[Source: New York Times]

Star Tribune files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy


The Minneapolis Star Tribune, saddled with high debt and a sharp decline in print advertising, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night.


Minnesota's largest newspaper will try to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs. Chris Harte, the paper's publisher, said the filing would have no impact on home delivery, advertising, newsgathering or any other aspects of the paper's operations.

"We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is well positioned to benefit when economic conditions begin to improve," Harte said in a statement.

The filing, which was made with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the southern district of New York, had been expected for months. It follows several missed payments to the paper's lenders, and it comes less than two years after a private equity group, New York-based Avista Capital Partners, bought the paper for $530 million.

In its filing, the newspaper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million. Like most newspapers, the Star Tribune has experienced a sharp decline in print advertising. Its earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments were about $26 million in 2008, down from about $59 million in 2007 and $115 million in 2004.

The Star Tribune, with Sunday circulation of 552,000, is the 10th-largest Sunday newspaper in the U.S. Its daily circulation of 334,000 makes it the 15th-largest daily based on circulation. The paper's website, StarTribune.com, averaged 76 million page views per month during the past six months, placing it among the top 10 newspaper websites in the nation.


It is the second major newspaper publisher to file for bankruptcy protection. The Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Time and Baltimore Sun among other publications and television stations, filed for bankruptcy in early December, burdened by $13 billion in debt and the same deteriorating advertising environment plaguing the Star Tribune.

Blog Note: Harte is a former publisher of the Beacon Journal.


Click on the hadline to read the full story by David Phelps in the Star Tribune

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free Press won't impose Gannett furlough


The Detroit Free Press, which is preparing for its March 30 cutback to three-day home delivery, will not participate in the Gannett furlough program, Publisher David L. Hunke told staffers in a memo.

The memo, issued Wednesday, was in response to the Gannett announcement that some 31,000 U.S. employees would be required to take a week off in the first quarter of 2009 without pay.

Hunke said that the need for staffers to help prepare for the March 30 change, in which the paper will deliver to subscribers only on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, requires everyone to keep working.

“We have tons of redesign and tons of selling and I can’t be losing people at this time,” Hunke told E&P Thursday. “We are around the clock working toward March 30 and what will be a dramatic change.”

The Free Press and the JOA arm Detroit Media Partnership, both under Gannett control, have more than 2,000 employees, Hunke's office revealed.

Click on the headline to reads Hunke’s memo in Editor & Publisher

Interactive ad specialist is leaving BJ


Amanda Reagan, interactrive advertising specialist, is leaving the Beacopn Journal next Friday. Insiders tell us his means there will be no connectin between the online department and advertising. Reagan had a support personl who also is going on maternity leave in xfive months, Two other support personnel also are going on maternity leave within the next month.. Reagen has been with the BJ about three years.

Boston Globe to cut as many as 50

The Boston Globe said today it will offer buy-outs to all newsroom employees by the end of the month in an effort to cut as many as 50 jobs.

In a memo to employees, Globe Editor Martin Baron said, "Our industry is facing unprecedented financial pressures, most recently because of economic conditions that are the worst in many decades. We have had to adjust before to a difficult financial picture, and we now must do it again."

Both union and management employees will be eligible for the buy-outs. If too few agree to leave voluntarily, Baron said, the company will resort to layoffs.

Click on the headline to read Martin's memo to staff.

[Source: Boston.com, the Globe website. ] Click on the headline

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

3 is a lonely number


Retired BJ printer Gene McClellan and Newsroom retirees Tom Moore and John Olesky were the only people who braved the Northeast Ohio winter to show up at Papa Joe's Restaurant today for the monthly lunch.

So we talked about the people who weren't there.

The monthly gathering at Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail is for current and former BJ folks -- retirees, those who left for other employment, those who took buyouts, etc. We meet at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month.

Maybe the weather will be more conducive to a higher turnout in February although I'll be on Siesta Key, off Sarasota, Feb. 7-21. Hopefully someone will show up to keep Gene and Tom company. And you get your photo on the BJ Alums blog.

[Photo by the waitress]

Gannett to force staff to take week off without pay


The Gannett Company, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, said on Wednesday that it would force thousands of its employees to take a week off without pay in an effort to avoid layoffs. The announcement was reported in a New Yoirk Times story today;.

Gannett, which owns 85 daily newspapers across the United States including its flagship USA Today, said it could not say exactly how many people would be required to take time off, or how much money the company would save. But it said it would require unpaid leave for most of its 31,000 employees.

“Most of our U.S. employees — including myself and all other top executives — will be furloughed for the equivalent of one week in the first quarter,” Craig A. Dubow, the chairman, president and chief executive, wrote in a memorandum to employees.

“We sincerely hope this minimizes the need for any layoffs going forward,” he added.

The company cannot impose the measure unilaterally on employees covered by a union contract, but Mr. Dubow said Gannett was asking unions to participate voluntarily. Tara Connell, a company spokeswoman, said about 12 percent of Gannett’s domestic employees were unionized.

Most of Gannett’s newspapers are small, but they include some major papers, including USA Today, The Detroit Free Press and The Arizona Republic. In this country, it also has hundreds of smaller, nondaily papers and 23 television stations.

In Britain, the company publishes 17 daily newspapers and hundreds of smaller publications.

Click on the headline to go to the Times story

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buffum doesn't want this poster anymore


The most famous 20th century depiction of Uncle Sam appeared on a World War I recruitment poster in 1917. It’s creator James Montgomery Flagg called it "the most famous poster in the world." Over four million copies were printed between 1917 and 1918, as the United States entered World War I and began sending troops and matĂ©riel into war zones.

Flagg (1877-1960) contributed forty-six works to support the war effort. He was a member of the first Civilian Preparedness Committee organized in New York in 1917 and chaired by Grosvenor Clarkson. The poster was used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, and veteran Walter Botts provided the pose.

Charles Buffum of New York City, who formely resided at 44 E. Exchange St. In Akron, is one of 40 million people who had a copy of the poster at one time or another. He donated his to the BJ Alums archives. .

And here is the latest version of the poster.

Elvis poster promoted by BJ



Here's the Elvis poster from Charles Buffum's collection of memorabilia sent to the BJ Alums blog.

Does anyone have any idea
what Friday this was?

What year?

Miami Herald now costs 50 cents daily

The Miami Herald raised its price Monday to 50 cents weekdays and $1.25 Sundays--an increase of almost 43 percent for the daily --but it is the first increase in 18 years.
The Herald had been selling for 35 cents a copy in Miami-Dade county and 25 cents a copy in Broward County, but with Monday's editions the price was increased to 50 cents a copy in both counties.

The Sunday Herald will increase in price from $1 to $1.25, a 25% increase.

Herald spokesperson Dory Robau blamed the increase, the newspaper's first price hike in Miami-Dade county in 18 years, on increased costs. It comes when at a difficult time, when like most newspapers The Herald is struggling to keep subscribers from defecting to other news outlets like the internet. I n March 2008, the Audit Bureau of Circulation reported The Herald had seen an 11% drop in circulation, down to 240 thousand daily copies. Recent news reports have placed estimated circulation even lower.

Reminder on retiree luncheons


BEACON JOURNAL
The Beacon Journal retirees will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday for lunch at Papa Joe’s Restaurant at Portage Trail and Akron-Peninsula Road. Retirees meet on the second Wednesday of each month.


PLAIN DEALER
The next luncheon of Editorial Retirees and Expatriates of the Plain Dealer will be at noon Friday, January 30, at Mahle’s Restuarant, 2495 Detroit Road, Westlake between Columbia and Clague roads on the south side. Cost is $12.95 RSVP by January 23:
Janet Beighle French (216) 221-2318, or email jabfr519@sbcglobal.net
JoAnn Pallant (440) 734-1923, or email japallant@sbcglobal.net

Monday, January 12, 2009

A package arrives from New York City


A package pf memorabilia arrived in the mail this week from Charles Buffum in New York City which should keep this blog supplied with memorabiia for a few weeks. Included was a mavelous book of 100 historic front pages from the Beacon Journal which was published in 1976 during the Bicentennial. Also included were
a poster proclaiming Akron’s Bicentennital celebration, a poster of the famous Uncle Sam “I Want You for the U. S. Army" and another advertising an Elvis poster. You will be seeing much of it on the blog. For now, though, here is a photo and an update from Charlie on the celebrated Kathy Goforth / Charles Buffum duo who once wallked the hallowed Beacon Journal hallways and are still on the move in the Big Apple:

I don't remember how I came by the anniversary issue of stories, but it belongs in your archives. Kathy and I are moving to a smaller place nearby in a couple of months, and it is time to get real about what we do and do not need. There are also a couple of other posters in there that I don't recall whatever convinced me to save them for 30+ years. Consider them a bonus.

After a few years of renting when we sold the place we lived in for so many years, we figure it is time to sta
rt making sure we have a place we can afford to live in, and which at least has a chance of increasing in value - although that is a sucker's bet in these economic times.

Both Goforth and Buffum are still working, although we are lucky enough to do most of our writing from home. That's worth a lot in terms of not having to commute! I had lunch with Tim Smith in November; he was here for some kind of conference. I also keep in touch with Chuck Ayers, Russ Musarra, Bill Hershey, with a smattering of McBane and even a little Doug Oplinger at times. And of course, Wendy Sclight, who retired from the NY Times this past year after 38 years, is part of our extended NY family.

I may be an old fart but Kathy is as bright and wonderful as ever. It seems as though we have been together a couple of years, and stopped being bullied by you and Englehart and Maidenberg maybe five years ago. Then the holidays pop up and I have to confront the fact that my son Steve is six years older than I was when I left the Beacon for the Big A. Zounds!

Anyway, I know you are thrilled to have more memorabilia dumped on you, and you are free to leave it on s
omebody's car seat the way people do with zucchinis during Summer when the crop runs amok. Just don't think of trying to push it back off on me, or I'll never reveal my new address (two blocks from here) when we finally move.

Be well, Amigo,



Bicentennial poster from Buffum's memorabilia

This is the Akron/Summit County Bicentennial poster from the collection of former BJ staffer Charles Buffum. The front shows the Spirit of 1776-1976 and the reerse side carries a promotion for the local bicentennil

This is the reverse side of the Bicentennial poster:

Celebrating the U.S. A. Bicentennial 1776-1976

We know it won't be easy to match the success of Akron's Sesquicentennial Celebration. . . truth is: we are trying very hard to better it!

The Bicentennial Expo on Main Street in Akron will be just as colorful, just as full of people, and may prove more interesting than 1975's Sesqui Expo because of the diversity of the Exhibits.

The Parade on July 3rd will not have as many beautiful floral floats as the Sesqui . . . but there will be more marchers, more bands, more flags, more music. Center-stage for entertainment will be on the Plaza, with two more entertainment centers strategically placed on Main Street. And, the entertainment will be more varied. . . groups from all over Summit County will provide the best entertainment Downtown Akron ever saw!

And the Fireworks. . . oh, those Fireworks. . . everyone, young and old, sweet and sour, likes

Fireworks. The night of July 3rd, a Saturday Night, will provide the background for the greatest spectacular ever seen in Summit County skies. Yes, even more exciting than the night of July 4th, 1975.

So, please be an active, interested, part of our U.S.A. Bicentennial Celebration. . . as an Exhibitor or as a sponsor of a marching unit or band for the Parade (both, if you will). You will be glad you did.

July of 1976 should be very meaningful to all of us . . . for if there had not been a July of 1776, who knows? we may not be here at all, no Akron, no Stow, no Barberton, no Bath, no "your town".
July of 1776 set the stage for all of us, what we are, where we are, what we have. . . all made possible in that Great Year.

Let us Celebrate this 200th Birthday of The United States of America with all of the gusto, with all of the reverence, we know it deserves.
March 1, 1976

U.S.A. Bicentennial Committee
for Akron and Summit County
John E. Kaiser Executive Di rector

OFFICERS
Vincent H. Johnson Chairman
Fred I. Albrecht Vice Chairman
Gerald S. McFadden Vice ChairmanSummit County Coordinator
Charles E. Booth Treasurer Allan
B. Diefenbach Secretary

COMMITTEES
Wm. M. Threatt, Jr Expo Chairman 375-2196
Mrs. W. S. Zeigler Women's Organizations 666-4356
Mrs. Toni Cologie Entertainment Chairwoman 733-2157
C.. J. Madden Parade Chairman 375-2386

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dawidziak troupe provides play for Big Read


Mark Dawidziak and his Largely Literary Theater Company are writing and performing an original play about Dashiell Hammet as part of the Portage County Big Re
ad events. There will be 44 other exciting events for families, adults, and children as part of the Big Read presented by Hiram College’s Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, the Portage County District Library and Reed Memorial Library.

The Big Read community-based reading programs began January 5 and continue through February, 2009. The Big Read in Portage County will focus on Dashiell Hammett’s classic detective novel “The Maltese Falcon.”


The Mystery of Dashiell Hammett by the Largely Literary troupe will be at 7 p.m. February 7 at 7 p.m. in Hayden Auditorium at Hiram College.

Dashiell Hammett’s fifth and final novel, The Thin Man, was published in 1934. Although
he lived another 27 years, he never completed another major piece of writing. Written specially for Hiram College’s Big Read festival and staged as a vintage 1940s radio drama, the Largely Literary Theater Company’s one-hour play explains how Hammett all but invented the American detective story and explores the mystery of why he then abandoned it—why he stopped writing. It is one of literature’s greatest mysteries. Free copies of the Big Read book The Maltese Falcon will be given to the first 50 people at the play.

The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate selections from American and world literature. "The goal of the Big Read is to get people excited about reading," said Kirsten Parkinson, Hiram College associate professor of English and Big Read director. "Reading sparks the imagination and allows you to have adventures from the comfort of your own home or the local library."

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.

Other Portage County Big Read highlights include visits from contemporary mystery authors, a presentation of falcons and other live birds, local police discussing crime detection, and discussions of the book throughout the region. Three Portage County high schools will also be teaching the novel in conjunction with the Big Read events. A complete list of sponsored events is available online at http://www.hiram.edu/bigread/events.html.

Dawidziak of Cuyahoga Falls is the Plain Dealer television critic and former BJ critic

Friday, January 09, 2009

Seattle Post-Intellingencer is up for sale


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which first rolled off the presses in 1863 and has been the state's longest-publishing newspaper, is up for sale, according to the paper's Web site.

The newspaper's staff was called into a closed meeting today by publisher Roger Oglesby. Present at the meeting was Hearst Newspaper President Steve Swartz, who told the newsroom that Hearst Corp. is starting a 60-day process to find a buyer.

If a buyer is not found, Swartz said, possible options include creating an all-digital operation with a greatly reduced staff, or closing its operations entirely.

In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form, Swartz said.

Regardless, he said the P-I as a newspaper will not publish after the two months is up if no buyer is found.

Swartz said the company is not interested in attempting to purchase The Seattle Times newspaper.

Swartz discounted rumors that Hearst, the P-I's owner since 1921, was interested in buying The Seattle Times newspaper. He said the P-I has had operating loses since 2000, losing around $14 million this past year. Greater losses are anticipated this year, he said.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Eric Pryne in the Seattle Times

Thursday, January 08, 2009

How newspapers tried to invent web--but failed


Marvin Katz calls our attention to an article on Slate by Jack Shafer headlined:

How Newspapers Tried to Invent the Web. But failed

The article describes how newspapers have tried to keep up with technology and mentions a couple of innovatio
ns tried by Knight Ridder. The article might be one to save because it gives a sort of techology timeline for the entry of newspapers into the world wide web.

Some history graphs to save:

The San Jose Mercury News broke from AOL and started on the Web in February 1995. USA Today launched a Web edition in August 1995. Later that year, the Boston Globe started its Boston.com, and the Los Angeles Times announced plans to leave Prodigy. The New York Times and Washington Post got webby in 1996. After that, few newspapers held back....More than 750 North American dailies were publishing on the Web in April 1998, and by July 1999 only two of the 100 largest dailies were not.

Newspapers deserve bragging rights for having homesteaded the Web long before most government agencies and major corporations knew what a URL was. Given the industry's early tenancy, deep pockets, and history of paranoid experimentation with new communication forms, one would expect to find plenty in the way of innovations and spinoffs.

Click on the headline to read the full article.

Modesto Bee publisher named


Eric E. Johnston has been appointed president and publisher of The Modesto (Calif.) Bee.

Johnston, who joined the Bee in 2000, most recently served as vice president of interactive media and classified advertising. He succeeds Margaret R. Randazzo, who resigned in December.

“Eric is an outstanding young executive who represents a new generation of leadership,” Gary Pruitt, McClatchy’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “He has proven himself on the digital side of our business. That online leadership and experience will serve Modesto well as we continue our evolution into a 21st century multimedia company.”

Johnston, 37, first served the Bee as director of online services. In 2002, he initiated a community program called “WebWednesdays,” a series of free technology classes open to the public and taught by Modesto Bee employees, himself included. Subjects have included digital photography, Web design, cyber safety and a “Blogging Bootcamp.”
[Source: Editor & Publisher]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

News Biz: It could be worse, says Morton


The latest look at the news business by analyst John Morton in the December / January issue of the American Journalism Revew is heralded with these headlines:

It Could Be Worse
Although not nearly as profitable as in the past,
the newspaper industry is still making money.


“It's no secret that this is a stressful time for the newspaper business,” Morton writes. :”Already struggling with the challenge of the Internet, it now also confronts a grim economy. With reven
ue, profit and circulation plummeting, the result has been buyouts, layoffs and downsizing on a massive scale.:”

“Just how seriously has the industry's financial performance been affected?” Morton asks.


It may be bad, but the industry as a whole remains profitable. Here’s his report:

“Companies that have reported results for the first nine months had a weighted average operating profit margin (the total of operating profit divided into total revenue) of 11.3 percent. This is still above what is typical for most non-media businesses, but well below newspapers' average for last year's first nine months (16.6 percent) and continues the decline in average profitability that began after 2002's peak of 22.3 percent. The previous lowest average in all the years I have been keeping track was 13 percent during the 1991 recession. Cost-cutting, not better business, kept the current average margin from dropping even lower.”

Click on the headline to read Morton’s full report.

Say goodbye to the phone book?

Ohio regulators are set to consider a phone company's request to stop distributing its White Pages phone book.

Cincinnati Bell says most customers rarely use the printed residential directory any longer but prefer to look up numbers on the Web. The company has asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for a waiver so the White Pages wouldn't have to be delivered automatically to each customer.

A person could still receive a printed copy by asking for one.
[Source: Cincinnati Enquirer]

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NY Times getting $75,000 for page 1 ads


Ad buyers told the New York Post that the New York Times is getting $75,000 on weekdays and $100,000 on Sundays for ads it began selling on the front page on Monday. The buyers asked to remain unnnamed.

Ohio U photo prof going to White House


Pete Souza, an award-winning photographer who has been teaching photojournalism at Ohio University, was named Monday as the chief White House photographer for Barack Obama's incoming administration.

Souza first met Obama in January 2005 as he was about to be sworn in as the junior s
enator from Illinois.

Souza, 54, documented Obama's first year in office as part of a multi-part series for the Chicago Tribune that included stops in seven counties, including Kenya, South Africa and Russia. He later compiled the photos in a best-selling book called "The Rise of Barack Obama," follow
ing two photo books he had previously done on Reagan

After joining the Tribune in 1998, Souza left the paper's Washington Bureau in 2007 to do freelance photography and teach photojournalism at Ohio University.

It won't be Souza's first time in the Oval Office. He was also a White House photographer during President Ronald Reagan's second term.


In addition to his first stint at the White House, Souza was a photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times in the early 1980s. Souza has also shot stories as a freelancer for National Geographic and Life magazines. And after 9/11, he was among the first journalists to cover the war in Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul.

You can see some of his photography at http://www.petesouza.com/

Click on the headline to read the Chicago Tsribune story on the appointment.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Indy Star drops prayer, but keeps chuckle


From Poynter online:

IndyStar.com
praying hands
"The Prayer, a short ecumenical petition that is prayer at its most vanilla, has been a staple of the morning read for decades," writes Star blogger Robert King. "Interestingly enough the prayer's longtime companion, a daily attempt at humor in 8-point type known as the Chuckle, kept its slot."

Phil Meyer comment on Asheville news


This comment on the Ashville Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times artlcle below Philip Meyer, the Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil and Washington correspondent of the Beacon Journal 1962-1966::

Wow! Seventy-four percent readership sounds really impressive. It hasn't been that high nationally since 1971. But if you look closely, you will find they have switched the metric on us. Scarborough now provides cumulative weekly readership in place of the old "read
yesterday" or average daily readership. In other words, Asheville might be saying that 74 percent of adults in some closely defined market area read the paper at least once in a typical week. But even that is suspiciously high.

Scarborough Research is showing only 44 percent weekly print audience for the Charlotte Observer and 36 percent for the News & Observer in their respective metro areas. (The N&O has to compete with the Durham Herald-Sun.) The current report treats the entire Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville/Anderson area as one market, and the Asheville paper gets only 17 percent weekly coverage there.

http://images.mediapost.com/pdf/NewspaperRatings2008.pdf

However you look at it, consolidating printing facilities is a good idea.

Phil

NY Times runs CBS display ad on page 1


In its latest concession to the worst revenue slide since the Depression, The New York Times has begun selling display advertising on its front page, a step that has become increasingly common across the newspaper industry.

The first such ad, appearing Monday in color, was bought by CBS. The ad, two-and-a-half inches high, lies horizontally across the bottom of the front page, below the news ar
ticles and a brief summary of some articles in the paper. In a statement, the paper said such ads would be placed “below the fold” — that is, on the lower half of the page.

In the past, The Times has printed an occasional front-page classified ad — two or three lines of text at the bottom of the page. And a few years ago it began selling display ads — which are much larger and can combine images and text — on the front pages of sections
inside the paper.

But The Times did not sell displays on the first page of the first section, a move regarded by traditionalists as a commercial incursion into the most important news space
in the paper.

Most major American papers sell front-page display ads, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times, but some others, including The Washington Post, do not.

The Times would not disclose the rates it charges for ads on the front page. Ordinarily, such space would be coveted by advertisers for its prominence, but it remains to be seen how well it will sell in the current climate, in which ad spending is plummeting.


Blogger Note: The headlne Page News on the ad almost makes it look like news.

Asheville AC-T closes printing plant

This report comes from Marvin Katz:

Spread across the bottom of the front page of today's
Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times is a story bearing the headline AC-T press rolls last edition and the byline of AC-T publisher Randy Hammer. Curiously, the story doesn't appear on the paper's Web site.

It tells about changes "made necessary by the economy." The most significant is closing of the paper's printing plant yesterday, and movement of production to Gannett's plant in Greenville, S.C. That was announced last year and covered in a story yesterday, reproduced below.

The other changes involve cutting back to three sections from four on some days, eliminating the Sunday "Forum" section and moving the Sunday opinion pages to the A section and eliminating the classified section on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The story notes that "particularly frustrating" is the fact that while advertising is down, readership is up. The latest report from Scarborough Research shows readership in the Asheville metro area climbed to 74 percent in 2008, from 68 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, unique visitors to the paper's Web site have grown to 570,000 a month from 360,000.

The piece also notes that just 14 months ago, the AC-T put out the biggest paper in its history, weighing in at more than five pounds: "That our local economy could U-turn so dramatically from one Thanksgiving to the next is mind-boggling."

Here's the piece from yesterday's paper:


January 4, 2009
AC-T press rolls last edition=

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The last editions of the Asheville Citizen-Times printed at the newspaper's Sardis Road plant rolled off the presses Saturday night.

Beginning today, the newspaper will be printed at The Greenville News, a Gannett newspaper in Upstate South Carolina.

“Sardis was one of the first modern printing facilities that allowed newspapers to print remotely,” said Randy Hammer, president and publisher of the Citizen-Times.

“Under the leadership of Jim Burns, Pete Ryall, Kevin Arrington and Steve Koletnik, the folks at Sardis consistently printed newspapers and other products that scored some of the highest quality rankings in Gannett,” Hammer said.

The press began operation in late 1986 in a new 40,000-square-foot production and distribution facility on Sardis Road near Enka, replacing the press at the newspaper's main offices on O. Henry Avenue.

The downtown building is electronically linked to the plant, which cost $11 million.

The eight-unit, 600-ton offset press was manufactured by M.A.N.-Roland Co., a German firm. The Citizen-Times was owned by Multimedia at the time.

The press underwent a $3.5 million upgrade in 2007.

“It's sad to see the presses at Sardis shut down and so many people lose their jobs. But presses are expensive and sophisticated pieces of machinery to maintain,” Hammer said.

About 60 people lost their jobs with the closure of the printing plant, but many employees were offered — and accepted — jobs in Greenville.

“In this age of the Web and advanced technology, we will see more and more newspapers consolidate their printing operations in cities where the geography makes sense,” Hammer said.