Friday, January 29, 2010

McClatchy to experiment pay model--but carefully

McClatchy is going to tread very lightly, if at all, with regard to online pay models, writes Jennifer Saba in this Editor and Publishedr piece:

NEW YORK  -- McClatchy is one of the few newspaper companies reporting positive online advertising results in a very tough year. In Q4, online ad revenue was up 14.9% and now represents almost 16% of total revenue*. McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt stressed during Wednesday morning's conference call that 44% of online ad revenue was online-only.

It's no surprise, then, that McClatchy is going to tread very lightly, if at all, with regard to online pay models for its Web sites. Given the said it was moving to a meter model in 2011, it's a given the question would come up.

Pruitt said that McClatchy is "not ideological" about pay models and is willing to experiment -- apparently, soon.* He said McClatchy is going to try out a pay model on one of its newspaper Web sites, suggesting a visitor could hit a pay wall depending how far she navigates into the site.

Pruitt added that McClatchy tends to believe that the overwhelming model on the Internet is going to be ad-supported. "We feel the model isn't broken," he said, reiterating McClatchy's online ad revenue results. "But we'll learn from everything - we wish them all the luck. If someone cracks the code, we'll copy it."

During the call Pruitt also revealed that rates for packaged buys -- online and print -- are on average down in the low single-digit range. However online local retail rates were holding and are typically higher than national, thanks in part to Yahoo's BT platform.

Pruitt said that advertising revenue for Q1 is expected to be down in the low to mid-teen percentage range.

And what would a McClatchy call be if someone didn't bring up the status of the Miami land sale? Pruitt's response: "We have received $16 million in a non-refundable deposit for the $190 million land deal. The closing deadline is Jan. 31, 2011. If the deal does not close at the time we are entitled to a $7 million termination fee. We're hopeful the deal closes."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

McClatchy reports 4Q earnings growth

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) today reported net income from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2009 of $32.4 million, or 38 cents per share, compared to a loss of $20.4 million, or 25 cents per share, in the 2008 quarter. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1)  were $49.6 million, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009 after excluding the unusual items discussed below, compared to $21.8 million, or 26 cents per share, reported in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Total net income including discontinued operations was $25.8 million, or 30 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to a net loss of $27.0 million, or 33 cents per share in the 2008 fourth quarter.

Click on the headline to read the company news release.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Herrick Brown, building services, dies

Herrick Brown, 82, of Coventry Twp. passed away January 24, 2010.

Herrick was born in Taplin, Ohio on August 26, 1927. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, retired from the Fred Albrecht Grocery Co. after 35 years of service and was employed at the
Akron Beacon Journal with building services for ten years. He loved his family very much and will be dearly missed. He was an avid swimmer, long time member of Bally's and a retired Teamster, Local # 348.

Preceded in death by three sisters and six brothers; including his twin Charles Lindburgh Brown. He is survived by his loving wife, Lois; children, Sheryl (John) Symons, Sandra (Jimmy) Roeske, Christy (James) Price and Major Randy (Kristen) Brown USAF; sister, Lucille Bennington; 12 grandchildren and eight great- grandchildren.

Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday January 28, 2010 at the Schermesser Funeral Home, 600 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road (Route 619 in Green) with Pastor Robert Combs officiating. Calling hours will be Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Thursday one hour prior to funeral. Interment Sunset Hills Memory Gardens with the American Legion performing Military Honors.

(SCHERMESSER-GREEN 330-899-9107)
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Tuesday, January 26, 2010, page B4, col. 4]

Channel 3 does piece on Ken Love

WKYC-TV Channel 3 did a piece on Ken Love who took a buyout as a Beacon Journal photographer and started his own business: Ken Love Photography.

Here's how his website looks.

Other BJ photographers also are still in the business of shooting photos since losing their jobs at the newspaper.

See the TV piece.

Go to Ken Love's website.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Catching up with . . . Marilyn Geewax

Here is email from former Beacon Journal staffer Marilyn Geewax:

Hi my old BJ friends, John Olesky has been after me for months to let you know what I have been doing. And I have been mighty slow to respond because I am always SO BUSY here at NPR. But here’s the rough outline:

You may recall that in 1985, I left Akron for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I had a good run there
as a reporter, then editorial board member and columnist. In fact, the ABJ used to run my column from time to time. While at the Atlanta paper, I took a year out for a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.

Then in 1999, I was invited to move up to Washington to become the National Economics Correspondent for all 17 Cox Newspapers. The chain includes the Dayton Daily News, so I was reunited (in a corporate sense) with Bill Hershey! I mostly covered Congress. Went to night school to get a masters at Georgetown,,,and taught as an adjunct for a few years at George Washington University.

Anyway, I really enjoyed my job, but Cox closed the entire Washington bureau amid the Great Recession…My last day was Dec. 5, 2008. I moved over just a few blocks to NPR on Dec. 15, 2008. So I have been here about 13 months. My title is senior business editor…I assign and edit biz stories, and I do a little radio commentary every other Sunday on Morning Edition. You can hear me if you go to and type Geewax into the search engine. It’ll take you to a list of my stuff and you can click on “listen.”

It’s pretty cool here at NPR, though the work load and deadline pressures can be brutal. No whining though…in this job market, I know how lucky I am to have a job. I miss writing a lot, but am learning the joys of radio. All things considered (yuk, yuk), life is pretty good for me. My parents are still living in Youngstown so I get back to Ohio regularly. Hope you all have a great new year, Cheers, mg

NPR, of course, is National Public Radio.

For an earlier BJ Alums post providing more details on Marilyn, click on the headline.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Note from Georgia MacDonald

John and Georgia MacDonald finally have a home e-mail address:
Georgia has retired from The Gazette and, while John's work e-mail address is still OK, it's probably best to get him at home for personal notes. He gets so many e-mails at work something could get lost.
For the time being, we're both using my e-mail address. Eventually, once we both get the hang of this new computer, he'll probably get his own. Not that it really matters. You could probably just tack my e-mail onto his name as well as the work address. Get rid of the Gazette address for me. Haven't been there since July.
Hope you're doing well. Enjoy reading the blog. It's even bookmarked.
Georgia MacDonald

Friday, January 22, 2010

SPJ: Report the story, don't become part of it

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Society of Professional Journalists applauds the efforts of all journalists in Haiti who are working tirelessly to report the aftermath of last week's devastating earthquake and the ensuing aftershocks. However, SPJ cautions journalists to avoid making themselves part of the stories they are reporting. Even in crises, journalists have a responsibility to their audiences to gather news objectively and to report facts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freedom, creditors reach bankruptcy deal


John Dunphy (in a facebook note) calls attention to this news in the Orange County Register

WILMINGTON – A federal bankruptcy court judge  today approved a deal between Freedom Communications,  its  unsecured creditors and its lenders that could allow the owner of The Orange County Register to emerge from bankruptcy by  the end of March.

The arduously negotiated deal provides for about eight times more money for the company’s unsecured creditors – including a group of longtime current and former employees – than the company had originally proposed.

“This is a great day – for our employees, for our customers,’’ said  Chief Financial Officer Mark McEachen, who was at the hearing where federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Brendan Shannon approved the Irvine-based company’s disclosure statement and set March 9 as the date for confirmation of the company’s bankruptcy plan.

Under the new plan,  Freedom’s secured debt would be reduced from $770 million to $325 million.
Company officials will now send out ballots to Freedom’s creditors and if they approve the plan, it will go before Shannon on March 9.  The lenders, who will take over the company, will name a new board to take over when the company emerges from bankruptcy. The names of the new board members are expected to be released sometime before March 9.

Press Club panelists give opinions on news

Four  panelists at Wednesday afternoon's Akron Press Club roundtable agreed there are more news sources than ever for the public to sample.

Here are some of their opinions

Doug Oplinger, managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal:

''Our readership [newspaper and online] has gone up dramatically in the last seven years in the Akron area. We now penetrate 80 to 90 percent of the homes in the Akron area. That's huge.''

Dr. Stephen Brooks, associate director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron:

''Good political coverage at the local level is important. Our system works best when people are informed.''

Mark Williamson, director of communications for the city of Akron and a former news director at now-defunct WAKR-TV (Channel 23), relatING a story Fred Anthony, former news director at WAKR radio, told him:

''Get it right before you get it first. It's just got to be right. Truth is a casualty of speed.We are getting a lot of big things wrong. We are getting away from stenographic reporting. We need to just tell what happened. Just tell the truth.''

 Ed Esposito, news director at WAKR (AM-1590):

"Immediacy is demanded,  The news cycle works faster. Everything is faster in life. You want to know the story, and you want to know it now.''

Esposito said there was another dangerous aspect of new media, which extends to Facebook and Twitter.

''The most unfortunate casualty of new media is that we take opinion as fact,'' he said.

Brooks added that ''being first isn't as important as it used to be. Being there when it happens is important.''

''One of the things that makes us confident is people going online are not stopping at one place,'' he said.  ''They will go to four or five places and decide what is reliable.

''If [news sources] get it wrong all the time, people won't go back.''

Brooks said that while the avenues of information have expanded, today's readers are no more or less lazy or busy than in the past.

''What has changed is there is no longer the hierarchy that tells us what is responsible and what is not,'' he said. ''We are responsible for discerning that. The truth is very elusive

''And there is a big difference between being informed and being aware. We have a lot more people aware today.

Click on the headline to read Bill Lilley's story in the Beacon Journal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NY Times to charge fee for online content in '11

The New York Times says it will charge non-print subscribers for full access to its Web site starting in 2011.

The Associated Press terms the decision "a risky move aimed at drawing more revenue online without driving away advertisers that want the biggest possible audience."

The AP said the Times said will allow free access to a certain number of articles and charge users for additional content. Print subscribers would continue to have free access to the Times' website.

The Times charged for access to its Web site in 1996 but attracted only about 4,000 subscribers, the AP reported. Another experiment called Times Select, which required a $50 annual subscription to read Times columnists, drew 221,000 customers but was scrapped in 2007 because it dented ad sales, AP reported.

Click on the headline for the AP article.

Abe Zaidan's $12 billion question for John Kasich

Former Beacon Journal writing coach Abe Zaidan, who has a "Grumpy Abe" blog, had a question for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, who vows to eliminate the state income tax: Where will the $12 billion that the tax provides over 10 years come from?

Abe compares the Kasich-State Auditor Mary Taylor governor/lieutenant governor ticket to the John McCain-Sarah Palin debacle.

Click on the headline to read Abe's grumpy take. While you're there you might go to the end of the comments and click on "Home" to check out other Z items. The guy is a good writer, with arrows that really sting.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Larry Froelich pays visit to Art Cullison

Cullison and Froelich in Art's apartment

A note from Larry Froelich:

I drove up to Erlanger, Ky., this morning and spent several hours with Art Cullison. Took him to lunch at the local Cracker Barrel ("the food in our dining room isn't much") and we reminisced about our life at the Beacon during the '60s and '70s. Art seems to be doing pretty well; he has a very nice, comfortable apartment at the Baptist Life Community complex. His wife Helen lives just down the hall in an adjacent wing for residents needing more care. Art said he yearns for a good card game ("they only play cards with pictures on them") and thirsts for edgy conversation ("I miss the arguments"). So if any of you retirees ever find yourself on I-75 in Northern Kentucky, take an hour or two to stop by and say hello to Art. He misses the old gang.
 ~ Larry

Click on the headline to see an earlier post on Cullison with contact information.

E&P sold; resumes operations

Editor & Publisher has resumed publication in print and online following its sale last week to Duncan McIntosh Co. The announcement came exactly two weeks after the closing of E&P.

Duncan McIntosh is the publisher of several well-respected boating magazines and newspapers, including Boating World magazine.

Mark Fitzgerald, a 26-year veteran, was named as E&P's new editor. He had most recently served as E&P's editor-at-large.

Click on the headline for the E&P article.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

PD, plan blog directory

The Cleveland Plain Dealer and hopes to create a directory of the region's online community.

John Kroll, director of the Plain Dealer training and digital developmendt, said the directory will be posted on to make it easier to find others who share interests or live in the same area. Questions? Reach John Kroll, The Plain Dealer's director of training and digital development, at or @johnjkroll on Twitter.

Click on the headline to register.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Star-Trib Guild protests ditching of copy editors

Update: Ken Krause leaves a comment below that Janet Moore, one of the Guild chairs, is a former Beacon Journal business reporter.

Letter from Minneapolis Star-Tribune Guild to editor Barnes on ditching copy editors:

January 14, 2010
Nancy Barnes
Editor, Senior Vice President
Star Tribune
425 Portland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55104

Hand Delivered and by Email

Dear Nancy,
Last week you outlined a series of steps the Newsroom needs to take to help make the Star Tribune a “successful information company.” Those steps include a workforce reduction of “about 30 positions” in the Newsroom, the majority of them from the Guild. They also include the painful and ill-advised elimination of an entire craft — copy editing. A-scale copy editors represent 424 years of service to the Star Tribune; we believe their loss will likely affect the quality of our newspaper and website.
While our members understand more than most of their colleagues across the country the difficult challenges facing our industry and this institution, we believe the fallout from the impending job cuts will be devastating to our newspaper and website. We are formally requesting that you broaden the buyout offer to include all job titles, including reporting, under Section 7, Article 13 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in an effort to mitigate that pain. We understand that you are averse to cutting “news-gathering” positions; however, we believe that retaining some editing and production positions would make the transition to a smaller operation smoother and less traumatic to those employees remaining.
In addition, we understand that you plan to place at least two managers in the Guild. Remember, the Guild contract requires first consideration of certain job classifications when filling vacant positions. When the Star Tribune board ordered cuts throughout the building several months ago, a reasonable person could conclude those reductions would be done to cut costs. However, we don’t understand how giving a manager a Guild job constitutes a job cut. Instead, it appears to be creative shell game to move the salaries into the Guild so you can claim savings on the management side.
 Also, posting eight new jobs while eliminating 30 others begs the question: How many jobs will be eliminated?
Creating a smaller newsroom requires a cohesive, well-planned and executed strategy. You may have crafted these proposals, but it is up to our members to carry them out and to live with the consequences of your actions.  
We would appreciate a prompt response to our request and questions. As always, Guild leadership is ready to meet with you to discuss positive solutions to the challenges facing us.

 Janet Moore/David Chanen
Co-chairs, Star Tribune Newspaper Guild

CC: Mike Klingensmith, publisher, Star Tribune
Mike Sweeney, chairman, Star Tribune

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cal Deshong bruised in fall

When Cal Deshong, 91, a regular at the BJ alums monthly lunch at Papa Joe's, didn't show up today, I emailed him to see what was up. Cal's reply:

Hi, John, sorry I couldn't make it today.... I wanted to thank you personally for that good write-up you gave me when I hit 91. Speaking of HIT... that's what I did Monday afternoon.

I went out thru my garage for the BJ and the mail and on the way in something happened ... I went head first onto the concrete floor.

I did a good job on my face around my right eye and bent the frames of my glasses ... also peeled some skin off my right arm below the elbow.

I've fixed all that pretty well... but I have some sore ribs on the right side. ... outside of that I'm fine...

Thanks for checking, John...

-- Cal

A BJ love story: paths that crossed and changed lives

People, like planets, go along in their separate orbits. But then paths cross and criss-cross even more and good things happen.

Take retired Beacon Journal printer Carl Nelson. He was working at a Zanesville newspaper. But he came to Akron to be near his then-girlfriend. Well, that relationship fizzled out and Carl found himself singing in a church choir but his mind wandering to two of the choir's female singers.

"I went up to them after choir," Carl said at the monthly lunch for BJ alums at Papa Joe's, "and said, 'Would you like to go out to dinner with me?' "

Both women had the same reply: "Which one of us?" Carl, not being slow on the draw, said, "I picked the shorter one." That would be Barbara, who grew up in Canton.

Well, one thing led to another and Carl and Barbara got married. They still are, and have been, for 51 years.

What about the other choir possiblity? She married someone else, Carl said, but tragically her husband died within five years.

Carl and Gene McClellan, also at Papa Joe's for the monthly Wednesday lunch, both worked at Akron Legal but later switched to the Beacon Journal, because it had better benefits.

Carl also regaled the lunch bunch with his tale of the time he picked up entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. at the Columbus airport. Sammy was scheduled to perform in the Columbus area. Carl had a new car so he was designated Sammy's driver from the airport to the hotel. The story involves Sammy's quest for female company and his tonsilatory habits. That's as far as I dare go on here. But it is hilarious.

The Zanesville newspaper also had Carl picking up Edie Gorme and husband Steve Lawrence at the Columbus airport.

Others laughing at the Papa Joe's lunch were Cathy Moore, there with her dad, Tom Moore, a BJ newsroom retiree known for using the term "goddammit" more than anyone in Akron newspaper history, and John Olesky, another newsroom retiree. Cathy is still fixing up her new home in Cuyahoga Falls after her retirement from 35 years of being part of the Washington, D.C. governmental bureaucracy.

If you'd like to share in the laughter and stories of yesterday and today, be at Papa Joe's on Akron-Peninsula Road at Portage Trail at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month. You'll miss out on a lot of fun if you don't.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Newspaper reporter comes in #184 in careers

A new ranking of 200 jobs in the US in 2009 puts newspaper reporter  as #184.

In the study from, newspaper reporter came in between Seamen (#183) and Stevedore (#185)..

Beating out reporter were Janitor (#83), Teacher (#116), Maid (#131), Bus Driver (#137), and Chauffeur (#160). Huffington Post points out.

But, being a newspaper reporter is better than being a Photojournalist (#189), a Dairy Farmer (#197), an Ironworker (#198) and at #200, a Roustabout. A roustabout, the internet says, is an unskilled, temporary laborer employed in something like an oil field.

Click on the headline for a full list of rankings by

Monday, January 11, 2010

Newspapers still do the news gathering

The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported today on a new study of how news is created and gathered–still by newspapers.  Here’s the story.

How News Happens: A Study of the News Ecosystem of One American City

Monday, January 11 — For all that the media landscape is expanding, a new study of how the news is created and gathered in one American city finds that what the public learns is still overwhelmingly gathered, synthesized, and framed by traditional media—particularly now much-diminished local newspapers.

The study, by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, examined all the news reported in one city, Baltimore, Maryland, for a week and then took an even closer look at six key storylines that ran through the news in that week.

Inside those storylines, the study found that much of the news people received revealed little new information. Indeed, eight out of ten stories were repetitive and contained no new information.

Of the stories that contained significant new information in these key storylines, 95%, came from traditional media—most of them newspapers. These stories then tended to set the news agenda for other media outlets.

The report also finds that the increasing universe of new media, including blogs, Twitter and local websites, played a key role, but mostly as an alert system and as a vehicle to disseminate stories others had produced. Interestingly, traditional media now used these new technologies more heavily than did new media.

The study also finds that the official version of events is becoming more important as news is posted faster, before any enterprise reporting is applied. Press releases appeared verbatim in first accounts of events, though often not cited as such, and then became news accounts as they careened across the net. The study also found instances of plagiarism–—reposting stories without attribution.

These are some conclusions from the study, which examined the 53 outlets that produced local news in Baltimore during the week of July 19-25, 2009.

The six storylines included:
    * The release of the governor’s plan to cut the state budget
    * Announcement that a local university would help develop the swine flu vaccine
    * A short-lived plan to put listening devices on buses
    * The sale of a historic local movie house
    * A shooting of police officers
    * A combination of six different events that all concerned juvenile justice in the city

This study was designed and produced by PEJ, a non-partisan, non-political institute that is part of the Pew Research Center in Washington , D.C.

Click on the headline to read the full report.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Want to laugh? Join us Wednesday at Papa Joe's

If it's the second Wednesday of the month, then it's time to join us for lunch and laughter at 1 p.m. at Papa Joe's Restaurant on Akron-Peninsula Road at the Portage Trail Extension intersection. Current and former BJ folks, regardless of which department is/was yours, are welcome to laugh along with us. That's our only agenda. Plus the vittles. Call John Olesky at (330) 388-4466 if you need more details or encouragement. Bring a friend, too, if you want. We're friendly folks. Cheerful, too.

See you there. Prepare to laugh and enjoy the old days and today's events in your life.

Friday, January 08, 2010

BJ Alums blog logo -- in Arabic!

This  email was received from former BJ reporter Cathy Strong:

I thought you'd be interested in a screen shot of the ABJ Blog site as it is displayed for me. Notice the Arabic translation at the top of the screen (as they assume I read Arabic better than English, I guess). hee hee


Cathy, who is now teaching journalism in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was asked further about the Dubai economic situation, which generally is not good after a decade of tremendous modernization and growth/. Cathy replied:

As for the Dubai economic situation ... Our university is actually sponsored by the Abu Dhabi royalty, so we are sweet. In fact, the day the Dubai debt default was announced there was an announcement that Zayed was getting US $1 billion for its new Abu Dhabi campus.

This is good news for me because I think this money will also go for the setup of the convergence journalism (multi-platform media) that is my baby.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Panama, pickpockets, pinky

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Prodigious Panama project, purloining pickpockets, punctured pinky.

That’s what Paula and I encountered on our Panama Canal cruise, my ninth since my 1996 retirement from the Beacon Journal.

It was the first time through the Canal for both of us. Like most people, I knew that there were monumental problems before the 1914 Canal opening and thousands of deaths from disease and accidents. But I was astounded by the immensity of the project. Gigantic cuts gouged through the Continental Divide landscape made humongous Caterpillar trucks look like Tonka toys. During our 9-hour, 50-mile transit, I watched in fascination as 26 million tons of water rushed into and out of each lock compartment to raise and lower the ships.

Pickpockets filched Paula’s camera in Costa Rica with the ruse of “helping” us find an ATM. A woman in a “uniform” that helped her blend in with authorities lured us a distance away before her accomplice took the camera. I felt my back wallet pocket slapped. But they got nothing from me because that’s not where I carry anything of value on trips.

My finger got cut on a sharp rock as we walked from a rainforest waterfall. I extended my left hand onto a rocky wall to brace myself. The wound required four stitches from the Coral Princess doctor.

Onboard, we went to a performance by piano virtuoso Chris Contillo, who told the audience that he was from Cuyahoga Falls. Afterward, we learned that Chris lives on High Street in the Sill School area with his wife and their two children.

Another trip highlight was a visit to an Embera Indian village in Panama. We rode an hour by van to a dock, then spent another hour in a dugout canoe going up the Chagres River to the tribal village. Our guide was a blonde from Seattle who married an Embera man.

Otherwise, we did the usual things: Watched cliff divers at Acapulco, saw monkeys and crocodiles, and, in Mexico, rode a boat around Cabo San Lucas’ Land’s End arch and snorkeled off Hualtulco’s Entrega Beach. We also made port stops in Costa Rica, Colombia and Aruba. That extended the number of countries that I've visited to 33.

When we flew home to Akron, the temperature dropped 60 degrees and we went from sweating to shivering.

If you want to see photos from our cruise, click on the headline.

How about YOU? Have you taken a trip lately, a cruise or flight to another country or even a week or a month in another state? Or had a life event? Or would like to just catch us up on your life since the BJ, or about your spouse, children and grandchildren?

Email John Olesky at

Or Harry Liggett at

We'd like to hear about it, with photos. We know your co-workers would, too, because the number of hits to this blog spike when we run items about BJ alums.

Mary Beth quoted in Wall St. Journal article

The Beacon Journal's Mary Beth Breckenridge is quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about taking down Christmas decorations.  Click on the headline.

A media cartoon appropriate for the season

Charles Buffum, chief of our New York State Desk, purloined this season-appropriate cartoon by Ted Rall of Universal Press Syndicate.

Jekel named Times-Reporter publisher

Tom Jekel, who has guided the New Philadelphia-Dover Times-Reporter as interim publisher and editor since Oct. 8, Tuesday was named publisher of the newspaper.Jekel, who joined the company Sept. 3 as editor, was promoted to publisher by Kevin Kampman, \president of GateHouse Ohio, a division of The Times-Reporter’s parent company, GateHouse Media.

Jekel replaces Jac A. Clay, who had served as Times-Reporter publisher from December 2007 through October 2009, when he resigned to pursue other business opportunities.

Jekel, 57, previously served as general manager of community newspapers for the Indianapolis Star. He has a long career in journalism and the newspaper industry, starting in 1976 in his native Wisconsin and including newspaper work in Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

He is a 1975 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, holding a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. He is also a 2000 graduate of the American Press Institute Executive Development Program in Reston, Va.

Jekel and his wife Diane are temporarily residing in New Philadelphia while they look for a permanent home.

Click on the headline to read the full story..

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

McClatchy hit $4.29 this morning

McClatchy Company (MNI) exceeded the 10-day average volume in trading today.

At 10:32 AM ET, 1/05/2010

$4.29     +0.36     +9.16%

 3-Month Price Chart

Monday, January 04, 2010

Gannet job loss over a decade

Gannett will begin this decade with about 39,000 workers vs. 53,400 ten years ago.

"That's a loss of one out of every four Gannett jobs during the past decade," writes Jim Hopkins on his Gannett  blog.  Here's his chart:

Click on the headline to go to Jim's blog

Catching up with . . . Art Cullison

When  former BJ copy editor Art Cullison was asked for an update on his life, he phoned former BJ copy editor Tim Hayes and asked Tim to pass along this information (typing, Art told Tim, “is a chore” nowadays):

Retired copy editor (and assistant state editor and TV, movie and night club reviewer) Art Cullison and his bride of 67 years, Helen Louise, have been living for the past three years in an assisted living community in Erlanger, Ky., near their son Dick. Art uses a walker to get around and says reading is difficult. Still, he keeps up with the Beacon online, reading the headlines and checking the obits. He retired from the BJ in 1985 after 36 years.

Helen Louise, a retired Copley High teacher, suffers from Alzheimer's, but she joins Art in reading the paper and watching the news on television. Art says she still recognizes him and always has a smile for him.

H.L. was active in the League of Women Voters in Akron, having served as president and organizing and moderating candidates' nights.

The Cullisons were avid bridge players, but Art hasn't been able to find a game since moving. He plays cribbage with his grandson, and says he can't wait until April when baseball season begins. Also in April, Art will turn 90. Helen Louise will be 89 in June.

Their address is

3900 Riggs Avenue
Longhouse Room 204
Erlanger, KY 41018

Telephone: 859-342-4018


Art would appreciate hearing from former co-workers, by phone or by U.S. mail or by email at

A January 28, 2008 BJ Alums blog report, based on Mark Price’s BJ story, recalled League of Women Voters president Helen’s 1962 task as moderator of Akron’s 1st Neighborhood Forum. On the panel were Levi L. Smith, director of the Institute for Civic Education at the University of Akron; Mayor Edward O. Erickson, Paul Belcher, chairman of the mayor’s financial task force, and Neal Heintz, city finance director.

See  the BJ Alums blog story and photo.

Art was a ferocious defender of grammar and the English language. When Art and the late Hal Fry were on the BJ copy desk they might have formed the most learned pair west of the New York Times.

Personal Note: Once when I was Television Editor at the BJ, Art came over to my desk and opened with, “You sure talk funny.” Then he stopped dead in his vocal tracks when he realized that, yes, as a man with a cleft palate, I do “talk funny.” Eventually, Art recovered enough to make his point in a different way: Write stories so that you’re talking to the reader, not caught up in esoteric rules inflicted upon you during journalism school. I passed that idea along to reporters for decades in a slightly different manner: Write as if you are talking to your neighbor over the backyard fence. Don’t try to be a Hemingway or a Shakespeare. Make it easy for the reader to understand the story you’re telling, and the information easy to comprehend without a barrier of writing obfuscating (Art will love that word).

Art has his sense of humor, too. A June 09, 2007 BJ Alums blog article by Tom Moore reveals that:

Publisher Ben Maidenburg had forgotten his ID. When Ben came though the door, the guard asked him for his ID. Ben told him he'd forgotten it, but he assured the fellow that he worked there. The guard was not satisfied. He took Ben into the office and sitting at the old horse-shoe copy desk was copy editor Art Cullison.

“You know this fellow?” the guard asked.

Art looked at Ben and said with a straight face: “Never saw him before in my life!”

Ben had to go downstairs in the parking garage and come up through the lobby. But he did have a sense of humor, so Art didn't get the can.


Art was a regular at the monthly gathering of BJ alums at Papa Joe’s restaurant on Akron-Peninsula Road at Portage Trail Extension  as late as April 2007 till he and Helen moved to Erlanger, Kentucky three years ago.  (Retirees and former BJ staffers meet there at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month.}

At the Nov. 8, 2006, Papa Joe’s lunch laughfest, Art brought wife Helen because they were celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary that day.

A Nov. 4, 2005 BJ Alums article had a 1974 photo of Art and Helen enjoying a double celebration: Art’s induction into the BJ 25-Year Club on their 32nd wedding anniversary.

Click on the headline to see photos of Art and Helen Cullison.

Remember, to contact Art, it’s

3900 Riggs Avenue
Longhouse Room 204
Erlanger, KY 41018

Telephone: 859-342-4018


Curt Brown to give recital January 31

Former Beacon Journal reporter  J. Curt Brown, Organist/Music Director of New Life Episcopal Church. will have an organ recital Sunday, January 31, at the New Life Episcopal Church, 13118 Church Ave. NW, Uniontown.  The recital from 4 to 5 p.m. will be feature works by J. S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Louis Vierne and Dale Wood performed on Rodgers Organ. Reception will follow in fellowship hall.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Manchester native among 7 CIA agents killed

An Akron area ( Manchester)  native, 39-year-old Scott Michael Roberson,.  was among seven CIA officers killed in a suicide bombing Wednesday in Afghanistan, the family told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after receiving CIA oermission to grieve publicly.

A public memorial service is planned in Akron, his sister, Amy Messner of Cuyahoga Falls said.

The PD had 16 graphs and a photo of Roberson posted at 8:36 p.m. Saurday on  The Beacon Journal used a 69-word item under FirstWORD on page A1 Sunday

Click on the headline to read the PD story by Amanda Garrett.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Goodbye newspapers (from a September 2009 post)

A Sept. 2, 2009 BJ Alums blog story quoted a Princeton study about the effects of newspapers' decline on government corruption when there's no spotlight exposing their shady dealings by newspapers. It used the death of one of the two major newspapers in Cincinnati as a case study. Click on the headline to read the blog report.

Click here to download a PDF file on the Princeton University report.

Basically, as the "Goodbye newspapers is a change for worse"-headlined blog item below indicates, politicians and bureaucrats had a field day when Cincinnati lost the competitive incentive as a one-newspaper town.  The same could happen nationally.

Our nation's founders realized the importance of a vibrant and free press in keeping the crooks, political and otherwise, on their toes. That's why these really wise guys made freedom of the press the First Amendment.

The crooks, political and otherwise, are licking their chops at the prospect of doing their dirty work without having some newspaper reporter checking into their skulduggery. 

Who needs newspapers? We all do. Without newspapers, even with the other media still around, we will all pay the price for not having a cat around while the mice run amok.

Goodbye newspapers is a change for worse

Larry Froelich, former BJ copy desk chief, has called our attention to a fabulous story in the March, 2009 issue of New Republi\c.  The headline reveals the erssence of the story

Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers 
(Hello to a New Era of Corruption)
Why American politics and society 

are about to be changed for the worse.

It is a long article, but you should click on the headline to read it all.  Here are a few quotes we picked out in a quick read.

We take newspapers for granted. They have been so integral a part of daily life in America, so central to politics and culture and business, and so powerful and profitable in their own right, that it is easy to forget what a remarkable historical invention they are. Public goods are notoriously under-produced in the marketplace, and news is a public good--and yet, since the mid-nineteenth century, newspapers have produced news in abundance at a cheap price to readers and without need of direct subsidy.

More than any other medium, newspapers have been our eyes on the state, our check on private abuses, our civic alarm systems. It is true that they have often failed to perform those functions as well as they should have done. But whether they can continue to perform them at all is now in doubt.

News coverage is not all that newspapers have given us. They have lent the public a powerful means of leverage over the state, and this leverage is now at risk. If we take seriously the notion of newspapers as a fourth estate or a fourth branch of government, the end of the age of newspapers implies a change in our political system itself. Newspapers have helped to control corrupt tendencies in both government and business. If we are to avoid a new era of corruption, we are going to have to summon that power in other ways. Our new technologies do not retire our old responsibilities

The devastation is already substantial. At the Los Angeles Times, the cumulative effect of cutbacks has been to reduce its newsroom by one-half--and that was before its parent company, Tribune, declared bankruptcy. Another company weighed down by debt, the McClatchy chain, which includes The Sacramento Bee, The Miami Herald, and twenty-eight other dailies, has laid off one-quarter of its workforce in the past year; according to one executive, the editorial downsizing is under 20 percent but is now cutting "close to the bone."

Newspapers are also shrinking in numbers of pages, breadth of news coverage, features of various kinds, and home delivery of print editions. All over America, as newspaper revenues plummet--by the end of 2008, ad sales were down about 25 percent from three years earlier--publishers cannot seem to shed editors, reporters, and sections of their papers fast enough. And there is more pain to come.

Should we care? Some observers, confident of the blessings of technology, refuse to shed any tears for the traditional giants of journalism, on the grounds that their troubles are of their own making and of little consequence to the general welfare. In this view, regardless of whether newspapers successfully adapt to the Internet, new and better sources of news will continue developing online, and they will fill whatever void newspapers leave. Others are so angry at the mainstream media--the reviled "MSM"--that they see the economic misery of the press as a deserved comeuppance. Let the bastards suffer.

These reactions fail to take into account the immediate realities and the full ramifications of the crisis threatening newspaper journalism.

Whether the Internet will ever support general-interest journalism at a level comparable to newspapers, it would be foolish to predict. The reality is that resources for journalism are now disappearing from the old media faster than new media can develop them.

One danger of reduced news coverage is to the integrity of government. It is not just a speculative proposition that corruption is more likely to flourish when those in power have less reason to fear exposure. The World Bank produces an annual index of political corruption around the world, based on surveys of people who do business in each country. In a study published in 2003 in The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Alicia Adsera, Carles Boix, and Mark Payne examine the relationship between corruption and "free circulation of daily newspapers per person" (a measure of both news circulation and freedom of the press). Controlling for economic development, type of legal system, and other factors, they find a very strong association: the lower the free circulation of newspapers in a country, the higher it stands on the corruption index.

 Using different measures, they also find a similar relationship across states within the United States: the lower the news circulation, the greater the corruption. Another analysis published in 2006, a historical account by the economists Matthew Gentzkow, Edward L. Glaeser, and Claudia Goldin, suggests that the growth of a more information-oriented press may have been a factor in reducing government corruption in the United States between the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era.

These developments raise practical questions for anyone concerned about the future of American democracy. If the traditional ways of sustaining professional journalism are insufficient, what models are there to support the genuinely vital public functions that the press has traditionally performed?

For the past three hundred years, newspapers have been able to develop and flourish partly because their readers have almost never paid the full cost of production.

Former K-R editor, Guild leader Howell killed

Deborah Howell, a pioneering journalist who helped lead both major Twin Cities newspapers in the 1970s and '80s and later served as ombudsman for the Washington Post, died Friday after being hit by a car in New Zealand, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said.

Coleman, who is Howell's stepson, said the family received word that Howell, who was fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit New Zealand, was struck as she crossed a street near Blenheim, New Zealand. She was traveling with her husband, C. Peter Magrath, former president of the University of Minnesota.

Howell, 68, was city editor and later an assistant managing editor of the Minneapolis Star in the 1970s, and managing editor and executive editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the 1980s. Under her leadership, the Pioneer Press, then owned by Knight-Ridder, won two Pulitzer Prizes.

“She was a powerful force for good journalism," Coleman said.

While city editor at the Minneapolis Star, Howell also led the paper's Newspaper Guild unit. Later, when she moved from a union position to management, Howell said she "had to screw my head on a different way. But I think I was a better manager because I had been a union type, because I knew what it was we needed to do."

Click on the headline to read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article.

Friday, January 01, 2010

An annual report to our faithful blog viewers

This year roughly 438 items were posted on the blog and we had 46,466 visitors or an average of 3,872 per month or 129 per day.

The busiest week this year was March 6 with an average 157 visitors a day or 1,096 for the week.

The leanest week was July 4 with an average of 106 visitors a day or 739 for the week.,

A look back:

To see how the blog has grown, check out this December 31, 2005 post:

The BJ Retirees blog (web log) has caught on with some of you. We are averaging 28 visitors a day or nearly 200 each week. There have been more than 8,350 visitors since the blog started in July, 2004. There were only 1,120 visits in 2004 (the first six months) and 7,180 visits this year alone. There have been 349 items posted on the blog since the beginning including 88 the first six months and 259 this year. Visitors have taken a look at more than 11,000 pages on the blog since July 2004.

A bit of Blog History:

Harry Liggett,  a March, 1995 retiree of the News Desk,  started keeping a list that year of email addressess of retired and former BJ employees.  A corrected list was emailed each month along with obits and other BJ news. As the list grew, bulk mailing became cumbersone and also did not allow use of photos., A blog (web log)  was opened in July, 2004.  We have  viewers from LA, D.C.,  New York, Paris, Canada, New Zealand and other points around the globe..   News of Beacon Journal alums  along with. breaking news and photos about the Beacon Journal and other news media is posted daily  to the blog. Our website, established in September, 2006,  is used for longer items and commentary.  The name of the  blog and  website originally was BJ Retirees, The name was changed to BJ Alums on October 14, 2008 to better reflect our viewers.
Records:: 100,000th visit was October 31, 2008.  The 1776 post entered same day.

The number of visitors by month during the last year of this decade::

January    4,146
February    4,056
March    4,681
April    3,996
May    4,044
June    3,904
July    3,605
August    3,435
September    3,624
October    3,751
November    3,675
December    3,549