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American Journalism Review
Bylines  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   December 1991


By Unknown

A Fraying Wire : UPI moves its foreign desk from D.C. to London, prompting the departure of editor Knut Wiborg-Jenssen , a 43-year veteran who worked in Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, London, and finally, Washington. At one time he was named foreign editor but handed the title to Anthony Miller , who has since been laid off, because he tired of the management duties. Wiborg-Jenssen, who worked overnight "to stay in touch with all the world," says he particularly enjoyed his years in Copenhagen, where the wire's office was equidistant from the opulent royal palace and a huge beer hall...UPI lays off its senior V.P. for

foreign operations, Michael Keats . A 32-year veteran, Keats covered Africa in the 1960s, was kidnapped twice in Lebanon in 1975 and later became news editor in Asia...

In Cincinnati, UPI closes its one-man bureau, eliminating the job of 24-year veteran Rick VanSant . "Like all reporters, I always figured my best story would be my next one," says VanSant, who now writes for the weekly Cincinnati Business Courier...UPI lays off the two dozen staffers of its radio network but then immediately rehires them after receiving several offers from potential buyers, a spokesman says. At the same time, the Voice of America, citing budget cuts, and says it has not renewed an estimated $500,000 in contracts with the wire. A spokeswoman for Rupert Murdoch says the media baron is considering whether to renew his Australian newspapers' UPI contracts, also reportedly worth about $500,000. UPI declined to comment.

Newsprint Notes : The New York Times hires three reporters and moves eight staff writers to the outer boroughs, New Jersey and Connecticut to boost metro coverage.The Times adds Alison Mitchell , formerly Moscow correspondent for Newsday, to work from Brooklyn; Maria Newman of the Los Angeles Times to report from the Bronx; and

Diana Schemo from the Paris bureau of the Baltimore Sun to work on Long Island. Newsday Editor Anthony Marro says he was surprised the Times waited so long to expand its local coverage; Times spokesman William Adler says editors have been discussing changes for more than a year but were delayed by tight budgets. "I'd think people would be surprised that we're doing any type of expansion with the poor economy," he says. "But it's almost a tradition that the Times has leapfrogged past its competition by investing during recessionary times"... Morton Kondracke of the New Republic begins a regular column in the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call...At the Westerly Sun in Rhode Island, brothers and co-publishers Charles Utter , 74, and George Utter II , 69, retire after spending most of their lives working at the newspaper. Two of their sons take over, the fourth generation of the family to run the 98-year-old daily...The Sacramento Bee names reporter Marjie

Lundstrom as city editor...The Milwaukee Journal names Gary Markstein , formerly with Tribune Newspapers in Arizona, as editorial cartoonist...Reporters and editors at the afternoon Alabama Journal, featured in a 1988 WJR article after it won a Pulitzer and an apparent reprieve from death, join forces with the morning Montgomery Advertiser. Publisher Richard Amberg says he plans no layoffs but has been reorganizing to improve coverage at both papers, which are jointly owned but remain separate titles...At the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reporter Debbie Price has been named an editorial page columnist; Associate Executive Editor Phil Record becomes ombudsman... Larry Nager , formerly at the Cincinnati Post, becomes music critic at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He says he has no plans to review more country music. "There's probably more country played in Cincinnati," he says. "This is a blues town."

Business Beat : Gail Bronson , a former Forbes editor and Wall Street Journal reporter, becomes managing editor of the New York-based electronic newspaper Bloomberg Business News. Founded last year, BBN employs 125 editors and reporters and has a total of nine bureaus in North America, Asia and London...The Star Tribune in Minneapolis/

St. Paul names Anthony Carideo and Dan Wascoe Jr. as columnists for its revamped business section and hires Tony Kennedy , formerly at AP, for the food beat... Jack Seamonds , formerly an assistant editor at the Detroit Free Press, takes over as business editor at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Pssst! : The Washington Post names reporter Lois

Romano as its new celebrities columnist. Her column, yet to be named but expected to debut by year's end, replaces the "Personalities" feature formerly written by Chuck Conconi ...Meanwhile, the Washington Times adds a weekday gossip column to its front features page. Written by Merrie Morris , a one-time assistant to Diana ("The Ear") McLellan , it's called "Merrie-Go-Round."

Local Feeds : At Chicago's WMAQ, reporter Peter Karl leaves to work full-time at the TV production company he founded. During his 15 years in Chicago, first at WLS and then WMAQ, Karl pursued dozens of "great scumbag stories" that exposed crooked doctors and politicians, police brutality, steroid abuse and substandard nursing homes. He leaves a six-figure salary but says he's been too busy to miss reporting...WMAQ reporter Lillian Williams joins Cleveland's WKYC, which also hires Danielle Fink of rival WEWS as an assignment editor..Reporter Darian Ward of WCCO in Minneapolis joins Milwaukee's WTMJ....

KTUL in Tulsa hires producer Laureen Chambliss from Knoxville's WKXT and Chief Photographer Bobby

Farquhar , formerly a freelancer from San Antonio... Nick Clooney , a Cincinnati Post columnist and WKRC commentator, departs to anchor at KSTU in Salt Lake City...

Keith Esparros , executive producer at New Orleans' WWL, takes over as managing editor at San Diego's KNSD... Burton Jablin , executive producer of Chicago's WBBM, takes the same position at KTTV in Los Angeles...Albuquerque's KKOB Radio hires News Director Rick Espinosa and reporter/anchor Renee Sanchez . Both leave KFWB Radio in Los Angeles.

At the Peacock : After three years of juggling three NBC News shows in two cities each weekend,

Garrick Utley leaves as moderator of "Meet The Press." He's replaced by Washington Bureau Chief Timothy Russert but continues to anchor "Sunday Today" and the "Weekend Nightly News" from New York. At times, Utley's glib style produced surprises on the normally reserved Sunday morning program. When South African Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi once responded to a question with, "That's bullshit!," Utley replied, "While the audience may appreciate your viewpoint, Mr. Buthelezi, they may not appreciate your choice of language." Another show Utley says he'd rather forget included a satellite session with Yassir Arafat , who appeared 45 minutes late, dodged questions and was then cut short by transmission problems..."Nightly News" drops its full-time Supreme Court coverage from Washington, a job handled by Carl Stern . Correspondents across the country now report the impact of key rulings. "We're not reducing our coverage," says Executive Producer Steve Friedman , "but the vote at the Court isn't the story anymore now that there's a solid 7-2 block." Stern, who became TV's first full-time Court reporter in 1967, still contributes to "Sunday Today" and "Nightly News." (ABC's Tim O'Brien covers the Court full time; CBS's Rita Braver covers the Court and Justice Department.) NBC also cancels "Real Life With Jane Pauley " and Tom Brokaw 's "Exposé," although elements of both shows appear in a new program with Pauley that debuts in March. Her co-anchor has not been selected; Brokaw will have his own specials, "Brokaw Reports."

At the Glossies : In a surprise move, K-III Magazines names Harry McQuillen as president and CEO of its eight titles. McQuillen, formerly president of Macmillan Publishing Company, has no experience with magazine management but told the New York Times, "Believe me, there is no mystery to this stuff." K-III purchased its trove – Automobile, New Woman, New York, Seventeen, European Travel & Life, Premiere, and two soap opera titles – this past summer for $650 million...The scuttlebutt about Time's plans for a redesign continues unabated.

Walter Isaacson , a newly named assistant managing editor who presides over back-of-the-book departments, was quoted in a front-of-the-book note from M.E. Henry Muller as saying, "The distinction between hard news and soft news has become irrelevant, even meaningless." A sign of things to come? Newsweek Editor Maynard Parker says he'd be "delighted" if his rival softens its coverage: "If Time, in effect, Harperizes itself, they would be hard-pressed to maintain their circulation"...Washingtonian hires Senior Writer Lisa DePaulo , formerly a senior editor at Philadelphia magazine...M.E. Cathryn Baskin of New England Living takes the same spot at PC World...The New Yorker names 24-year-old freelancer Elizabeth Wurtzel as its pop music critic. She replaces Mark Moses , who died last year. Wurtzel says she's been surprised by carping in the local press over a story she submitted to the Dallas Morning News while an intern there that relied heavily on a New York magazine article. But Wurtzel says, "That's never been any secret, and I've never denied wrongdoing. I was only 19 and felt very bad about it."

Network News : CNN names Brent Sadler , formerly with Britain's Independent News, as senior reporter in Amman, Jordan. In Rio de Janeiro, Marina Mirabella becomes bureau chief and Daniel McIvor correspondent. Both leave Canadian Broadcasting... Cissy Baker becomes vice president and managing editor of Fox News Service. A former CNN news executive, she had been an independent producer before signing with Fox. At the same time, Executive Producer Stewart Kasloff leaves Fox News to join WCAU in Philadelphia as assistant news director.

In Memoriam : Feisty media baron Robert Maxwell , whose holdings included seven newspapers in London, Glasgow, and New York, died at age 68....New York Post Metro Editor John Cotter , 48, suffered a fatal heart attack three days before he was to take over as M.E. of the rival Daily News. A former AP editor, Cotter was remembered by friends as a fun-loving, rambunctious newspaperman with a disdain for both ties and socks... Herman Hill, one-time West Coast editor for the black weekly Pittsburgh Courier, died at age 85... Lee Rashall , 79, a radio veteran of three decades and editorial director at San Francisco's KGO-AM, died of heart failure... Horace

Sutton , 72, a longtime Saturday Review editor and a syndicated travel columnist, died of cancer.



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