Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blondie voted #1 comic in Scranton Times

Editor Lawrence K. Beaupre writes a lengthy history of Blondie for subscribers. Must be read to be believed.

CV circulation up, TL circulation down

Newspapers only publish stories with terms like FAS-FAX if their circulation goes up. If circulation goes down, no story. That's why there's no corresponding TL link.

TL publishes letter from staffer uneasy about criticism of Times-Shamrock

Kudos to the Times Leader editors for their willingness to publish a letter from within the building critical of all the anti-Times-Shamrock rants. It begs the question for an interesting story: What about all the line employees at the TL who just want to get along and desparately hope to have a job there in a few months? Not everyone there is a footloose reporter or an executive with a KR buyout in their contract.

Bids for TL due today

The Times Leader didn't publish a story on the deadline, though the Citizens' Voice did. Pat McHugh tells Nichole Dobo that "several" bidders have visited the newspaper.
  • Anonymous source tells TL that Yucaipa may visit
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    “The reporting was not just negligent, it was reckless and out of control"

    That's what a lawyer said about stories in the CV about a NEPA businessman. That man's libel trial against the Voice and reporters Ed Lewis and James Conmy concluded on Friday. A ruling from the bench will come in a couple months.
  • Read the CV's story wrapping up the trial coverage

  • Oops: Robert Kalinowski picks up a correction on his Thursday story about the libel case
  • We'll-miss-the-TL letters come in

    Readers say they'll miss the TL (which isn't dead yet, by the way).
  • Susquehanna County man loves the TL's TV guide
  • Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Welcome Derek Levarse and Jamie Raub to the TL

    Both fellows will be working for Joe Petrucci on the sports desk. Matt Golas has the details in his newsroom note. Don't sign any long-term leases, fellas.

    More -- much more -- on Richard Connor's bid to buy the TL

    This is the most insightful story to date on any non-Times-Shamrock buyer for the newspaper. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a big story about Richard Connor, his family and his money. A must-read. Interesting that the Fort Worth paper (a former KR paper) didn't slip the TL a copy of its story last night.

    Casey Jones: Save us. Please, save us!

    The deafening sound of silence in Wilkes-Barre re: the impending demise of the TL saddens Mr. Jones. Someone should put all these self-serving columns (we're great, Lynetts bad, you'll miss us) together into a book.

    Wife of man targeted by CV stories says she was questioned about his alleged shady deals

    The libel case against the CV continued for another day Wednesday, Kevin Amerman reports.

  • CV unable to force its law-enforcement sources to testify, judge rules (TL sidebar)

  • Read Robert Kalinowski's CV story about the case
  • Plleeeese read this letter to the editor

    A Mary Ann Daywood of Plains wants the TL to stay, and she's willing to misspell words in the newspaper to make sure the paper stays.

    WNEP does a brief story about the potential demise of the TL

    The story is about what you would expect. Some people like the Leader. Others like the Voice.

    Hapless, lazy, hopeless

    Some might say that describes using a Tuesday 'newsroom note' as a Wednesday staff editorial. Not the stuff of Pulitzer prizes.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    TL letter writer: A two-newspaper town is good

    An uncommonly articulate letter to the editor in the TL (from a Swoyersville man, no less) attacking the simple-minded letter from the temp agency magnate that supported a one-newspaper town.

    Comny on the stand: CV libel case continues

    Word to the wise: When you write a story that could be potentially shaky, remember that you could be on the stand five years later explaining who you did and didn't rely on. CV reporter James Comny admitted Tuesday that his stories about Thomas Joseph's alleged improper dealings did not have any law-enforcement sources. Makes you wonder who his sources were, then. The plaintiff's attorney will probably be asking that question in the coming days. Ed Lewis, the main writer on the stories, was nowhere to be found on Wednesday, though the same attorney would like him to testify. Another test of Pennsylvania's shield law awaits.

  • Read the CV's take on the story
  • Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    God bless the little creatures at the CV

    Not a good day for the CV or for Times-Shamrock. The Times Leader piles on, with a staff editorial along with the usual Matt Golas newsroom note about how retarded it was for the Voice and the Scranton Times-Tribune to ignore the Lynett family tour of the Times Leader on Sunday and then write a story about the tour that relies solely on the TL story. Romenesko bites, making the flap (Citizens' Voice unable to confirm parent's tour of KR paper) his lead story for a time.

    Question: Is Golas writing specifically to get on Romenesko?

    Former publisher Connor tours TL plant with potential buyers

    Richard Connor was a publisher right after the strike started in 1978. A solid effort from Renita Fennick. NOTED: In the last legs of the story is the unattributed claim that the newspaper is worth $50 to $80 million.

    Joseph libel suit against the CV continues

    Another day, another round of accusations that the Voice is full of anonymously-sourced, slipshod reporting. Kevin Amerman from the TL reports.
  • Robert Kalinowski of the CV reports about how a (possible) source of the story was allowed to leave without testifying on the Voice's behalf
  • Monday, May 22, 2006

    NewsAlert: Lynetts, others tour TL on Sunday

    Why, oh why, are there no pictures? Potential new owners walk through the newsroom at 11:15 a.m. Sunday and no one takes pictures? Christ. Anyway, the TL also reports that the rumor mill says that a former publisher, but not Dale Duncan or Mark Contreras, may buy the paper. Maybe they will give Allison the paper to settle her lawsuit.
  • Matt Golas, in his Monday newsroom note, mocks the Lynetts for not writing about their visit in the CV or the Scranton paper, says they are soft, makes odd reference to a Department of Justice investigation (all after Sherwood item)
  • Scranton Times editor Steve Daily says he'd like to blog about blogging

    Buried in the business editor's column was a mention of How sweet.

    Coverage of CV libel lawsuit continues

    It's been interesting comparing CV and TL coverage of the Thomas Joseph libel lawsuit. Terrie Morgan-Besecker has written every story for the TL, while it's been a rotating cast for the Voice. Saturday, it was Nichole Dobo. Friday's testimony was from an expert witness who said Joseph lost a lot of money because of the CV's erroneous reporting. Note the interesting lines at the end of Dobo's story. The Scranton Times stayed away from the story again Saturday.
  • CV story on the libel trial involving the newspaper
  • Scranton Times goes behind the scenes of Frank Andrews Shimkus' win

    The analysis, from Borys Krawczeniuk's Roderick Random, says Andrews won because he's on TV a lot and because the other strong candidates took away from each other. No mention of Frank's professional ethical lapses.

    Scranton Times-Tribune shooter Jason Farmer wins at APME

    Inexplicably, the Scranton newspaper did not mention its staffer winning in its wire story published Friday. The Pocono Record, where Farmer was working at the time he did the winning work, had more information.

    UPDATE: Jason Farmer is not to be confused with Ed Farmer, a journeyman right-hander who pitched for the Phillies in 1982-83. Fucking bloggers!

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Welcome Megan Reiter to the Scranton Times-Tribune

    Formerly of the Punxsutawney Spirit, Megan Reiter is a new reporter at the Scranton Times-Tribune. It's not clear who she is replacing.

  • Reiter rides along with a constable in '04

  • Reiter isn't a technology buff
  • Bob Kadluboski was the man behind controversial CV advert

    The towing company operator put an ad in the Voice before this week's election -- an ad that criticized two candidates but didn't say who paid for it. Publisher Scott Lynett and ad director Mark Altavilla both say they are very, very sorry, James Conmy writes. It only took Comny and the Voice four days to catch up to Jon Fox's TL story about the same topic.

  • The TL writes about the screwed-up political ad in the Voice
  • CV gets ripped by J-prof at libel trial

    CV reporters Ed Lewis and James Comny were portrayed Thursday as inferior reporters and editor Justin O'Donnell was portrayed as asleep at the switch. Not a good showing for the Voice, if you believe a Temple University professor called by the plaintiffs to testify as an expert witness about how slipshod the CV's coverage about Thomas Joseph was.

  • Terrie Morgan-Besecker's other Friday story about the trial

  • Tim Gulla writes Friday's CV story about the trial
  • Weather man loses arbitration case against WYOU

    Phil Yacuboski of WYOU was trying to get out of a one-year no-compete clause, according to Kevin Amerman's story. No dice.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    CV might be a little screwed in its libel case

    It's hard to tell, but if you read Terrie Morgan-Besecker's story closely you learn (or think you learn) that the CV wants to put its confidential sources on the stand, but the judge won't let it. As it is, the judge has tossed as evidence the search warrant affidavit, an affidavit "that, in some instances, is similar" to what the anonymous sources told the newspaper. In other words, the CV has no evidence that its stories were true.

    The TL has decided to go wall-to-wall with two stories in Thursday's newspaper. The CV had one, by Robert Kalinowski. The Scranton Times-Tribune has taken a pass on the story.

  • Read the Citizens' Voice version of the story

  • Read the TL's other Thursday story about the libel lawsuit
  • Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    How the pros report the potential sale of their newspaper

    With relentless, well-sourced, astute reporting. That's what the Philadelphia Inquirer, in the same situation as the TL, has been doing. To bad the readers in Wilkes-Barre aren't enjoying similar reporting.

    Frank Andrews Shimkus wins in primary

    The former (and perhaps future) WYOU-TV news director won the democratic primary Tuesday in his bid to join the Pennsylvania state legislature after a race where he got a free pass on his professional ethical lapses. The victory seems to have emboldened the people who oppose him chiefly for personal reasons (problems with booze and women):

  • The man behind unveils plans for

  • Also, be sure to read what Howard Beale and his commenters have to say over at Beale's Bites:
  • Beale's Bites (NEPA TV news blog)
  • The TL's Matt Golas lays out the newspaper's goals

    "We will continue to be the only media here to take chances, try something different, break a rule once in a while, surprise you." Etc. etc. etc. Sounds like the results of a brainstorming session of some kind.

    CV libel case goes to trial

    Terrie Morgan-Besecker was at day one of a trial involving the CV and a businessman who the newspaper alleged had ties to organized crime and Billy D'Elia. James Conmy and Ed Lewis wrote the stories in question. Too bad TMB didn't describe how they looked sitting at the defendant's table. Neither the TL nor the CV get into an obvious question: Will the newspaper be forced to reveal its confidential sources as part of the trial? If push comes to shove, will Lewis and Comny pull a Judith Miller and go to jail to save their source?

  • Read Robert Kalinowski's CV story about the case

  • Read the 2001 stories that triggered the lawsuit
  • Casey Jones talks about Scott Lynett's hot body

    You can't beat a column about a publisher's "pale, pasty body." Casey also ensures that he won't have a job in the new world order with another TL column/editorial/story about how horrible life will be in the non-TL future, and only the Lynetts are to blame. Worth reading for the camp value alone.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Enjoy the wild reader responses to the AP's W-B story

    The Times Leader apparently does not moderate comments during the weekend, otherwise it would have stripped out the shots at the newspaper left in the comments section of the AP's story about the newspaper.

    Letter writer: Two-paper town is good

    Michael Stair of Mountain Top (or Mountaintop, if you like) writes the CV editor to report that he likes having two papers. It's far down in the letters column.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Your mom will be reading about Wilkes-Barre on the AP wire

    Times Leader alum Mike Rubinkam wrote a takeout about the Wilkes-Barre newspaper war that moved on the wire Friday. Matt Golas, Dave Iseman, Larry Holeva, Jerry Kishbaugh (!) and Scott Lynett all make appearances. It does a good job of looking back at the bad old days of 1978 when the newspaper strike started and today's battle lines were drawn.

    Hanover Area school board asks judge to toss TL FOI lawsuit

    John Davidson reports that the lawyers for Hanover Area want to sit on the terms of a settlement it reached with the parents of a disabled student. The TL says freedom must reign. A judge will decide.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    TL's Golas to CV's Dobo: Drop dead

    Well, not quite. But TL editor Matt Golas is crying in his beer that Nichole Dobo didn't use his money quote in her Sunday takeout on the future of newspapering in NEPA. "Nichole is a reputable reporter. I hope this was just an oversight and not a case of censorship, an example of managing the news," Golas writes at the end of his newsroom note. Maybe it was a case of the reporter picking the quote she felt was most newsworthy! What a chickenshit thing to cry about -- the reporter didn't use the quotes he thought was most relevant. You could fill Public Square with interview subjects who have the same complaint about TL reporters... or about reporters at any newspaper in the land.

    Golas should know better.

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Here's another self-serving story from the TL about how its demise would be a loss for humanity

    Seriously, read it all the way to the end of this Renita Fennick story. When it's not crowing about how much the newspaper cares about the community ("The Times Leader has dedicated a full-time reporter, Mark Jones, to the community advocate beat") or bragging about all the money it dispenses ("The Times Leader gives about $130,000 in cash each year") it is blowing publisher Pat McHugh, detailing his humble beginnings in Miami and his rise to the most benevolent man in Wilkes-Barre ("Since Pat McHugh came aboard, the employee and corporate financial contributions (to the United Way) have gone up fourfold").

    Yuck. Talk about a story that should not have been written, much less published.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Shit: CNHI visits Wilkes-Barre, may buy the TL

    Iseman and his cohorts will be wishing the Lynetts swooped in if Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., aka the Alabama public employees retirement system, buys the TL. CNHI makes Pat McHugh look like Joe Pulitzer. However, Renita Fennick's inside sources say a sale to CNHI seems unlikely.

    The TL, according to the Voice, may be fucked

    An uncommonly solid read on the future of the TL, as well as the future of the larger Wilkes-Barre newspaper market. There's real reporting, CV Publisher Scott Lynett's remarks aren't taken at face value, and historic perspective. Kudos to Nichole Dobo for departing from the CV's usually shrill, partisan "reporting."

    Dave Iseman says it's tense in the TL newsroom

    Don't read this if you're looking for a real peek into the newsroom or into Dave Iseman's recent experiences there. Do read this if you're looking for the usual bragging about how "scrappy" the TL is ("get close and we might try to look up your pant legs"), mixed in with kissing the ass of the editor ("no sacred cows...our top editor, my boss, lives by that") and the publisher ("a congenial newshound in publisher’s clothing").

    Scranton Times publishes puff piece on Frank Andrews Shimkus

    Incredible. The Scranton Times profiles a guy who a) lied about his name, b) worked as a TV news director while publicly kicking around running for office c) is still "consulting" for a TV news station while running, d) puts on his resume master's and doctoral degrees from an unaccredited school (which he uses to teach at the University of Scranton), and e) appeared on the cover of a pay-for-play "magazine" under questionable circumstances.

    And the Sunday profile, from Borys Krawczeniuk, only addresses the name lie -- and gives him a free pass on it. The rest, all documented and on the record, is ignored. The profile is the definition of uninsightful. Except for the disclosure that his favorite movie is "Pay It Forward," reason enough to not vote for the guy.

    What a disappointment.

    The TL's Matt Golas: Freedom of speech is a good thing

    The thought comes in Friday's newsroom note, about the anti-Saudi student letter that got the people at Wilkes University all riled up.

    Christopher Kelly thanks his favorite teacher

    It's the feel-good story of the week, from the columnist at the Scranton Times.

    TL's FOI lawsuit against W-B police continues

    The city wanted a judge to dismiss the open-records lawsuit, but Judge Michael Conahan told the city no dice. Note that the ruling came in late April and the story came May 6. Zzzzzz...

    Scranton Times wins some penny-ante awards you don't care about

    Kudos to Jeff Sonderman, Michael Mullen, Jim Conroy and Jessica Matthews for winning some awards.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Kudos to Jeff Sonderman of the Scranton Times

    Sonderman noted at the end of a story about Allied Services that Times Publisher Edward Lynett is on the board at Allied. Other journalists would do well to emulate such transparency with the reader.

    Voice tracks potential TL buyers

    Kudos to the CV for tracking down the guys from Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, in town to kick the tires at the Times Leader. But what hotel were they at? Don't just say "a city hotel." The Red Roof Inn on Kidder Street?

    TL writes a story about publishing a letter to the editor

    Seriously, the Times Leader spends more time quoting editors than they do regular joes in Wilkes-Barre. This time, it's TL Editorial Page Editor Jean LaCoe explaining that letters to the editor are important. “I’d rather not shield our readers from opinions that some might label as extreme.” You go, girl.

    Read Jean LaCoe's 2005 unveiling as editorial page editor

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Breaking: Chuck Rappaport and Matt Golas both delivered papers in Chevy Chase

    That's not all! The TL copy editor and EIC, as young fellows, both lusted after the same raven-haired beauty at the town pool. Draw your own conclusions. In other news, Joe Butkiewicz summers at Cape Cod and you don't.

    Classic: The TL misspells Fred Ney's name on 1A

    Michael Buffer stumbles on page one, giving the CV folks something to chuckle about. Fred Nye -- er, Ney -- of course, was a longtime CV reporter before becoming a flack for Kanjorski. Nye. That's funny.

    WTF? The CV jerks off Jeff Namey

    The Citizens' Voice wonders why it has credibility problems. And then it publishes garbage like this Elizabeth Skrapits "story" about the newspaper making up an award and giving it to Wilkes-Barre school Superintendent Jeff Namey.

    Where do you start? With a quote from publisher Scott Lynett, of all people, saying that Namey is so wonderful the newspaper created an award just for him? With a lead that indicates that the best thing about Wilkes-Barre students is that they are well-behaved on trips? Was this story for a gag edition that mistakenly got published? How can anyone who works across from Coughlin High School and sees their motley collection of students bestow such an award?

    The school district's legals must be up for bidding again. People of Wilkes-Barre: When the TL is liquidated, this is what you have to look forward to.

    A TL buyer may or may not have been on the premises

    Renita Fennick's story is filled with a bunch of guesses and no-comments. Did someone come to the TL or not? McHugh was gone? Then why weren't you tailing him? Would a visitor come during the wee hours? Then stake the building out around the clock. Same goes for the printing plant. That's how they do it in the pros.


    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Temp boss: Too much news duplication in W-B

    Chris Hackett, who runs a temp agency in Wilkes-Barre (and who is probably tired of having to put classifieds in two newspapers) writes in a CV letter to the editor: "Bottom line, if we end up with a single newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, everyone wins."

    Except for the people who lose their jobs, who Mr. Hackett could undoubtedly employ as assemblers for $7 an hour.

    What a fuckhead. But kudos to the CV for publishing a letter that was slightly critical of the newspaper.

    More from the TL about its Kingston police blotter battle

    We fight for open records blah blah the Kingston police are meanies blah blah they will see the light blah blah.

    A story makes it official: Joe Petrucci takes over as sports editor

    A short story in today's Times Leader fleshes out the installation of Joe Petrucci as sports editor. (A mug would have been nice.) Not bad for a veteran of the Pocono Record.

    UPDATE: Thanks for the mug.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Joe Petrucci is the new sports editor at the TL

    Joe Petrucci replaces Kurt Knapek, who is moving with his wife to South Carolina, TL editor Matt Golas reports. Kudos to Petrucci. We'll see how long he has a sports department to run.