Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gannett plans another round of layoffs

The Gannett Company, owner of the nation’s largest newspaper chain, will go through another round of layoffs soon, with an announcement possible in the next few days, executives said Tuesday.

The company’s United States and British newspaper divisions eliminated more than 10,000 jobs in 2007 and 2008, including about 2,000 layoffs last fall, and Gannett executives have said repeatedly that they expect more downsizing, including layoffs. The company, which also owns a chain of television stations and Internet ventures, ended last year with 41,500 employees, including 35,800 in its newspaper divisions.

On Gannett Blog, a former Gannett editor who closely follows the company, Jim Hopkins, quotes an unnamed person in the company as saying that it will announce on July 8 that it is eliminating 4,500 United States newspaper jobs, and cutting salaries in its broadcast division.

Gannett executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said the number of jobs affected would be significantly smaller than that, and the news would probably come sooner than July 8.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How long has Charlie been gone?

Who is this crazy couple? Where are they now? Minnesota maybe? How long has Charlie Buffum been gone from Akron?

For a hint on these and other questions, click on the headline to find some more puzzlers.

What was the Beacon Journal job of the gal with Sharon Shreve smoking a cigar?

Where are the three guys with the stuffed animal now? One is a professor and another is a managing editor, but where are they and what is the third guy doing?

Who are the three people seated behind Buffum and Liggett? One of the girls is Maryilyn, an AP staffer, and another is a photographer names Marci. But who is the guy?

Put your answers in a comment or send us an email. Winning entries will be announced sometime. Sorry no prizes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thrity Umrigar honored as creative artist

Former Beacon Journal staff writer Thrity Umrigar is one of three creative artists whose work has made the region a more exciting place to live at the 49th annual Cleveland Arts Prize event, 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 E. 14th St., Playhouse Square.

Umrigar, jazz musician Ernie Krivda and Charles Fee of the Great Lakes Theater Festival are among this year's winners.

Umrigar, born in Bombay, has won a mid-career award for literature. She earned her doctorate in English from Kent State University and a master's in journalism at Ohio State. Her works include her latest novel, The Weight of Heaven, as well as If Today Be Sweet and The Space Between Us. Her memoir is First Darling of the Morning. Umrigar is an associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vote scheduled on new Boston Globe pact

The Boston Globe and its largest union reached a tentative agreement last night on $10 million in wage and benefit cuts, following three months of bitter labor talks that threatened to close the 137-year-old paper.

The deal - which, if ratified, could make the paper more attractive for buyers - differs in only a few areas from the package that union members voted down on June 8.

It provides a smaller pay cut - 5.9 percent - in exchange for deeper benefit reductions. But the main concessions originally demanded by The New York Times Co., the Globe’s owner, remain in place: $10 million in total savings, elimination of lifetime job guarantees for about 170 veteran Boston Newspaper Guild employees, and freezing the pension plan.

“Our aim throughout our negotiations has been to achieve the necessary savings in a way that causes the least hardship for our employees,’’ said Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley in a statement. “We’re very pleased to have reached an agreement that accomplishes those goals.’’

Said union president Daniel Totten: “It’s been an exhausting process and a very difficult process for the members.’’

The agreement still needs to be approved by nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office employees. A vote has been set for July 20, and approval seems probable because, unlike the earlier offer, union leaders agreed to recommend it. The first offer failed by 12 votes out of more than 500 cast.

Beth Daley, a Globe reporter who voted no on the initial offer, said she expects the new agreement to be ratified. Guild leaders will present the details of the offer to members tonight.

Click on the headline to read the full story on Boston.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

OK, here's another site we will have to watch

Stolen from a Facebook wall:

Terry Oblander says he will begin a new career on Monday. He will begin working for an online newspaper covering Medina County. Terry doesn't expect to get rich writing stories for www.medinacountylife.com -- but who knows. Terry signed up for Social Security last Friday and should begin collecting benefits in September. So, a new Medina Count Life is beginning for Terry. Give us a couple of days and look in on how we're doing.

BJ Alums checked early and found this nice scene and hopeful welcome:

Welcome to MedinaCountyLife.com!

It's the new online gathering place where you'll share in the inspiring stories of everyday people in our community. Follow local bloggers and award-winning journalists whose work will enlighten and entertain -- sometimes making you laugh, and sometimes making you cry. At MedinaCountyLife.com we'll use multimedia storytelling and the latest social networking tools to help you meet neighbors, connect with friends, and find information you need about local businesses and services. Join us as we begin our journey to inform and inspire, using the technology of the 21st century to connect the residents of Medina County in a small-town way. Welcome home to MedinaCountyLife.com!
Click the headline to check it our yourself

Chicago Tribune to halt weekly magazine

The Chicago Tribune said today it is discontinuing its weekly Sunday magazine, replacing it as of July 5th with Sunday, a new section that will combine some of the magazine's features and puzzles with content that had been in the paper's Smart and House & Homes sections.

Chicago Tribune Magazine, which traces its roots to 1914's Chicago Tribune Pictorial Weekly and took on its current form on Oct. 4th, 1953, will continue as a series of themed sections published roughly once a month beginning in September.

Gerould Kern, the Chicago Tribune's editor, said in a memo to staff that the change involving the magazine was made "because declining advertising and high costs made weekly publication unsustainable."

Other changes coming to the Sunday Tribune next month involve the introduction of new sections and consolidation of others. "To succeed in this economic climate, we must continually evaluate and adapt our offerings to meet reader and advertiser needs and to improve profitability," Kern wrote.

Click on the headline to read of other changes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BJ staffers win awards at Press Club of Cleveland

Beacon Journal staff report
The Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com won a number of first and second-place awards during Friday's Press Club of Cleveland Excellence in Journalism ceremony.

The Press Club recognized the paper for its layout, its Web site, photography, writing and investigative work.

Several awards went to individuals and the staff involved in the yearlong American Dream project, which explored the economic pressures facing the middle class.

The staff also won first place for multiple-page design for Reclaim the Dream. Executive news editor Mark Turner directed the layout, with the assistance of photo and graphics director Kim Barth. Turner, Barth and photographer Ed Suba Jr. also placed second in the same category for the layout of an installment for the same project, Middle Class Health Care.

Betty Lin-Fisher placed first for business columns for her Reclaim the Dream series challenging readers to manage their finances better.

The staff won a second place for public service for the yearlong American Dream project.

Turner also won first place for front-page news design for all daily and nondaily newspapers.

The Beacon Journal's online news service. Ohio.com, won first place for Web site design. The site also won second place for newspaper Web design.

Food writer Lisa Abraham took first and second place for separate lifestyle columns.

Reporter Phil Trexler received first place for breaking news on consecutive days for his coverage of the Bobby Cutts murder trial.

Staff writer Rick Armon received a first-place general news award for Losing Our Home, about the process of foreclosure.

Pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels won first place in reviews and criticism for his Other Side of Polansky Case. He also won second place, Best in Ohio, for reviews and criticism.

Former Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels won first place, Best in Ohio, for his body of essays.

Reporter and columnist Dennis Willard placed second in Best in Ohio, column writing, for his column, Squirrel Ferrets Out Partisan Publicity.

Other awards went to:
• Copy editor Elissa Murray, second place, Best in Ohio, for a collection of headlines: ''Sun sets on college bar,'' ''Going to mall? Don't forget Mom,'' ''Mars bites into Hershey's,'' ''Price of recyclables is down in the dumps'' and ''Bah, humbug! Internet Scrooges try to spoil holidays.''
• Copy editor David Scott, second for single newspaper headline: ''Billy goat's owner is still on the lam.''
• Willard and reporter Stephanie Warsmith, second, investigative, Ohio State ticket scandal.
• Photographer Mike Cardew, second, sports action, Sole sister; second, portrait/personality, Freedom.
• Suba, second, sports feature, game winner; second, general feature, A Mother's Love.
• Former Beacon Journal health writer Tracy Wheeler, second place for medical and health writing, Stem Cells Mature.

Terry Pluto column for Father's Day

Tery Pluto, a former Beacon Journal sports writer who now writes sports–and religion–fir the Cleveland Plain Dealder has a nice column for Fathere’s Day headlined

10 ways to make fatherhood a gift to children

Click on the headline to read it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

PD Guild, Teamsters OK furloughs, pay cuts

Unions OK 12 percent pay cut, furloughs

to keep 7-day newspaper delivery

About 500 union employees of The Plain Dealer have agreed to take pay cuts and furloughs as the paper strives to keep the business viable while advertising revenue sags.

Reporters and editors, delivery truck drivers and other union members agreed to 8.1 percent pay cuts and to 11 unpaid furlough days before June 2010.

The two moves, contained in an agreement finalized Thursday, translate to a 12 percent wage decrease. They come two months after the paper required its 450 nonunion employees to also take 12 percent pay cuts.

The union workers are members of Local 1 of the Newspaper Guild and Teamsters Local 473. Their agreement ensures labor stability for the newspaper for at least another year.

Across the country, newspapers have closed or filed for bankruptcy as the 18-month-old recession batters their advertisers.

At the Boston Globe, the Guild rejected a contract that called for an 8.3 percent wage cut, unpaid furloughs and benefit cuts. The Globe's owner -- The New York Times Co. -- then imposed a 23 percent pay cut.

The Guild filed a complaint with the national labor board, but a meeting with the board was postponed Thursday after the union and management restarted negotiations.

Carmen Parise, president of the Teamsters local who heads the Unity Council of Plain Dealer unions, said workers here agreed to the cuts to avoid more layoffs. Fifty-five union employees have been laid off since last year, and 43 have left voluntarily.

"Nobody enjoys going to work for less," Parise said. "People are not happy, but they understand it. The majority of people agreed to step up to the plate and give this paper an opportunity to turn things around."

Two groups of workers did not agree to the wage cuts. Fifty-seven printing press operators represented by Graphic Communications International Union Local 546 turned it down, as well as 11 paper handlers represented by the Teamsters.

As a result, about a dozen part-time press operators received reduced hours. Paper handlers have not been affected because their contract requires that the company maintain the staffing, Parise said. But he expects that the department could face cuts in future negotiations.

Plain Dealer President and Publisher Terry Egger said previous work force reductions weren't enough to compensate for the worse-than-expected decline in advertising revenue in the first half of this year.

"There has been an acceleration in the decline of the economy, which has impacted essentially every category of advertising nationwide," Egger said.

"I hope it works," Parise said. He said he thought union workers accepting pay cuts was in everyone's best interest.

The agreement with the company is good until June 1, 2010, when the company or the unions would have the chance to reopen negotiations.

The Plain Dealer has agreed not to lay off anyone while the agreement is in place.

"We want to keep this company going as a seven-day newspaper for as long as we can," Parise said. "Hopefully next year we don't have to face the same music."

Star Tribune to ditch bankruptcy--and Chris Harte

The Minneapolis Star Tribune would emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this fall with $100 million in debt and be worth between $118 million and $144 million, including real estate under a reorganization plan filed by the newspaper.

However publisher Chris Harte (a former Beacon Journal publisher) and Avista Capital Partners will walk away with nothing. Harte said Thursday he will leave before the Strib emerges from bankruptcy.. A new
board of directors would be formed prior to emergence and a new publisher and chief executive put in place.

The plan that Avista said has the approval of creditors who hold approximately $384 million in secured debt and $96 million in unsecured obligations.

Unsecured creditors would receive a small cash
distribution or new common stock and warrants in the newly reorganized company. The value to those creditors would be a penny on the dollar.

The Star Tribune's current owners, majority stakeholder Avista Capital Partners and the Chris Harte Family Trust, would be out of the ownership picture and walk away with nothing.

Harte said the reorganization plan was drafted in consultation with senior lenders and the committee for unsecured creditors.

"This is our plan. We believe it will be acceptable to the majority of people [creditors] who will vote on it," Harte said in an interview.

A hearing is scheduled for July 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, where any objectio
ns can be made. That would be followed by a scheduled Sept. 17 confirmation hearing. Harte told Star Tribune employees in a memo last night that the company would officially leave Chapter 11 "a few weeks later."

The Strib will end contributions to unions' pension plans, and has pushed some into the company-owned plan. However, that plan currently underfunded to the tune of $27.4 million. Unless the economy rebounds, the new owners could kick in up to $11.6 million between 2010 and 2015.

Click on the headline to read the story. To read more details, check the Minnipost.com.

The business
The Strib claims 65 percent of the region's readership, with a website averaging 83 million page views per month over the past six months. The latter is a 60 percent jump from last year.

However, the web only accounted for 7.1 percent of the company's total 2008 revenue, wh
ich works out to $17.5 million from online. (There's no breakout for this year.)

Meanwhile, total revenue fell $58 million in the same period — another vivid illustration of how online gains don't make up print losses. The Strib, a $397 million operation in 2000, is on track to be under $200 million this year, based on monthly reports filed with the court.

Circulation revenue fell from $65 million in 2005 (pre-Avista) to $55 million in 2007 to $48 million last year.

In 2008, the Strib missed $20 million in loan payments last year, which led to the bankruptcy. Under the new plan, the Strib will pay at least $8 million a year, or $2 million per quarter. (Details below.)

Under Avista, the Strib shed 384 jobs in 2007 and 232 in 2008. It had 1,341 full-time-equival
ent positions when it filed for bankruptcy in mid-January, and has rid of 59 more positions so far in 2009.

Here is Harte’s memo to the staff

Bankruptcy Update: A Major Milestone

By Chris Harte, Publisher
I am pleased to report that we have reached a major milestone in our financial
restructuring. Today, we have filed with the bankruptcy court our proposed Plan of Reorganization and a related document called the Disclosure Statement. The Plan sets out how our creditors’ claims will be resolved and provides the roadmap for our emergence from Chapter 11 later this year.

The filing of the Plan follows months of negotiations with our first lien lenders, our second lien lenders, the unsecured creditors’ committee, and other parties.

Generally speaking, the Plan provides for the first lien lenders to receive new common stock and new secured term notes for their claims. Holders of unsecured claims will receive either a small cash distribution or new common
stock and warrants for stock to be issued in the future if the company achieves certain financial targets.

Previously issued equity will be cancelled and will not result in any recovery to the owners. The Plan also provides for the reorganized company to emerge from bankruptcy as a privately held enterprise.

The draft Disclosure Statement filed today includes information about the proposed Plan of Reorganization that is intended to assist eligible creditors in determining whether or not to vote to accept the Plan.

Approval of the Disclosure Statement and related voting solicitation procedures, which we will seek at a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for July 29, 2009, will permit us to solicit creditor acceptances for the proposed Plan and seek confirmation (approval) of the proposed Plan by the court. If the Plan is confirmed by the court, we can emerge from bankruptcy.

This process will take at least a few months. If all goes according to schedule, we expect to have our confirmation hearing in September and to emerge from bankruptcy a few weeks later - sometime in autumn 2009.

In other words, the end is in sight. Meanwhile, we continue to make good progress in positioning the company for future success. Our agreements with the Fleet, Mailers, Pressmen, Platemakers, Typographers and Guild are major achievements. We hope to reach similar agreements with the remaining unions shortly.

As I have written previously, we are fully confident that the Star Tribune Company will emerge from bankruptcy in vastly better shape than when it entered, much more ready for the intense competition in a rapidly evolving news and information industry. We will continue to provide our readers an outstanding news and information package, and our advertisers with customers they want to reach, and we will do it in print, online, on mobile devices, and in other new media as they develop.

Thank you for all your hard work, dedication and sacrifice during these many months of uncertainty, hardship and belt tightening. Your continued commitment to serving our customers, advertisers and community are the key to our success. Thank you for all you do every day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here's how it was done in 1978

Here's how it was done in March, 1978

Charles Buffum pounding out a story on an IBM Selectric a few years go.

He now lives a life of ease in New York City.

Click on the photo for a better view.

20 million newspaper pages to be online

Through an extensive database launched two years ago, decades of the country's newspapers can be searched online for major events and history-making names, as well as family connections and local celebrations. The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have worked together for 20 years to preserve old newspapers, first through microfilm and now digitization.

Yesterday, officials from both federally funded agencies gathered at the Newseum to announce that the Chronicling America project (http://Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov) has now posted its millionth page. Carole M. Watson, the acting NEH chairman, said the amassed journalistic reports "help to illuminate the history of our nation."

Eventually the organizers hope to post 20 million pages of newspapers from 1880 to 1922. "The newspapers provide firsthand and sometimes the only account of local news," said Deanna B. Marcum, an associate librarian at the Library of Congress. The library estimates that 140,000 newspapers have been published in the United States since 1690. Through an extensive database launched two years ago, decades of the country's newspapers can be searched online for major events and history-making names, as well as family connections and local celebrations. The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have worked together for 20 years to preserve old newspapers, first through microfilm and now digitization.

Yesterday, officials from both federally funded agencies gathered at the Newseum to announce that the Chronicling America project (http://Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov) has now posted its millionth page. Carole M. Watson, the acting NEH chairman, said the amassed journalistic reports "help to illuminate the history of our nation."

Eventually the organizers hope to post 20 million pages of newspapers from 1880 to 1922. "The newspapers provide firsthand and sometimes the only account of local news," said Deanna B. Marcum, an associate librarian at the Library of Congress. The library estimates that 140,000 newspapers have been published in the United States since 1690.

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mike Needs working for Forest Service

Mike Needs was asked for an update. Here is his reply:

I am working as an interpretive specialist for the
U.S. Forest Service, living at an elevation of 8,000 feet near Bear Valley, CA in the high Sierra Nevada. I produce / organize programs for an outdoor amphitheater that serves a group of campgrounds in the Stanislaus National Forest. I also lead hikes and do presentations throughout the area. It's a great job. I love it out here. Say hi to all my good friends.

Boston Globe, Guild to resume talks today

WEYMOUTH - Boston Globe management and the paper's largest union negotiated past midnight this morning and agreed to resume bargaining later today as they try to end a bitter standoff over deep wage cuts and other concessions, union and management officials said.

What was supposed to be an information session at a labor office here to discuss a company-imposed 23 percent wage cut turned into a marathon negotiating session. Globe spokesman Robert Powers described the discussions as "substantive." Leaders of the Boston Newspaper Guild said they remained hopeful of an agreement.

"We discussed many issues during today's meeting with the Guild, but have not reached an agreement," Powers said early this morning.

"Talks are continuing," said Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild.

Totten and other Guild leaders brought an "offer of resolution" to management, prompting deep discussions over the mix of wage and benefit cuts needed to achieve the $10 million in savings demanded by the paper's owner, The New York Times Co.

The talks, which began about noon yesterday, were held just a week after the Guild narrowly rejected a $10 million package of concessions and a day after the company, in response, imposed the 23 percent wage cut on the nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office employees represented by the Guild.

If an agreement is reached, Guild members must still ratify it. Under union bylaws, the vote could not take place for at least 30 days.

The discussions also follow the news that the Times Co. is seeking a sale of the 137-year-old newspaper. The Globe reported last week that at least three local buyers have expressed interest.

"Getting the Guild contract resolved puts everything on an even keel," said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank in St. Petersburg, Fla. "If it's not resolved, you have uncertainty about what's going to happen, ongoing labor unrest, and potentially a big worry about any liabilities for not bargaining in good faith."

Yesterday's talks unfolded on the eve of a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board. The union filed an unfair labor practice charge against management following the 23 percent wage cut. The first hearing in what is usually a long process is scheduled for today in Boston.

The Guild is the only major union that has not approved concessions sought by the Times Co., which in early April threatened to close the money-losing paper unless it could gain a total of $20 million in savings from Globe unions.

The Globe was projected to lose $85 million without significant cost reductions, according to the Times Co.

Unions representing press operators, mailers, and delivery truck drivers, as well as several smaller unions, have ratified wage and benefit cuts totaling slightly more than $10 million.

An agreement with the Guild would signal an end to three months of labor tumult at New England's largest newspaper. Still, the paper's future remains unclear, with a potential sale and uncertain business model.

Potential bidders for the Globe include Stephen Pagliuca, a private equity executive and Celtics co-owner; Jack Connors, cofounder of a major advertising firm and chairman of Partners HealthCare; and Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to The New York Times Co. in 1993.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You can do it online

A curious item recalling old times.

Just noticed on the Upublish section of Ohio.com an item about a $10,000 church raffle and seem to recall in the old days that newspapers had to be careful about advertising raffles and lotteries because of postal regulations. Guess that is a thing of the past because of online space today.

Knight Foundation OKs $15M to spur reporting

A $15 million initiative to spur new financial models for investigative reporting was announced by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Saturday during a gathering for reporters and educators in Baltimore.

At a time when newsrooms are shrinking and enrollment at journalism institutions is declining, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $15 million initiative to spur investigative reporting.

The grants, some ongoing, and others new or yet-to-be announced, will promote new economic models for in-depth reporting on digital platforms, Knight Foundation spokesman Marc Fest wrote in a press release.

Fest said the initiative will fund high-impact reporting on local and national levels.

Eric Newton, the Miami-based Knight Foundation's vice president for journalism, announced the initiative Saturday in front of hundreds of journalists and educators during the Investigative Reporters and Editors' awards luncheon.

The awards luncheon took place in Baltimore.

''Investigative reporting is the most important kind of news in the public interest,'' Newton said in an interview.

Fest said the Knight Foundation has granted more than $400 million in journalism grants since 1950.

The newest grants include:

Center for Investigative Reporting ($1.32 million): to launch a multimedia investigative reporting project in California that encourages collaboration among print, digital and student journalists.

Sunlight Foundation ($565,000): to develop web tools so readers can easily access information on Congressional lawmakers, from their campaign contributions and votes;

ProPublica ($1.01 million): to help the nation's largest new nonprofit investigative reporting organization create a sustainable business model.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lorraine and Dick Gresock mark 50th

Dick & Lorraine Gresock 50th Anniversary

Dick and Lorraine Gresock of Medina are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

They were married June 20, 1959 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. They will be renewing their vows at Holy Martyrs Parish on June 14, followed by a party hosted by their children.

Dick retired from the Akron Beacon Journal where he was a printer. They have four children: Marie (Robert) E;lium of Garrettsville; Rich (Paula) Gresock of Medina, John (Teresa) Holland Gresock of Medina and Kathy (Jeff) Yarian of Fairview Park. They have 10 grandchildren.

[The announcement with a photo was published Sunday, June 14, 2009 in the Beacorn Journal, page E5, col. 4]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bill Nichols, PD sports reporter, dies

Bill Nichols, who broke the story for The Plain Dealer in early 1970 that Cleveland would be awarded an NBA franchise, died early Saturday morning of a heart attack suffered at his home in Rocky River.

Nichols, 79, had battled a heart condition for several years, but remained active and was near completion of writing a book about Canterbury Country Club. He attended Lakewood High School, served in the U.S. Navy for four years and covered the Cavaliers for The Plain Dealer during their first 11 years.

During his 30-year career at The Plain Dealer, Nichols was also a beat writer for Cleveland State basketball and local small-college sports, besides working a range of other assignments.

Former Plain Dealer Indians' and Browns' beat writer Russell Schneider, 81, sometimes met with Nichols and another former Plain Dealer sports reporter, Dick Zunt, for breakfast after they all retired.

"I knew Bill as a friend, and had great respect for him as a journalist," Schneider said. "He was always a good guy. He did a good job with the Cavs. Obviously, he was a good journalist, or he wouldn't have been teaching journalism."

Nichols taught college classes on sportswriting and public relations for more than 20 years, including stints at Baldwin-Wallace, John Carroll, Cuyahoga Community College and Hiram, before retiring several years ago. He was the 2004 recipient of the Jake Wade Award, presented annually to an individual in the media for contributions to the advancement of inter-collegiate athletics. Other winners include Keith Jackson, Dick Enberg and Billy Packer.

"Bill was a fantastic person. He loved students, loved teaching students and the inter-action with them," Baldwin-Wallace sports information director Kevin Ruple said. "And, all that was secondary to family."

Nichols is survived by his wife, Jean, son, Wade, daughter, Lee Anne Chambers (John) and grandson, Andrew. Visitation will be Tuesday, 4-8 p.m., at Zeis-McGreevy Funeral Home, 16105 Detroit Ave., in Lakewood. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery in Howe, Ind., on a date to be announced. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Association.

[Source: Associated Press]

Friday, June 12, 2009

National Press Photographer to honor DeMay

The Beacon Journal/s Bob DeMay will be among those honored by the National Press Photo
graphers Association when it presents honors and recognition awards Saturday night in Las Vegas as it winds up Convergence '09.

DeMay of the Ohio News Photographers Association (and the Akron Beacon Journal) is being recogniz
ed with a Morris Berman Citation for his efforts to "advance photojournalism in Ohio, and for bringing new life to the ONPA including their online blog, switching the annual photography contest to digital, and working to resolve issues with high school sports associations." The Berman Citation is given to an individual for special contributions advancing the interests of photojournalism.

Bob started “ONPA” a blog for Ohio Newspaper Photographers Association in November 2008. You will notice a link to the Photographers' blog in our list at left. DeMay keeps a sharp eye on what’s happening and regularly sends us tips.

See the list of awards on the National Press Photographers website,

3 Boston businessmen interested in Globe

Three Boston businessmen - a Boston Celtics owner, a former advertising mogul, and a member of the family that ran the Globe for generations - have emerged as prominent potential buyers of the Globe, according to people knowledgeable about their interest in the city's leading daily.

Actively mulling bids for the newspaper, according to these people, are Stephen Pagliuca, a private equity executive and Celtics co-owner; Jack Connors, cofounder of a major advertising firm and chairman of Partners HealthCare; and Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to the New York Times Co. in 1993.

The sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to comment on the potential bids, said the three businessmen are in various stages of reviewing the Globe's finances and assembling investors who could be part of their groups.

But whether these men will actually make formal bids on the newspaper is not known. Decisions may be delayed until the standoff between the Times Co. and the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe's largest union, has ended, according to the sources with knowledge of the bidding process. And at least one of the three interested parties, Jack Connors, is still weighing whether he will proceed, according to one source knowledgeable about his thinking.

Click on the headline to read the full story on Boston.com

Popular Science: Subtle cover advertising

General Electric's sponsorship of the July cover of Popular Science becomes obvious only when it's held up to a web camera. In return for the subtle cover promotion, G.E. bought three pages of ads in the issue.

Although other magazine publishers have used cover ads to generate cash, Popular Science did not charge G.E. for the cover.

Ads on covers violate rules set by the American Society of Magazine Editors, which requires a clear separation between editorial space and advertising space. Though the repercussions for putting ads on the cover are not severe — the society sends a letter of reprimand, and occasionally bars the publication from competing in the National Magazine Awards — magazin
es have gone to great lengths to avoid clear-cut cover advertisements.

Us Weekly recently published a mock cover (the real cover was inside) promoting the HBO movie “Grey Gardens,” while Esquire has run covers with peel-back sections, with ads print
ed on the peeled-back flaps.

The Popular Science cover depicts windmills that look like something out of “Star Wars,” and promotes articles about energy. A box announces that the cover is three-dimensional. When a reader holds it up to a computer Webcam, it signals the computer to display Flash-based imagery. The computer shows a 3-D scene of windmills over the cover, and the reader can blow on the computer microphone to move the windmills’ blades.

The technology is called augmented reality. It combines a real image with a virtual one, and viewers can adjust the real image to change the virtual one. To kick-start the technology, the providers ask viewers to hold up a trigger image — the cover, in this case — to a Webcam. (People without the Popular Science cover can go to www.popsci.com/imagination beginning Tuesday to print out a copy of the cover and use the program.)

Click the headline to read more in the New York Times

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A cartoon for the times

From our New York City connection

Charlie Buffum

Twitter gets in AP stylebook


AP Press Release

New edition of AP Stylebook adds entries and helpful features

NEW YORK -- Twitter, the social networking tool that has turned millions of people around the world into instant micro-bloggers, has made it into the 2009 edition of The Associated Press Stylebook, along with complicated business terms such as credit default swaps and derivatives that have gained more exposure amid the global recession.

The new edition of the Stylebook adds a "Quick Reference Guide" to make it easier for users to answer the most common questions on topics such as abbreviations and acronyms; homicide, murder and manslaughter; and polls and surveys.

Twitter, the Middle Eastern eggplant dish baba ghanoush and texting as a verb are among more than 60 new or updated entries in the new AP Stylebook, which includes more business, food, medical and Arabic terms and expanded information on major U.S. and international companies.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Largest BJ lunch bunch since last July

The June 10 gathering at Papa Joe's was the largest since last July, when the group held a joint memorial for Sandy Levenson and Bob Pell that drew 23 BJ folks and family. This is the first double-digit showing, even without me there (I had a commitment in Cleveland that ran about two hours longer than I expected), since the July 29, 2008, tribute to Sandy and Bob.

Time was that a double-digit crowd was normal. But the old crowd is dying off. Armand Lear, a regular, was the latest permanent departure.

Reported attendance numbers for previous lunches:

June 10, 2009 …………………. 10

May 14, 2009 ………………….. 8

April 8, 2009 …………………… 5

January 14, 2009 …………… 3

December 10, 2008 …………… 8

November 12, 2008 …………… 6

October 8, 2008 ……………… 8

August 13, 2008 ……………… 9

July 9, 2008 …………………… 23
(Sandy Levenson, Bob Pell memorial)

June 12, 2008 ………………… 8

May 14, 2008 ………………… 12

Feb. 13, 2008 ………………… 11

Dec. 12, 2007 ………………… 8

Sept. 12, 2007 ………………… 16

August 8, 2007 ……………… 7

June 13, 2007 ………………… 12

May 9, 2007 …………………… 14

April 11, 2007 ………………… 15

March 15, 2007 ……………… ??
(no story & photos no longer available)

January 10, 2007 …………… 14

December 13, 2006 ………… 18

November 8, 2006 …………… 13

October 12, 2006 …………… 11

September 13, 2006 ………… 12

August 13, 2006 …………… 15

July 12, 2006 ………………… 10

June 15, 2006 ……………… 12

May 11, 2006 ………………… 11

April 12, 2006 ……………… 11

March 8, 2006 ……………… 13

February 8, 2006 …………… 11

January 11, 2006 …………… 13

10 attend retirees lunch at Papa Joe's

Gene McClellan, Carl Nelson, Cal Deshong, Pat Doughtery and Al Hunsicker

Ten folks associated with the Beacon Journal showed up for the Jjune luncheon of Beacon Journal retirees. There were a few more than expected but there were a couple of no shows–including (John Olesky, who is a faidthfull attendee except when traveling, (must be traveling again) Dave Boerner was there, but turned his head when the photos were shot.

Tom Moore brought his daughter, Kathy, who retired last year from the EPA in Washington, D.C. She finallly sold her house and is know living in Tallmadge. K
athy is a former BJ employee back in the days of copykids--about 38 years ago when she was still in high school. She remarked after the luncheon that she really enjoyed herself with the olds folks and says: "there are sure some sharp wits around the table."

Tom and daughter in photo at left
Tim Hayes and Joe Catalano

Warner takes another walk down Main St.

It’s been at least 20 years since you have seen a Stuart Warner byline in the Beacon Journal, but it was there today on the Op-Ed page in a column headlined “A walk down Main Street 24 years later.”

As it turns out, it was a defense of Mayor Don Plusquellic but also a tribute to a city he left to go to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He’s now also out of there.

Warner recalled a BJ column he wrote in October, 1985 about 14 months before Plusquellic became mayor.

“I counted at least 52 businesses gone bust that day — just between Cedar and Market.” Warner writes. . “City leaders did their best Claude Raines impression. They were shocked, shocked. How could this have happened right before their eyes? Poor vision, perhaps?”

And now, he writes:

“I've been gone from Akron for a long time now, but after reading all these stories about the attempt to recall the mayor, it seemed fitting to walk the Main Street walk again.

“And this time, all I saw was progress.”

A BJ for 15 cents? Pehaps 35 years ago

Can you imagine - a BJ for only 15 cents?

Art Krummel and Charlene Nevade discovered a box tucked in a
crawl space that turned out to be old clips. They thought this one from 1974 would be worth sharing.

Click on the clip for an easier read.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Boston Newspaper Guild rejects cuts 277 to 265

The Boston Globe's largest union last night narrowly rejected $10 million in wage and benefit cuts, and about an hour later the paper's owner declared an impasse in negotiations and imposed a 23 percent pay cut on the union's members, effective next week.

The move by The New York Times Co., which said the Globe's dire financial condition gave it no choice, could quickly shift the bitter contract dispute from the bargaining table to the National Labor Relations
Board and federal courts. The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office workers, has told members it would file unfair labor practice charges with the board and seek a court order blocking the Times Co. from imposing the pay cut.

In a statement, Globe spokesman Robert Powers said that management was disappointed by the vote and that the company must now move ahead with the deep pay cut. The company sent a letter advising Guild officials of the move last night.

"As we have stated, the $10 million in cost savings from this multifaceted proposal is essential to The Boston Globe's financial future," Powers said. "We regret having to take this action, but have no financially viable alternative."

Guild president Daniel Totten said he would not comment, until today, on the company's decision to implement the 23 percent pay cut. After the vote, Totten said in a statement: "With today's vote, members of the Boston Newspaper Guild have said that The New York Times Company must do better than the offer that was presented. Globe workers and the New England community understand that the quality of The Boston Globe, an institution so vital to the life and culture of the region, depends on the fair treatment of the men and women who work so hard to produce it."

Guild members, with about 80 percent participating, voted 277 to 265 to reject the company's contract offer, which included pay cuts totaling more than 10 percent; deep cuts to health and retirement benefits, including a pension freeze; and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for about 170 veteran members.

The Guild is the only one of the Globe's four major unions to reject concessions the Times Co. said it needs to continue operating the Globe, projected to lose $85 million this year without significant cost savings. In early April, the Times Co. said it would close the Globe, New England's largest newspaper, unless the paper's unions agreed to a combined $20 million, with half demanded from Guild.

Unions representing mailers, press operators, and delivery truck drivers approved concessions worth nearly a combined $10 million.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Website Special: Courier-Journal is alive and well

The Asheville Citizen-Times published a speech delivered a month or so ago by Arnold Garson, publisher of its sister paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, on why newspapers aren't going to die off, at least anytime soon.

The headline:

The Courier-Journal is alive and well

Despite recession, industry changes, newspaper remains srong.

it's reprinted as a special feature on the BJ Alums website. Read it now

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Composing room retiree Armand Lear dies

Armand Louis Lear

Armand Lear was born July 11, 1935 in Akron, Ohio. He passed away at his home on June 5, 2009, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Armand loved working in his yard, general "tinkering," and spending time with his family and friends. He cel
ebrated 29 years of sobriety, involvement and leadership in Alcoholics Anonymous. He and his wife often tried their luck at the casinos in neighboring states. He retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1997 after nearly 30 years service where he worked in the Composing Room as a printer. He moved from Copley to Norton in 2003 and was a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Barberton. Material possessions were never important to him. He always thought spending time with family and loved ones gave him all the riches in the world he would ever need.

Armand was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Catherine Lear; his brothers, Raymond and Wilbert, and his sister, Winifred. He is survived by his loving wife, Ruth of 28 years; children, Mark (Debbie), Mike (Tracy), Denise Minnich (Ray), Diane Lear, Donna Cook (Alan), Cindy Preston (Eric), and Katie Lear (Jason). He is also survived by his sister, Sister M. Corita Lear, I.H.M.; brother, Jerome Lear; fifteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, and special sister-in-law, Loretta Lear.

Mass of the Christian burial will be held Tuesday, June 9, at 10 a.m. at the Prince of Peace Church, 1263 Shannon Ave., Barberton, Ohio. Entombment at Rose Hill Burial Park. The family will receive friends at Bacher Funeral Home in Norton, Monday, June 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1900 West Market Street, Akron, Ohio 44313. Funeral home map, directions, and the Lear Family condolence book are available online at www.bacherfuneralhome.com.(Bacher, 330-825-3633)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Sunday, June 7, 2009, page B6, col. 4 ]

Blog Note: Lear was a regular at BJ retiree luncheons.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day: Remembering Tom Ryan

Everyone has his story of Tom Ryan. There is, for instance, the forever and always dangling cigarette. Today, because it is the 65th anniversary of D-Day, we are publishing a letter Tom sent to old BJ friends Charlie Buffum and Kathy Goforth describing his trip back to Omaha Beach on the 40th annivsary in 1983. Tom's diary was published August 5, 1984 in Beacon Magazine. The Beacon Journal published a special edition with a massive headline: INVASION! ALLIED TROOPS NOW IN NORTHERN FRANCE. Shown here is the front page for Tuesday, June 6, 1944. Tom's letter typed on two pages of old copy paper was sent to us still intact. Here it is:

Dear Kathy and Buff,

What a treat it was to get your letter and I owe you an apology for taking so long to answer.

I flew non-stop on German Condor from Cleveland to Frankfurt which would have made it a little tough to stop off in New York. What I wonder, is how you haypened to get a copy of the Barberton Herald. I told Herald editor Dave Spice about it and he said "Finally we have scooped the Beacon in something.”

You'll never know how the Beacon employees made me feel with the trip back to Normandy. I cried every time I talked to them before leaving and I had another cry when they were waiting for me (and my bottle of champagne) when I returned.

I kept a diary of what I
did to let them read arid Tim Smith decided it should be used in the Beacon Magazine. They are doing a cover story ior Aug. 5 and I'll send you one. I won't tell you everything that happened in this letter, saving some for the magazine piece later.

I didn't write the diary for publication and wanted to patch it up, but they said it should go as is. Lifestyle editor Bob Jodon wasn't sure I should be paid for it, but Tim said it was on on my time and he had to pay. Tim asked me what I wanted for it. I hesitated while tossing around in my head a figure of $200. ~ Before I could reply, Tim said "How about $400?" That goes to show that us dummy slow thinkers sometimes luck out.

I was able to find almost the exact spot on Omaha Beach where I landed 40 years ago. Going to the cemetery at
the top of the hill was agony. I choked when I saw all of those white crosses and looked for the names of buddies who died there.

Several days later, got mugged and robbed of $100 on a busy Paris Street in broad daylight.

That makes twice I've been to France and both times someone gave me a hard time. I've had it with that place.

I’m glad Kathy still has a crush on me because she's one of the special people in this world I truly Love. You're O.K., too, Buff.

Enclosed is a copy of our Beacon D-Day Plus 40 stories and a copy of the Beacon Employee magazine, Sidebar,.formerly Tower Topics. This is the first edition under a real reporter, Sara Vradenberg who was hired to liven it up.

I think about both of you always and we often talk about the old days on the night-side rewrite where they've planted me from now to doomsday. I put out about 50 to 60 inches of copy a night on the idiot box which was close to what I did in the old Barberton beat.

Incidentally, Pete Geiger is going on the Barberton beat starting next week. Nancy Peacock is coming in to evening rewrite until this fall when she will be going on maternity leave again.

I still have the picture of Kathy as a clown framed and hanging at home. I could use some later art of both of you and I'll scout up some pictures tb send later.

I apologize for sending this on copy paper, the cheapskates around here lock up the good stuff when the day shift goes home.

I'm hanging on to my passport in case I get a chance to come to New York some day. Next time you're in Akron, make sure we all get to see you.

Love to both of you,

Blog Endnote: The Beacon Journal today published a ftont page story by Jim Carney entitled “The Longest Day” which includes the stories of a paratrooper who landed in France, a Falls man who commanded a tank on the beach, and family with twp brothers who fought in battle.
See Carney’s story.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Knight Foundation head Ibarguen to rescue

Can This Man Save The News Business?

Knight Foundation Head Alberto Ibarguen is bankrolling dozens of experiments to save the news business. Can he rescue newspapers? Thats the subject for an article on Forbes.com. Here is the beginning of the article. Click on the headline to read the full article.

Alberto Ibargüen took over as president of the $2 billion John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in May 2005 after serving as publisher of the Miami Herald, which won three Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. Now Ibargüen is directing a multi-year plan to spend $100 million on 130 projects dedicated to new media and the future of news. They range from projects on community-financed reporting and media "test kitchens" at universities to a new journalism institute in India, home to the largest newspaper market in the world. He spoke to Forbes in late May.

Forbes: Does the prospect of some U.S. cities having no daily newspaper keep you up at night?

Ibargüen: Absolutely. Not just the possibility of no newspaper, but having a newspaper that's so thin that it can't perform its watchdog role or deliver the kind of information that bonds communities together. That's a much bigger problem for our democracy than new media's challenge to national newspapers. The fact is that new media lends itself more easily to national and international news than local news. For the first time in our history it's easier for a high school student to learn about the crisis in Darfur than it is to find out about corruption in their local City Hall or what the school board wants to teach.

Among the huge number of projects Knight is funding, can you name a few that are paying off?

We funded Spot.us, a site run by David Cohn, one of the smartest 25-year-olds I've ever met. His project invites journalists to pitch their stories to the public. The public then pledges small amounts of money until there's enough contributed to do an investigation of, say, why local businesses are closing in a neighborhood in San Francisco. Online local news sites we've funded include the Gotham Gazette (N.Y.); New Haven Independent (Conn.); St. Louis Beacon (Mo.); Chi-Town Daily (Chicago). Village Soup, a digital news platform in Maine, has done so well that it bought six weekly newspapers that were in financial trouble.

We funded EveryBlock, a newsfeed. By clicking on an address or street corner on a map, you can find out who got killed there, who got robbed there, who on the block contributed to John McCain or Barack Obama, or what the local supermarket has on sale. You can discover a vast amount of information about your own neighborhood. Beyond being an interesting widget, when it really becomes valuable is when a newspaper like the Chicago Tribune puts it on their Web site, adding value to a local news source. EveryBlock is running in 11 cities, with many more coming. We need to fund lots of these experiments, so when 80% of them fail, we can figure out which ones really got it right and then replicate them.

Philadelphia Bulletin folds after five years

The Bulletin, a Philadelphia newspaper that developed a loyal following for being a strident conservative voice in the region, folded this afternoon, employees confirmed.

Around 4:15 p.m., about 25 employees were called together at the newspaper's office at 1500 Walnut St. and were told by publisher Thomas G. Rice that the paper could no longer afford to operate, employees said. Yesterday's edition was the Bulletin's last.

In an e-mail tonight, Rice said he didn't want to comment.

Meredith Cunningham, 24, who handled page layouts for the sports section, said the staff had not been getting paid on time for several months. Employees were not paid last week, Cunningham said.

Jenny DeHuff, 27, the newspaper's city reporter, said she was stunned, but not surprised, by the announcement. She said she was working on a story at home when she received a text message from a colleague saying, essentially: "You heard? We're done."

Rice started the paper in 2004 by paying for the right to use the Bulletin name from the family that used to publish the Philadelphia Bulletin, which shut down in 1982 but had long been the dominant newspaper in the city.

The new Bulletin featured the original newspaper's famous slogan: "Nearly Everybody Reads The Bulletin."

It also featured the Latin "Res Ipsa Loquitur," which means "the thing speaks for itself."

The newspaper had what was regarded as mainly straightforward coverage of some local issues, but was heavily dominated by wire stories that could be viewed as critical of liberals. Its commentary pages included syndicated columns by Chuck Norris, Oliver North and Patrick J. Buchanan.

[Click on the headline to read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer]

Monday, June 01, 2009

Akronite Paul Haney, voice of NASA, dies

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - Paul Haney, who was known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control" for his live televised reports during the early years of the space program, has died of cancer. He was 80.

A native of Akron, Haney was a news reporter for the Associated Press, the Erie Times and the Washington Evening Star before joining NASA at the agency's inception in 1958. His brother, Tom, was a veteran BJ staffer.

Haney died Thursday at a nursing home. Kent House, owner of the Alamogordo Funeral Home, confirmed that Haney died of complications from melanoma cancer, which spread to his brain and was untreatable.

Haney became NASA's information officer in 1958, three months after the space a
gency was formed and went on to manage information from the Gemini and Apollo flight programs. He pioneered a real-time system of reporting events as they happened in the first manned flight program, Project Mercury. George House, curator of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, said Haney helped work on the museum's oral history program.

He also conducted tours of the museum and worked with the museum foundation.
Haney became the public affairs officer for the Office of Manned Space Flight in 1962 and moved to Houston to work in what became the Johnson Space Center. During his time there, he worked in the Mission Control Center, where he broadcast live to television viewers nationwide and media covering the launches, and became known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control."

Haney retired from NASA in 1969 after the Apollo 9 mission, and worked in London for Independent Television News and The Economist.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History's Web site said Haney "set the standard for all subsequent NASA information efforts."

Haney was born in 1928 in Akron, Ohio, and earned a journalism degree from Kent State University in 1945. While in college, Haney worked nights for The Associated Press.
He also worked at newspapers in Erie, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Houston and El Paso, Texas, and at the Evening Star in Washington, D.C.

Haney served in the Navy for two years during the Korean War.
He is survived by his wife, Jan; two daughters from a previous marriage; a stepson; a sister, and seven grandchildren.

Information from: Alamogordo Daily News, http://www.alamogordonews.com

Note from Sue Murphy on loss of health card

Note from Sue Murphy of Hilton Head, SC:

I've been
waiting for the other shoe to drop and it did...got my letter from Andrea dated 5/26/09 stating the BJ will no longer subsidize my medical or prescription coverage. If I want to continue with Aetna Medicare Advantage, I will have to pay the premium myself beginning September 1, 2009. Since health care costs have been a topic of many discussions on your web site, I wondered it anyone else is in this boat. I've enjoyed reading your blog and hope to make a lunch next time we're up visiting children. By the way, I have a new email address....mmurphy2@roadrunner.com.