Saturday, March 31, 2012

Background on Chandra law firm

The Chandra law firm that obtained a healthcare lawsuit settlement from the Beacon Journal on behalf of retired printers and Guild retirees has a history of taking on "Not just cases. Causes," as its website says.

In 2008 the Chandra law firm in Cleveland got a multimillion dollar jury verdict against the Woodmere mayor in an employment-retaliation case. In 2006 the Chandra firm got a federal judge ruling that Ohio descriminated against naturalized U.S. citizens.

Managing partner Subodh Chandra is a former Cleveland law director and a Yale Law School graduate.

The Chandra firm's Donald Screen, point man for the Guild retirees lawsuit filed by John Olesky, is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and Old Dominion, also in Virginia. He once was an assistant professor in philosophy at the University of Virginia.

Click on the headline for more details about the Chandra law firm in Cleveland.

Earlier stories on BJ healthcare lawsuit

For earlier stories on the BJ healthcare lawsuit, click on the headline.

Friday, March 30, 2012

BJ agrees to restore printers, Guild health care to retirement-day levels or better

The Beacon Journal has agreed to restore health care benefits for retired printers and Guild retirees to equal to or better than their retirement-day levels.

The agreement covers two lawsuits, by Communication Workers of America (printers) and Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild (Guild retirees). Guild retirees are covered because only one newsroom retiree, John Olesky, was willing to put his personal money at risk.

The press release from The Chandra Law Firm of Cleveland, which handled both lawsuits:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A global settlement was reached this week in two class-action lawsuits filed against the Akron Beacon Journal, its foreign owners and officers on behalf of newspaper retirees and their spouses. The retirees, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 14514 and Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guilde Local 1, had sued their former employer for breach of promises to provide lifetime prescription-drug benefits, with co-pays ranging from $2 to $5, in return for their early retirement. Many of them had also been promised lifetime medical-insurance benefits.

In early 2007, shortly after Canadian media mogul David Black's company acquired the Beacon Journal, the newspaper switched health-insurance plans and drastically reduced these retirees' benefits, forcing them to incur far greater co-pays and deductibles than those the Journal had promised. Some retirees were hit particularly hard by the changes. Guild retiree John Olesky estimates that, through 2009, he paid more than $16,000 in extra co-pays and deductibles. Others, like CWA retirees Hugh Downing and Ruth West, were unable to afford the higher prices and experienced declining health as a result. John Costello, who used to control his chronic arthritis pain with injections that cost him five dollars a week, has had to "do without" ever since his share of the cost jumped to $600. Still other retirees learned to their dismay that the Journal's new plan would not even cover visits to physicians they had been seeing for decades.

The retirees experienced early success in one of the lawsuits, White v. Beacon Journal Publishing Co., et al, filed in September 2009, winning an injunction from the U.S. District Judge David Dowd. The judge ordered the Beacon Journal to restore the benefits it had wrongfully changed, and to reimburse class members for the excess medical and prescription-drug expenses they had incurred. Facing the prospect of a similar rulling in the second lawsuit, liability of the retirees' mounting attorneys' fees, and personal liability for Mr. Black and other company officials, the Beacon Journal came to the negotiating table, submitting to a processs that ultimately led to this week's settlement.

The settlement restores, in many cases actually expands, the healthcare and prescription-drug benefits promised to class members when they retired. Class members eligible for medical coverage, for example, will pay nothing for most Medicare-eligible services after meeting a low annual deductible. And no class member will pay more than $2 or $5 (depending on their year of retirement) for any generic or name-brand prescription drug. The settlement also establishes a $100,000 fund that will be used to reimburse the retirees and their spouses for excess amounts they were forced to spend over the past few years for medical care and prescription drugs.

Attorney Subodh Chandra, one of the four attorneys representing the retirees, hailed this week's settlement as a victory for justice. "Everyone is struggling hard enough in this economy," Chandra said. "When employees dedicate their lives to a company, and are promised retirement benefits for the rest of their lives in return for retiring early, and they rely on that promise -- and then their employer pulls the rug out from under them, that's just not right."

Chandra added, "While defendants ultimately did the right thing after years of litigation, I hope that this week's settlement is a wake-up call for other employers, and that they will think long and hard before breaking promises to our vulnerable elders about something as important as their healthcare benefits."

Chandra noted that the settlement ensures that the retirees and their spouses will, for the rest of their lives, receive benefits that are even better and less expensive for the retirees than what they could have been awarded had they proceeded to trial and won. For example, many retirees will, for the first time in many years, begin to receive "major medical" insurance benefits again, even though the early-retirement bargain they struck with the Beacon Journal provided that such benefits would terminate at age 65. The prescription-drug plans being offered to the retirees, moreover, provide more comprehensive coverage than did the plans in effect when most class members retired.

The cases at issue are captioned White v. Beacon Journal Publishing Co., et al and Olesky v. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. Both matters are before Judge Dowd. (For more details regarding the settlement, please contact The Chandra Law Firm, LLC.)

In addition to Chandra, the retirees are represented by Donald Screen, also of the Chandra Law Firm, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, and by Allen Anderson and Kenneth Petterson of Smith & Johnson in Traverse City, MI. The settlement, subject to court approval, includes a requirement that defendants pay the retirees' attorneys' fees and advanced litigation costs, to be apportioned between the retirees' law firms.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Retired BJ printers and spouses who filed the lawsuit are David White, Regina White, Hugh Downing, Sharon Downing, Ruth West, Thomas West, Robert Abbott, Robert Walker, Larnie Greene, Stephanie Greene, Ora Thombs, Shirley Thombs, Raymond Wolfe and Amaryllis Wolfe.

The only Guild retiree who filed the lawsuit is 1996 BJ newsroom retiree John Olesky, but the settlement makes Guild members who retired on or before 1997 eligible for restoration of retirement-day healthcare coverage.

Those affected by the settlement, if the court approves it, will receive letters notifying them that they have 35 days to submit their claims for reimbursement. If the claims exceed the $100,000, then the reimbursements will be pro-rated.

A special healthcare coverage group will be set up for those affected by the settlement in a plan that will provide the restored and improved benefits and prescription co-pays. This will replace the current Aetna Medicare plan.

The Beacon Journal will pay the attorneys' fees for the retired printers and Guild retiree John Olesky, which is $772,500.

The BJ agreement was signed by Beacon Journal publisher Andrea Mathewson and BJ Welfare Retirement Plan Administrator Aaron Burr.

BJ Alums blog emailed BJ management asking for comment or a press release. If the BJ replies, the reply will be used verbatim in the BJ Alums blog. We're still waiting for BJ management to response to the BJ Alums request.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Derf's Dahmer book reviewed by Time mag

John “Derf” Backderf’s book, “My Friend Dahmer” is reviewed in Time magazine.

See the review

Also, see our earlier post.

Chuck Ayers christens Kent State student lounge

Former Beacon Journal artist Chuck Ayers and Tom Batiuk decorated the new Kent State student lounge with illustrations from their syndicated "Crankshaft" and "Funky Winkerbean" cartoon strips.

They attended Tuesday's opening of the lounge.

Their cartoon characters are depicted living the Kent State college life.

Click on the headline to see photos and videos of the event.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Retired printer Gene McClellan, 73, dies

Retired printer Gene McClellan, 73, passed away Monday, March 19. He was born Dec. 6, 1938 to Earl and Eileen McClellan.

Public viewing hours will be 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 2 at Hopkins Lawver Funeral Home at 547 Canton Road in Ellet. Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. April 2 at the funeral home with Pastor Rich Ferris officiating. The funeral will be followed by a private family burial in Ellet Cemetery.

Friends may join in celebrating Gene following the services Monday, from 12:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hibernian Social Club, 2000 Brown Street, Akron. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made on the behalf of Gene A. McClellan to Mogadore High School.

Gene is survived by his wife of 30 years (Christine); two daughters, Tracy Hackman (husband Ken) of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Erin, also married, of San Luis Obispo, California, and a son, Dean (wife Michio), who lives in Japan; and three brothers, Robert (wife Barbara Jean) in Philadelphia, Wayne (wife Doris) in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Richard in Mogadore; and two grandchildren (Arthur and Jacob).

The story, as told by family, friends and co-workers:

Gene complained of a pain in his upper shoulder and down his arm at the monthly meeting of BJ retirees at Papa Joe's on Akron/Peninsulva Road on Wednesday, March 14. Newsroom retiree Tom Moore and retired printer Al Hunsicker suggested that Gene see a doctor.

When Gene went to his doctor the next day, he was taken to Akron General Hospital, where tests were run. Diagnosis: Gene needed a triple heart bypass operation. Gene was released from Akron General on Saturday.

Gene's brother, Richard, talked to Gene at 11:30 p.m. that Saturday. When Richard drove from Mogadore to pick up Gene at his Chippewa Avenue home in Akron on Sunday morning, Richard found Gene sitting in a chair, dead.

Richard and Gene worked together on 1980s cars and on clocks. "He had two Fieros," Richard said, "and got one running." At times Gene had as many as five autos -- one a Porsche -- and a motorcycle in his two garages for the McClellan brothers to work on.

Gene was hired at the BJ by Composing room superintendent Bill Church, who knew Gene because Church attended the same church as Gene’s Mom.

"When I walked through those double doors" to Composing, Gene said, "and heard all that noise, I knew this was where I wanted to be." And he was, for more than 40 years.

As for the cars in his garages, Gene said: “It gives me something to work on, and my brother, too.”

Gene’s latest car project was an old clunker that he bought three or four years ago and cannibalized for parts to use on another car. But then he decided the clunker would be a good project to “keep me off the streets” to see if he could get that clunker chugging down the highway.

Gene once worked for the railroad.

Gene had been to 13 consecutive BJ retirees lunches at Papa Joe’s after missing the January 2011 lunch when a heavy snowstorm meant no one showed up.

In February 2010 Gene and engraving retiree Pat Dougherty were the only ones who showed up during another snowstorm.

Pat reported in the BJ Alums blog: “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 BJ press room superintendent for many years.

Gene attended 87 of the past 88 monthly BJ retirees lunches at Papa Joe's.

If any of Gene's friends want to attend the 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 BJ retirees lunch at Papa Joe's, at Akron/Peninsula Road and Portage Trail Extension, it will be in memory of Gene, our most faithful attendee.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pruitt named CEO of Associated Press

Gary Pruitt, a former First Amendment lawyer who heads the third-largest newspaper company in the U.S., will become the next president and CEO of The Associated Press, the cooperative announced Wednesday.

Pruitt, the chairman, president and CEO of The McClatchy Co., will join AP in July, taking over for Tom Curley, who is retiring after leading the news organization for nine years.

"In Gary, we have chosen a seasoned and worthy successor to Tom Curley to continue AP's transition to a digital news company," said William Dean Singleton, outgoing chairman of the AP Board of Directors and chairman of MediaNews Group Inc. "Gary has deep experience in the changing world of the news industry, an acute business sense and an overriding understanding of and commitment to AP's news mission."

Pruitt, 54, will take over an organization pressed by rapid changes in the news industry. AP has spent most of the past decade working to transform itself, launching new platforms for multimedia content, seeking fresh sources of revenue and protecting the results of its newsgathering in the online marketplace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More BJ ink for Carney's kid

Beacon Journal pop music writer Malcolm X Abram details the Black Keys two-man band's early days at the now-extinct Lime Spider in Akron, owned by Danny Basone.

The Black Keys are Patrick Carney, son of Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney, and Dan Auerbach. They are a pair of Firestone High graduates who have hit it big in the music world, with Grammys and all that glitter.

They play tonight at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, not that far from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where they would love to have their name enshrined some day.

Click on the headline to read Malcolm X's story.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jane C. Stone, mother of Paula Tucker, dies

It all began with a kiss by a lake--a beautiful love affair that led to a wonderful family.

Jane C. Stone, 88, an Irish lass to the end, born April 8,1923 to Joseph and Laura (Nicholas) Courtney at the Courtney 
Family farm at Old Portage, died on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2012, surrounded by her family.

A graduate of St. Vincent High School (class of '41), she
worked at Saalfield Publishing, Firestone Bank and the Akron Public Schools (West, Jennings).

She leaves her husband of nearly 66 years, Paul; children, Dr. Paula Stone Tucker (John), Michael (Ann), Dr. Thomas Stone (Rae), Janet Stone (Bob Bard) and Raymond (Mary); grandchildren, Michelle (Greg), Patrick (Erin), Ryan (Stacy), Natalie (John), David, Jeremy, Melanie and Caroline; great- grandchildren, Kyle, Taylor, Jack, Alex, Kevin, Rylie and Paige; siblings, Alden (deceased), Bernard, Katie, Jack, Pat and Shirley.

Cremation has taken place. Family will receive friends Weds., March 21, 2012, 7 to 9 p.m. at Dunn-Quigley (811 Grant St. Akron). Mass of Christian Burial 9:30 a.m., St. Hilary Catholic Church, (2750 W. Market St., Fairlawn, Ohio). Memorial donations may be made to the St. Hilary School Tuition Account.
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, March 18, 2012, page B7, col. 2]

Phil Meyer's "Paper Route" traces his career

Phil Meyer, who was Washington correspondent for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1962-1966,  has written another book.  This one is a memoir that traces his development from Kansas roots to international recognition.  

His latest book is titled "Paper Route: Finding My Way to Precision Journalism.”  It contains a chapter on Meyer’s time in Washington for the Beacon Journal.

Meyer, 82,  served the Knight Chair in Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel. Hill from 1993 until his retirement in 2008.

He is the author of Precision Journalism, the seminal 1973 book (and subsequent editions) that encouraged journalists to incorporate social science methods in the pursuit of better journalism. Investigative Reporters and Editors established the Philip Meyer award to recognize his contribution to the field.

Meyer also wrote ‘The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age,’ in 2006.

Meyer began his newspaper career as a carrier for the Clay Center (Kansas) Dispatch in 1943. He still porches his neighbors' newspapers when he finds them thrown carelessly at the curb. He majored in journalism at Kansas State and was editor of the daily Collegian his final semester in 1952.

 After serving two years in the Navy, he joined the Topeka Daily Capital as assistant state editor and met his wife there. She had a part-time job writing wedding stories, and she wrote their wedding story in 1956.

Their wedding trip took them to Chapel Hill, N.C., where they remained while Meyer worked on his M.A. in political science. In 1958, the Miami Herald hired him to be its education writer, and he covered Florida's first court-ordered school desegregation.

In 1962, he was posted to the Knight Newspapers Washington Bureau as correspondent for the Beacon Journal. He won a Nieman fellowship to Harvard with the help of his bureau chief, Edwin A. Lahey, who had been a member of the first class of Nieman fellows in 1938.

At Harvard, he studied the quantitative methods in social science that he had avoided in graduate school. He applied those methods while on loan to the Detroit Free Press to help cover the 1967 riot in that city. The use of survey research to discover the underlying causes of the riot was one factor in the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize for local general reporting to the staff of the Free Press.

The civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s offered more opportunities for demonstrating the journalistic application of social science methods, and the Russell Sage Foundation supported the writing of his first book, Precision Journalism, published in 1973. 

In 1978, Meyer turned his attention to newspaper marketing problems and joined the corporate headquarters of what by then was Knight Ridder Newspapers. Chapel Hill lured him back with a Kenan professorship in 1981, and he became the school's first Knight Chair in Journalism professor a few years later.

Professor Meyer retired in 2008 and started writing a memoir that was published in 2012 as Paper Route: Finding My Way to Precision Journalism.

Hardcover: 364 pages
Publisher: (January 25, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1462083110
8.6 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches

Meyer is now blogging. Check out the blog which is also called Paper Route.

Retired BJ reporter Joan Rice's brother dies

John B. Rice, 66, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, passed away Sunday, March 11, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer.

His life was guided by a strong faith in God. During his final days, he marveled many times about what a wonderful gift faith is. He was dedicated to his family who loved him dearly.
He is survived by his wife, Sher, his constant caregiver and best friend; daughter, Sierra; twin sisters, Marie Rice, Joan Rice (Larry Momchilov), and Nancy Crouch (Bill). He was the son of the late Nancy and John Rice of Rootstown, Ohio.

He retired as Executive Vice-President of Michelin, North America, and traveled the world on business trips. He mentored many during his career. He was chairman of the first Michelin and American Heart Association "Heart Walk." He was a most humble man with numerous accolades, but his proudest moments were the accomplishments of his daughter, Sierra.

Born in Akron, Ohio, he graduated from Muskingum College and received his master's degree from the University of Akron. He was a member of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church of Simpsonville, where he found comfort before the Lord at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

He was an avid runner and enjoyed immensely manicuring his lawn into looking like a golf course green. He found serenity when he was home in Ohio on the family farm in Rootstown, where he grew up and delighted in driving the antique Ford tractor.

Among the many prayers he loved, this one came from a prayer book from his mother, who also deeply cherished her faith: "Keep my words kind, my thoughts positive, and my actions loving, as were those of Christ. This I ask in His name. Amen."

The family greatly appreciates the kindness and care given by the Cancer Centers of the Carolinas and the 4th floor nursing staff and Chaplain Father Bart Leon at Greenville Memorial Medical Center.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 19, 2012, by the Rev. David Misbrener at St. Peter of the Fields Church, 3487 Old Forge Road in Rootstown. Interment will follow at Homeland Cemetery in Rootstown. A funeral Mass was celebrated in South Carolina on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Simpsonville.

Condolences and memories may be shared at In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the St. Peter of the Fields Building Fund, 3487 Old Forge Road, Rootstown, OH 44272.
(Wood-Kortright-Borkoski 330-296-6436)

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Sunday, March 18, 2012, page B7, col. 2]

Thursday, March 15, 2012

He's now the Duke of URL

Former BJ copy desk editor Jim Kavanagh, now at CNN, is in charge of placing links inside stories, so he acquired a new title at the end of today's CNN staff meeting: He's being called The Duke of URL. 

Carney's kid gets the Enjoy! cover story

Patrick Carney, son of BJ reporter Jim Carney, and Black Keys bandmate Dan Auerbach got the Enjoy! cover story today in an article by Malcolm X Abram.

The Firestone High pair have created a musical firestorm, gathering up three Grammys, an MTV Video Award, two gold-selling, Top 5-charting albums in a row and an "El Camino" album that ranks behind only crooner Michael Buble’s Christmas album.

Five tractor-trailers of gear and staging plus a luxury bus each for Auerbach, 32, and Carney, 31, have replaced the vintage VW wagon they used to prowl from club to club in.

The Black Keys are coming home to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, joining the Arctic Monkeys for the concert at Huron Road and Ontario Street in Cleveland.

Jim Carney is married to another BJ reporter, Katie Byard.

Click on the headline for Malcolm X's story on the Black Keys

Doonesbury printed on Op-Ed page

The  ”Doonesbury” comic strip dealing with the ultrasound-before-abortion debate was pubished on the Op-Ed page in today's Beacon Journal.   Alternative strips were printed in the regular comics secion.

“We feel that the content of these Doonesbury cartoons is not appropriate for presentation on our comics pages,” editor Bruce Winges said earlier.. “Mr. Trudeau is making a strong political statement with this series."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Only 5 attend retiree lunch

It was a beautiful “summer” day, but only five showed up for our retiree luncheon for March:. Tom Moore, Al Hunsickle, Gene McClellan, engraver Watson Blanton's widow with Lennie Thomas.

And with all these “young” folks at the table, the main topic seem to be past, present and possible future health problems.

Everybody had a tale or two. Gene said he's been having
trouble with a pain in his arm, but he was sure it was just a pinched nerve. But he's going in for tests anyway, and we all stressed that it was nothing to fool with...have that heart checked.

His latest car project is restoring an old clunker he bought three years ago and cannibalize for parts to another car. Now he thinks it would be a good project to “keep me off the streets” to see if he can get that clunker chugging down the highway.

Al added a thing or two to the discussion and Mrs. Blanton related some of her problems and said she hopes to get
back into some exercise when the top of the new Summa program of silver sneakers came up.

That's a program where you can attend exercise classes at various recreation centers and it cost you nothing if you have Summa Care medical coverage.

Tom came up with a story about his quad bypass of nine years ago. He had recovered and was in the dentist chair when the dental assistant asked who his surgeon was.

He replied: “Dr Lee.”

The assistant said to him: “You're lucky, he killed my grandmother.”

At least she said this AFTER the surgery.

The discussion turned to scams and Mrs. Blanton said she received a call that she had won a big prize, but she had to pay the shipping charge of $600.

When she said that sounded high, the caller offered to negotiate. Needless to say, she didn't fall for the scam.

She had another good story. The Jehovah Witness's came to the house and she let them in. They went into their spiel. She was holding her little dog. So after listening for awhile,she figured she's let the dog loose and maybe that would shut up the fellow.

But the dog just left her lap and laid down on the floor and continued to listen to the talking.

The newspaper came in from some criticism during discussions...especially how they failed to cover the Chardon school shootings which, somebody thought might win the Plain Dealer a prize.

And also mentioned was a Portage County story that carried a Columbus Dispatch byline.

The five decided that local news was no longer a priority.

Next luncheon is the second Wednesday of April ( April 11) about 1 pm at Papa Joes' in the Valley. Retirees, working stiffs and anybody associated with the BJ are welcome to come chew the fat.

Aetna/BJ retaliates against Obamacare -- and you


By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Obamacare requires a 50% reduction in your co-pay for brand-name prescriptions once you hit the donut hole.

Aetna/BJ came up with a solution: Increase your co-pay BEFORE the donut hole to 500% of your 2011 co-pay on some generic drugs.

Example: In 2011 I paid $15 for a 90-day prescription for several of my generic drugs. In 2012 Aetna/BJ has increased that to $75. So, if I go nine months before I hit the donut hole, I will pay $225 for three 90-day generic prescriptions that cost me $45 in 2011. Aetna/BJ gets its money from BJ retirees in advance to help offset the 50% reduction in brand-name prescription co-pays. In my case, that's $180 more that I paid in 2011 for the same generic drug. And that's just for ONE prescription over three 90-day periods. That almost wipes out the $250 check we got when Obamacare kicked in.

By 2020 the reduction will be 75%. So Aetna/BJ will have to come up with other ways to increase your out-of-pocket costs to offset the "reduction" of Obamacare.

For those new to the donut hole game: Once you reach a specific amount of money that Aetna assigns as the "value" of your prescriptions, you previously had to pay 100% of the cost of the brand-name drug. Under Obamacare, that went to 50% in 2011 and 75% by 2020.

The donut hole, which kicked in at $2,840 in 2011, starts at $2,930 in 2012. And you don't get out of the donut hole in 2012 till you have spent $4,700. Notice that the calculations switch from the "value" of the prescriptions assigned by Aetna/BJ to get you to the donut hole to the actual money that you spend once you get into the donut hole. That way, it takes you longer to escape the donut hole, meaning you probably won't. The donut hole limit was $4,550 in 2011.

Businesses always stay at least one step ahead of the politicians. If politicians change the rules, then businesses just change the way they play the game. BJ retirees' out-of-pocket prescription co-pays are proof of that.

Olive Garden review goes viral

Everyone is writing about 85-year-old Marilyn Hagerty who wrote a review of the Grand Forks, ND, Olive Garden. She got rave reviews on the internet. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

PD to print Doonesbury strip on abortion, BJ wll not

The Plain Dealer will carry the ”Doonesbury” comic strip dealing with the ultrasound-before-abortion debate. The Beacon Journakl wll not.

Next week, “Doonesbury” will tackle the ultrasound-before-abortion debate that has roiled Texas and Virginia and the nation in recent weeks, as lawmakers fought over a procedure deemed physically invasive and medically intrusive by some critics, who dubbed it “state rape.” Last month, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who opposes abortion, insisted upon revisions in legislation so the state would require only transabdominal ultrasounds prior to abortion.

Debbie Van Tassel, a former BJ staffer who is now , assistant managing editor of features at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, tells Comic Riffs that she and other top editors have decided to run next week’s strips, which feature a woman who sits in a “shaming room” as she awaits a pre-termination sonogram and a check-up from a legislator. “We didn’t deliberate long,” Van Tassel tells Comic Riffs. “We all agreed that some readers will be upset by them, mainly because they appear on the comics page, but also because of the graphic depiction of a transvaginal sonogram.”

Van Tassel cites the larger journalistic context in which “Doonesbury” appears. “This newspaper deals with those issues routinely in the news sections and in our health section,” she tells us. “Our page one today, for example, carries a story about the movement by women legislators across the country to curb men’s abilities to get vasectomies and prescriptions for erectile dysfunction. I haven’t heard of any objections to that story yet.”

The Plain Dealer also believes “Doonesbury” deserves a long satiric leash. “Garry Trudeau’s metier is political satire; if we choose to carry ‘Doonesbury,’ we can’t yank the strip every time it deals with a highly charged issue. His fans are every bit as vocal as his critics. We are alerting readers to the nature of the strips so they can decide whether to read them next week.”

The Beacon Journal will run substitute strips on its comics pages. Editors want time to explore options to display the comic strips in question.

“We feel that the content of these Doonesbury cartoons is not appropriate for presentation on our comics pages,” said Bruce Winges, Beacon Journal editor and vice president. “Mr. Trudeau is making a strong political statement with this series. We need some time to figure out the best way to present this subject to our readers, with the proper context.”

Friday, March 09, 2012

My 90-day drug supply delivered by UPS

Here's my 90-day supply of drugs which arrived by UPS today.  In back are 6 vials of Levimir insulin and 6 vials of Humalog.  In front is the ice bag in which they were packed.  There are three boxes of test strips and eight different prescription drugs.  Cost $963.69 (no free contraceptives included). I also take an over-the-counter drug and Vitamin D.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Adrienne Bosworth Chafetz dies in Columbus

Adrienne Bosworth Chafetz , who worked full or part-time for Beacon Journal in Columbus Bureau in early 1970s, died March 6.

BOSWORTH CHAFETZ Adrienne Bosworth Chafetz, a long -time local journalist and political activist, died March 6, 2012, at the Zusman House Hospice of lung cancer. She was 74.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Adrienne's interest in journalism was inspired by her childhood heroine, Lois Lane, who stood side by side fighting injustice with that impossible dream Superman. By high school, she aimed to be a big city journalist. But fighting injustice and protecting the American Way turned out to be a little more complicated.

 "Under the naive misapprehension that if people got the facts and knew the truth, we would create a better society. As a slow learner, I was not disabused of this notion for probably half a century," she once wrote. 

One of the things her friends loved about her was that she never entirely gave up that notion. When her family relocated to Columbus, Adrienne enrolled in Ohio State's School of Journalism, and graduated in 1958. 

Her first post-college job was with the Buffalo, NY Courier Express. Soon after, she joined the Columbus bureau of the Associated Press, first as a general assignment reporter, then to the political beat. In 1961, Adrienne married Orley "Doc" Bosworth, a still photographer and TV cameraman. They founded "Electromedia", a statehouse news service that provided daily reports to a half dozen medium-size Ohio papers along with TV and radio coverage for Ohio stations. 

They also collaborated on the occasional investigative stories for The Commentator, a semi-monthly public affairs magazine. In 1972, in her own words, she abandoned journalism and "suffered a severe lapse in judgment" and went to work as a press officer, first for the Ohio Democratic Party, then for the reelection campaign of then-governor John Gilligan, whose subsequent defeat by republican James A. Rhodes left her unemployed. 

It was a good time to reassess her life. She went back to Ohio State and earned an MBA degree. While still in business school, she returned to a broader field of writing by joining the newly launched Columbus Monthly magazine, where she eventually became managing editor. Fifteen years later, she left to become communications director for the Wexner Center for the Arts, on the OSU campus. After two years, she rejoined the Columbus Monthly until her retirement. 

Among her more memorable projects were the biennial ratings of the best and worst members of the Ohio General Assembly. Knowing in advance the ruckus of such stories, she mused "I thought this was better than rating the best and worst pizzas in the city." 

After an amicable divorce from Doc, she married Sidney Chafetz, a well-known artist and professor emeritus at Ohio State. They enjoyed nearly 30 years together. He survives her, as does her beloved daughter, Karen Elzey and son-in-law, Chris of Washington, D.C.; her brother, Leonard and his wife, Linda Block of Birmingham, Ala.; step-sons, Dan Chafetz of Tucson, Ariz., Adam Chafetz of Columbus, Seth Chafetz of Detroit, Mich.; and step-grandson, Kenny Chafetz and his companion, Allie Klunk of Columbus. 

She was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Sylvia, her first husband Orley Bosworth, and Sid's son, Jonathan Chafetz. 

Funeral service 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 8th at THE EPSTEIN MEMORIAL CHAPEL, 3232 E. Main St. with Rabbi Sharon Mars officiating. Interment will follow at New Agudas Achim Cemetery. Shiva will be observed at 1620 E. Broad St. from immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital or Zusman Hospice in her memory. Online guestbook at
[Published in The Columbus Dispatch on March 8, 2012]

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Details on Cathy Strong's new job

Former Beacon Journal State Desk reporter Cathy Strong provides details about her new job in New Zealand, where she lived and worked for decades before moving to Dubai, United Arab Emirate, three years ago.

Cathy's email:

I have accepted a position on the faculty of the Wellington Journalism School, which is within Massey University. I will be helping them develop a new Masters Degree in Journalism. I'm really energized about doing that.

The campus is in Wellington, the capital city, so the students have access to all the political hubs. Also the main media outlets there are very helpful to the students.

Hopefully the Masters Degree will be ready to take students by 2013. In the meantime I'll also be teaching in the undergraduate courses. I'll be bringing my converged media skills and also now more Middle East political outlook.

I'm really miss Dubai. The country is so dynamic, yet safe at the same time. Mostly, however, I'll miss my students. The female Emiratis are just lovely. I enjoy teaching them so much. Most of them will never be journalists, mainly because of the stigma from their families, but hopefully the skills I am teaching them now will be used sometime in the future. I'm also really hoping that perhaps a few of them will come to New Zealand for their Masters and study with me again.

Love hearing from you, John, and Paula,


On her Facebook page, Cathy added:

I start July 1. I may have only one day between leaving the job at Zayed University and taking up the new one in New Zealand/ zzzzzzz

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cathy Strong moving back to New Zealand

Former BJ State Desk reporter Cathy Strong will be moving back to New Zealand after three years in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

Cathy posted this on her Facebook page:

"I'm going to miss Dubai and all the excitement of living in the Middle East for three years. But back to a nifty new job in New Zealand in July."

Cathy has been teaching journalism in Dubai as a communication and media sciences professor at Zayed University. She was a journalist and snowboarding instructor in New Zealand during her three decades there.

Cathy has three daughters -- Rebecca, a hydrographer and lieutenant in the New Zealand Navy; Penelope, a real estate agent in West Palm Beach, Florida; and Amanda, a journalism student at Massey University.

Cathy’s sister, Janet Mullins, lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Freedom's Journal placed online: 103 issues

The Wisconsin History Society has placed online all 103 issues of the Freedom’s Journal; the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. The Journal was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829.

Besides accessing the newspaper archive, you can learn more about its history and its editors.

Do you know of other “early” African-American owned and operated newspapers?

Report on Project for Excellence in Journalism

New Study Finds Some Papers Succeeding With Digital Revenue;
But Many Executives Report Struggle to Change Business Culture
March, 5, 2012—Though the newspaper industry generally is making only halting progress in the search for a new revenue model, some newspapers are beginning to distinguish themselves and may finally provide signs of a path forward, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The report, based on PEJ’s analysis of private financial data from 38 newspapers and in-depth interviews with senior executives from 13 companies that own a total of 330 dailies, found that the papers studied are losing seven dollars in print advertising for every one dollar they are gaining in new digital revenue—a ratio that shows the pace at which newspapers are shrinking.
But unlike the usual aggregate industry data, the report’s 38 case studies also reveal enormous differences among newspapers, which suggest different management approaches can make a significant difference in performance.
Some papers that shared proprietary financial data with PEJ are coming close to matching their losses in print with gains in online advertising. While the papers studied on average grew digital revenue by 12%, one paper studied saw online ad revenue grow by 63%—and grew print advertising revenue by 8% as well. Another grew online advertising revenue by 50%, and came close to matching its print declines. But some papers are failing to grow digital revenue at all.  One paper studied saw digital revenue fall 37%; another fell 25%.
“The study suggests that the future of newspapers, rather than being determined entirely by sweeping external trends, can be substantially affected by company culture and management—even at papers of quite different sizes,” said PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel.
Among the study’s key findings:
  • Papers studied are losing seven dollars in print advertising for every one dollar they are gaining in new digital revenue. The papers providing detailed data took in roughly $11 in print revenue for every $1 they attracted online in the last full year for which they had data. Thus, even though the total digital advertising revenues from those newspapers rose on average 19% in the last full year, that did not come anywhere close to making up for the dollars lost as a result of 9% declines in print advertising.
  • Only 40% of papers say targeted advertising is a major part of their sales efforts.  Most papers are not putting major effort into selling “smart” or customized digital ads, the category expected to soon dominate local advertising.
  • “There’s no doubt we’re going out of business right now.” Executives interviewed for the study were candid that cultural problems inside their newspapers are making the transition to digital more difficult. They talked about their people being tied to old ways, and the challenge of attracting digital sales people to the newspaper industry. Some predicted papers will continue to shrink, that more papers will close and that many papers will soon home deliver print editions only a few days a week, perhaps only on Sunday.
·         The majority of papers studied focus most of their digital sales efforts on conventional display (such as banner ads) and digital classified. Those categories account on average for 76% of digital revenue at the papers studied, but they are not growing. These are the same two categories that provide most of their revenue in print. And 92% of the papers studied said display was a major focus of their digital sales effort.
·         Daily deals accounted for 5% of overall digital revenue in 2011 at the papers studied. One of the bigger innovations in the last year, the move toward coupons or daily deals (such as Groupon), accounted in the end for only a small amount of digital revenue in 2011. A majority of all the papers studied—30 of them—have adopted such programs, and most created their own programs. But there are widely varying views in the industry on the future of this category. Some executives are convinced it represents a solid revenue source going forward. Others see the deal gold rush as a bubble that has already reached its peak.
·         Of the papers sharing private data, advertising on mobile devices accounted for only 1% of the digital revenue in 2011. Executives are generally excited by the prospects of mobile, but for now it accounts for a tiny amount of revenue. Executives also believe that due to its ubiquity in the market, the phone ultimately could be more important to mobile revenue than tablets, a sign perhaps of some growing uncertainty about the ability to charge for apps, though some executives are already skeptical about how much money newspapers can make with smartphones.
·         Almost half (44%) of the papers that shared data reported that they were trying to develop some form of nontraditional revenue—such as holding events, consulting or selling new business products. In most cases, the dollars involved are minimal—less than $10,000 quarterly. Some executives also expressed concern that their companies don’t have the resources or competencies for such undertakings. Still, there were a few cases of remarkable success here.
·         Among the papers that provided data, the number of print-focused sales representatives outnumbered digital-focused reps by about 3-to-1.  A large majority of the newspapers sharing data with us reported that they had implemented a digital sales training program and had made it a priority to hire sales people with digital experience. But their sales force remains primarily focused on print, reflecting again that print ad revenue, which is shrinking, still makes up the bulk of the overall revenue—an average 92% in the study’s sample.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Olesky and tiger friend

Check out the visit  to Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand, by Paula Tucker and John Olesky

Good old days recalled on Linkedin

Check out comments by former Knight Ridder employes on Linkedin--talking about the good old days.

Go there now

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Google to sell eyeglasses with digital display

Nick Bilton reports Google will be selling eyeglasses with an embedded digital display by the end of the year. What kinds of new news products and sources will emerge to fit this new class of devices?

Bilton’s sources say the Android-powered headsets will cost “around the price of current smartphones.” They’ll have a small screen on the side of the viewing area, wireless Internet access, and sensors like GPS, an accelerometer and a front-facing camera to “monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby.” This description sounds similar to the glasses envisioned by Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan in “The Storm Collection,” their vision of a future when digital information overlays every part of the real world.

Google blogger Seth Weintraub has been all over the rumors, and reports the glasses will resemble Oakley Thumps:

For the news industry, this eventually will become yet another device like smartphones or tablets that demands we rethink news products, delivery methods and business models based on its unique capabilities and uses. It’s never too early to start thinking.

See Poynter story with illustration of glasse