Thursday, March 30, 2006

Casey Jones makes an April fool joke on the CV: Laff riot

The joke may be on Casey in a few more weeks.

The CV's Nichole Dobo gets a shout-out in The New York Times

Kind of. The Times erroneously credited the Times Leader for a fact in its big Monday story about the KR sale when, in fact, the story came from Nichole Dobo's story in the Citizens' Voice. The error was corrected in Wednesday's New York Times.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The TL's Alan K. Stout enjoyed the 80s

"And my first girlfriend, when we first met in the summer of ’85, was a pure little Madonna girl, which was a lot of fun." Translation: AKS got a lot of tail.

The TL's Guydish writes again about the newsroom

One week, it's Dave Iseman, Mark Jones and a metaphor contest. The next, it's Kris Wernowsky, the downtown call center, and Guydish's love of Legos. The column (which does not render right, KR has already let its Web staff go) conjures the thought of Guydish sitting on his living-room floor late at night, clad only in a Speedo, building a Lego downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Scranton message board beating up on Frank Andrews Shimkus

The posters at are not fond of Frank Andrews Shimkus, the WYOU broadcaster who lied about his name for years. "Everyone does it." Right.

Wilkes-Barre Online: CV bad, TL good, WBRE Web site bad

Wilkes-Barre's blogger-in-chief checks in with his two cents on the potential demise of the Times Leader. It would be a bad thing, he says.

Union bids for all 12 KR orphans; no Gannett bid

This from Wednesday's Los Angeles Times. The TL and other area papers were strangely silent, but there was nothing in the LAT story about Wilkes-Barre. Visit to get a usename and password for the LAT Web site.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Scranton Times sues for info in case of man run over by driver

This is kind of old news, but here is Times-Tribune Assistant Managing Editor John Murphy's letter to the Olyphant police, as well as legal papers susbequently filed by the Times-Tribune.

TL's Golas: More openness needed in newspaper bidding process

Sounds like Golas would rather be bought by The Newspaper Guild than Dean Singleton. Good choice.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Morning Call visits Wilkes-Barre, writes best story so far on newspaper battle

Joe McDermott of The Morning Call of Allentown writes the story that should have appeared in the TL, the CV or the T-T a week ago. He visits the Anthricite Newsstand and talks with owner Ann Marie Bossard, she of the rhinestone eyeglass frames. He also compares the two papers, and his verdict seems to be: TL is serious, CV is all about boobies. Visit if you need a Morning Call username.

CV, TL make The New York Times

It's only as a quirky footnote, but the Wilkes-Barre newspaper situation is mentioned in The New York Times' story today about the pending sale of the KR orphan 12. Oddly, New York Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye cites a story about the sale in Sunday's Times Leader. Problem is, the story about the sale that was published Sunday was a Nichole Dobo joint published in the Citizens' Voice. Calling the public editor!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

TL publisher Pat McHugh's house is for sale

Just around the corner from Walzer's old house in Shavertown. A cool $699k! Someone has to check out the open house and take pictures.

Also, if there are any doubters, enter the address in the TL property assessment database for confirmation:

Frank Andrews is disappeared from WYOU-TV

It was greasy for WYOU to a) have Frank Andrews working as news director while publicly speculating about running for state office b) to have Frank Andews on the payroll while he's running and c) have his mug featured prominently on the WYOU Web site. It's not known if he's still on the WYOU payroll, but his mug and bio have been taken off the station's Web site.

CV: The W-B newspaper war could soon end

The story, from Nichole Dobo, is about a week late, and doesn't tell the reader anything he doesn't already know. But still worht reading if you're following the TL sale closely.

Lynett hater from Bradford County: Don'y sell TL!

Lisa R. Howeler of Athens writes a letter to the editor in Sunday's TL, calling Times-Shamrock newspaper a lapdog. She neglects to mention that she is a reporter for the Evening Times in nearby Sayre, Pa., in Bradford County, which competes with the Lynett-owned Towanda newspaper.

Guydish: Giant metaphor contest taking place in TL newsroom

A snippet from Guydish's take on life in the TL newsroom:

So last week, Managing Editor Dave Iseman, a combination class clown and school principal in the newsroom, darted around like a live bat with broken sonar, spewing lame similes and metaphors like a cranky diesel motor smoking on a dysfunctional truck.

“Mark sat silently, like a … Mark usually does!” Iseman smirked, providing an example so bad that no simile could accurately convey its failure. Why did he drill our ears with such rusty bits of speech?

“I’m hoping if I keep going around talking like this, more people will try to enter the contest,” Iseman claimed, the way a proud toddler might claim responsibility for a burp or a wet diaper.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chris Kelly goes after Jim Tolan in the Scranton Times

Kelly pretty much calls Tolan, a former county prison guard in Scranton, a liar. Tolan pleaded guilty Thursday to beating inmates but told reporter Dave Singleton outside the courtroom that he didn't do it. Kelly's newspaper has staked its reputation on a crusade against "corruption" at the prison by pushing for grand jury investigations that have pretty much blown up in the faces of prosecutors, as well as of the newspaper, which is losing a libel suit as a result.

Unofficials Keystone sweepstakes score: TL 20, Scranton Times 15, CV 10

That's applying this sweepstakes formula:

first place = 3 points
second place = 2 points
honorable mention = 1 point

The TL also won with the most awards by volume (TL 8, T-T 7, CV 5). Of course, bear in mind:
1. The competition is the Erie Times-News and the Reading Eagle.
2. Pennsylvania newspapers are split into eight divisions to make sure every paper wins something and has something to brag about to the readers in Noxen.
3. The competition is judged by Boy Scouts in Youngstown, Ohio.
4. None of the three papers contended for the real sweepstakes awards, won by the York papers (in the TL/T-T division) and the Lancaster New Era (in the CV division).

Follow this link to see the small-daily division awards the CV picked up:

TL mean to Kingston PD, chief complains

In a letter published in the Citizens' Voice, Kingston Police Chief Keith Keiper whines about how the Times Leader has been mean to him in its open-records battle with the department. Kingston police are just the best and the town is just the safest and so on and so forth.

TL wins big at Keystone press awards

"Wins big" if you count four first-place awards as winning big. Don Carey, Aimee Dilger, Dave Janoski, Casey Jones (?), Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Kevin Amerman, Kris Wernowsky, Jennifer Learn-Andes and former reporter Brett Marcy all contributed to the winning submissions, as did Chris Ritchie, who came out of retirement to pen an op-ed piece about regionalization. Of course, the awards are judged by high schook journalists in West Virginia or something, so they don't mean much. But it's good bragging fodder.

Matt Golas had to take a shot at the CV and Scranton Times for not matching the award-winning Sherwood coverage. "We were the only ones to cover it initially.” Cough.

Union not getting a fair shake in McClatchy deal, spokesman says

That's according to a wire story that Renita Fennick added some material to.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Tolan, a target of Scranton Times prison investigation, pleads guilty

The Times story does allude, to author Dave Singleton's credit, to the idea that the whole investigation was a bust because so little has resulted. However, unmentioned is the de rigeur boilerplate paragraph giving the Times credit for leading the investigation of prison corruption. Somewhere, Jennifer Henn is laughing.

Newspaper guild: TL would not have to go union if we buy it

Well, that's a relief. The comment comes in a larger story about how the Guild wants to buy all the 12 remaining KR papers, not just some of them. However, the Guild says, if forced it will settle for just some of the papers. Good reporting from business editor Ron Bartizek.

TL online poll: watch the NEPA crazies froth at the mouth

The TL message forum is a great place to visit if you want to see the worst Wilkes-Barre has to offer. There are dozens of comments on whether the TL should be sold. They come from people with usernames like -- I shit you not -- Shit4Brains. It's like Sayso all over again.

Scranton Times hiring a reporter to replace Chris Kelly

Gotta love those cliche-ridden newspaper want ads. "We are looking for a journalist with relentless curiosity, intelligence and ambition... an aggressive, motivated reporter who understands the value of community news as well as the impact of hard-edged enterprise – and can juggle both." Click above to read the whole ad on

Judy Connelly's ad for a sports copy editor is comparatively brief, three lines long. Bervity is a virtue, you know. Here is the ad for the Scranton Times sports copy editor:

Golas: Thanks for the prayers, keep 'em coming

Apparently divine intervention is the only thing standing between the Times Leader and oblivion (or Gannett, whichever is worse), if you believe this newsroom note from Matt Golas. Again, what does Walzer think of all the talk about novena talk? Is the TL becoming more, uh, spiritual with a strident Catholic at the helm rather than an indifferent Jew? Discuss.

Old lady in Plains to Scranton Times: Drop dead!

We've got Evelyn from Plains on the line. She lives and dies by the TL. Especially Casey Jones. Loves that Casey Jones. Get used to Mike McGlynn, honey.

Indifference in W-B to potential demise of the Times Leader

Rory Sweeney turns in an average effort, calling a few politicians to see what they think of the possible impending closing of the paper. In short, they can't fucking wait. All but the most progressive politicians will be pissing on the TL's grave.

Iseman on the TL's battle with Kingston police

Winning more friends by pouring gasoline on the fire -- but never getting it up and going to court. That's the TL way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Casey Jones: Tony Ridder, buy me a new chair before you go!

It's not that it is a terrible column from a columnist who was mocked in the national media last week. It's not that the editors have already quit and an apostrophe was misused ("old time's sake"). It is that Casey can't even RENDER CORRECTLY THE NAME OF THE COMPANY THAT OWNS HIS NEWSPAPER. There is no hyphen in Knight Ridder. Any Times Leader employee who writes "Knight-Ridder" should have his Wilkes-Barre privileges revoked.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Will the Times Leader be turned into a bar?

Looking at how the city of Raleigh, N.C., turned the old Raleigh Times building into a bar and neighboring coffee shop, we could easily see the same thing happening at 15 N. Main St. Check out the interesting story from the News & Observer about what happened down in North Carolina.

Chris Kelly is new assistant metro editor at Scranton Times

Chris Kelly is the newspaper's columnist -- the designated in-print defender of the newspaper and its policies -- who recently won an APME award. If you are a fan of RSS, then you know that once a week the Scranton Times Web site fills the feed with 200+ Kelly columns, labeling them all as unread, which is a pain in the ass. Click above to read Chris Kelly's award list.

Kelly defends the newspaper against allegations that it tried to bury a Times Leader story about Times M.E. Bob Burke's DUI arrest (2000):

Kelly defends the newspaper against allegations that it is in league with Bob Casey with the Better Together billboards:

Scranton Times doesn't do so hot at APME awards

The Scranton Times only got two APME awards compared to the Times Leader's five. The Citizens' Voice got zero. It's all bullshit anyway, but still telling. Fact: Erin Nissley, now of the Times, won THREE awards for her work at the KR-owned Centre Daily Times. Nichole Dobo, now of the CV, also won for CDT work, and Scranton Times photographer Jason Farmer won for work at the Pocono Record.

The Scranton Times awards were picked up by Chris Kelly for Iraq stuff and by Jim Haggerty and Stacy Brown for Everhart stuff.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Big Sunday TL takout on potential sale to the newspaper union

A very even-handed take from Renita Fennick, who has worked at both the TL and the CV. Well done. Recommended reading for anyone following the situation in Wilkes-Barre.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

NEPA hits daily double on

The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader and the Scranton Times-Tribune hit the NEPA media daily double on Friday when both papers had stories on Jim Romenesko's odd news Web site. The Terrie Morgan-Besecker TL story about Steve Sembrat's brain tumor = desire to tie up underage girls and the Kris Fedysky Scranton Times story about a dog found faceless in a frying pan were the big winners.

Friday, March 17, 2006

CV: We're native, we're positive, we love you

The Citizens' Voice published a staff editorial Thursday taking a couple shots at the Times Leader and defended the Lynett family, its owner. A translation follows.

CV: "There are some who say you can only be a great local newspaper if you always look for the dark cloud around every silver lining."

TRANSLATION: We're a weak, soft newspaper.

CV: "Today, almost all of our employees and their families are lifelong local residents."

TRANSLATION: People not born in the Wy-Val are not to be trusted.

You get the idea.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Times Leader wins APME awards

Not that big a deal; those are the sort of competitions where awards are measured by the pound. But kudos nevertheless to Aimee Dilger, S. John Wilkin, Dave Janoski, and Jean LaCoe.

The message board is up and running

The NEPA media message board, which wasn't always working while this site was on 'soft launch' for the last couple months, is up and running. Click on the link on the right-hand side of the page (or the headline of this item). Though it is an anonymous message board, try to moderate your comments and avoid libel, slander, etc., etc., etc.

WNEP asks if Wilkes-Barre can support two papers

The answer, in short, is no. But there's a lot about Wilkes-Barre that doesn't make sense. Sorry this is a day late. If only the WNEP link had a clip of Golas and Iseman talking....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

TL's Sembrat blames love for young girls on a brain tumor

Funny, he forgot to mention it to the judge. Terrie Morgan-Besecker's story about Sembrat's guilty plea is good stuff from beginning to end.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Allentown Morning Call: Sale changes face of PA newspapering

Good story about the Pennsylvania implications of the sale. It notes that the Lynetts are acquisition-minded.

Steve Sembrat, former TL reporter, cops a plea

Lost in the madness today was news that Steve Sembrat, the Times Leader sports reporter who wanted to tie up underage girls and pleasure himself, copped a plea to attempted IDSI down in Delaware County, outside Philly. That pre-sentence investigation ought to be a fun read. Sembrat will go down in history as the guy who, when arrested, called Iseman to confess.

Lynetts: We're interested in buying TL

Pat McHugh wouldn't talk to the CV's Tim Gulla, which makes sense since Larry Beaupre won't talk to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. In any case, Scott Lynett says his family is always interested in buying shit.

TL antitrust story: No problems for the Scranton Times

Dave Janoski notes that the Lynetts of Scranton Times fame are obvious potential buyers, and that they have a nice little empire already.

TL staff edit: It's the community's future on the line

More shots at the CV, more talk about how the TL is a paragon of virtue while everyone else is a pretender. Hey, editorial writers, even if you don't plan on working for the Lynetts, some of your employees do. You might keep that in mind.

Golas, Iseman, tee off on Scranton Times

I guess Matt Golas and Dave Iseman aren't planning on working in a Times-Shamrock regime. Lapdog? And then there's the line about tooth-spitting movie fights. "The fight is in our genes. Remember we were miners once, tough, religious, stoic folk." What? Stoic folk? In our genes? Who the fuck is writing this shit, Steve Corbett? It's a newspaper, not Cindarella Man.

TL's local story on McClatchy not wanting it

Ron Bartizek does a decent job, quoting two employees (including MTB) and mentioning that the Scranton Times is waiting in the wings. Still, not very hard-hitting. Didn't bother to question the publisher about anything -- including Pat McHugh's golden parachute. Now, THAT would be hard-hitting.

Monday, March 13, 2006

McClatchy: It's Wilkes-Barre that sucks, not the TL

That's what oft-quoted analyist Lauren Rich Fine says in an AP story that is pretty insightful.

That's all she wrote: McClatchy to buy KR, sell off dogs like the Times Leader

Goodbye Pat McHugh, hello Scott Lynett. I hope Iseman has some money saved up.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Iseman: My kid can wrestle and play chess

It's the feel-good column of the year.

Hard to predict the future if the TL is sold

That's the bottom line of this Times Leader story by Jerry Lynott that really doesn't say much of anything.

TL's Matt Golas: It's been tense here in the newsroom

Golas is polite when he calls the upcoming Profile section "unique." It's a unique pain in the ass, that's what it is.

Frank Andrews off the air at WYOU

Only in Scranton would a likely candidate for office be allowed to work as a TV news director and reporter for weeks -- weeks! -- before he's taken off the air. And, of course, he's mad that he was taken off the air. And he's on paid leave. Of course. The people who run WYOU should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

TL's Matt Golas: Potential Knight Ridder sale creates uncertainty

Matt Golas takes a couple shots at the Lynetts up in Scranton. He better hope he's not asking the Lynetts for a job in a month. "While we don’t compete with The Times-Tribune on every story we cover, we do take them on in coverage of statewide issues such as politics, health care and government. Remember the Don Sherwood scandal? We covered it. They did not. Enough said?" Zing!

Froggy 101, 98.5 KRZ named in payola scandal

That's according to New York Attorney General Eliot Spritzer. Who knows if it's true, of if it sticks. Maybe Spritzer will start asking how Donna Talarico can write for the Weekender and Times Leader about Froggy 101 while working in the station's marketing department.

Judge cites grand jury leak to Scranton Times in decision

Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo, in denying a Scranton Times request for information about a grand jury he is supervising, notes that leaks to the newspaper have jeopardized the prison corruption cases -- and gotten the newspaper in all kinds of hot water.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Scranton Times/WYOU/WBRE raise lots of cash for tsunami victims

$271,000, in fact. Larry Beaupre of the Times and WYOU's Frank Andrews are very happy.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The CV's Mike McGlynn attacks W-B City Hall for media policy

It's wordy and rambling and refers to the ancient Greeks, Gen. McArthur and the 1991 Joann Curley case. But it's interesting if you've been following the new Wilkes-Barre city policy that requires all questions to go through an '05 Wilkes grad.

Kudos (kind of) for Borys Krawczeniuk's Roderick Random

Nice work by Borys Krawczerniuk's Roderick Random in Saturday's Scranton Times-Tribune, acknowledging in a column about the Santorum-Casey senate race that the Lynett family, publishers of the Times-Tribune, have substantial business ties with Casey and have given Casey tens of thousands of dollars.

It's 'kind of' praise, however, because much of the reporting came from a Philadelphia Daily News story published Feb. 23. Not a lot of original work for a story taking place -- literally -- in front of the Times building. Here's the Daily News story:

Friday, March 03, 2006

Click here to read the TL message boards

The boards are populated by people too dumb to dial the Sayso number. Read and shudder.

Madman arrested for making threats on TL message board

Ray Mazzarella ticked off someone, because his exhortations on the Times Leader's Web page forum (who knew there was such a thing?) to shoot government officials have landed him in hot water with the federal court in Scranton. The guy seems to have taught at King's a bit and is active in VA affairs. Anyone know anything else about him?

Steve Corbett revisits South Wilkes-Barre

Did anyone else see this back in August 2005? Steve Corbett, former TL columnist, came back to Wilkes-Barre for a week and wrote about the changes since he was "disappeared" a few years back and headed west to the Santa Maria Times (where former TL publisher Mark Contreas runs the show). Click above for the full read.

Bill O'Reilly's WNEP background: EXPOSED

It's not James Frey, but The Smoking Gun dug up an old TV Times cover photo of O'Reilly, circa 1975 or so. Talk about low rent. Also an ambitious letter pining to get out of coal country.

Former WNEP sports guy running for office in Houston

Dan Patrick -- no, not THAT Dan Patrick -- is running for the Texas legislature. Amid his bankruptcy and failed business deals is the fact that he worked at WNEP-TV back in 1978. He's now a talk radio guy in Houston.

Check this bio on Patrick:

Patrick's blog, "keeping tabs on Houston's leading misinformation source," the Houston Chronicle:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another wire story on the proposed KR sale

Don't count on a story about the potential effect on the TL or Wilkes-Barre, though. Never happen. The first (and last) thing published will be a press release from the new owner.

The CV, too, notes all the reporters at the Hugo trial

But the CV forgot to ask the names of their sources.

W-B city councilman questions media restrictions

Another person questioning the wisdom of making all reporters in Wilkes-Barre go through a 2005 Wilkes communications grad for non-police/fire interviews. "“We cannot have individuals walking into offices during the middle of the workday,” Mayor Tom Leighton says. F-ing press!

Former TLer Steve Corbett spanks editor Matt Golas

It was hard to miss in Wednesday's newsroom note Matt Golas misspelling "bureaucracy." Easier to miss was Golas referring to journalism as "the fifth estate." However, neither gaffe got past former Wilkes-Barre Times Leader columnist Steve Corbett, checking in from Santa Maria, Calif. (Maybe he knows Stacy Brown?) Golas took it all in stride and published Corbett's snarky -- but accurate -- message in Thursday's newsroom note.

Meta: Stories about the stories about the Hugo Sleneski murder trial

The Times Leader's Kevin Amerman wrote Thursday about all the Big City reporters covering the Hugo trial in Wilkes-Barre. "FOX video photographer Bryan Zilai said he can’t remember his station traveling to Wilkes-Barre for any other story in his 10 years there," according to the story. A local lawyer was even interviewed on MSNBC. Big time!