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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   December 1994  issue

Bylines   


By Suzan Revah
Suzan Revah is a former AJR associate editor.     

Out of Circulation

A plea to employees to help boost circulation by selling subscriptions sparks debate in the newsrooms of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News . "You can make money and win prizes by selling the product you help create," Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.'s Publisher Robert Hall told his minions in an interoffice memo. Many staffers were underwhelmed by the chance to beef up their paychecks by $25 per subscription. "Journalists should be offended," says one reporter in the South Jersey bureau. "What are we going to do now, give the circulation people cameras and note pads as they deliver the papers?" The day the memo was distributed, an office sign directing elevator traffic to the newsroom and administrative offices was covered with a larger sign that read "Circulation." Hall says he and editors discussed the complaints and determined there was no conflict of interest since the memo didn't ask reporters to sell subscriptions to people they cover. "I'd feel comfortable doing it again," Hall says. So far, 178 subscriptions have been sold. (Reported by Kelly Heyboer)

It's Just That Simple..

Ross Perot , the noted media critic and author of "United We Stand," starts writing columns for the New York Times News Service and the New York Times Syndicate . Not surprisingly, his early efforts have focused on such Perot staples as NAFTA, GATT and the national debt. According to Syndicate and News Service President John Brewer , the columns will turn into a regular, biweekly feature. "I can assure you he writes the columns himself," says Brewer. "We go through revisions and fight over rephrasings just like any other editor would do with any other columnist." Brewer says his new recruit seems to enjoy writing, adding that "he writes like he talks. He's got his own style, which is very..pointed."

On the Infobahn

The Los Angeles Times and Newsday/New York Newsday , Times Mirror's largest newspapers, announce plans to launch regional online interactive services offering news, information and sales over Prodigy . The services, Times-
Link and Newsday Direct, will provide virtually the entire daily content of the papers, along with interactive community bulletin boards allowing the public to communicate with editors, reporters and newsmakers... ABC and NBC will participate in Time Inc.'s interactive news-on-demand service, The News Exchange , which will be offered on Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando, Florida, next year. The service will allow television viewers to screen whatever programs, stories and background reports they want, whenever they want. NBC and ABC will offer access to their evening newscasts, magazine shows and other programs, along with programming from the networks' local affiliates.... Minneapolis' Star Tribune names three new assistant news editors to develop the news portion of Star Tribune Online. Ben Welter moves from the Star Tribune copy desk and Dennis Buster leaves his post overseeing the paper's computer-assisted reporting, while Jackie Crosby comes over from KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where she was special projects producer.

Cutting the Cord

Albuquerque Tribune editor/reporter Eileen Welsome , 43, who had been on leave from the paper for several months, decides to leave for good to focus on writing books. Her current project: an expansion of her Pulitzer Prize-winning series for the Tribune on government-sponsored radiation experiments on humans. Welsome says she just couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a book and felt compelled to try something new, though she has found book-writing more difficult than she imagined. "It's like writing 25 magazine-length stories at the same time," she says. Though Welsome says she has no definite long-term plans, she's sure she made the right call. "Eight years," she says, "is a long time for a person to be at the same newspaper job."

Around Newspapers

Jim Willse 's official title was director of new media for Newhouse, but he was widely regarded as editor in waiting of the Newark Star-Ledger (see "A Brand New Ballgame," November). The waiting is over. Willse, former editor of the New York Daily News , succeeds Mort Pye , who had run the Star-Ledger since 1957.... Bob Johnson , 49, publisher of Newsday for the past eight years, resigns, citing "differences in business philosophy with senior management of Newsday's parent, Times Mirror." He is replaced by Raymond Jansen , 55, former publisher of the Hartford Courant .... Michael Pakenham , former editorial page editor of the New York Daily News , is hired as book editor of Baltimore's Sun ... Joe Distelheim , executive editor of the Anniston Star in Alabama, says he is gearing up to move to "a bigger paper, a bigger staff and a bigger city," as he becomes editor of Alabama's Huntsville Times, replacing Bob Ward . Distelheim says he wants to help the paper "grow along with the community," and looks forward to joining Newhouse.

A Mission in Moscow

Paul Janensch , former editor of the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Massachusetts, moves to Moscow to become associate director and print coordinator of a project to help the Russian news media become financially self-sufficient. Janensch was named to the position by the Center for War, Peace and the News Media at New York University.

Wire Watch

Reuters America names 16-year Reuters veteran Paul Eedle senior vice president and editor. He succeeds Andrew Nibley , now executive vice president and editor of Reuters NewMedia , which is developing new electronic news and information products... UPI appoints veteran international journalist Raphael Calis executive editor and vice president of the 88-year-old international news agency. Calis, 52, was Washington bureau chief of the Kuwait News Agency for the past 13 years.

Network News

CBS correspondent/anchor and former "Today" cohost Deborah Norville jumps ship. She'll take over as anchor of the syndicated newsmagazine "Inside Edition" after her maternity leave ends next February or March, succeeding Bill O'Reilly . In other CBS news, former "America Tonight'' anchor Dana King becomes Monica Gayle 's coanchor on the "CBS Morning News" and a contributor to "CBS This Morning."... Dianna Pierce , formerly deputy to one-time White House counselor and soon to be teacher of political science at Duke University David Gergen , joins ABC 's "Nightline" as a producer. She'll book guests, among other things... Meanwhile, Time magazine congressional correspondent Julie Johnson leaves to cover the Justice Department for ABC ... At CNN, Claire Shipman , former general assignment reporter and Moscow correspondent, heads for the White House, joining Senior White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer and Jill Dougherty on the beat.

Around Magazines

The Washington Times ' Insight magazine names Paul Rodriguez managing editor. Rodriguez, who joined the Times as an investigative reporter in 1989, replaces Kirk Oberfeld ...
Robert Snyder is the new managing editor of the Freedom Forum's Media Studies Journal . Snyder has taught at Princeton and New York University and has worked for several dailies... Helen Thorpe , former staff writer for the New Yorker and the New York Observer , joins Texas Monthly as associate editor... USA Today financial columnist Dan Dorfman becomes a senior writer for Money magazine, where he will write a column on investing.

If You Can't Beat 'Em..

As the Boston Phoenix media critic for more than seven years, Mark Jur-kowitz spared no barbs writing pieces critical of the town's 800-pound gorilla, the Boston Globe . Now the Globe has hired Jurkowitz, 40, most recently executive editor of Boston Magazine , as ombudsman. Jurkowitz, who will also write a national media column for the paper, says his goal "is not to blow up a bomb on day one, but to establish credibility with the readers as quickly as I can." Jurkowitz succeeds Gordon McKibben , who is retiring. The Globe is one of 37 newspapers in the United States with an ombudsman.

Revolving Door

Reporter Richard Weintraub , 51, is named press spokesman and senior director of public affairs for USAir. The hire follows a column Weintraub wrote about the airline's need to regain the confidence of the traveling public and its own employees. Weintraub says he became fascinated with the industry while covering airline management for the Washington Post , and that he was thinking about a career change when the USAir opportunity arose. "I had reached an age where one decides whether to finish a career in journalism or move on to different things," Weintraub says. "I was lucky enough to have [covered] everything from Boston politics to the Afghan War, and I had a lot of wonderful experiences that I couldn't have had in anything other than a newspaper career."

Moving Up

Jack Davis , 47, editor of the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia, for the past seven years, is named president and publisher. Davis, who joined the Tribune Co.'s Daily Press as editor in 1987, was once metro editor of the Chicago Tribune . Davis says good editors should be prepared for the publisher gig because their jobs require an understanding of all aspects of newspapering. "I'll enjoy having responsibility for making sure that this news company is healthy and able to support the kind of public service mission that all good editors think is their mission," Davis says.

Off the Beaten Path

Farai Chideya , 25, a former reporter in Newsweek 's Washington bureau, leaves political journalism behind to become assignment editor for MTV News . Having been at Newsweek since graduating from Harvard, Chideya felt it was time to move on and hinted as much while interviewing MTV personnel for a story she was writing on pop culture for the magazine. Chi-deya's biggest challenge in her new position, she says, is finding ways to tie news events to music. Instead of reporting the news, she must now "design" it. "I've learned that there are ways of covering the story [the MTV generation] doesn't want to watch," Chideya says. ( Reported by Deborah Leiderman )

What's in a Name?

During a strike last month by 2,600 reporters and other employees of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency that has since been resolved, management personnel putting out the San Francisco Chronicle resorted to using pseudonyms as bylines to protect their identities. They said that they were "intimidated" by striking reporters, according to Chronicle spokesperson Cindy Myers . "Considerable and consistent striker violence, including threatening phone calls, verbal assaults and running cars off the road," forced management to hide their identities, says Chronicle Promotion Director Dean Church . Management at the Examiner , which operates under a JOA with the Chronicle, continued using their real names, says Church. "Maybe they [had] more guts." ( Reported by Kelly Heyboer )

In Memoriam

Erwin Knoll , editor of the Progres-sive , died at age 63 in his sleep on November 2. Knoll, an Austrian native who fled the Nazis and immigrated to the United States as a child, was editor of the 85-year old magazine for the past 21 years. "We have lost a lion," says Matthew Rothschild , publisher of the liberal monthly. "Free speech had no greater friend, and war-makers and opportunistic politicians no greater foe than in Erwin Knoll."