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American Journalism Review
Bylines  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   June 1998


By Debra Puchalla
Debra Puchalla is AJR's associate editor and deputy editor of Martha Stewart Living.      

Investing in Investigating

The Los Angeles Times doubles the size of the investigative team in its Washington bureau. Glenn F. Bunting , who'd been one of three Times writers on the D.C. investigations beat, will oversee six reporters as assistant news editor for investigations. Judy Pasternak leaves the Chicago bureau to join Bunting's two former teammates; two reporters will rotate from Times bureaus in project-by-project slots; and Bunting will hire one more investigative reporter. "While we were doing really good stuff on the scandals, it kind of drained all of our resources," he says. "We want to go out and do our own stuff... Washington journalism is mostly pack journalism, and we're trying to get away from that."

Walking Heads

After more than a decade as pundits on the weekly screamfest otherwise known as "The McLaughlin Group," Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes and Roll Call Executive Editor Morton Kondracke say a peaceable "bye, bye" and set up a new talking heads shop on the Fox News Channel . The Saturday evening show, airing opposite McLaughlin, will feature a newsmaker interview and segments on the media, the politics of culture and the week's political winners. Barnes says the show's kickoff won't be too soon to look ahead to 2000: "We're going to treat the presidential race seriously from the first show."

From NPR to CPJ

After globetrotting for National Public Radio for nearly a decade, Ann K. Cooper joins the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists as executive director, picking up the reins from William A. Orme Jr. , who after five years at CPJ's helm leaves to report for the New York Times' Jerusalem bureau. As a reporter who has covered the Soviet Union, China and Africa, Cooper says she saw firsthand foreign journalists who worked without the luxury of constitutional protection. "Many risk their lives or their livelihoods," she says. "If the Committee to Protect Journalists can help gain them the freedom to do their work, then I think we are doing something very fine."

The Other Gannett

Portland, Maine-based Guy Gannett Communications, which owns the Portland Press Herald , a cluster of other papers, plus TV stations in Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, New York and Florida, puts the company up for sale after more than a century of family ownership. A dozen or so heirs had said they intended to sell the papers and stations when the trust that controlled the business expired (upon the deaths of two remaining trustees, Guy Gannett 's granddaughter and son). "It became clear to the two remaining trustees that once nature took its course the company would be sold off," says communications director Ted O'Meara . "They felt that they could let that happen or take control of the situation and be in a position to decide who the new owners would be."

Netting More Users

More than 57 million Americans were trolling the Web at the end of 1998's first quarter, up 1.6 million from the year's start, according to a study by RelevantKnowledge Inc., an Atlanta firm that tracks numbers of Netizens. "Although the influx of users to the Web seems to be slowing a bit when compared to past studies, our findings indicate that Web users are relying more and more on the Internet in their everyday lives for commerce, entertainment and as a vital source of information," says RelevantKnowledge CEO Jeff Levy .

Southern Comfort

Walter E. Hussman Jr. , chief executive of Wehco Media, Inc. and publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has added another paper to his roster the Chattanooga Free Press . Said Hussman in the Democrat-Gazette, "One of the main that we are both family-owned newspapers operating in the South." Having once sought advice from the Tennessee paper's founder during his newspaper war in Ark-ansas, Hussman emerged as a desirable candidate to take over. Frank McDonald , the Free Press' president, said Hussman, who has promised few changes, was "almost handpicked." The sale included the paper and the family's controlling interest in the joint operating agreement between the Free Press (circulation 40,743 evening and 108,642 Sunday) and the Chattanooga Times . The papers will remain separate.

Around and About

The Orange County Register loses President and Chief Operating Officer John R. Schueler to Minneapolis' Star Tribune , where he will succeed Joel Kramer as publisher. Kramer, who joined the Register in 1983, leaves just two months after the completion of McClatchy's purchase of Star Tribune parent Cowles Media Co. "I had been thinking that I would leave the Star Tribune around the year 2000 and, after three decades in the newspaper business, try my hand at some other activities. The merger with McClatchy simply gave me the opportunity to act sooner," Kramer says. "I leave with complete confidence that under McClatchy ownership, the Star Tribune's tradition of quality journalism, community service and business innovation will continue.".. Ellen Foley moves eastward as managing editor of the Philadelphia Daily News , heading for cheesesteak land from the Kansas City Star , where she was assistant managing editor for features. Foley replaces Brian Toolan , who became editor of the Hartford Courant this spring. "We need to attract readers with our enterprise work throughout and by strengthening the middle of the newspaper," says Editor Zachary Stalberg . "In Kansas City, Ellen helped create a features section which did just that."



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