Friday, February 26, 2010

Newspaper Guild at BJ to vote on offer Friday

Members of the Newspaper Guild at the Beacon Journal will vote Friday on a tentative agreement reached with the newspaper.  Guild officers and management met today to finalize the offer.

Guild president Bob Demay said details will be provided to Guild members Wednesday and Thursday and members would vote all day Friday.  No details are to be released until members are informed, he said.

The Beacon Journal was asking the Guild to accept concessions that would equate to a 25 to 30 percent decrease in wages and benefits, including a 16.75 percent pay cut, a pension freeze, a larger share of health care costs and a change to sick pay that would be worse than what WalMart offers.

Chapter secretary Stephanie Warsmith said that the deal is what she calls a "concessionary contract", which she says the union was expecting.

The Guild represents about 85 reporters, copy editors, photographers, assistant editors, page designers, artists, sports statisticians, librarians and secretaries - a number slashed more than 50 percent over the past 10 years through layoffs, buyouts and attrition.

The newspaper cited poor advertising revenues in negotiations.

Meet Henry Edward Thomas

Monica Luraschi Thomas (copy desk) and Joe Thomas (national desk) welcomed Henry Edward Thomas on Friday, Feb. 5, arriving at Akron City Hospital just as that weekend's big snowstorm was beginning. Three weeks along now, Henry and Mom and Dad are doing well, as are siblings Andy and Ella (5) and Susie (2).

Update on Black’s purchase in Honolulu

David Black, center left, majority owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and Dennis Francis, publisher of the Star-Bulletin and MidWeek, met with staffers yesterday in the Star-Bulletin newsroom to announce plans to buy The Honolulu Advertiser. [Photo by Dennis Oda of Star Bulletin]

The story this morning in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin by Criag Girma was:

Sign of the times

Summary: Black plans one newspaper town and unions will have to renegotiate.

Here are the lead graphs

Honolulu will likely join most other U.S. cities with only one daily newspaper after the owners of the smaller Honolulu Star-Bulletin agreed to buy its longtime rival The Honolulu Advertiser.

The agreement for Oahu Publications Inc., which owns the Star-Bulletin and MidWeek, to acquire the Advertiser was announced yesterday in simultaneous meetings in both newsrooms.

"We're going to go from two papers to one, most likely," Star-Bulletin majority owner David Black said.

The sale will lead to layoffs when and if the papers are combined, although the number of layoffs has not been determined. The Advertiser has about 600 employees, with 120 people in the newsroom. The Star-Bulletin and MidWeek have about 300 employees with about 75 in the newsroom.

Agreement was announced by Oahu Publications and Gannett, owner of the Advertiser.
In partnership with

The sale must still be approved by the Department of Justice, which has asked Oahu Publications owner David Black to put the Star-Bulletin up for sale to see whether a buyer will come forward.

It is the same condition required of Advertiser owner Gannett Co. nine years ago when Gannett attempted to end the joint operating agreement to publish both papers and tried to shut down the Star-Bulletin.

At that time Black stepped forward to buy the Star-Bulletin for $10,000 and, in a separate deal, also purchased MidWeek and its presses.

Both daily papers have struggled since then with the decline in newspaper advertising and the recent recession.

Black said he believes it is unlikely that a buyer will purchase the Star-Bulletin and agree to keep publishing the paper.

"It's just too expensive," Black said. "We are a long way from breaking even."

If a qualified buyer is not found, then the papers will be merged after the sale is completed in the second quarter of 2010.


» Both daily papers will continue to publish separately for four to six months or possibly longer depending on the technical hurdles of merging the papers.

» The Star-Bulletin will be put up for sale to satisfy anti-trust concerns. If there are no buyers, the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin will be merged into one paper. MidWeek will continue its current operations.

» If there is a qualified buyer by early April, the Star-Bulletin will be sold and will publish under new management.

» If the Advertiser sale is approved by the Justice Department, the deal will close sometime between April and June. Terms of the deal were not announced.

» There will be layoffs if the papers are are combined, but it is unclear how many jobs will be lost.
"It's a sad day when we can't keep two good papers running in a city of this size," Black said.

Click on the headline to read the full story

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sportswriter Morgan is donning White Hat

The Beacon Journal is losing another sports writer.  The latest report from High and Exchange Street is that David Lee Morgan has left the newspaper to work for White Hat Management.

White Hat Management is the largest for-profit charter school operator in Ohio and third largest nationwide. The company contracts and assists non-profit corporations that hold charters or see a need for a charter school in their community. White Hat Management operates over 50 schools in six states.

We are attempting to get confirmation of  this information from both Morgan and White Hat.

BJ owner Black to own both Honolulu papers

Oahu Publications, Inc., the owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Midweek and other weekly newspapers and magazines, will acquire The Honolulu Advertiser. The majority shareholder of Oahu  is Sound Publishing Holding Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press Ltd.

BJ owner David Black is chairman of OPI.

Black thus obtains ownership of both Honolulu newspapers.

The "asset purchase agreement" means Oahu Publications acquire The Advertiser's Web site, nondaily publications and Gannett's interest in Gannett will maintain its ownership of 605 Kapiolani Blvd., which Gannett officials said will be offered for sale.

"We have been very pleased and proud to be part of the Hawaii journalism community all these years but felt OPI's offer to buy The Advertiser and its related assets was the right course for Gannett at this time," said Bob Dickey, president of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing. "We greatly appreciate all of the hard work and contributions our employees have made and know that they will continue to do a terrific job serving this market in the years to come."

"We are pleased to be able to purchase The Advertiser, a strong and excellent newspaper. We will endeavor to continue the tradition of good Hawaiian newspaper stewardship as exemplified in modern times by Twigg Smith and Gannett," said David Black, chairman of OPI.

The sale is subject to regulatory and other approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010. Because the Star Bulletin and The Honolulu Advertiser are daily newspaper competitors, OPI has discussed the purchase of The Advertiser with the Department of Justice and the Attorney General of Hawaii.

The Honolulu Advertiser was founded in 1856. Gannett purchased the paper in 1993.

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites;, the nation's top employment site;; and more than 80 local sites. Gannett publishes 83 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA Today, the nation's largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 650 magazines and other nondailies including USA Weekend. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom's second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites.

OPI is a private company that owns and publishes the Star-Bulletin daily newspaper, Midweek and other weekly newspapers and magazines. OPI also manages Internet sites and is engaged in commercial printing. The company was established in 2001. Its majority shareholder is Sound Publishing Holding Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press Ltd. Local shareholders include Jeffrey and Lynn Watanabe, Duane Kurisu, Larry and Claire Johnson, Island Holdings Inc., Daniel Case, and CS Wo and Sons Ltd.

'It's always been a lousy business'

Steve Buttry, who received high praise when he  was named editor of the year by Editor & Publisher, is making the switch to digital media.

His wife, Mimi Johnson, is not a bad writer herself as you will see if you read her sad tale of why she
doesn’t read the newspaper anymore and uses her husband’s career to explore the newspaper business.

‘The truth is, it’s always been a lousy business,” she writes. ‘My husband, Steve Buttry, has spent his 38-year professional life working in the newspaper business. After all that time, he’s worn out.

In her musings about husband  Steve, she writes about a young reporter who gave the job everything, to the point that he sometimes just fell asleep in the newsroom. One morning an editor walked in to find him, bleary eyed, just waking. Shaking her head, the editor told him, Son, you can love this business with everything you’ve got. Just don’t forget that it is never, ever, going to love you back.

Biuttry is going to work for Allbritton which  launched The Politico, a political news website and newspaper on January 23, 2007, the day of the 2007 State of the Union Address. Last October,, Allbritton announced that it planned to launch an online-only news site for the Washington, D.C., area in spring, 2010. The site "will build on a merger of the Web pages now fielded by the company's television stations, WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and its cable sibling, NewsChannel 8," according to the Washington Post. Jim Brady, a former Post editor, will run the site, which does not yet have a name.

Read Mimi’s Musings

Read the Editor & Publisher article.

“Did it ever occur to you that even the most deathless love could wear out?”

                  ~ Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

KSU shooting site on Historic Register

The National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation's historic places, has added the site of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University to the list today.

Kent State University President Lester Lefton says its only appropriate that the National Register of Historic Places would designate the site of the May 4th Kent State shootings as the latest national historic site. Lefton says the Kent State shootings in which four students died and nine were wounded marked a turning point in American history.

Patrick Andrus, the reviewer with the National Register of Historical Places, commented that the submission authored by four Kent State faculty members was very well done. "It really speaks for itself, demonstrating the exceptional importance of the events that took place at Kent State,"

Andrus said. "It did a good job of providing the historical significance in the context of the anti-war movement and the later impact and significance the events had in American politics."
Andrus also commented that for a site less than 50 years old to be listed shows the exceptional importance of the Kent State Shootings Site.

"This announcement is wonderful news as we approach the 40th commemoration this year," said Laura Davis, an English professor at Kent State and one of the four co-authors of the application to make the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She was a freshman at Kent State when the May 4 events occurred. "What happened here at Kent State was an important part of American history, and 40 years later, we continue to learn from it," she said.
On May 4, 1970, Kent State was placed in an international spotlight after a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard on campus ended in tragedy when the guard shot and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students.

The May 4, 1970, Kent State Shootings Site was proposed for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places because of events associated with it, although they happened less than 50 years ago, were nationally significant. May 4 caused the largest student strike in United States history. It increased recruitment for the movement against the Vietnam War and affected public opinion about the war. It created a legal precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court during the trials subsequent to the shootings. It also attained iconic status as a result of a government confronting protesting citizens with unreasonable deadly force.

The May 4, 1970, Shootings Site covers 17.4 acres of the Kent State campus, comprising the Commons, Blanket Hill, the Prentice Hall parking lot and the Practice Field. The site is an area within which the Ohio National Guard, student protestors and an active audience of observers and/or sympathizers ebbed and flowed across a central portion of the campus, beginning at approximately 11 a.m. and ending at approximately 1:30 p.m., May 4, 1970.

Visitors to the campus will be able to walk the steps of that history when the May 4 Walking Tour is dedicated on May 4, 2010, for the 40th commemoration. The Walking Tour features historic site trail markers and narration by notable civil rights activist Julian Bond.

Visitors also will be able to view the design of the future May 4 Visitors Center and can follow its progress at

For more information on the 40th May 4 Commemoration at Kent State University, visit 

A memorial on our website lists a number of links to other May 4 information.

ABC news to cut as many as 400 jobs

ABC News is poised to make a major round of cuts that will reduce the size of the news division by as much as 20% and radically reorder the network’s traditional approach to news gathering.

Forced to belt-tighten by the weak advertising market, network executives have opted to restructure the labor-heavy newsroom from top to bottom in favor of a leaner, more nimble operation, according to multiple sources. Many of those remaining in the pared-down news division will be expected to both produce and shoot their own stories, acting as “one-man bands,” a model increasingly being adopted in television news.

The process is expected to begin Wednesday morning when employees receive a letter asking for volunteers to take buyouts and leave the company. Newsroom employees have heard that the network is seeking to shrink the newsroom by as many as 300 positions, about 20% of the 1,400-person staff. If not enough employees volunteer to leave, layoffs are likely to follow.

For the last month, the newsroom has been rife with rumors about the cutbacks, which are poised to be the most dramatic reshaping of ABC News since Roone Arledge revolutionized the division by recruiting a team of high-wattage anchors and launching new franchises during his 20-year tenure as news president. Anxious staffers are not only fearful about losing their jobs but also are apprehensive about, if they remain, how the restructuring will affect their ability to chase big stories and swarm major news events.

The above is the first four graphs from the Los Angeles Times story. Click the headline to read the rest.

Paynter hired for plan to improve government

Former Beacon Journal and Plain Dealer investigative reporter Bob Paynter has been hired by EfficientGovNow to help explain the role local government plays in economic competitiveness. Paynter got a two-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

EfficientGovNow was established by the Ohio Senate to work up a report on how residents can be
encouraged to offer solutions to local government to be more efficient and effective. The Senate wants the report by July 1.

The Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration will solicit suggestions from the public and officials at 10:30 am. Friday in the Chapel at Malone College’s Johnson Center in Canton.

The EfficientGovNow release says that Bob “will be writing stories over the next few months about important issues related to local government efficiency . . . His coverage is just the first step in an innovative effort to engage residents to offer solutions to local government on how to be more efficient and effective.”

The Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration is charged with reporting its findings and recommendations to the Ohio Senate president, the Ohio House speaker and Gov. Ted Strickland by July 1. Then the commission will disband.

Lucas County auditor Anita Lopez and Lake County Commissioner Daniel Troy co-chair the commission, made up of politicians and other power figures around the state.

Paynter started Investigative Communications, which bills itself as providing “the investigative, research and communication needs of attorneys and other public, private, corporate and non-profit clients in the areas of fact and issue analysis and presentation.” You want it; Paynter digs it up.

Paynter started Investigative Communications in 2009 after taking a “modest buyout offer” from the Plain Dealer when it failed to support him over his “Justice Blinded; Race, Drugs and Our Legal System" series. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason put pressure on the PD brass, which caved. Paynter left the day after the PD’s 2008 lack of support. Columbia Journalism Review attacked the PD for its backdown.

Bob was on the BJ team that won a 1994 Pulitzer Prize for public service for its series, “A Question of Color,” about race in the Akron area. Former BJ and PD editor Stuart Warner, who supervised the “Question of Color” project, also was involved in the BJ’s Goodyear greenmail by Goldsmith series, which brought the BJ another Pulitzer in 1987.

University of Missouri graduate Paynter was at the BJ for 13 years after a year in 1986 with the Dallas Morning News. He was at the PD for 9 years.

Click on the headline to see the EfficientGovNow news release on Paynter’s hiring.

See the news release on Friday morning’s public meeting at Malone College.

See Paynter’s website Investigative Communications.

Read the BJ Alums blog post on Paynter’s rent-a-reporter company.

Read the  BJ Alums  story about the Columbia Journalism Review criticizing the PD for not backing Paynter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Widow of John Deskovich dies

Ann Deskovich, 88, passed away on February 19, 2010.

She was the wife of the late John Deskovich, retired BJ maintenance department employee.

She was an Akron resident, and long time member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, John Deskovich, Sr.; son and daughter-in-law, John Jr. and Sandy Deskovich; daughter, and son-in-law, Sophie and Gene Phillips. Her survivors include son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Mary Deskovich; daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Ron Krosnick; nine grand children; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great- grandson; and brother, Ted Rastok.

Calling hours will be on Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home (811 Grant St.). Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12 noon on Tuesday at St. Paul's Catholic Church followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's a small world but there's a BIG correction to the Patton-"WVU" story

I got this email from Elizabeth Patton, once editor of Sidebar, the Beacon Journal's magazine for employees and retirees:

John, happened to be in town Fri evening and met up with some very nice young men from W.VA’s baseball team who were in town to play Young Harris College, Fri, Sat and Sunday. All were very friendly and were enjoying our “good” weather with temps of 50-55.

The team was in Blairsville (GA, where Elizabeth lives) and Young Harris (GA) College is just a few miles away. We were at Papa’s Pizza where they were enjoying all you can eat pizza buffet. The owner was having a time trying to keep the buffet full. Those guys could eat!!!!

It seems they are snowed in back home and can’t play at all so they are on a Southern swing and will head to Carolina Monday. Nice to see them. Thought I would let you know.


= = = = = = = = = =

As it turns out, this was NOT the WVU team but the Potomac State team, which previously was a junor college but now is Potomac State College of WVU, one of the two-year satellite campuses for the main WVU in Morgantown.

When I told Elizabeth about the correct name of the team she replied: "I guess I was confused because the bus they were traveling in said West Virginia Mountaineers." That would have confused me, too, because the Potomac State team's nickname is the Catamounts, named after the cougar. But Potomac State athletes have "WVU" on everything, including, obviously, the team bus.

Like many northern teams, including the University of Akron, WVU is playing in the south for several weeks before it's safe to return home to Morgantown weather. But the WVU team from Morgantown was playing in Conway, SC, this weekend. Sorry for the mixup.

Blairsville is 20 miles from North Carolina’s western border. Elizabeth's daughter, Cynthia, is in Marietta, GA and Elizabeth's son, Michael, in Dallas, GA, both not all that far from Atlanta. Elizabeth's friend, BJ Advertising retiree Sue Murphy, lives in Hilton Head, SC.

Keeping with the "small world" theme, the 16-year head coach of the West Virginia University baseball team, Greg Van Zant, is the son of Jim Van Zant, who was sports editor of the Williamson, West Virginia, Daily News before and after I held the job, my first after my graduation from WVU. Jim was away in the Army. When he returned to his old job, I moved over to City Editor because C.T. Mitchell, fortunately for me, created another opening when he left for the Huntington, WV Advertiser, the afternoon newspaper.

My apologies for not checking better. I looked at the WVU schedule and thought the Young Harris games were exhibitions that don't show up on the schedule. As Harry Liggett taught me long ago, if you assume then you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me." Harry is right again.

To see an earlier BJ Alums post on Elizabeth, click on the headline. If you click on the headline of the earlier story, you'll see photos of Elizabeth and family dog Cookie.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Place for comments is below the post

This blog is not the place for commentary.  Just the news please. That’s why there is a spot to leave comments at the bottom of each post.  This commentary then is meant only to be a teaser for comment you can tack on at the bottom.

The big news in Cleveland sports today is the trade which brought Andtwan James of the Washington Wizards to the Cavaliers and the 118-116  loss to the Denver Nuggets in a duel between LeBron James and Caxrmelo Anthony.

One TV anchor, not a sports guy, already was saying.  “Ah, haw. You traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas and already the Cavs are losing.”

Many sports fans also are also fearful that the loss of sports columnist Pat Mcmanamon at the Beacon Journal will cause a loss in reading material.

So  today seems a good day for a reality check.

Mcmanamon is now working for AOL Fan House, but you can still read him online at

Today he has two columns.  One is headlined

Cavaliers Confident after James trade

The other:

Anthony, Nuggets Give LeBron and Cavs a Dose of Reality

Marla Ridenour, who seems to have inherited Pat’s space on the BJ, chimed in with these thoughts:

“But no one will care about Wednesday's trade for Washington Wizards' All-Star forward Antawn Jamison if the Cavs aren't riding down Euclid Avenue this June in a championship parade that could upstage the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl Mardi Gras. No one will care if LeBron James leaves town. And it might take a championship to keep James from leaving town.”

It seems appropriate that a sports writer named Fortune also got involved.

The BJ’s Jonas Fortune writes about the vacant black frame, where Zydrunas Ilgauskas' photo used to be positioned, that seemed to catch the eye of all who walked past.

And also, George Thomas writes acbout Antawn Jamison relishing a big opportunity.

Click on those underlined links and then add your comment  BUT sign your name like the four above do when giving their opinions.

Guild ad in Star-Trib salutes those who lost jobs

A New York Times item sent to us by Charles Buffum is headlined "A Newseoom'a Salute to Its Depaerted."  It tells aboutl the uunusual ad placed in the Minneaplois Star Tribune by the Newspaper Guild to salute employees who lost their job in a wave of staff cuts.  Here is the article:

Newspapers occasionally publish ads congratulating themselves for various achievements. But a most unusual ad appeared last week in The Star Tribune of Minneapolis with a less upbeat message, honoring - and naming - newsroom employees who had left the newspaper in wave after wave of staff cuts.

The ad was conceived, designed and paid for by the colleagues they had left behind, who still put out the paper.

The Star Tribune has endured more than its share of turmoil, changing hands twice since 2006 - the second time after emerging from bankruptcy. A publisher was forced out in 2007 over accusations of unethical. Busmess practices, amid a lawsuit that cost the paper millions. Layoffs and buyouts cut the number of employees in half in the span of a few years. The newsroom contracted to about 250 people from about 400. The employees who remain have absorbed pay and benefit cuts.

The latest staff cut prompted a byline strike, in which reporters withheld their names from articles, late last month, organized by the Newspaper Guild.

Mary Abbe, an arts critic, said it was around that time thar.she had the idea for the ad.

"I just thought, ‘What can we do that is a gesture of support for these people?'" she said. "A byline strike is kind of an internal concept that doesn't really mean anything to our readers."

Jane Friedmann, a reporter and researcher, designed the ad, whiclh noted the departure of many people andi said, "We thank especially the more.than 140 newsroom employees who have left the paper in the past three years," followed by a list of names.

Employees took up a collection to cover the $3,225 cost of placing the ad. "Not everybody participateq,'. Ms. Abbe said. "There were people who didn’t want to give money back to the company.”

David Brauer, who writes ,on local media for the Web site Minnpost,.com, called it "feeding the hand that bites you."

But the ad does not criticize .the Star Tribune's management or ownership, past or present, and the paper did not take issue with it.

 "We know that the economic circumsdtances are frankly awful, so the issue. was not to slap the company,” Ms. Abbe said. “We want the company to succeed.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cleveland tops America's Most Miserable Cities

This has nothing to do with the news media, but everyone will be talking about the Forbes report which lists Cleveland as America’s most miserable city.. Here’s the Forbes report:

The city of Cleveland has had a colorful history. The Cuyahoga River, which runs through the city, famously caught fire in 1969 thanks to rampant pollution, and it wasn't the first time. In 1978 it became the first U.S. city to default on its debts since the Great Depression. Cleveland sports fans have had to endure more anguish than those in any other city. The city has been dubbed with a less than endearing nickname: the Mistake by the Lake.

This year Cleveland takes the top spot in our third annual ranking of America's Most Miserable Cities. Cleveland secured the position thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams (Cavaliers of the NBA excepted).

Misery was on the rise around the country last year. Sure the stock market was up big, but so were unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. Meanwhile housing prices, the U.S. dollar and approval ratings for Congress continued their downward spiral.

The widely tracked Misery Index initiated by economist Arthur Okun, which combines unemployment and inflation rates started 2009 at 7.3 and rose to 12.7 by the end of the year thanks to soaring joblessness. That is the highest level since 1983.

Our Misery Measure takes into account unemployment, as well as eight other issues that cause people anguish. The metrics include taxes (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past two years. We also factored in two indexes put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that gauge weather and Superfund pollution sites. Lastly we considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each area as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

We expanded the list of cities under consideration this year to include the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas (in years past we've examined 150), which led to a shuffling in the ranks. Any area with a population of more than 245,000 was eligible.

Cleveland nabbed the top spot as a result of poor ratings across the board. It was the only city that fell in the bottom half of the rankings in all nine categories. Many residents are heading for greener pastures. There has been a net migration out of the Cleveland metro area of 71,000 people over the past five years. Population for the city itself has been on a steady decline and is now less than half of it what it was 50 years ago.

Cleveland ranked near the bottom when looking at corruption. Northern Ohio has seen 309 public officials convicted of crimes over the past 10 years according to the Justice Department. A current FBI investigation of public officials in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) has ensnared more than two dozen government employees and businessmen on charges including bribery, fraud and tax evasion.

McClatchy Newspapers announce awards

The Miami Herald won two McClatchy Newspapers excellence awards -- one for its iPhone apps and the other for an investigation into county spending. Jonathan S. Landay of McClatchy's Washington Bureau was honored for his account of an ambush he survived while embedded in Afghanistan.  Click on the headline to read the     McClatchy press release

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marilynn on A1 again: Double delight

A page 1 story that was a natural to turn into a BJ Alums blog item was written by a former BJ staffer and included a photo of the granddaughter of two former Beacon Journal staffers.

Former Beacon Journal reporter Marilynn Marchione,  now the medical writer for the Associated Press, is no stranger to the  BJ front page. She was there again today with another fabulous story of gene testing.  A couple of years ago she reported that  a  rare, inherited gene may have caused the Hatfield-McCoy fued.

Today’s story reports more people are using genetic testing to decide whether to have children.  The photo shows Thad and Beth Meese with their daughter Julia, 2.  Beth is the daughter of Art Krummel and Charene Nevada.

The story notes that Beth and Thad were stunned to learn during her second pregnancy that they carried the genes that can cause cystic fibrosis. Tests showed this would not be the case, but they have decided against having a third child or to screen embyos if they do.

“I feel like we got lucky” and should not tempt fate again, Beth said.

Read the story.  Be sure to click on “view larger version” of the photo to get a good glimpse of beautiful granddaughter Julia.

Read the original story on Hatfield-McCoy

Check the blog story of the Hatffield-McCoy story by Marilynn or just type “Marchione” in the blog search box at upper left to read previous blog items about her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some added notes on Joan Morris

UPDATE: Correct date is 1927.  Nancy's information came from obituary which listed her age as 73.   Birthdate on funeral home memorial is correct. She was 82 at the time of her death


This post from Nancy (Bonar) Yockey provides some personal information not included in the memorial posted earlier. Nancy points out that Joan was born in 1937 and not 1927 as listed in her memorial. 

Bud Morris' widow, Joan, 73, died January 22 of cancer in the Lillian, Alabama, country home they so enjoyed. Joan had chosen at-home hospice care. At her side, as they had been for several weeks, were children Ann Miner Morris and Gary Morris.

Joan's memorial service was January 30, exactly 10 years after Bud lost his cancer battle. (The ashes of this sweet, fun,  gracious couple are now together.) They had been married 50 years when Bud died in 2000.

Many of us have wonderful memories of working at the ABJ with Bud, the women playing bridge with Joan, and gathering for socials at the Morris' farm home on South Medina Line Road. And, some of us have recollections of being entertained in Lillian and of their menagerie -- horses, dogs and cats and strays that loved the barn.

Among family pets when the Morrises lived on Cloverfield Drive in Copley was Gary's rooster, "Buddy." (Joan had given in to Gary's logic: "If I get a CHICKEN, we can eat the eggs." This would come to roost. Buddy not only awakened neighbors with his crack-of-dawn "cock-a-doodle-doo," but he had a very strong dislike of women to the point of trying to peck off their heads. To go from the front door to the street, Ann had to carry a broom to ward off Buddy's attacks.

Before the Morrises vacationed, Bob Feldkamp had agreed to check the house and pets. He tried, but failed, to put a collar/leash on Buddy to take the now hysterical  rooster for a walk. It was a Bud prank and for years they, and Beacon Journal colleagues, laughed about it.

A Mansfield native and Bowling Green University student, Joan moved to Texas where she met and married Bud in 1949. In late 1950, they moved to.Akron when Bud got a job in the ABJ editorial art department. He retired as art director in ('83???, and in 1987, they moved to Lillian, in part, to be near some of Joan's close relatives. At their rural home, there were horses for Joan to ride, a barn and its meadow to keep clean and pecan trees to harvest, Both were active with community groups and events. Joan, known as a terrific crafter, volunteered with the Foley Public Library and Foley Womens Club. Bud's donated illustrations graced many brochures and fliers, including for food festivals and Gulfport's annual Mullet-tossing event. (The fish are already dead.)

Ann Morris Miner and husband, Glenn, have two daughters, Jane, 19, and Erin, 23. They both inherited their grandmother Joan's talent for baking and cooking, and Jane, for horseback riding. Ann, a website designer, and Gary, a surveyor for a Houston contractor, acquired both of their parents' artistic talents. If you're a train enthusiast, check some of his photos --  Freedom train across America  and  Akron/Barberton train cluster  Ann's website designs can be seen at and

As Joan's memorial program reads, "Getting to Heaven is on horseback." Now riding with Bud.

Should you wish, memorials may be made in Joan's name to:

Odyssey Hospice Healthcare
9805 Millwood Circle
Suite D
Daphne, ALA  36526
(251) 478-9900
United Methodist Church
12770 S. Perdido St.
Lillian, ALA 36549
American Cancer Society
19059 S, Grenno Rd.
Fairhope, ALA 36532

Contact Info, Morris Children;
Ann Morris Miner
                                   cell  724-612-1768 (she returns to Pittsburgh Feb. 23)

Gary Morris  

Catching up with . . . Cecily Dray

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Cecily Dray, retired printer Terry Dray’s widow, has decided to stay in their Avon Park, Florida, home rather than move back to Massillon, as the children encouraged her to do. Massillon native Terry died Oct. 25, 2009 at the age of 70. He was a BJ printer for 33 years.

Paula and I visited Cecily in Avon Park during our Jan. 30-Feb. 13 annual stay on Siesta Key, off Sarasota , and were treated to lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Cecily says she has so many friends, including fellow Resurrection Lutheran Church members, from their nine years in Avon Park. They came to play golf, then bought their Avon Park house to rent to golfers but eventually decided to live in it year-around.

Terry loved to play golf. He golfed nine times a week, every day and twice on Saturdays and Sundays. He was good at it. On the wall of their Avon Park home are framed certificates and trophies for his FIVE holes-in-one! He’s only nine behind Tiger Woods and light years ahead of the rest of us. Cecily said she "played at it" three days a week. Photos of their life together fill the walls.

Cecily and Terry, who both have children from their previous marriages, met at the ITU union hall because Cecily was hired at Exchange Printing and had to fill out union papers. Terry was deeply involved with union work.

Terry's daughters by his late wife Patricia are Terri Snyder (48), Cathy Kauffman (46) and Cindy Gottfried (44). They live in Massillon within a few blocks of each other. So does Cecily’s daughter, Melissa Hardesty (46). Cecily’s son, Sean Gaffney (47), lives in Zephyrhills, Florida and works as a financial analyst for Price Waterhouse in Tampa. Terri and Cindy bought the Massillon store after Terry and Cecily moved to Florida. Cathy is an office manager for Land o'Lakes and Melissa is a billing specialist for a drug store chain.

The SportSStuf store, in Towne Plaza in Massillon, specializes in retail and wholesale screen printing and custom embroidery. The front of the store is retail and the work is done in an area behind the retail operation.

Terry and Cecily mortgaged their Massillon house to open the store in 1996 while both were employed elsewhere. “At the end of the first year,” Cecily said, “we thought there wouldn't be a second year. Slowly but surely we built it into a very nice business. We sold it to Terri and Cindy who had worked with us and knew the business. Times are tough financially but they are still able to pay the bills, mainly through the wholesale side of the business because they supply other similar stores in the area and do a lot of company orders.”

Terry and Cecily received a Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Community of Massillon.

For their 25th wedding anniversary Cecily wrote this poem, which she repeated at his memorial service:


We were both printers, a man's field Terry would say,
when we met in the union hall on a cold Ohio day.
He was a union officer, a high mucky muck,
I had to pay union dues, wasn't that luck!
Printers were he-men, he knew that was so,
they were named Bubba, Big Jim and Roy Joe.

Our meeting was doomed, it's so sad to say,
I thought he was pompous, he thought I was "gay."
"Call if you need me," he said with a smirk.
Then left town for a golf trip...he was such a jerk!

But God, in his wisdom, He graced us with smiles,
And soon there emerged a romance of miles.
He drove every day, 60 miles, little sleep,
And even back then, gasoline wasn't cheap.

He sent lavender roses, a path to my heart,
and redeemed himself nicely for a very rude start.
Two months and counting, love in bloom, true and deep,
He proposed, "Marry me! I can't eat, I can't sleep!"
While he thought to himself, gasoline isn't cheap.

So we married in June, lavender roses galore,
And vowed we would face what life held in store.
Together we founded a new family,
Four teen girls, and one boy, it was seldom glee.

But we laughed, cried and loved,
As God smiled from above,
And with His wonderful grace,
We've arrived at this place.

So we thank you dear friends for joining us here,
Cherish your loved ones, hold them close, they are dear.
After 29 years, our love still runs deep.
And I don't have to tell you
Gasoline's still not cheap!

God's blessings to you and yours for joining us here
in celebration of life.


My late wife Monia and later Paula and I would have reunions with Terry and Cecily during our February stays on Siesta Key. Terry and Cecily drove about 90 minutes each way from Avon Park for the get-togethers. We would sit on the deck overlooking the beach and recall our BJ days together. Dave and Gina White, and Don Bandy, would join us. At times during my Sea Castle stays I would run into another Composing retiree, Don Pack, who cleaned the pool and lived in Sarasota.

Paula and I didn’t have our annual face-to-face reunions with Don Bandy and the Whites this year, although I did talk by phone with all three while we were on Siesta Key. Even with the coldest and rainiest of my 13 Florida Februaries, the Sarasota area has a plethora of events that enabled us to:

-- Watch hundreds of manatees huddle in and dozens of spotted eagle rays leap three feet out of the 75-degree water near the Tampa Electric plant discharge.
-- Take in Greek festivals in St. Petersburg and Sarasota and visit the Greek sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs.
-- Watch Lipizzaner stallions perform at their permanent home in Myakka City and take in a water ski show on Sarasota Bay.
-- Attend brass and jazz concerts and a few days later a Valentine’s dance at First Methodist Church in downtown Sarasota.
-- Listen to former world-traveling jazz pianist/singer Lillette Jenkins Wisner at a senior center.
-- Visit both the Ringling Art Museum and the Ringling Circus museum.
-- Listen to free outdoor country music at Phillippi Estate Park in Sarasota.
-- Lunch on the St. Petersburg pier.
-- Visit my late wife Monia’s uncle in New Port Richey and Paula’s aunts in Orlando and Tampa.

And, on the way home, I met West Virginia University 1950s basketball star Willie Akers at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. His teammate was Jerry West. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

Click on the headline to see photos of Cecily Dray and other pictures of our trip.

See Terry’s obituary in the BJ Alums blog.

Read my October 2009 BJ Alums tribute to Terry, who was my Composing makeup man when I was assistant State Desk editor, later newsroom makeup man and still later TV Editor.

Memorial to Joan Morris 1927 - 2010

[Click images  to enlarge this memorial to Joan]

Joan Elizabeth Morris
March 30, 1927  – January 22, 2010

Joan Elizabeth VanTilburg was born to Curtis and Fern VanTilburg in Mansfield, Ohio. She attended Bowling Green State University for two years then moved to Houston, Texas, where she met her future husband, Clyde "Bud" Morris.

They married in 1950 and  returned to  Ohio where they lived near Akron until \987 when they moved to Lillian, Alabama. Once in the sunny South, oan became very active in Foley  Women’ Club, Friends of  the Foley Public Library and the Blue Ribbon Team at South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. She loved living in the country with her horses, dogs and cats.

She leaves to remember  her with love: son Gary Morris of Houston, Texas; daughter Ann and husband Glenn Miner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; granddaughters Erin and Jane Miner; sister and brother-in-law Margaret and Robert Scott of Perdido Beach; nieces Susan Scott Teare )Pensacola(, Kathy Scott Richardson )Tallahassee(, Joann Scott Milford )Tallahassee( and their families. Memorial offerings may be made to Odyssey Health Care in Daphne, American Cancer Society, or Lillian United Methodist Church.

            "The way to Heaven is on horseback."

Services were Saturday, January 30.2010 at Lillian United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. James A. Belcher, pastor, officiating.

Joan Morris, widow of Bud, dies in Alabama

Joan Morris, widow of Beacon Journal chief artist Clyde "Bud"  Morris,  died January 22 of cancer  in their Lillian, Alabama, home..The memorial service was January 30, the exact day 10 years ago of Bud's death to cancer.

Morris' daughter, Ann of Pittsburgh, and son, Gary of Texas, were with their mother, as was the hospice nurse, before and during Joan's death,

This information was provided by Nancy (Yockey) Bonar.  Checking for more information but could not locate an obituary.

Here is a hand drawn postcard greeting Bud sent to Fran Murphey in 1991.  The card was spotted on Ebay by Ken Krause and published in a previous blog article.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We're not as tough in snow as we once were in our Beacon Journal workdays

Only two BJ retirees made it to Papa Joe's for the monthly lunch -- 1 p.m. second Wednesday of the month, if you're interested.

One of those, Pat Dougherty, emailed:

Only 2 retirees, Pat Dougherty (Engraving) and Gene McClellan (Printer), ventured into the snow to meet at Papa Joe's Wednesday afternoon. We spent much of our time remembering past blizzards when many of our colleagues walked to work through the snow just to make sure the paper got out on time. We recalled seeing a picture in Tower Topics of Jim Darr's high-wheeled garden tractor that he used to get to work during a blizzard sitting in the parking deck. Jim was the press room superintendent for many years.

"Hope to see a few more faces next month.

"Pat Dougherty"


The twosome broke the Papa Joe's low attendance record of 3 that was set during another snowy time of Jan. 14, 2009.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stuart Warner writes Jock: A Coach’s Story

Jock: A Coach’s Story is a biography by Stuart Warner of Jock Sutherland, one of Kentucky's most successful, respected, and controversial high school basketball coaches.   

Born a stone’s throw from the University of Kentucky’s Alumni Gym, Jock Sutherland grew up to become one of the most successful and respected coaches in Kentucky High School basketball.  As
an Alabama assistant coach under C.M. Newton, he was a groundbreaker in the integration of college sports when he recruited Wendell Hudson, the first black to play a varsity sport for the University of Alabama.

During Sutherland's high school coaching career he took teams from three different schools to Kentucky's Sweet Sixteen. He retired from coaching in 1979 after his Lafayette team won the state tournament, and for twenty years worked as a color man for WHAS sports broadcasts.

Here are reviews from the Plain Dealer's Connie Schultz and three Kentucky sports columnists:

“For more than three decades, Stuart Warner has used his considerable skills as an editor and master storyteller to coach other writers to career heights, including several Pulitzer Prizes. Now, this nationally celebrated editor weaves a story of his own, and it is breathtaking in its scope and depth. Sports lovers will devour this story of Coach Jock Sutherland, but even if you've never watched a basketball game or cared about a score, you will cherish this book. JOCK is the moving narrative of one man's dream, but page by page, one riveting moment after another, it unfolds as the story of America.”
--- Connie Schultz, columnist, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“There hasn't been a more compelling, or humorous, character in Kentucky basketball than Jock Sutherland. He could make you think, howl, laugh or scratch your head -- and that was only in the first five minutes. All of Jock's passion, knowledge and sense of humor shine through in Stuart Warner's book.”
--- Rick Bozich, sports columnist, Louisville Courier-Journal

"Nobody ever loved basketball or people more than Jock Sutherland. He was, and is, an original, special to Kentucky, and those kinds come along so rarely that they deserve to be remembered with fondness and gratitude. My thanks to Stuart Warner for giving Jock the treatment he deserves."
--- Billy Reed, columnist, formerly with the Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated

"Jock Sutherland is one of the most colorful characters in Kentucky high school sports history, and it’s about time his story was told. Jock’s love for basketball is what it’s all about. And because of his wit, it was often a funny valentine."
--- Mike Fields, sports columnist, Lexington Herald-Leader

Jock: A Coach's Story
ISBN 978-1-936138-10-4 
270 pages, $16.00
Wind Publications, Nicholasville, KY

And Latshaw thought he was escaping the snow by moving from Ohio . . .

When retired Beacon Journal printer Dick Latshaw moved to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, 11 years ago he thought he was saying goodbye to snow forever.


On Friday Dick and Pat Latshaw and the rest of Pawleys Island got about four inches of snow. Officially, the count was 3.5 inches for Pawleys Island. Forty-nine of the 50 states got at least a trace of snow during this avalanche of snowstorms.

Dick grabbed his camera and provided proof. "It was the first time it snowed since 1989 when Pawleys Island got 22 inches and everything stopped. We had a dusting in 2000 and then nothing till this week."

Dick explains the migration from Ohio to Pawleys Island by retired BJ printers: "Sid Sprague was the first to move to Pawleys Island (from Cuyahoga Falls) around 1997 or 1998. Then Harold and Linda McElroy moved around 1999. Harold & Linda live two blocks from us. Sid moved to Loveland, Colorado after his wife died. We moved (to Pawleys) in 2000. We all live on the same street. It's only 3 blocks long."

The Spragues were friends with a couple on Pawleys. The couple's husband and Sid's wife died, and the widow and Sid got together, and later moved near her family in Colorado.

Dick lives a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and fishes a lot, in the ocean and on a nearby river.

And, it seems, also can build a snowman -- but only if he really hurries.

Emailed Dick:


"This is Winter in Pawleys Island we had FOUR INCHES of Snow.

"It is almost gone. The pictures were taken at 8:30 a.m. on the 13th of February.

"It is 11:30 a.m. and it will be gone by 2:30 p.m. It is sunny right now and melting fast. None got on the roads or sidewalks.


As for the alligator, Dick explains:

"The gator walked up the street from the pond behind our house. The garage door was open about 8 to 12 inches he got under there.

"The neighbor saw him go in. It went under the car. I used a push broom to shove him out the door. When he clamped onto the broom I pulled him to the pond and he got off and went to the pond. The gator was about four feet.

"The gator was mad. Hissing and biting at the broom.

"As far I know he is still in the pond I have seen him several times since then.
The garage door is shut now per my wife's instructions."

To see photos of the snow on Dick and Pat's house and property, click on the headline. And you'll see the alligator that invaded their garage this summer, too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Telling people stuff they don’t know

A lengthy report worth reading is “The Reconstruction of American Journalism” a report by Leonard Downie, Jr., and Michael Schudson in the Columbia Journalism Review.

What might be lost in the reconstruction is reportilng.  Here are a few graphs pulled from the report:

Reporting the news means telling citizens what they would not otherwise know. “It’s so simple it sounds stupid at first, but when you think about it, it is our fundamental advantage,” says Tim McGuire, a former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’ve got to tell people stuff they don’t know.”

Reporting is not something to be taken for granted. Even late in the nineteenth century, when American news reporting was well established, European journalists looked askance, particularly at the suspicious practice of interviewing. One French critic lamented disdainfully that the “spirit of inquiry and espionage” in America might be seeping into French journalism.

Independent reporting not only reveals what government or private interests appear to be doing but also what lies behind their actions. This is the watchdog function of the press—reporting that holds government officials accountable to the legal and moral standards of public service and keeps business and professional leaders accountable to society’s expectations of integrity and fairness.

Reporting the news also undergirds democracy by explaining complicated events, issues, and processes in clear language. Since 1985, explanatory reporting has had its own Pulitzer Prize category, and explanation and analysis is now part of much news and investigative reporting. It requires the ability to explain a complex situation to a broad public. News reporting also draws audiences into their communities. In America, sympathetic exposes of “how the other half lives” go back to the late nineteenth century, but what we may call “community knowledge reporting” or “social empathy reporting” has proliferated in recent decades.

Click on the headline to read the full report.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

BJ Guild authorizes strike--only one dissenting

The Akron unit of the Newspaper Guild overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote Wednesday evening. There was just one dissenting vote cast.

The vote gives the Guild’s bargaining committee the authority to strike if and when the committee thinks it’s necessary.  The Guild recognizes the challenges facing the newspaper industry and has been open to discussing possible solutions.

`The last thing we want is a strike but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to secure a fair contract that reflects the valuable contributions of our members,’’ said Bob DeMay, the Guild’s president and an assistant photo editor at the Akron Beacon Journal.

The Guild and company have been negotiating for more than a year, with the union’s members operating under the terms of a contract that expired in July 2008.
The Beacon Journal is asking the Guild to accept concessions that would equate to a 25 to 30 percent decrease in wages and benefits, including a 16.75 percent pay cut, a pension freeze, a larger share of health care costs and a change to sick pay that would be worse than what WalMart offers.

The company’s lead negotiator told the Guild negotiating team that the newspaper isn’t pleading poverty but simply doesn’t want to continue paying at the current levels. Newsroom managers - among the highest paid employees in the newsroom -- and non-union employees elsewhere in the building, are not being asked to accept similar cuts. The newspaper also is hiring for positions outside the newsroom. The company has refused the Guild’s repeated requests to open its books.
The Guild represents about 85 reporters, copy editors, photographers, assistant editors, page designers, artists, sports statisticians, librarians and secretaries - a number slashed more than 50 percent over the past 10 years through layoffs, buyouts and attrition.

Guild members annually win state and national awards, earning the newspaper respect and recognition.

Listen to Karen Lefton and Stephanie Warsmith on

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

McClatchy CEO Pruitt: We've Got No Beef With Google

 The headline above is on this report from Editor & Puiblisher:

NEW YORK --The McClatchy Co. is in no rush to block giant aggregators like Google or throw up pay walls, Chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt said Tuesday in his keynote address to the Borrell Associates Local Online Advertising Conference in New York City.

Strategic arrangements with Yahoo and Google drive 20% of traffic to McClatchy Web sites, he said. "To disengage is to risk marginalization," Pruitt said.

Pruitt's remarks position McClatchy in direct opposition to the stance of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who urges newspapers to join him in assailing the Internet giant for taking newspaper content.

In fact, McClatchy credits its success in building online revenue to its alignments with several different Internet players including Yahoo, and CareerBuilder. Pruitt told the Borrell conference that online revenue in 2009 accounted for 16% of total revenue -- up from 11% in 2008.

During the question and answer session, Pruitt was asked about the "ideal" advertising split of print and online. "It doesn't have to be fifty-fifty because the Internet is a more efficient model," he replied.

Pruitt takes an opposing view from Murdoch on paid content as well. Murdoch has said News Corp. intends to erect pay walls at all its newspapers.

"We are very comfortable with free content supported by advertising," Pruitt said. "We don't view it as fatally flawed. That said, if we could make ad revenue with paid products we would."

In an earnings conference call with analysts in late January, Pruitt said McClatchy is open to experimenting with some pay models at one or two of its Web sites.

The famously casual Pruitt happily dressed down for the occasion of his keynote. "I get to wear blue jeans at this conference," he said.

Pruitt ended his speech by quoting the philosopher Bertrand Russell who was once asked if he would die for his ideas. "Of course not," Russell replied, "I might be wrong."

"Please keep this in mind," Pruitt concluded.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Times-Picayune presses on Super Bowl roll

By noon Monday, Editor & Publisher reports, The Times-Picayune had printed at least 200,000 copies over its ordinary number of single-copy papers -- and the printing presses were still running to keep up with the extraordinary demand for newspapers proclaiming the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory.

"It's a totally moving target," Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss said of the ever-growing press run. "The presses are still going and we are trying to satisfy a demand which doesn't seem to slack." A normal press run for single-copy sales would be about 25,000.

When Amoss arrived for work at the paper Monday morning, he said, the line of people waiting to buy copies stretched all the way around its imposing building. "When I drove up this morning," he said, "I literally gasped. I've never seen anything like this."

Click on the headline to read the full story

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sandy Bee Lynn: A nasty traffic accident

Former BJ staffer Sandy Bee Lynn suffered a horritic traffic accident in April. If you want to contact her, she has an email addresss
Here's the story from her email:

I retired from the Wadsworth Library in October of 2008 and life has been great - well, sort of.

Last April I was in a pretty nasty traffic accident - I was hit by a drunk driver at 9:15 in the a.m. He crossed the double yellow line and hit me head on. I had to be cut out of my car and then was in the hospital for 8 days (only). I had intestinal surgery, broke bones in my left hand (surgery on that hand also resulting in a plate with 6 screws), 5 broken bones in my spine and broken bones in my right foot....

The young man who hit me didn't have insurance or a driver's license and was driving a car that didn't belong to him and he didn't have permission to drive!!! Anyway, he was sentenced on Dec. 31st - 4 years in the Ohio Pen, one year in the Summit Co. jail and a fine... driver's license revoked for life as well.... Obviously he had a previous record and thank goodness for a judge who didn't just slap him on the hand.

I'm planning on trying to stay in touch with former BJ's via your blog - thanks for doing this for all of us.

Sandy Bee Lynn

Purloined from facebook

Stolen from Facebook:  Pam McCarthy, Cathy Robinson Strong and daughter Penelope

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Newspapers urged to fight content vampires

Mark Cuban, the HDNet president/CEO and famed provocateur, called for newspapers and magazines to fight back against sites that link to their content in an address tp mews media leaders.

Content aggregators and search engines are vampires, and newspapers are the chesty blondes who fall victim to their charms -- and ultimately get bitten.

He particularly called out Google as a Web giant that reaps rewards from the labors of others   Cuban dared newspapers to stop linking their stories to Google and to police other aggregators -- advocating the position put forth recently by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. He said that traditional media companies have nothing to lose, since Google and others will always take them back. And they might find their content being seen as more valuable.

"Show some balls," he said. "If you turn your neck to a vampire, they are [going to] bite. But at some point the vampires run out of people's blood to suck."

Click on the headline to read the story on Ad Week.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Print classified down 70 per cent in a decade

 It's not news that the newspaper industry's business woes have been led by a precipitous decline in print classified advertising. Toting up the figures while drafting the upcoming State of the News Media report last week, I found the overall decline in a decade was a stunning 70 percent -- from $19.6 billion in 2000 to roughly $6 billion in 2009.

Click on the headline to read the rest of a report by Poynter Media Business Analyst Rick Edmonds tracks the latest industry developments.

Irish sports guy switches from print to web

OK, so you have been waiting since Sunday’s teaser to hear about the big move.

BJ sports columnist Patrick McManamon is joining the ranks of those switching from print to the web.

He is joining AOL Fanhouse ( Today is his last day at the Beacon Journal.

“We didn’t want him to go,” said one of his bosses a few notches above the sports editor.  And he
said further that in these tough economic times, the BJ editors are not permitted to find a replacement.  Marla Ridenour thus will be called upon to take up much of the column writing chores Some news side reporters (several are interested, the editor said) will be called in to lend a hand.  Lending a hand does not mean they will be switching from news to sports.  They will just be doing some sports along with their news.

Some BJ old timers also would like to see more from Sheldon Ocher – like the beautiful piece he did last week on Austin Carr.

We do not know why TV stations and columnists always need a couple of teasers before getting to the news which by then is not much extra. 

Patrick had a  teaser (swan song, goodbye or whatever) as a final note in “Beside  the Point”.and this from his blog:

Weekend entertainment … and a personal note

By Pat McManamon on January 31, 2010

To my loyal and dedicated readers:

This blog will be shutting its doors soon. I am moving on to a new challenge.

The decision was not an easy one because the Akron Beacon Journal has been a good place to work these past 11 years. The daily newspaper means a lot to me, as does being part of a local community. The Beacon Journal was gracious in providing both. I am fortunate and blessed, and grateful to the Beacon for the many opportunities.

As for you loyal readers … in a weird way it feels like we are all friends. Along the way we've shared opinions, traded barbs, endured insults, enjoyed music and laughed a little. You know about my daughters, I about your feelings toward the Browns, Cavs and Indians. It's been a lot more fun than I ever envisioned a blog (note the correct term) could be.

I hope to cross paths with many of you in the future. If you'd like to keep in touch, drop a line at

Hopefully this is not goodbye, but see you soon. I wish you all the best.

[Added to the blog was an Irish (of course) melody.]

Our BJ Alums blog viewers, BJ fans, etcetera should not take umbrage at the BJ. It has always been the training ground for those who have gone on to bigger and better things.  That’s why this blog has so many viewers. An example from recent years is Jim Kavanagh, BJ copy desk chief, who switched from print to web and is doing marvelous at CNN.

End Note: All of the above is commentary.

We have observed a request from McManamon to embargo this post until his last day even though he emailed the following to many Monday:

Though I'm leaving the Beacon Journal, I'm not going anywhere. (That  may be good or bad news, depending on your point of view.) And … the blog has a good chance of living in a different home.

I took a job with AOL Fanhouse ( And I'll be doing many of the same things I've been writing about -- Cavs, Browns, Indians -- for a more national audience. In short, I'm still going to be writing about the local/regional stuff, just for an online internet site instead of a newspaper.

It wasn't easy to leave. I love the local paper and the community, but the future seems to be online, and I have two 13-year-olds. This just makes sense when I consider taking care of them.

The paper would not allow me to post where I'll be working, so I'm going to have to hope people find their way. It's been a very special 11 years, but I feel very good about the future.

I'd love to continue the blog … and to keep the same rapport with readers. Chances of keeping the blog look good, so I hope you join me at Fanhouse. I should be starting in mid-February, though there's a good chance I'll be covering the Magic-Cavs game Feb. 11 for Fanhouse as well.

I hope all of you (yes, all of you) join me in a new home.

Thanks so much for your kind comments. They mean a lot. Just don't forget the insults if and when the blog re-starts.

All the best,

Monday, February 01, 2010

A tale from around 1965 in the composing room

Here’s a tale from the old days submitted by Leo V. Osmar:

The following incident occurred back in my first years of employment at the Akron Beacon Journal — 1965-1966. It had to be then because I did not get a ‘situation’ until my second year.

It was Sunday p.m. and I had been hired for the night shift as a compositor in the composing room. My duty at the time was working on a double-truck Acme grocery ad which would be running sometime in the next several days. The telephone on the foreman’s desk began ringing. No one answered the phone. This ringing continued off and on for what seemed to be hours with no one answering.

At first it bothered me not because that was not my job — to answer the phone. I had no authority of any kind except be a compositor. After much ringing the jingling began to wear on my nerves and I went and answered the call.

 “Good afternoon. Beacon Journal Composing Room. Can I help you?”

“Let me speak to a prostitute,” was the reply.

Damn! I knew I shouldn’t have answered the phone. Where was Dave White now. He was the foreman on duty. But I had answered the phone.

“I’m sorry. There’s no one here but us substitutes.”

“I don’t want a substitute. Let me speak with a prostitute.”

“I’m sorry. None of the prostitutes came in tonight. Perhaps you can call back later. Goodbye.”

In all of my twenty-five years at the Beacon Journal that I believe was one of the weirdest moments I encountered. Never did find out who was behind that call. Never even tried. Never told anyone about it.

Thrity Umrigar's new book arrives Tuesday

Thrity Umrigar’s new book,  Weight of Heaven, comes out in paperback tomorrow (feb. 2).

Click on the headline to read a nice review by Karen Long in the Plain Dealer:

As a writer who straddles two cultures, Thrity Umrigar takes a gimlet-eyed view of both. In "The Weight of Heaven," the Case Western Reserve University professor casts her native India as "nobody's wallpaper," a crowded, corrupt and incessantly striving country rather than the spiritual haven some Westerners imagine. As for her adopted home, the United States, she sees it as a quick-fix culture where "even grief comes with an expiration date."

Harper, 365 pp., $25.99

Click here to read a few of our previous posts on this talented former BJ staffer.

Catching Up With . . . a Catching Up post's errors

It took a while, but Pam McCarthy took a second look at her Catching Up With . . . post on the BJ Alums blog. Whoa! Wrong daughter married!

Here's Pam's email:

Hi, John!
Just talked today with a friend in England who nearly gave my husband and I heart attacks when he said he read on the Internet that Kate was married! After q&a back and forth, I figured he must have found your "Catching up with...." story, so went back and read it more slowly (remember I said I was a good proofreader? Apparently only when I'm being paid!! or when I slow down to read carefully!) Either I wrote it wrong or you rewrote my info wrong, b/c Kate IS in nursing at UA, but BETHANY is married to Andy. Twins Kate and Michael just turned 21 this past weekend, so I am happy to report they are both still single!! Can you go in and fix that piece of information? Or I can just post a comment if that's easier. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner, but just gave it a quick read when it came out. Thanks for coverage either way.

By the way, Cathy and I had a blast. We talked again today as she was packing to return to Dubai. She has all the pix on her computer and said she'd write something up and send you a couple of pix.


Pam McCarthy
Independent Consultant, District Manager
C: 330.265.7761
H: 330.497.4810


Cathy is former BJ reporter Cathy Strong, who lives in Dubai after decades in New Zealand. Cathy and Pam had a reunion in Boston.

To see the original post and Pam's corrections, click on the headline.

Sorry, Pam.

Just say "no" to working on the cheap

Alan Mutter in his blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur saiys: "Quality journalism takes training, time and tenacity. Although it's easy to fill space with words, pictures and videos that are produced quickly and on the cheap, down-and-dirty 'journalism' is the intellectual equivalent of empty calories."

And you should get paid for it, is the conclusion.

He includes a pay calculator.  Check it out by clicking on the headline.