Publishers: Editors: Managing Editors:
Undated (AP) _ A summary of developments in the news industry for the week of June 29-July 6: Panel OKs Bill Regulating Regional Phone Companies
WASHINGTON (AP) - A House committee has approved legislation to stifle any monopolistic abuses by regional telephone companies as they enter new areas of business.
However, the phone companies, which are trying to expand into rapidly developing new technologies, said that rather than protect the public, the bill is hindering competition and availability of new services.
The measure was favored by some consumer groups and the newspaper industry, which fears that information services offered by the phone companies could be a drain on classified advertising revenues. The first entry into information services has been yellow-page listings.
The bill, approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 1, was sponsored by committee chairman Jack Brooks, D-Texas, who has been concerned that the court agreement that broke up AT&T and created the regional telephone companies was being dismantled too quickly.
That agreement specifically prohibited the seven so-called Baby Bells from providing electronic information, manufacturing telecommunications equipment or offering long-distance services.
But last October, federal Judge Harold Greene authorized entry into information services and the Senate has passed a bill that would allow manufacturing.
The Brooks bill would allow immediate entry into those business opportunities, but says the Bells must wait five years before providing long- distance services and home-security systems.
The key section of the legislation establishes a competitiveness test that each phone company must pass to the approval of the U.S. attorney general to enter a new field of business.
The provision is designed to assure the government that the phone companies, which have virtual monopolies on local phone service, do not shut out competitors that use phone lines.
The bill allows for a court challenge by outside parties that disagree with the attorney general’s finding.
Phone companies already engaged in information services will be allowed to continue and expand until 60 days before enactment of the bill, without going through the attorney general.
The bill now proceeds to the House floor, where it will meet an uncertain future. It is opposed by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., who called it a ″blunderbuss″ approach.
Rep. Billy Tauzin, D-La., a member of Dingell’s committee, which oversees telecommunications issues, said he will introduce alternative legislation that is less restrictive to the telephone companies.
No similar legislation exists in the Senate. The Bush administration also opposes the Brooks bill.
NYNEX, the regional phone system in New York and New England, called the bill ″a mistaken step toward bad public policy that protects the advertising revenues of newspapers rather than the interests of American workers.″
The other regional phone companies, united in their opposition to the bill, are Ameritech, BellAtlantic, BellSouth, Pacific Telesis, Southwestern Bell and US West.
--- House Committee Approves Recycled-Newsprint Bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - A House committee has endorsed legislation to require large newspapers to use more recycled paper or tell readers at the top of page one that they’re not meeting the new standard.
The provision, an amendment to legislation overhauling the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 1.
The amendment, approved 32-10, would require that newspapers with an average daily circulation of 200,000 or more use at least 35 percent recycled fiber by 1995.
The requirement would jump to 50 percent in 2002.
Aides to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who introduced the amendment, said six of the nation’s 56 largest newspapers now meet the 1995 standard.
If a newspaper fails to meet the content requirement, it would have to print ″prominently at the top of the front page of the newspaper″ that it ″does not meet the federal government’s required percentage of recycled content.″
A companion bill in the Senate would mandate that newspapers recover and in some manner reuse at least 55 percent of the papers they print. If they fail to meet that standard by 1995, a content requirement would kick in.
Under the Senate version, the minimum recycled fiber content would be 25 percent between 1995 and 1999, and 30 percent after 2000.
In other committee action on the House bill, the panel killed an attempt to boost recycling by requiring Americans to pay a 10-cent deposit on each packaged beverage they buy.
Customers would have the deposit refunded when they take their empties to collection centers or return them to stores.
The provision, which would kick in if states fail to reach a 70 percent recycling rate, was defeated 27-16. UPI Signs Purchase Deal
WASHINGTON (AP) - United Press International says final papers have been signed transferring ownership of the 85-year-old news service to a Saudi-owned Middle East television network, but New York attorney Leon H. Charney is not giving up his competitive purchase bid.
Steve Geimann, executive editor and vice president of the financially bereft agency, said the assets purchase agreement was signed on June 30 by officers of UPI and the Middle East Broadcasting Centre of London.
He said UPI officers would continue talks with the new owners about their plans for operation of the service.
The announcement was a setback for Charney, who lost out in a bidding war for UPI in a bankruptcy court in New York, but had written to Judge Francis Conrad asking if his bid could be reopened since the agreement had not been signed.
Kevin Keane, president of the Wire Service Guild, said the union will seek to improve the terms of employment presented to the UPI staff by Middle East Broadcasting.
″All of this is subject to bargaining and just because they implemented it doesn’t mean that is the way it’s going to stay,″ Keane said in Chicago, where he was attending the convention of The Newspaper Guild.
The prospective owner’s terms of employment were relayed to the UPI staff June 26 in a memo from Pieter VanBennekom, president and chief executive officer of the news service.
The memo said those who accepted employment with ″the new UPI″ would continue to receive their current wages, which previously, by agreement, were cut 20 percent from terms of the last Guild contract.
Vacations would be cut to two weeks per year. Senior members of the staff are now entitled to five. Sick-leave days would be cut from 10 to five per year. The number of holidays would be reduced, and personal days off would be eliminated.
Geimann said they all accepted, except for one employee.
UPI, which has lost money for 30 years and owes creditors about $60 million, is in bankruptcy court reorganization for the second time in a decade. It once was the second-largest American news agency, behind The Associated Press.
--- Russia’s Free Press and the Perils of the Market
MOSCOW (AP) - In a world where the unthinkable has become ordinary, you can buy The New York Times from a subway news vendor along with Pravda, the former Kremlin bible that now calls itself an opposition paper.
Foreigners have been vying for a share of the market since the press was freed, but the economic chaos that followed the Soviet Union’s demise has made both foreign and domestic publishers wary.
″It’s foolish now to come out with a new newspaper,″ said Stepan Kisilov of Moscow News, which publishes an authorized Russian-language summary of The New York Times twice a month.
″At a time when there’s no stability in the economic situation and when people are counting the money in their pockets ... naturally they’ll choose those publications that they know,″ he said.
One paper Russians know well from the Cold War is the Times. Westerners know the name Pravda, once the powerful voice of the Communist Party and now struggling to servive.
Greater hurdles face new publications, such as the European Community magazine Europa and the weekly newspaper We/Myi published jointly by Izvestia, the former government newspaper, and Hearst Newspapers of the United States.
One problem is that they must compete with dozens of Russian magazines and newspapers. Another is that newsstands are giving less space to publications and more to such high-profit goods as vodka and cigarettes.
Most Soviet-era newspapers still publish, calling themselves the ″opposition press,″ but are having trouble as the government tries to wean them from decades of state subsidies.
Soaring costs of newsprint and a more diverse readership are the greatest perils. The press boom of the glasnost era may be waning, thanks to the very political and economic changes many publications promoted.
″Now, most of the subsidies have dried up or are drying up, and many print media have to stand alone,″ said Mike Adams of the Moscow office of Young and Rubicam, a U.S. advertising agency. ″They have to become real businesses.″
Foreign companies never received subsidies and were accustomed to higher production costs, but those costs continue rising as Russia lifts price controls.
″In an environment in which the price of printing rises five or six times in six months, you have to react fast,″ said Derk Sauer, a Dutch-based publisher whose 3-year-old Moscow Magazine is the city’s most visible foreign success story.
He said many foreign publications have failed ″because they didn’t appreciate the one big law of Russian publishing: The ink is more expensive than what you can sell the magazine for.″ Compounding the cost squeeze is a lack of information about readers and their interests. Western publishers and advertisers consider demographic information essential; Russian publishers often know little more than circulation figures.
″Glasnost has been around for six years, but the publishing business ... only started to change in the last year,″ Adams said. Daily News Gets Extension on Reorganization Plan
NEW YORK (AP) - The Daily News has received a one-month extension from U.S. Bankruptcy Court for filing a reorganization plan.
The News filed for bankruptcy protection last December, a month after its owner Robert Maxwell died at sea, leaving his holdings in financial chaos.
The request for an extension beyond the June 30 deadline for filing the reorganization plan had been expected and the paper’s creditors had agreed to it in advance, said the creditors’ lawyer, Howard Seife.
The extension, granted June 29, maintains the paper’s exclusive right to submit a reorganization plan to the court, Seife said.
Had the extension been denied, the creditors could file their own plan for the paper, Seife said.
The News is pursuing several options for emerging from bankruptcy protection, including negotiations with potential buyers Conrad Black, the Canadian publisher, and Mortimer Zuckerman, the publisher of U.S. News & World Report.
The paper’s management is also creating a ″stand-alone″ plan which would allow the News to recapitalize through a variety of investments without being sold to one party.
--- NY Times Buys Wholesale Distribution Companies
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times Co. said it has purchased two newspaper wholesale distribution companies, Metropolitan News Co. and Newark Newsdealers Supply Co.
The two companies distribute the Times as well as other newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, the Daily News and the New York Post, to retail outlets and home delivery depots, the Times said in a statement.
Metropolitan distributes in New York City and Newark Newsdealers in central and northern New Jersey. Under the new ownership, announced June 29, both companies will be named City and Suburban Delivery Services.
The drivers for the new company are covered by contracts ratified last month between the Times and the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’ Union.
Terms of the purchase agreements were not disclosed.
--- NY Courting the 15,000 Reporters at Convention
NEW YORK (AP) - It won’t be all work and no play for the 15,000 members of the media covering the Democratic National Convention. A midtown park and part of 42nd Street will be closed for a big bash in their honor.
Reporters, lucky to get just a glass of water at many media events in the city, will be treated to hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken and red-white- and-blue chips, followed by soft drinks and beer.
New York street-type entertainment, including a reggae band, a musician and free-style bikers will perform.
Why such a shindig for the media - which is more accustomed to being bashed than getting a bash?
Henry Miller, head of the convention planning group NY ’92, said the hosts didn’t want out-of-town reporters to leave with a bad impression of New York. ″That press presence gives the city a wonderful opportunity to project images of the city,″ he said.
It will the held July 11 at the newly restored Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library.
Inside the library will be a disco sponsored by MTV in the library’s basement and a giant video screen in the park that will show clips from movies filmed in New York City.
The affair will cost about $300,000, raised from private contributors. Another $300,000 is being donated in food, drink and services from the vendors. Head of Pension Watchdog Resigns Over Maxwell Affair
LONDON (AP) - The head of the British government agency that oversees the safety of worker pensions has resigned after heavy criticism of its role in the Maxwell affair.
George Nissen, chairman of the Investment Management Regulatory Organization, said June 29 that criticism of the organization’s supervision of two Maxwell company pension funds was ″misplaced″ but in the circumstances it was right for him to resign.
Robert Maxwell, whose international media empire collapsed soon after his death Nov. 5, used hundreds of millions of dollars from the pension funds of public companies he controlled to pay off debts and cover operating losses of his private companies.
Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley has said 342 million pounds, or $650 million, is missing from Maxwell company pension funds.
Lilley earlier announced government emergency funding of 2.5 million pounds for pensioners whose payments had been stopped or decreased.
Nissen, chairman for three years, offered his resignation the week of June 22. The board formally accepted it a week later.
In a recent internal report into the Maxwell affair, the Investment Management Regulatory Organization criticized itself for failing to stop Maxwell from siphoning off millions from company pension schemes.
--- NY’s Top Court Agrees To Hear Case Against New York Post
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state’s top court has agreed to hear the case of a woman who claimed the New York Post violated her privacy by including her in a front-page photograph of a fellow psychiatric patient.
The Post in September 1988 did a story on the recovery of Hedda Nussbaum at the Four Winds psychiatric hospital in Westchester County. Nussbaum was the live-in companion of Joel Steinberg, who in a widely publicized case was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his illegally adopted 6-year-old daughter, Lisa.
Two pictures that went along with the Post story showed Pamela Howell next to Nussbaum on the grounds of the private hospital. Howell, dressed in a tennis outfit, was easily recognizable in the front-page photo, said her lawyer, Padraic Lee.
″Only her closest family knew she seeking (psychiatric) care ... and then - Bam 3/8 - she’s on the front page of the Post,″ said Lee.
Lee said attention from the pictures slowed his client’s recovery. She sued the newspaper on a number of counts, including invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress.
A trial court threw out most of the counts and the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court threw out the emotional distress charge, said Laurence Greenwald, a lawyer for the Post.
The Court of Appeals, without comment on July 2, agreed to hear Howell’s appeal. Greenwald said he expects to argue the case late this year.
The point of the story was to show Hedda Nussbaum recovering from her past mistreatment and not to cause anyone intentional emotional distress, Greenwald said.
″As both courts have held, it was perfectly newsworthy. Hedda Nussbaum was a very newsworthy topic at the time,″ Greenwald said.
--- Watergate Figure Sues Magazine for Defamation
WASHINGTON (AP) - Spencer Oliver, whose telephone was bugged by Republican burglars in the Watergate scandal, has sued Washington Monthly magazine for $3 million for reporting that calls were made from his phone to a call-girl service.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Oliver, now chief counsel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, charged the magazine with defaming him and violating the federal wiretap law, which bars the use of material knowingly gained from an illegal wiretap.
Oliver’s suit said the item is false and, ″by failure to state facts necessary to prevent statements from being misunderstood, is defamatory.″
The lawsuit said Oliver ″has been and will be the subject of public contempt, obloquy, scorn, prejudice and ridicule,″ because of the publication. It added that the publication had injured him in his work and damaged his good name.
Oliver was executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen in 1972. His office telephone at the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate building was wiretapped in May and June by operatives of President Nixon’s Committee To Re-Elect the President.
The lawsuit cited a passage from the magazine’s June 1992 issue, saying: ″the (wire)taping, by the way showed that calls were made from Oliver’s phone to a call-girl service.″
The line appeared in a ″Who’s Who″ column by Susan Threadgill noting Oliver’s current job at the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The magazine’s editor, Charles Peters, was not immediately reachable for comment.
Oliver’s attorney, Elise Haldane, said Wednesday that there had been no discussion with the magazine about the item before the suit was filed June 30. Bolles Killer Resentenced to Life in Prison
PHOENIX (AP) - The man convicted of the 1976 murder of Phoenix newspaperman Don Bolles has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier blocked the death penalty for John Harvey Adamson, who has already served 16 years for the killing.
Judge Ronald Reinstein of Maricopa County Superior Court issued the latest sentence on June 30.
Adamson was convicted of setting a car bomb that killed Bolles, of The Arizona Republic, in 1976. Bolles had written investigative articles about mob activities in the state.
Prosecutors said Adamson was paid $100,000 to attach a bomb to Bolles’ car.
He originally was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in return for testifying against two co-defendants. But Adamson reneged on the plea bargain, was tried and sentenced to death.
Adamson recently agreed to renew the plea bargain.
Jack Roberts, the assistant state attorney general handling death penalty cases, has said that if Adamson testifies, the state would let him plead guilty to second-degree murder and seek a 20-year term.
The trial of co-defendants Max Dunlap, accused of asking Adamson to plant the bomb, and James Robison, accused of detonating it, is tentatively set for fall.
The high court decided June 22 to leave intact a 1988 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out Adamson’s death sentence. The appeals court said the death sentence was invalid after it struck down a provision in an Arizona law that lets judges, instead of juries, choose between life and death for convicted murders.
--- Jordanian Press Association Elects New President
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - The Jordanian Press Association has elected an editor at the liberal Al-Rai daily newspaper as its president.
Suleiman Qudah won 69 votes, four more than his rival, Mohammed Daoudyeh, a columnist at the Islamic-leaning Ad-Dustour newspaper.
Qudah, 47, whose term ends in 1994, has been an editor at the mass- circulation Al-Rai for 22 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Jordan.
He succeeds Hashim Khreisat, who resigned last month after more than half of the association’s 231 members called for his dismissal because of his failure to pursue reform policies.
The association, one of the kingdom’s most powerful unions, is striving for the reinforcement of a new press and publication law that would grant greater freedoms and rights for journalists.
Parliament is in the process of legislating a press law that would complement political liberalization introduced by King Hussein in 1989, which included the freest elections in decades.
The election was held July 3.
--- Westward Communications Acquires Papers in Texas, Louisiana
DALLAS (AP) - Westward Communications has announced the purchase of three community newspapers in East Texas and one in Louisiana.
Westward bought weekly newspapers at Linden, Texas, and Vivian, La., and semi-weekly newspapers in Atlanta, Texas, and Carthage, Texas, in a cash transaction from partners Loyd Grissom and Ted Taylor, company officials said June 2.
Founded in 1986 by former Dallas Times Herald editors Will Jarrett and Kenneth P. Johnson, Westward now has 11 publications in East Texas and 21 publications in the Houston and Austin areas.
Westward also owns five newspapers in Colorado, five in Arkansas and the Southwest Press Relations Newswire in Dallas.
--- Owner of Greenville Daily Reflector Buys Weekly
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The weekly Standard Laconic in Snow Hill has been sold to the Whichard newspaper organization, owner of The Daily Reflector.
The sale was announced June 30 by longtime owners Jerry and Peggy Greene and by D. Jordan Whichard III. The sale includes Eastern Publishers Inc. and Greene Printing Co.
--- Two Ohio Dailies Merging
ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) - Two daily newspapers in Ashtabula County, The News- Herald of Conneaut and The Star-Beacon of Ashtabula, will merge, said Ed Looman, publisher of both papers.
″It is our intention to deliver the new county-wide Star-Beacon starting July 6,″ Looman said July 2. ″We hope it fulfills the reading needs of all subscribers.″
He said the News-Herald has been experiencing severe financial challenges for several years. Paramount Claims Judge Erred in Buchwald Case
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paramount Pictures wants a new trial in its dispute with humor columnist Art Buchwald over authorship of the Eddie Murphy movie ″Coming to America.″
The studio in March was ordered to pay Buchwald and partner Alain Bernheim $900,000 after Buchwald proved the 1988 blockbuster was based on his idea.
Paramount said in a court filing July 1 it wants a new trial because ″there was an error in law″ when Superior Court Judge Harvey Schneider ruled the studio’s accounting formulas were ″unconscionable.″
Paramount says ″Coming to America″ has yet to show a net profit.
Zazi Pope, an attorney for Buchwald, said, ″Whatever arguments they can concoct for seeking a new trial will, I’m sure, be rejected by the court.″
--- Century-Old Weekly Shuts Down
GRESHAM, Neb. (AP) - The 105-year-old weekly in this tiny eastern Nebraska town - population 253 - has published its last issue.
The Gresham Gazette fell on hard times, said publisher-owner Bill Thompson. ″It kind of lived its life,″ he said.
Circulation had dwindled from a high of more than 500 to about 230, he said. Gresham news now will be consolidated into the Shelby Sun, also published by Thompson, and the Gazette’s only employee, editor Melinda Stoll, has taken a position with another Thompson publication, the Stromsburg Headlight.
The newspaper was founded as the Poston Review in 1887, when Gresham was called Poston. It later changed its name when the town’s name changed.
--- Editor Says He’ll Go to Jail Rather Than Pay Legal Costs
NEWKIRK, Okla. (AP) - A weekly newspapers editor says he’ll go to jail rather than pay the court costs incurred by a drug-treatment center when it forced him to disclose information about sources for stories on the program.
″I just cannot in good faith pay for this,″ said Robert Lobsinger, editor of the Newkirk Herald Journal. ″If they come and get me and take me to jail, I guess that’s what will happen. But there’s a principle.″
On June 9, District Judge Daniel Owens in Oklahoma County ordered Lobsinger to pay $2,150 in attorney fees to the center, Narconon Chilocco.
Narconon is fighting a state effort to close the unlicensed drug-treatment center, on Indian land near Kansas.
Lobsinger and his 1,500-circulation newspaper have done extensive stories on Narconon and its ties to the Church of Scientology.
In February, District Judge Leamon Freeman of Oklahoma County granted Narconon’s request to take Lobsinger’s deposition on his interviews with state Mental Health Board members about the center.
″The next thing I knew, I was served with a subpoena asking for three years of my phone records, all my contacts, all my correspondence, videotapes and all my notes,″ Lobsinger said. ″Frankly, it scared ... me.″
Lobsinger at first refused to give the deposition, citing the state shield law protecting journalists from revealing some sources. Judge Owens then directed him to give the deposition but said Narconon attorneys could ask Lobsinger only about the interviews with state Mental Health Board members.
In directing Lobsinger to pay Narconon attorneys’ costs, Owens said, ″The time and expense involved in obtaining what turned out to be a fairly short and simple deposition was oppressive to the plaintiff and cannot be condoned by the court.″
Lobsinger gave the deposition. He said the order to pay Narconon’s legal costs was unfair, but he can’t afford to appeal it. Meanwhile, Newkirk Mayor Garry Bilger says local citizens intend to pay the court fees and already have collected $1,800.
The Oklahoma Press Association will defend Lobsinger if he asks for help, association manager Ben Blackstock said. He said Oklahoma’s shield law has never been tested in court, and Lobsinger’s case would be a good opportunity to test it.
--- New Castle News Ordered To Pay $370,000 in Headline Suit
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) - A jury ordered the New Castle News to pay $370,000 to a political candidate, her husband and her father, who sued the newspaper over a headline.
Max Thomson, publisher and general manager of the newspaper, said the verdict will be appealed.
The candidate, Mary Ann Reiter, ran in 1987 for the Democratic nomination for district justice in Shenango Township. One of her primary opponents, Patricia Allen, tried to press criminal charges over the removal of her campaign signs from property owned by Ms. Reiter’s father, Alfred V. Papa.
Papa said he and his son-in-law removed the signs.
The Lawrence County district attorney told Ms. Allen her case belonged in civil court, and a judge upheld the opinion. In reporting that, the New Castle News ran the headline, ″Judge: Sign Theft Is A Civil Complaint.″
The Reiters and Papa sued the newspaper and reporter John K. Manna, saying the article’s headline was libelous because it ″obviously indicated to everybody around here that the judge had found us guilty of sign theft.″
A Lawrence County jury deliberated 3 1/2 hours July 2 before finding in favor of the libel plaintiffs.
Reiter won the Democratic primary election but lost the general election to the Republican candidate, David Rishel, who remains in office.
Papa said Ms. Allen never filed a civil lawsuit against him or his daughter. BROADCAST NEWS CBS Revises Its Affiliates Compensation Plan
NEW YORK (AP) - CBS changed a plan to bill its affiliates and said it would simply deduct the fee from money CBS already pays the 214 stations that carry its programs.
The new plan would decrease the network’s compensation to affiliates by as much as 25 percent, rather than send them a bill that many had feared would effectively wipe out the compensation payment.
″The plan we announced last month has created considerable confusion among our affiliates and the media,″ Tony C. Malara, head of CBS affiliate relations, said in a news release July 1.
In early June, CBS announced an unprecedented overhaul of its affiliate compensation plan. The network estimated its so-called ″affiliation charge″ would boost its revenues by $20 million to $25 million.
The biggest howls came from stations in medium-sized and smaller markets, which had come to rely on network compensation for up to 30 percent of their annual revenues.
Since the mid-1980s, the networks have been reducing the amounts paid stations to carry their shows. CBS last year paid $123 million. NBC reportedly paid $116 million, and ABC an estimated $103 million in compensation.
″Based on conversations with many affiliates and group owners, we have decided to revise the plan to achieve our objectives through a different mechanism,″ Malara said.
Under the new plan, CBS will raise the current compensation deduction for each station by an amount approximately equal to the proposed affiliation charge, Malara said.
CBS’ plan would cut compensation 25 percent to stations in the top 100 markets; 20 percent in the 101st through 150th, and 15 percent to stations in the smallest markets.
There was no immediate reaction from CBS’ Affiliates Group. Its chairman, Benjamin W. Tucker of KMST-TV, Monterey, Calif., had ended his meetings at CBS headquarters here and was not available, CBS said.
--- Convention Broadcast Coverage Down
NEW YORK (AP) - The Democratic and Republican conventions are scheduled to receive less network attention this year than ever before.
″They’ve squeezed the turnip of all blood in terms of surprise and announcements,″ said CBS News special events director Lance Venardos. ″There’s no more news here, because the party wants a television event.″
In the past 20 years, ratings for gavel-to-gavel convention coverage have fallen dramatically. The drop dovetailed with changes in convention rules that saw everything from party platforms to nominees agreed on before delegates ever got to each party’s national gathering.
After poor ratings for the 1984 and 1988 party conventions, the networks this year have sliced their planned coverage by nearly 50 percent.
In an unprecedented move, NBC and PBS are providing joint coverage. Neither CBS nor ABC is expected to offer more than an hour or two of live coverage each night when the Democrats begin their four-day run in New York on July 13.
PBS and NBC will team correspondents for prime-time convention broadcasts on PBS. Then Tom Brokaw and company will go solo for a 60-minute nightly appearance on NBC.
ABC, which has provided the least amount of convention coverage among its Big Three competitors for the last two decades, has no plans to change its strategy.
″It’s a place where a lot of silly speeches are given,″ said ABC News Senior Vice President Richard Wald. ″People are pressing not too many issues in a speech because it might interrupt the smooth running of the convention.″
And Wald said that makes for boring television. ″Interesting speeches interest the audience. But the conventions have become an affirmation of things that have already been decided.″
At the 1988 Democratic Convention, despite rousing oratory from Jesse Jackson and Ann Richard’s ″Poor George″ speech, the average rating was only 6.6 - down more than 30 percent from the Democrats’ 1980 gathering.
In these hard economic times, networks are hard-pressed to sacrifice advertising revenue for live coverage few Americans will watch.
That leaves cable. When the Democrats gather at Madison Square Garden later this month and GOP delegates descend on Houston in August, viewers will have to flip to C-Span or CNN for continuous programming.
Viewers will be able to see election specials and live reports on Black Entertainment Television, CNN, Consumer News and Business Coverage (CNBC), C- Span, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Lifetime, Mind Extension University, MTV, Nickelodeon, and the Spanish-language Univsion network.
CNN even has ″Inside Politics ’92,″ a daily, 30-minute newscast designed to help voters stay on top of current events that could influence their polling decisions.
--- Radio Station Becomes Disaster Center for Quake-Stricken Town
JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) - When a family of seven needed a portable toilet after the June 28 earthquakes, they turned to Gary Daigneault for help. Within minutes, he found someone with a potty to spare.
Daigneault, owner and news director of KCDZ-FM, became the middleman of the hour when he converted his music station into a disaster information and supply center following the twin earthquakes.
The ground had barely stopped shaking in this Mojave Desert town when Daigneault drove to his station and went on the air with news and official information. Then he opened the phone lines to people in need, airing their requests for help live and continuously.
Soon, the little 3,000-watt station, situated next to a Chinese food restaurant in a mini-mall, was getting deliveries of bottled water, diapers, canned food and cash donations. Volunteers drove the goods to the people.
″This is what small radio is all about,″ Daigneault said the next day, taking a break from his microphone marathon.
Twin quakes - one measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale, the other 6.5 - rumbled across Southern California, killing a 3-year-old boy, injuring more than 400 people and causing an estimated $91 million in damage. Aftershocks registered in the following days.
The first quake knocked out KCDZ’s power and flung hundreds of compact discs to the ground. Daigneault fired up emergency generators and went to work.
For staff reinforcements he called in his parents and children, including his 11-year-old daughter, who read official announcements on the air. The station’s music director, Les Taylor, became newsman Les Taylor. Magazine Publisher Sues Over ‘Dateline NBC’ Expose
NEW YORK (AP) - The publisher of a magazine for would-be models and actors has filed a $100 million libel lawsuit against NBC over an unflattering report on his company.
George Goldberg described the ″Dateline NBC″ report May 12 on his company, Faces International, as ″outrageously and maliciously libelous.″
NBC News spokeswoman Tory Beilinson said after the suit was filed July 1 that she could not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit in federal court charges NBC ignored his company’s success stories, interviewing only competitors or Texans who had lobbied for state legislation that effectively forced Faces to close its Dallas office.
Some 1,500 former clients are suing Goldberg in Texas for fraud.
Would-be models and actors can have their photos published in Faces, a quarterly magazine, by paying a fee of up to $7,500. Goldberg claims the magazine is distributed and used throughout the entertainment industry.
The NBC report alleged Faces employees pressured clients to buy the most expensive pages. Although the Faces contract states that employment is not guaranteed, NBC alleged that Faces employees made misleading promises.
NBC said the only inquiries clients received were invitations for acting or modeling lessons - at additional cost.
--- Anchorwoman Settles Discrimination Suit Against WBAL
BALTIMORE (AP) - Television anchorwoman Rudy Miller and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have settled their sex discrimination suits against WBAL-TV and its former general manager, the station announced.
″All claims have been dismissed ... without any admission of liability,″ the station said July 2.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Ms. Miller, 42, filed suit 2 1/2 years ago, claiming she was paid tens of thousands of dollars less than male anchors at WBAL. The EEOC later joined the suit, saying it wanted to send a message to the television industry about sex discrimination.
The settlement does not include reinstatement for Ms. Miller at Channel 11, which was one of the demands of the EEOC suit. Ms. Miller is now co-host of the early-morning show on Baltimore television station WMAR. She worked as an anchor at WBAL from 1980 until her dismissal in 1989.
Ms. Miller made $141,000 in 1989, while the station’s two male anchors were making $190,000 and $195,000, according to court documents.
WBAL said it paid Ms. Miller less because she refused to anchor the 11 p.m. newscast, the most lucrative of its news shows. PERSONNEL NEWS Times-Recorder Names Publisher
AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) - Daryl Henning, publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayetteville, has been named publisher of the Americus Times- Recorder.
Henning has worked for Thomson Newspapers Inc., which owns both newspapers, for 24 years. He succeeds Ruth Bryant, who left to enter private business in Mississippi.
Henning, 52, began his career in the advertising department of the Atchison Daily Globe in 1961. He moved to the Coffeyville (Kan.) Journal in 1965.
He was advertising and marketing director for the Leavenworth (Kan.) Times from 1968 to 1979 and went back to the Daily Globe as publisher from 1979 to 1985.
--- Boyd Retires, Kency Takes Over at Morning News
ROGERS, Ark. (AP) - Oscar Boyd, publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Morning News the past 18 years, has retired. Gene Kincy, publisher of the Morning News of Springdale, will be publisher of both newspapers.
The two companies are owned by Donrey Media Group. The moves were effective July 1.
Kincy has been with Donrey since 1973 and had been publisher in Springdale since 1987. He previously was an account executive and advertising manager for the Rogers newspaper and was formerly publisher of Donrey’s Oskaloosa, Iowa, Herald.
Boyd worked for the Donrey Media Group for 30 years. A native of Oklahoma, he worked at Donrey newspapers in Fort Smith; Weatherford, Texas, and Moberly, Mo., before going to Rogers in 1974 to run the Morning News, then called the Rogers Daily News.
During Boyd’s 18 years in Rogers, the paper has changed its name, shifted from afternoon to morning publication and experienced significant circulation growth.
--- Post-Dispatch Names New Managing Editor
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Foster Davis, assistant managing editor of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, has been named managing editor of the St. Louis Post- Dispatch.
Davis, 52, replaces David Lipman, managing editor since 1979. Lipman was earlier named chairman of Pulitzer/2000, Pulitzer Publishing Co.’s new long- range planning effort. Davis will begin his new duties in early August.
Davis has been the Observer’s assistant managing editor since 1987 and previously served as metro editor, assistant metro editor and editorial writer.
He previously worked for CBS News, covering civil rights battles in the South and the Vietnam War. He began his career as a reporter for the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Miss.
--- Lutgen Named M.E. at Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Robert R. Lutgen, assistant managing editor for news at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has been named managing editor.
He succeeds John Robert Starr, who retired.
Lutgen, 42, was city editor and managing editor for the Texarkana Gazette from 1981-87. He previously worked at the Bryan-College Station Eagle in Bryan, Texas, and the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic.
He was president of the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors’ Association in 1989-90.
The appointment was announced June 30.
--- Zieman Named M.E.-News at Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Mark Zieman, who directed The Kansas City Star’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been named managing editor for news.
Arthur S. Brisbane, vice president of the Kansas City Star Co. and editor of the newspaper, announced Zieman’s appointment July 1. A managing editor for features and design will be named later.
As project editor of the Star, Zieman directed the 16-month investigation into policy making in the USDA that won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Zieman, 31, was an intern at The Star in 1982 and later joined the Houston bureau of The Wall Street Journal, where he covered space, aviation and technology. He returned to The Star in 1986.
--- Lorinser Named M.E. at Faribault Daily News
FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) - Stephen R. Lorinser, former regional editor of the Austin Daily Herald, has been named managing editor of the Faribault Daily News.
Before joining the Daily Herald, Lorinser, 40, was a general assignment reporter at the Charles City (Iowa) Press.
He succeeds Brad Hicks, who took a job as assistant publisher of a weekly newspaper in his home state of Iowa.
The appointment was announced July 1.
--- Katzman Retiring as Sports Editor
ANSONIA, Conn. (AP) - Lime Katzman, sports editor of The Evening Sentinel in Ansonia, is retiring after nearly 43 years at the newspaper.
Katzman, 61, will be replaced by Joe Musante, a staff writer who serves as city desk editor one night a week. Katzman’s last day at the newspaper is July 24.
--- Bill Waugh Appointed AP Photo Editor in Michigan
DETROIT (AP) - Bill Waugh, Wisconsin photo editor for The Associated Press since 1989, has been appointed Michigan AP photo editor, based in Detroit.
The appointment was announced June 29 by Charles Hill, bureau chief for Michigan. Waugh succeeds Lennox McLendon, who stays on the Detroit staff as a photographer.
Waugh has worked as a phototechnology adviser-trainer for the AP for the past two years, in addition to his photo editor duties.
He previously worked for the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News and the Stillwater (Okla.) News-Press.
--- Tina Brown Taking Over as New Yorker Editor
NEW YORK (AP) - Tina Brown, who remade Vanity Fair into the hot magazine of recent years, will take over as the fourth editor of The New Yorker, the owner of both magazines announced.
Robert A. Gottlieb, who became the third editor of The New Yorker in 1987, is leaving because of ″conceptual differences″ with owner S.I. Newhouse Jr., Newhouse said June 30.
The British-born Brown, 38, said she intended to ″preserve The New Yorker’s literary and intellectual standards, to contribute to its reputation of quality and to introduce it to a new generation of readers.″
Ms. Brown’s job at Vanity Fair will be taken over by Graydon Carter, editor of the weekly New York Observer. DEATHS Jerome Adam Condo
CINCINNATI (AP) - Jerome Adam Condo, Washington correspondent for The Cincinnati Post, died June 28 at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 50.
Condo had a history of heart trouble, the Post said.
He had been a reporter for The Marietta (Ohio) Times from 1965 to 1970 and moved to the former Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal in 1971.
He joined the Washington bureau of the Scripps Howard News Service in 1980, reporting for the Post and other Scripps Howard newspapers in Ohio.
--- Frank Klein
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Frank Klein, who capped a 49-year newspaper career as sports editor and columnist for The Tampa Tribune, died July 4 in a Port St. Joe nursing home at age 74.
A muscular illness and diabetes had forced him to leave the Tribune in 1987.
A native of Duluth, Minn., Klein was a 1939 graduate of the University of Florida. He subsequently worked for the Suwannee Democrat in Live Oak, The Tampa Tribune, the Southwest Independent in Los Angeles, the Orlando Sentinel- Star, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the San Antonio Express.
Klein returned to Tampa in 1958, working for the Times. He became city editor in 1960 and sports editor the following year. He joined the Tribune after the Times folded in 1982.
He is survived by a sister and brother.
--- Elisabeth John Schroeder
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Elisabeth John Schroeder, a veteran Oklahoma journalist, was killed July 4 when her automobile struck a cow on Interstate 35 north of Oklahoma City. She was 44.
Known professionally as Lisa John, she was an assistant professor of journalism at Oklahoma State University and worked on weekends as a news producer and assignment editor for KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City.
In the 1970s, Mrs. Schroeder was a newswoman with KSWO-TV in Lawton and southwest Oklahoma correspondent for The Daily Oklahoman and Times. In 1980-83, she was news assignment editor at KWTV in Oklahoma City, and in 1983 she began lecturing at Oklahoma State University and working part-time for KOCO.
She is survived by her husband, Dan, chief engineer at KOSU-FM at Oklahoma State; her parents; a sister, and two nephews.
--- Iain Walker
LONDON (AP) - Iain Walker, executive editor of the Mail on Sunday, died July 1 after falling 120 feet on a mountain in Scotland. He was 48.
Walker’s major assignments included covering the Black September terrorists in Jordan, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Bangladesh war, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and guerrilla fighting in El Salvador.
He worked on Scottish newspapers and the tabloid the Sun before becoming the first news editor of the Mail on Sunday in 1980.
In 199l he was appointed executive editor.
Walker is survived by his wife and two children.
--- Nick B. Williams
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nick B. Williams, the former Los Angeles Times editor credited with transforming it into the one of the most respected newspapers in the nation, died July 1 of lung disease. He was 85.
Williams began his career with the Times in 1931 and became editor in 1958. By the time he retired in 1971, the Times was widely regarded as one of the best big-city papers in the nation.
Previously he worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; The Tennessean, in Nashville; and the now-closed Los Angeles Express.
He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
--- Marion A. Wolcott
NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - Marion A. ″Red″ Wolcott, former publisher of The Daily Iberian, died July 1 after a long illness. He was 88.
Wolcott was editor and publisher from 1951 until his retirement on Jan. 1, 1978. After retiring, he continued to write a column.
He was president of the Louisiana Press Association in 1961.
Wolcott is survived by a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
--- AWARDS Nieman Foundation Announces Award to Haitian Journalist
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The Nieman Foundation has announced an award for a Haitian journalist who reported on corruption in his nation and was imprisoned last year.
Jean Mario Paul, 25, a correspondent with Radio Antilles Internationale in Haiti, is the 1992 recipient of the Louis M. Lyons Award for conscience and integrity in journalism, the foundation said July 2.
Paul was selected for the award based on his radio and newspaper reporting of local corruption and the ″courage he has displayed in the face of government intimidation″ since the coup d’etat in Haiti last September.
Paul was arrested in November and charged with arson in attacks on the police station and court house in Grand-Goave. Reports indicate he was beaten severely while in custody, and he was eventually shipped to prison.
A Haitian judge dismissed the case against Paul earlier this year for lack of evidence, and he was released from jail April 29.
Paul has not resumed his writing, nor can his voice be heard on the radio station because it remains closed, along with many other stations.
--- NOTES FROM EVERYWHERE
Lawmakers in Uruguay have rescinded a 72-year-old law that allowed dueling. The law was passed to regulate the practice after President Jorge Batlle y Ordonez shot and killed El Dia newspaper publisher Washington Beltran in 1920. In 1990, police inspector Saul Claveria challenged La Republica newspaper publisher Federico Fasano to a duel over an article that linked Claveria with smuggling. Claveria eventually withdrew his challenge, saying Fasano was not a worthy opponent ... Ken Dahlstrom, a marketing and advertising assistant at the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico, can chart the rise of Ross Perot by the number of people who’ve mistaken him for the Texan. ″It started to snowball,″ he said. ″Total strangers would rap on my car window to tell me. People who came into the office would tell me.″ Just for fun, Dahlstrom visited the local Perot for President headquarters, rattling the volunteers for a few exciting moments ... Walter Cronkite says the push for profits has forced television news to ignore important issues. ″The fact that the networks don’t make more time for serious issues, especially in an election year, is awful,″ the former CBS anchorman says in the latest issue of TV Guide.
End Industry News