Saturday, December 31, 2011

Earthquake reminds him of Craig Wilson quip

The earthquake today reminded retired BJ artist Art Krummel of the late Craig (Action Line Wilson.
The note from Krummel:.

The earthquake today reminded me of a saying craig wilson wrote. He had written a collection of these. not sure what he called them I think it was a fortune for a fortune cookie. I put this on Facebook but I know not everyone on the blog is a "bookie".

Only Craig could come up with something like this:

"Earthquake in kitchen? No, only cookie jar."

Have a great New Year all you alums

art krummel

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ex-BJ staffer named Indiana Journalist of Year

John Russell with stack of documents used to document case

The Society of Professional Journalists has named John Russell, a former Beacon Journal business reporter, as the Indiana Journalist of the Year.

Russell, who worked at the Beacon Journal in 1997-2005, is now at the Indianapolis Star where he was able to identify an all-too-cozy relationship between Duke Energy officials engaged in a multi-billion dollar coal gasification plant in Edwardsport and the state officials charged with oversight of the project.

The story began when an editor received a Citizens Action Coalition news release decrying Duke's hiring of Scott Storms, an administrative law judge and general counsel at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The editor told Russell, whose regular beat had nothing to do with utilities, that the story merited a little digging.

Twenty-three open-records requests later, with enough damning email to make even the most jaded and duplicitous executive blush, The Star was able to print what Russell calls "my favorite headline in 26 years of journalism — 'Scandal Topples Duke Executive.' "

The probe resulted in other firings and reassignments at Duke and within state government.

The story's not over yet. The Edwardsport project continues and Duke would like to bill consumers for its more than $1 billion in cost overruns. Russell is still on the case.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

4 with BJ ties among 'Best Local Books of the Year'

Beacon Journal reporter Phil Trexler, former BJ reporters Mark Dawidziak and Kymberli Hagelberg and Cinda Williams Chima, sister of the BJ's Mike Williams, are among the authors of "The Best Local Books of the Year," according to today's BJ story.

Trexler wrote "Ballparks: Yesterday & Today," about baseball stadiums.

Plain Dealer television writer Mark Dawidziak and Kent book dealer Mark Bauer
authored "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler."

Hagelberg's contribution is "Wicked Akron: Tales of Rumrunners, Mobsters and Other Rubber City Rogues."

University of Akron grad and former clinical dietician Chima's book is "The Gray Wolf Throne," about a princess who flees to escape a forced marriage and returns to claim her throne.

Click on the headline to read the BJ story.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NY Times sells 16 newspapers

The New York Times | News Release
Halifax Media is buying 16 newspapers from The New York Times in a deal that is expected to close within the next few weeks. The Times acknowledged the likely sale last week after Halifax prematurely published the newspapers’ names on its website, in a list of properties it owned. The regional papers are no longer as profitable for the Times as they once were, and the company is eager to invest in its digital future and other ventures. Halifax also owns the Daytona Beach News-Journal, which has cut staff and promoted a pro-business agenda since Halifax CEO Michael Redding took over, reports Rick Edmonds. In a news release about the sale, Redding said:

“The purchase of the Regional Media Group reflects Halifax Media’s belief that a good newspaper is an essential part of any vibrant community. The strong local news coverage these papers provide represents not only an important community service, but, in our eyes, a good investment.”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Brian Usher, former BJ staffer, Celeste aide dies at 65

Brian Usher, a former Statehouse newspaper reporter and press secretary to then-Gov. Richard F. Celeste, died early yesterday. He was 65.

Usher, who was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, died in a hospice facility
with his daughter, Karyn Usher, and other family members at his side.

Usher graduated from high school in Muncie, Ind., and received an undergraduate degree from Ball State University and a master's degree from Northwestern University. He workers for 15 years as a reporter for The Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal and Knight News Service in Ohio and Washington D.C.

Usher was a politics writer for the Beacon Journal in 1984 when he was tapped to be Celeste's press secretary.

Celeste, reached in Colorado Springs, where he recently retired as president of Colorado College, said Usher served Ohioans well as both a reporter and press secretary.

'Brian was an individual who stepped across the street from his tremendous career as a journalist to become a press secretary for a governor and did so with uncommon grace and good humor,' Celeste said. 'He was a tremendous friend and an enthusiastic Buckeye. I don't know of any finer person that I worked with in the years that I was governor.'

In more ways than one, Celeste said jokingly, Usher made his life easier as governor: 'I sort of felt relieved when I brought him over, because he asked me a lot of tough questions as a reporter.'

Usher left the governor's office in 1988 and opened a media-consulting firm.

He was co-editor and an author of Ohio Politics, a history of politics and government in Ohio in the second half of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st. It features chapters written by Ohio journalists and university political scientists.

The family plans a memorial service in January.

[Photo courtesy of Beacon Journal]

Reporters complain about White House press office

Journalists complain the White House press office has become overly combative

The White House’s relationship with the reporters who cover it has blown hot and cold throughout history. And this year, some reporters say, things have taken a decidedly frosty turn.

When a reporter gets something wrong or is perceived as being too aggressive, the response is often swift and sometimes at top volume, reporters say.

Read more of this from the Washington Post

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chicago Sun-Times sold

The deal to acquire Chicago's No. 2 newspaper is done.

Sun-Times Media Chairman Jeremy Halbreich confirmed Wednesday evening that a new company led by Chicago technology entrepreneur Michael Ferro and media executive Timothy Knight has entered into a definitive agreement with Sun-Times Media Holdings to acquire the media company's properties.

The acquisition by Wrapports LLC includes Chicago-area daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and more than 40 websites. The transaction, which is valued at more than $20 million, is expected to close by year's end.

Knight, the former publisher and CEO of Newsday, which was once controlled by Chicago-based Tribune Co., will take the reins as CEO upon closing, news first reported by the Tribune in Wednesday's editions.

"It's a very exciting opportunity," Knight said Wednesday night. "The Sun-Times properties across all of Chicagoland are very strong brands in their markets, have deep commitments to their communities and provide a great platform for us to build our technology-enabled content business."

While the flagship paper will remain an integral part of the company, the primary emphasis for the Sun-Times going forward will be on evolving its digital strategy, Knight said.

"The paper is still a very important part of the portfolio, but we know that consumers want information where, when and how they want it, and we want to be there to serve that need," he said. "We expect over time to develop unique content portals that really serve the needs of our communities and provide our advertising partners with different products and services to help them grow their business."

CEO Jeremy Halbreich, who joined the company in 2009 as chairman and interim CEO, successfully guided it out of bankruptcy. He will step down as CEO after Christmas, a role he assumed after the death of James Tyree in March. Halbreich said that while the paper was never officially for sale, successfully transitioning the company was always in the back of his mind.

See more

Unions earmark $350,000 to fight NY Times

Labor unrest is simmering just below the surface at the New York Times Co.,

Sources say that the Communications Workers of America, the parent union of the Newspaper Guild and others, has earmarked a $350,000 war chest and hired the politically connected public relations firm of BerlinRosen to advise in what seems to be shaping up as a pivotal battle among several unions.

The Newspaper Guild, which claims to represent about 1,000 journalists and photographers at the flagship, and the smaller Mailers Union Local 6, with about 170 production members, both have been without a contract since March 31.

Back in October, six different locals — including the Guild and the Mailers — sent a letter to Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr., chairman and publisher of the Times, and then-President and CEO Janet Robinson.

The letter went out from Allied Printing Trades Council President Art Delanni but was signed by Guild President Bill O’Meara, and Pressman’s President John Heffernan, whose local contract still has another six years to run, and three other locals.

“Notwithstanding the improvement in the Times’ economic picture, you have given damaging proposals to the Guild representing your reporters and staff, who are at the core of the very product the Times offers to its customers,” said Delanni.

The letter also claims that current Times management is reneging on past lifetime job guarantees given to trade unions in exchange for previous concessions. “

Read more

Newsrooms hit harder than other departments

Alan Mutter [Reflections of a Newosaur] says his figures confirm suspicions that newsrooms have been hit harder than other departments at newspaper companies. He figures that a fifth of the 3,775 job losses that Paper Cuts counted in 2011 came from newsrooms.

With the ASNE reporting that 52,600 journalists were on the job in 2007, then the projected newsroom headcount at the end of this year would be 22% lower than it was in 2007. In other words, the decline in newsroom employment has been twice as great since 2007 as the 11% drop in over-all industry employment. This also means … that newsroom staffing now is at the lowest level since the ASNE inaugurated its newsroom census in 1978.

Long-ago BJ writer Ethel Rita Aspell dies

VENTURA, Calif. -- Ethel Rita Aspell passed away December 14, 2011, of sudden heart failure.

The daughter of Thomas A. and Margaret Ferns, she was born May 29, 1923, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ethel was a graduate of St. Vincent High School in Akron and
received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Akron. During college she performed in theater and was a member of the Lambda Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Ethel married John F. Aspell in 1946, and they enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage before his passing in February 2005. Her love of live theater, film, classical, and popular music strengthened through the years. The TV was always set on classic movies - Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart were her favorites. The day Frank Sinatra died, John bought her a dozen roses. They loved to dance to that big band swing sound. Their family, which grew to five children, relocated frequently due to John's U.S. Navy Officer and engineering duties, finally settling in Ventura County, Calif. in 1968.

Ethel wrote for the Akron Beacon Journal and later worked at the Ventura Star Free Press as an Editor and Copy Writer. In the late 1970s she excelled as Public Relations Manager for St. John's Hospital in Oxnard, Calif., and, in the 1980s, as Business Manager and Publicist for the Ventura County Symphony. Her love of Native-American culture was evident in vacation adventures to Taos, New Mexico; Mesa Verde, and her favorite place on earth - next to New York City - Monument Valley. Ethel possessed a keen wit, dramatic, infectious laugh, and a razor-sharp sense of social injustice. She will always be remembered by her family and friends for spiritual devotion and unsurpassed sweetness of character.

She is survived by her beloved children: sons, Thomas and his wife, Barbara Lebeau, of Pittsburgh, Pa., John Kevin of Hayward, Calif., Dennis Michael of Ventura, Calif.; daughters, Julie Ellen Cariani and husband Peter, of Boston, Mass., Anne Aspell Stevens and husband James of Ventura, Calif.; grandchildren, Arthur John and Elise Aspell, Brady and Devin Stevens; sister-in-law, Mary Aspell; and her dearest cousins, Helen Shields and Dorothy Miller of Pittsburgh, Pa.; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 27, at Sacred Heart Church in Ventura, Calif., where Ethel was a parishioner for nearly 40 years.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to Sacred Heart Church, Ventura, Calif.; or to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal World.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura, Calif.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on December 22, 2011

Russ Mitchell to replace Romona Robinson

Russ Mitchell, who has been with CBS News for about 20 years, has been named the lead anchor of WKYC Channel 3's 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. He also will be the Gannett-owned Cleveland station's managing editor for evening news. His first day on the air at the NBC affiliate will be Monday, Jan. 16.

Channel 3 has been weighing anchor options since contract talks stalled with Romona Robinson, the station's solo anchor for the 6 and 11 newscasts since Tim White's departure in
late 2008. Robinson's contract expires at the end of the year, and her last day on air at Channel 3 was Friday.

Mitchell’s hiring was confirmed today by Channel 3's president and general manager, Brooke Spectorsky. Mitchell is wrapping up his tenure as anchor of the "CBS Evening News'' weekend editions and the "The Early Show'' on Saturday. He's also a national correspondent for "CBS News Sunday Morning,'' the weeknight editions of the "CBS Evening News" and "The Early Show."

A St. Louis native and 1982 University of Missouri journalism graduate, Mitchell spent 10 years in local news before joining CBS as the anchor of the 2 a.m. "Up to the Minute" newscast in 1992.

"I've been thinking about going back to local television for a few years," Mitchell said during a telephone interview. "It's been a great run at CBS, but I miss the pulse of a local newsroom, and, being from the Midwest, I miss being part of a community. But I wasn't going to go just anywhere. Cleveland reminds me a great deal of the city where I grew up, and I'm looking forward to bringing my family because I think we're going to have a really good life there."

Mitchell, 51, will have company at the Channel 3 anchor desk. Spectorsky and Channel 3's news director, Rita Andolsen, are narrowing the search for his 6 and 11 p.m. co-anchor.

Click on the headline to read the full story by Mark Dawidziak.
CRead the full story by Mark Dawidziak

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

L. A. Times blogger fired

Ed Padgett, the founder and chief contributor to the blog The Los Angeles Times Pressmen’s 20 Year Club, got canned last week. No reason has been given, but it’s worth noting that Padgett’s blogging has long been a thorn in the sides of LA Times execs. A union activist, Padget frequently rallied for employee rights and openly discussed the inner workings of the LA Times Operations department on his website.

See more

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A quote for this week

The hard part of professional journalism going forward is writing about what hasn’t been written about, directing attention where it hasn’t been, and saying something new.”

Seth Godin on lazy journalism

Dispatch to print Cincy Enquirer; 200 jobs lost

Enquirer Media announced it will close its printing plant in fall 2012 after reaching an agreement with The Columbus Dispatch to print The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Kentucky Enquirer. The roughly 200 plant employees will lose their jobs sometime in the fourth quarter of next year, when the Enquirer moves to the Dispatch’s “three-around” printing press that enables faster press runs or more color usage. With that change, the newsprint page will shrink to 10.5 inches by about 14.5 inches, which Gannett touts as “a more compact and easy-to-handle size.”

the old and new format

Greetings from the BJ Alums blog

Merry Christmas

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr Seuss

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas

~Harry Liggett

Friday, December 16, 2011

A foursome recalls the good old days

There may have been only four us at the ChrIstmas luncheon of the BJ retirees, but we had a great time recalling the past...the good old days when those working at the BJ were family.

You enjoyed going to work because you weren't working for somebody, you were working with them...from John S. Knight down to Smitty in the maintenance department.

And we four bemoaned the passing of those days.

Al Hunsicker, Gene McCellan, Carl Nelson and me.

I brought along three old “Tower Topics” I found in my basement...articles on the long-gone 25-year-dinners, golf and bowling outings and the family picnics.

And one was the issue about John S. Knight's death.

Somebody brought up the subject of the Indianapolis Speedway. A couple of the guys had been there to witness races.

Which led me to add that I also had visited there and had a tour of the track compliments of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild.

That was 1959.

I was Guild chairman of the Columbus Citizen Journal and attended the Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio district conference.

And there I first met Al Fitzpatrick, Craig Wilson and a young lady from the morgue, Sheila.

Got acquainted with the group and spent some time with them.

Little did I know that three years later I'd have a reunion with them when I joined the copy desk to begin my career at the BJ.

Only four of us at the luncheon, but, as I said at the beginning, a good time was had by all and we four wish everybody a great Christmas and a grand New Year.

El Camino is No. 2 on Billboard charts

The Black Keys’ new album El Camino will debut this week at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts.

The album, released Dec. 6, sold more than 200,000 copies in its first week, making it the Akron-born duo’s best sales week and highest-charting album in their seven-album career, besting 2010’s Brothers, which debuted at No. 3 on the charts.

As drummer Pat Carney predicted, El Camino was beaten out by the band’s Warner Bros. corporate label mate Michael Buble, whose Christmas album has held the No. 1 spot for three weeks.

Carney is the son of BJ reporter Jim Carney. Jim Carney's wife, BJ reporter Katie Byard, is his stepmom.

[Source: Beacon Journal]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Most print newspapers will be gone in 5 years?

“Most print newspapers will be gone in five years,” says a new report from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. The forecast by center director Jeffrey I. Cole, based on 10 years of studies, says, “America is at a major digital turning point … We believe that the only print newspapers that will survive will be at the extremes of the medium — the largest and the smallest.” The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal will likely survive, along with some local weeklies, Cole writes. John Robinson responds: “Wanna bet?” || Related: Ken Auletta: “Digital is almost as disruptive to traditional media as electricity was to the candle business” (

Check the source

Elements of Style reinvented as rap song

Click here to see the video

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book by Mark J. Price: The Rest is History

Mark J. Price, whose popular weekly column "This Place, This Time" has appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal since 1998, has a book coming out in March.

“The Rest is History: True Tales from Akron’s Vibrant Past” should become a best-seller. It’s being published by the University of Akron’s Ringtaw Books.

Price explores the history of Akron and Summit County through compelling vignettes, bringing to life bygone days through painstaking research of archival materials, local
histories, newspaper records and vintage photographs, plus contemporary interviews. The real-life stories range from quirky to poignant, from humorous to tragic, and all points in between. Read about the U.S. president who strolled through the countryside, the Akron stagehand who became a Hollywood icon, the beloved beagle that attended elementary school, the natural landmark that slid underground, the pop concert that made girls faint, the lost cemetery that turned into a city park and the world-famous gadget that caught on in Northeast Ohio. A true treasure trove of the varied places of this historic region. This collection is as much about the present as it is about the past.

Price has been a staff writer and copyeditor for the Akron Beacon Journal since 1997. He graduated from Kent State University with a degree in journalism. He is married to BJ copy editor Susan Gapinski Price

Price: $19.95
Pages: 225; Size: 8.5 x 11
Imprint: Ringtaw Books
ISBN: 978-1-935603-67-2

Tracy McCool named night anchor on Fox8-TV

Copley Township native Tracy McCool will become the new 5 and 10 p.m. weeknight co-anchor on WJW (Channel 8) as the new year begins.

She succeeds Stacey Bell, who left WJW to be closer to her husband, a former Browns assistant coach now working for the New York Jets.

McCool has been with WJW since 2000, when she joined it as a general-assignment reporter; she became a co-anchor of the station’s morning show in 2005. A morning replacement has not yet been named, although it is possible that Channel 8’s Kristi Capel will add that task to her duties.

Read full story
by Rich Heldenfels in today’s Beacon Journal

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pearl Harbor front page from LA Times

A front page from the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 8, 1941. (Newseum)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

DOCTOR Cathy Strong is busy

Former BJ reporter Cathy Strong, now that she's a doctor (PhD style), had a busy November.

She released her latest study: "Influential Young A
rab Women Turn Their Backs on Facebook." Did you ever think you'd see a writing with that title?

She went to a conference in Beirut, Lebanon; then to Fernandina Beach, Florida; back home to Dubai; then to Palmerston North, New Zealand, her old haunts.

Cathy is a communication and media sciences professor at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Previously, she spent decades in New Zealand and got an international reputation for her work in journalism.

All this after working on the BJ State Desk!

Carney kid gets another Grammy nomination

The Black Keys, a music duo that includes BJ reporter Jim Carney's son, Patrick, got another Grammy nomination.

The Black Keys received a nomination for best pop duo or group perfomance for their cover of Buddy Holly’s “Dearest.” The song was featured on the covers compilation
album, "Rave On Buddy Holly." The Keys have been nominated for six Grammy Awards in their career and have won three.

The 54th Grammys will be held Feb. 12 in Los Angeles.

Last year drummer Patrick Carney and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, who began their partnership while at Firestone High when they lived around the corner from each other, won Grammys for best alternative music album ("Brothers"), best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals (the single "Tighten Up"). Carney’s brother, Michael Carney, won for best recording package for his art direction on "Brothers."

The Black Keys have performed on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and appeared on Comedy Central cable channel's "Colbert Report." Pat and Dan live in Nashville.

Jim Carney's wife, BJ reporter Katie Byard, is the Carney Grammy-winners' stepmom.

Click on the headline for the BJ story on this year's Grammy nominations.