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American Journalism Review
Bylines  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   December 1992


By Chip Rowe
Chip Rowe, a former AJR associate editor, is an editor at Playboy.     

Orlando Blues: The Orlando Sentinel lays off 98 employees, including Executive Editor Steve Vaughn and seven other newsroom staffers. "Middle managers here are shaken a bit," says one reporter. "They see that [seniority] didn't buy Vaughn anything when it came to the bottom line." Twelve empty newsroom positions also were eliminated. Editor John Haile declined to discuss details but says he doesn't see the layoff of an executive editor as "unusual in the scheme of things... It's unfair to look only at reporting ranks" for cutbacks. Vaughn, who was one day shy of his 25th anniversary at the paper, was leaving to discuss the layoffs with bureau staffers when he was called into a conference room and told he was being dismissed himself. "It was like a bucket of cold water in my face," he says, "but I can't fault them. Anybody this happens to can say they could have done it better." Vaughn, whose duties had changed about 10 years ago to become largely administrative, says he's considering whether to find another newspaper job or devote his time to panoramic photography, a longtime hobby.

L.A. Blues: The Los Angeles Times closes its San Diego bureau and announces buyout offers to 5,200 full time employees in an effort to cut 500 jobs during the next year for $8 million in annual savings. The paper won't say how many buyouts it is offering in the newsroom. In San Diego, 76 of the bureau's 107 full time employees will get new assignments, most at the daily San Fernando Valley edition. Six reporters and editors remain, but the city's 14-year-old edition will be replaced by the main paper. "Because of San Diego's distance from Los Angeles and the larger number of competitors there, the economics of producing a separate daily edition just haven't worked," Publisher David Laventhol said in a statement. About 300 Times employees took buyouts last year.

A Sleuth Retires: Robert Greene , 63, head of Newsday 's investigative unit, leaves the newspaper after 38 years to teach and write. His proudest moment: organizing a 1976 gathering in Phoenix of reporters from around the country, prompted by the car-bomb murder of Arizona Republic crime reporter Don Bolles , to conduct a six-month investigation into crime and corruption in the state. The result was a 23-part series distributed by AP and UPI , several major awards, new penal codes and increased funding for law enforcement. Greene says he fell into journalism "by accident" after sneaking into a 1948 Truman campaign speech and ending up with a better view than the national press corp. "A guy taps me on the shoulder and says, 'What paper are you at?' I told him I was there on a bet for a pack of cigarettes. I didn't even know how to type." It was the editor of the Jersey Journal, who offered Greene a job.

Press & Politics: Most of the past and present television journalists who ran for the House this fall fared well. Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky , a former reporter for NBC and WRC in Washington, D.C., won a U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania by less than 1 percent of the vote. Ron Klink , who spent 14 years as an anchor and reporter at Pittsburgh's KDKA , had an easier time joining the delegation with 79 percent of his district's votes. Both are Democrats. Another Democrat, Andy Fox , a one-time reporter at Norfolk's WAVY , lost his bid to represent a Virginia district. Among Republicans, former anchor Scott Klug was elected to his second term in Wisconsin by a wide margin, and KENS Producer Henry Bonilla won a seat from Texas. Bonilla had found himself in a brouhaha after the San Antonio Light revealed six weeks before the election that he had used a KENS cameraman and equipment to produce a campaign ad. The paper also reported that Bonilla's wife, anchor Deborah Knapp Bonilla , used newsroom computers to organize political donations and that anchor Chris Marrou planned to host a fundraiser – all while the station covered Bonilla's candidacy.

To the North Country: Feature writer and magazine columnist Charles Trueheart and business reporter Anne Swardson leave next month for a three-year tour as Washington Post correspondents in Toronto. "We were both looking for a change," says Trueheart, who jokes that he courted Swardson through voice-mail after they met at the paper. They married in 1988. The couple will split a 60-hour week. Among other moves at the Post, Deputy Metro Editor Doug Feaver becomes deputy financial editor; national reporter John Yang also joins the financial desk; Jerusalem correspondent Jackson Diehl returns to become deputy foreign editor; and Gus Niebuhr leaves the Wall Street Journal to cover religion.

Terry Update: The Associated Press names Terry Taylor as sports editor. Taylor, who joined the AP in 1977, was most recently the AP's assistant New York bureau chief after a brief stint with the New York Times. She succeeds Darrell Christian , now managing editor. Terry Anderson , the AP bureau chief in Beirut held hostage for seven years, leaves the wire service after 20 years. He told a group of newspaper executives last fall that he has not ruled out running for political office. "One of the things you give up as a journalist is the right to speak out," he said, confessing, "I have opinions."

Newsprint West: Editor Christian Anderson of the Orange County Register becomes executive vice president with parent Freedom Newspapers . Managing Editor
Tonnie Katz becomes the new top editor, succeeded by Assistant Managing Editor Ken Brusic . Meanwhile, Assistant Managing Editor John Hollon leaves to become editor of the Great Falls Tribune in Montana... Judy Fahys , formerly with the Washington bureau of Scripps League Newspapers , joins the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah as a reporter.

Newsprint Heartland: The Milwaukee Journal , which 18 months ago merged its metro and state desks, separates them again. Don Walker , who had been national editor, becomes metro editor, Carolina Garcia , previously deputy metro editor, is now state editor, and Dale Buss , former metro/state editor, becomes an investigative reporter. "We merged them chiefly because metro had so many more resources," says Managing Editor Steve Hannah . "But while that did create efficiency, especially in editing, it also created a big bureaucracy, which I hated." Hannah also has moved four reporters from metro to state to beef up coverage there... The Detroit Free Press promotes Assistant Business Editor Nancy Laughlin to coordinate national and world coverage. She succeeds Joe Ritchie , now teaching at Florida A&M ... Margaret Wolf Freivogel , assistant Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , becomes editor for national and international news. She succeeds Bob Posen , now news editor.

Elsewhere: William Grueskin becomes city editor at the Miami Herald . Formerly the Herald's city editor in Broward County, he succeeds Chris Morris , now associate editor for personnel... The New York Times promotes Deputy Style Editor John Montorio to style editor. He succeeds Angela Dodson , now senior editor for administration.

Magazines: Mark Morrison takes over as managing editor of Business Week on February 1, when John Dierdorff will retire on his 65th birthday after 36 years with the magazine. Dierdorff left the Oregonian in Portland in 1956 to find a job in New York, landed one with Business Week's copy desk, and 21 years later became managing editor. He says he plans to do some gardening. "It's a wonderful editor's pastime," he says. "You get to pluck out offending weeds as you pluck out offending words, and you can rearrange the layout constantly." Sarah Bartlett , who left the magazine four years ago for the New York Times , returns to succeed Morrison as an assistant managing editor...
Jolie Solomon , formerly at the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal , joins Newsweek as a business editor... The Advocate hires Cheryl Coward , most recently a reporter for the Washington Blade , as its Capitol Hill correspondent.

A Long-Awaited  Return to Maine: Three decades after landing his first newspaper job at the Bangor Daily News , Robert Kellete r leaves the Washington Post to become the Maine newspaper's executive editor. He succeeds V. Paul Reynolds , who departs after 23 years following management fights with Publisher Richard Warren .

Kelleter, 52, was still a student at the University of Maine when he was hired by the Daily News as a sportswriter in 1962. He joined the Milwaukee Sentinel five years later, then jumped to the Post in 1969.

"I went to see whether I could make it in the big time," he says. "But I went to school here, my wife is from here, we have a summer place about an hour from here. This is a chance to come back sooner than someday."

Kelleter began as a sports copy editor at the Post but soon rose to assistant sports editor. He was named news editor and graphics director over five features sections in the early 1970s and later was among a team that designed and tested a newsroom computer system that eliminated the typewriters made famous by "All the President's Men." Most recently he was editor of the weekly food section.

"This is nothing against the Post, but everybody that's been there a while is in the same boat," he says. "Their Maine might be Arizona or Minnesota, who knows. Only after people said, 'This is great for you,' did I realize how few people get to do exactly what they want to do exactly where they want to do it."

Television News: Charles Bierbauer , who for the past nine years has been CNN 's senior White House correspondent, becomes senior Washington correspondent. Wolf Blitzer leaves his Pentagon beat for the White House... Odetta Rogers , formerly an anchor and reporter at WFSB in Hartford, joins NBC as a Washington correspondent.

NPR: "Morning Edition" names Susan Stamberg as its special correspondent covering arts and cultural affairs. She has been on leave for the past year writing a book for Random House, "Talk," about her 20 years as a host and reporter. "Madonna's got 'Sex,' " Stamberg says, "I've got 'Talk.' " For her book, the former "All Things Considered" host chose 80 transcripts from the 20,000 interviews she's conducted at NPR and annotated them with extensive notes. Her favorite: Joan Didion. "I forgot we were on the air," Stamberg says of the 1977 interview. "That never happens." Meanwhile, NPR names Mara Liasson as White House correspondent, replacing Richard Gonzales , who will have a new beat when he returns from a two-month paternity leave. Also, Senior Foreign Editor Cadi Simon leaves after 13 years to spend more time with her children.

Elsewhere in Radio: Monitor Radio hires Steve Delaney as host for its "Early Edition," replacing Dale Willman . Delaney reported for NBC from 1967 until 1988 and was recently a correspondent for the Christian Science Church 's now-defunct Monitor Television . Willman and Editor Ken Bader were relieved of their duties in
August after they refused to air an apology for a piece on AIDS education that included references to "boys in gold lamù jockstraps" and using cucumbers to demonstrate how to put on condoms. Willman resigned in November without going back on the air; he's now doing newscasts for NPR . Bader is still negotiating with Monitor officials... KBCO/AM-FM in Boulder promotes reporter Steve Chavis to news director, succeeding Peter Finch , who leaves the station. Chavis says KBCO is considered "the NPR of rock stations" by many listeners. "We don't have a wacky morning show," he says. "There's so much humor and irony in the news already, we don't need to make it up."



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