Tribune-Review CEO reflects on A1 editorial

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While USA Today recently felt the need to defend the value of editorials, one paper has scrapped endorsements and another may bail on the editorial concept altogether, the Pittsburgh-area Tribune-Review prominently employed the form with an A1 editorialurging readers to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The editorial involved a matter "that would result in action by readers for the good of the community," according to Jennifer Bertetto, president and CEO of Tribune-Review owner Trib Total Media. The paper wouldn't have turned to a front-page editorial for "just an expression of opinion or a political standpoint," according to Bertetto.

Here’s part of a letter to readers from Bertetto that accompanied the editorial:

As journalists, we take great care to reserve opinion pieces for the opinion/editorial pages of this newspaper.

But these are extraordinary times when everything has changed, when COVID-19 has killed more than 300,000 Americans, shuttered businesses and deprived us of the chance to hug our family, share a meal out with friends or even celebrate holidays. 

We are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reverse the course of this deadly virus, to save lives, to be brave and put aside politics and philosophical differences to do something simple but selfless to stem the spread of this virus. All that can be achieved by taking a vaccine.

Today, we are breaking our own rules to put opinion on the news pages of this publication and ask that you do your part to write an end to the most deadly story of our lives.

In mid-January, Bertetto answered a few questions from News & Tech about the decision to place the editorial on page 1 and other aspects of op-ed management.

News & Tech: What made you decide to run a front-page editorial on the COVID-19 vaccine in the Tribune-Review, a departure for the paper?

Bertetto: We have watched helplessly for the last several months as COVID-19 cases and deaths have risen in Western Pennsylvania. We have worked with businesses that were forced to endure a third or even fourth shutdown during the pandemic.

Over and over again, we heard the words “helpless.” Helpless to protect ourselves from the disease, helpless against its economic impact, and helpless as we waited for relief — whether it be medical or financial.

During the pandemic, we also noticed that vaccination had become highly political in our region.

We felt it was our responsibility as a trusted news organization and part of the community. We encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated when it becomes available. In doing so, we tried to illustrate how getting the shot would change the world we are all living in right now.   

As we debated the merits of a front-page editorial, our editorial board concluded that if our editorial convinced one person to get the vaccine, who might have otherwise been unsure, it would have been worth it.

News & Tech: Has the paper ever done anything like this before?

Bertetto: We have many long-tenured employees at Trib Total Media. Going back as far as 45 years, we could not find any other front-page editorials. 

News & Tech: Did the editorial run in other Trib Total Media papers?

Bertetto: The editorial ran in our two daily editions, Tribune-Review and Tribune-Review Valley News Dispatch. We did not run it in our weeklies due to the deadlines being pretty far out. We were concerned it would be stale by the time it arrived in our readers’ mailboxes the following week.

News & Tech: Can you see any other issue outside of the COVID-19 vaccine that would prompt you to run a front-page editorial?

Bertetto: Front-page editorials are something we will be very judicious about — always. I am sure it is possible, but for a subject rising to the level of doing this again — it would need to be very significant.

This editorial was on a concrete matter that would result in action by readers for the good of the community. We would never run a front-page editorial that was just an expression of opinion or a political standpoint.

News & Tech: Have you had any feedback to the editorial?

Bertetto: We have, of course. As you can imagine, we heard both positive and negative feedback. Within the industry, many publishers reached out to me to tell me they thought it was brave. Some people who used to work in the industry but are now retired felt like more newspapers should be doing this during the pandemic (taking strong, forceful viewpoints on what we could be doing in our communities to stop the spread). 

Some readers really loved that we wrote the editorial, and some really despised it. None of the reactions were surprising. We anticipated taking this step would be polarizing.

In all, no one cancelled their subscription over it, but we did field a fair amount of phone calls.

News & Tech: Do you think newspapers' role and reporting style are changing? If so, what are your views on the changes?

Bertetto: That reminds me of the expression: “The more things change, they more they stay the same.” Of course, we are adapting to the new ways that people consume media. But the fundamentals apply: We collect news and information and deliver it to people quickly and accurately. We build habits in readers by earning their trust with fair reporting and engaging them with a mix of hard and soft news, essential information, sports, comics, puzzles and more. The competition for readers’ attention is brutal — but so was it, back in the day, when there might have been five daily newspapers in a city like Pittsburgh. We are fiercely dedicated to keeping local news alive and well in our region, but we have to give people a reason for coming to us.

News & Tech: Anything more you would like to add?

Bertetto: Regarding our editorial position: The job title of the person who runs the editorial page is “Community Engagement Editor.” Our position is that we want to reflect our communities and bring out their better angels — but we are not about pontificating on the grand ideas of the day, or preaching or scolding. We want to cultivate the middle ground, and we believe it exists, even in these fractious times. We are also proud of our vibrant letters to the editor section, where all points of view are represented and the facts have been checked rigorously. On some Sundays, we hold op-eds and run nearly a full page of letters. It’s gratifying to see so many readers want to be in this public square.

Yuma Sun maximizing efficiencies of NewsWay upgrade

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Horizon Publications’ Yuma Sun (Arizona) has been managing its local editions with ProImage NewsWay workflow since 2005. At that time, the paper was owned by now-defunct conglomerate Freedom Communications.

Over the past 15 years, the Sun has leveraged NewsWay for edition planning, tracking pages, load balancing RIPs, page impositioning, softproofing plates, adjusting images for fan-out and managing output to their two CTP devices. The publisher has continued to make regular upgrades over the past several years as well.

“When we were a Freedom Communications site, we started with NewsWay Lite,” Director of Operations David Fornof told News & Tech. “We operated with that as long as we could and it was time for an upgrade — I am really happy we ended up staying with NewsWay.”

The Sun upgraded to the more robust NewsWayX in 2018, adding Pitstop Server for preflighting PDF pages to reduce errors. At that time, the publisher added remote workflows using Yuma’s current NewsWayX instead of upgrading local systems at sister California papers the Appeal Democrat in Marysville and the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale. 

“These can be tailored to whatever these papers’ needs are,” Fornof said. “Some locations have remote access to release pages themselves, and some send pages to our site and we release them."


More recently, Horizon added remote workflows for the Santa Maria Times (California) and The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, Massachusetts). Each of the remote sites has its own workflow and logins, enabling them to plan and manage their own editions. Pages are uploaded RIPped, imposed and softproofed using Yuma’s systems. When pages are approved, TIFFs are sent to each of the papers’ local CTP units for output.

Photo toning and ink optimization

The Sun’s most recent ProImage upgrade was in October 2020, when the publisher bought OnColor image-toning software and OnColor ECO ink optimization for all of its sites. OnColor automates both processes to improve images while increasing throughput and reducing ink consumption.

In addition to its papers, the Sun is leveraging all of its NewsWay modules for the stable of newspapers it prints commercially.

“When a page comes in, there are multiple paths for it to go through,” Fornof said. “Once pages are released, we have also automated the process of uploading PDFs to our digital edition partners, including TownNews, PressReader and Newspaper Archives.”

Fornof said the benefits of the upgrades have been significant.

Idaho daily realizing automation, waste-reduction goals

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Take a look behind the scenes at The Lewiston’s Tribune’s production center.

The Lewiston Tribune (Idaho) recently tapped manroland Goss to add inline controls automation to the publisher’s Uniset press. The 4-unit press was originally installed in 2007.

The upgrade — which The Tribune has been evaluating for the past couple of years — includes new density, register and ribbon control systems that went live in September 2020.

Publisher Nathan Alford told News & Tech that waste has been the publisher’s primary consideration. He said the longtime family-owned, generational paper remains committed to providing the highest quality at the lowest cost per copy.

Alford proudly carries on a commitment that began in 1892 to deliver honest journalism while leveraging the best technologies.

“We aren’t publicly traded or hedge-fund owned and we’re one of only a small number of family-owned, generational papers left,” Alford said. “Moves like this for smaller companies like us are significant, and this proved to have value.”

Production Director Jay Brown told News & Tech The Tribune has been looking at automation and waste reduction since 2018.

“Some press crew members are nearing retirement, and consumables prices continue to rise, so those were certainly considerations,” Brown said.

The install has been very customized, and the controls were built and configured in Germany to meet The Tribune’s specifications.

Benefits of system integration

Ease of integration with the existing press system was also appealing; however, the systems were still customized to meet The Tribune’s specifications.

Controls were configured and built in Germany over a six-month period following the original contract signing in December 2019. All of the hardware arrived in crates and was assembled one press unit at a time.

“We now have press operators running 22- and 24-page sections independently,” Brown said. “We have a dayside crew of three, five days a week and a nightside crew of two to four people, seven nights per week.”

So far, The Tribune has realized waste savings near 50 percent, and Brown said several jobs that were requiring 2,000 copies are now down to 1,000.

“The more complex the job, the more spoilage you have, but with paper prices it’s really nice to cut that down,” he said.

In addition to The Tribune, the site prints the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, which serves the higher-education communities of the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. It also prints more than two dozen commercial jobs.

Alford credits the success of the upgrades to a mix of good people and the right technology.

“At the end of the daily newspaper cycle, the readers that are enjoying our journalism at a higher level are among the biggest winners,” he said. “They’re the ones who pay our subscription bills and allow us to keep doing this work.”

Wave of newspapers outsourcing printing

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As the new year gets underway, a host of newspaper companies are moving to outsource their printing operations. A number of the papers making the change are owned by Gannett. 
These recent changes come on the heels of printing moves or planned moves at the Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Hartford Courant and elsewhere.

• The printing facility of the Gannett-owned Courier-Journal in Louisville will be shuttered in March, the paper reported. Printing of the paper will take place at the Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star and Knoxville News Sentinel, the paper said. The change will mean 102 jobs lost, the paper said. 

• The Gannett-owned Jackson Sun (Tennessee) and sister paper the Memphis Commercial Appeal are moving printing to the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, starting Feb. 1, the Jackson Sun reported. Around 23 workers will be affected in the move. With the addition of these two papers, the Jackson, Mississippi, plant will handle seven dailies. 

• The Gannett-owned Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon) is moving its printing to the Columbian Publishing Company in Vancouver, Washington, and is shuttering its production facilities in Eugene, the paper reported. The change is happening in March and will affect 49 full-time and part-time workers. 

• Times Publishing, publisher of the Tampa Bay Times, is outsourcing printing of its papers beginning in March, the paper reported. The company will shutter its production facility in St. Petersburg. 
Times Publishing has a deal with Gannett to print the Tampa Bay Times at Gannett’s plant in Lakeland, Florida.
Some 90 full-time and 60 part-time employees will lose their jobs in the move, according to the paper. Gannett said it plans to add jobs in Lakeland, which could go to some of the Times workers, the paper said.

• Forum Communications is moving printing of The Forum, The Jamestown Sun, Grand Forks Herald and Agweek from The Forum building in Fargo to the Forum Communications plant in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, the Jamestown Sun reported. The shuttering of The Forum’s press will affect 21 full-time and 14 part-time workers, the paper said. 

More news
• Alden Global Capital is angling toward total ownership of Tribune Publishing, The New York Times and others reported. Not everyone is welcoming the effort, the New York Post and others reported

• Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics is closing three printing plants, in Oklahoma City; Nashville, and Fernley, Nevada, Milwaukee Business Journal reported Dec. 18. The closings will affect 650 employees. In 2020, Quad closed plants in Taunton, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California. Those closures resulted in 1,100 job cuts.

• The Chesterton Tribune (Indiana) has ended its print run. A note from co-publisher David Canwright offered perspective and thanks. The paper’s website future was under discussion as of mid-December, CBS Chicago said

• More happenings were reported in the ongoing legal battle between the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun.
Do you have news? Email us at

Goodbye to five Tribune Publishing newsrooms

As foreshadowed in its quarterly earnings report and call last week, Chicago-based Tribune Publishing has moved to shrink its real estate costs. 

The company is shuttering five of its newsrooms, at the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; the Carroll County Times in Maryland; the Orlando Sentinel in Florida; and The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The papers will go on publishing, the company said. Staff were informed they will be laboring at home until January 2021 at the earliest, the Chicago Tribune reported

“As we progress through the pandemic and as needs change, we will reconsider our need for physical offices,” a company spokesperson, Max Reinsdorf, said by email, the Tribune reported Aug. 12. “We will keep employees informed of decisions as they are made.”

In a June filing with the SEC, Tribune Publishing said it had held back three months of rent for “a majority of its facilities and requested rent relief from the lessors in various forms,” including the ending of leases, the Orlando Sentinel reported

CNN media reporter Kerry Flynn writes: “It's no surprise to see Tribune cut real estate costs. During the company's earnings call last week, CFO Mike Lavey said 'reducing our real estate footprint' was among the priorities to 'sustain ourselves for the long term.' Gannett CEO Mike Reed made similar remarks in its earnings call last week, noting that the company planned 'to sell $100 million to $125 million of property by the end of 2021.’”

In February, Tribune Publishing sold The Virginian-Pilot's Norfolk office building and the paper moved its operations to the Daily Press in Newport News.

In 2017, Tribune Publishing bought the New York Daily News for $1 from media and real estate mogul Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

Maryland’s Capital Gazette was the site of a 2018 shooting in which a gunman killed five employees.

McClatchy, Advance

Sacramento-based McClatchy, meanwhile, is also making changes. It's exiting leases on seven newsrooms as it works to move out of bankruptcy, with spots in California, South Carolina, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte involved, Poynter reported

McClatchy is selling its Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky) building as well. The Fayette County Board of Education voted in June to buy the building for $7.5 million, Lex 18 reported

Advance Publications’ Staten Island Advance is selling its building, Poynter also pointed out.

Paywall goes up at Detroit papers

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Some content is now behind a paywall at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News. The paywall went up Aug. 12.

The subscription push was put into motion by, a partnership between the owners of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. 

Alden Global Capital’s Digital First Media owns the Detroit News. Gannett owns the Free Press.

“Most American newspapers have some sort of paid digital requirement today. The Wall Street Journal has required paid digital subscriptions since the inception of almost 25 years ago. The New York Times has almost 6 million digital subscribers. And about three-quarters of newspapers in the country now charge in some way to digitally access their content,” said a post from Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of the Free Press.

Most Free Press content will stay free on “‘Subscriber-only’ stories will be the unique, revelatory, in-depth stories that are not available elsewhere,” said the post.

Much of the Detroit News’s breaking news content will stay free, but some of the in-depth and original stories will be available to subscribers only, the paper said. This represents the first time in the 25-year existence of the Detroit News website that it will charge for content, the paper said. 

The papers are offering a $3 deal per paper for the first three months for full digital access and the e-edition.

More news

• The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California) will shift its print operation to Gannett’s Phoenix facility in September, the paper reported. Gannett owns the paper. The Desert Sun has been printing at the paper's Gene Autry Trail headquarters in Palm Springs since the late 1980s.

Around three dozen employees were cut in the move. “I personally will miss wandering back to ‘the factory,’ smelling the ink, and watching a stream of newspapers cascade down a conveyor belt to the mailroom floor,” said an online letter from Executive Editor Julie Makinen.

• Starting Oct. 12, the Albuquerque Journal and The Santa Fe New Mexican will print their papers at The New Mexican’s production facility, the Albuquerque paper reported. As many as 70 staff members in the Journal’s printing operation will lose jobs, according to William P. Lang, president of the Journal, the Journal said. 

Journal Publishing Company owns the Albuquerque Journal. Robin Martin owns the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Missoula Independent newspaper closes

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The Missoula Independent, the city's alternative weekly newspaper, closed Tuesday, Lee Enterprises announced at 8 a.m.

All employees were notified.

"The Independent has consistently lost money for its owners and is not financially sustainable," said Matt Gibson, general manager for the Missoulian, the Ravalli Republic and the Independent.

Lee purchased the Independent from Gibson, who had owned it since 1997, in April 2017. The Missoulian and Ravalli Republic are also owned by Lee Enterprises.

Tronc cuts half of New York Daily News editorial staff

Tronc has slashed half the editorial staff at the New York Daily News, Variety and others reported. Editor-in-chief Jim Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee were among those cut.

“We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News,” the company said in a Monday note to staff. “We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50% and re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news — especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.”
In recent years, the paper’s news staff has gone from several hundred to a maximum of 100 people, according to The New York Times.
Tronc tapped Robert York to take the helm at the tabloid starting July 30. York had been publisher and editor at the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and had spent years at Tronc’s San Diego Union-Tribune, as well.

Bakers buy East Washingtonian paper

Mike Tom has sold his 136-year-old East Washingtonian

(Pomeroy, Washington) weekly newspaper to neighboring publishers Loyal and Charlotte Baker. After 31 years of working in publishing, Tom, 69, is retiring with his wife, Galina, to his native Hawaii. 
The Bakers also publish the Dayton Chronicle (Washington state). Plans are to maintain offices in both communities, according to a press release from 
Gauger Media Service, a Washington-state media brokerage firm that represented the seller.
. The Bakers have deep roots in the region. 
For the past four years, Charlotte Baker has served the family’s community newspaper as publisher and managing editor. Charlotte will continue filling those positions while Loyal focuses on advertising sales

Lee Enterprises will manage Berkshire Hathaway Newspaper and Digital Operations in 30 Markets

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DAVENPORT, Iowa, June 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE:LEE), has joined with BH Media Group, Inc, in an agreement for Lee to manage Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper and digital operations in 30 markets, beginning July 2, 2018. The agreement provides Lee with flexibility to implement revenue initiatives and business transformation consistent with how it manages its own newspaper and digital operations in 49 markets, while Berkshire Hathaway continues as owner of BH Media.

Warren E. Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said: "I love our newspapers and am passionate about the vital role they serve in our communities. Although the challenges in publishing are clear, I believe we can benefit by joining efforts. Lee Enterprises' growth in digital market share and revenue has outpaced the industry. Lee also has led the industry in overall innovation and performance, all while faithfully fulfilling its public trust as an indispensable source for local news, information and advertising. Our missions and goals match exactly, our markets are similar, and we both have excellent managers. Operating together will strengthen both of us, and Lee is logical to lead the process."

Mary Junck, executive chairman of Lee Enterprises, said, "Berkshire Hathaway has been a significant investor across our capital structures for years, most recently in the $94 million refinancing of our Pulitzer Notes, which we redeemed in 2015, two years ahead of schedule. Our relationship has been positive for both and has become a foundation for us to come together in this agreement."

She added: "This is an attractive strategic alliance for Lee, as it enables us to generate more cash flow, speed our debt reduction, enhance our industry leadership and further advance our abilities as we introduce our digital and print strategies at BH Media properties. Also, we are honored to be trusted by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, among the most admired business icons in history. The publishing business is in transition, to be sure, but we remain positive about our future, as many print opportunities remain and digital audiences and revenue continue to grow and flourish."

Kevin D. Mowbray, Lee president and CEO, said the management agreement has an initial term of five years and that Lee will receive an annual fixed fee of $5 million plus a significant percentage of profits over benchmarks. He said the operating framework gives Lee broad latitude to manage, while strategic decisions will be agreed upon jointly. He noted that BH Media will retain editorial control, consistent with Lee's policy of local editorial decision-making.

"In addition to the primary benefit of deploying Lee's successful strategies at BH Media, this alliance provides a significant expansion of operating scale, adding 30 markets to our own 49," he said. "Together, we will have new opportunities across the board, especially in digital sales, advertising customer relationships, shared services and contracts with vendors and suppliers."

In addition to 30 daily newspaper and digital operations, BH Media Group includes 47 paid weekly newspapers with websites and 32 other print products, reinforcing its position as, like Lee, the primary source for local news, information and advertising. Daily newspapers include:

  • ALABAMA: Dothan Eagle, Opelika-Auburn News
  • IOWA: The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs
  • NEBRASKA: Omaha World-Herald, The Grand Island Independent, Scottsbluff Star-Herald, The North Platte Telegraph, Kearney Hub, York News-Times
  • NEW JERSEY: The Press of Atlantic City
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, The News Herald in Morganton, The McDowell News, Statesville Record and Landmark, Hickory Daily Record
  • OKLAHOMA: Tulsa World
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: The Florence Morning News
  • TEXAS: The Eagle in Bryan-College Station, Waco Tribune-Herald.
  • VIRGINIA: Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, The Roanoke Times, Bristol Herald Courier, News & Advance in Lynchburg, Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee, The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Culpeper Star-Exponent, The News Virginian in Waynesboro.

The contract excludes management of BH Media television assets, as well as Berkshire Hathaway's separate newspaper, The Buffalo News.

Conference call

Lee has scheduled a conference call and audio webcast for 11:00 a.m. CDT today. The live webcast will be accessible at The webcast also will be available for replay two hours later. Several analysts have been invited to ask questions on the call. Questions from other participants may be submitted by participating in the webcast. The call also may be monitored on a listen-only line by dialing toll free 800-967-7154 and entering a passcode of 583485 at least five minutes before the scheduled beginning. Participants on the listen-only line will not have the opportunity to ask questions.

About Lee Enterprises

Lee Enterprises is based in Davenport, IA, and is a leading provider of local news and information, and a major platform for advertising, with daily newspapers, rapidly growing digital products and nearly 300 weekly and specialty publications serving 49 markets in 21 states. Lee's markets include St. Louis, MO; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Davenport, IA; Billings, MT; Bloomington, IL; and Tucson, AZ.Lee Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE. For more information, please visit

Forward-looking statements

Certain statements contained in the news release are "forward looking" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are based on current expectations. Details about risks associated with forward-looking statements are included in recent SEC filings. Lee does not update forward-looking statements.

Contact: Dan Hayes,, 563-383-2100

Source: Lee Enterprises Inc.

This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: LEE

Chicago Jewish Star newspaper folds after 27 years

For 27 years, the Chicago Jewish Star showed up every other week on street corners and synagogues from Hyde Park to Highland Park, a plucky family-owned newspaper with ambitions to be a strong voice for the city’s diverse Jewish community.

Next week, its familiar green news boxes will be empty.

With circulation and revenue waning, the free, advertising-supported tabloid quietly folded last week, ending what co-founder Doug Wertheimer called Chicago’s last independent, for-profit Jewish newspaper.

“The advertising dried up,” said Wertheimer, 71. “It became a tighter and tighter operation until it was no longer feasible to continue with any kind of quality product.”

Put together out of his Skokie house, Wertheimer helmed the newspaper from its inception in 1991, serving as publisher and editor. His wife and co-founder, Gila Wertheimer, was associate and literary editor, and more recently, top ad salesperson.

The only other remaining full-time staffer was their son, Aaron Wertheimer, who served as assistant editor and columnist.

The Jewish Star won journalism awards and developed a loyal following. But it couldn’t survive the digital age.

In its heyday, during the mid-1990s, the Jewish Star had a circulation of nearly 25,000, a staff of five salespeople, a roster of freelancers and a robust business model, Doug Wertheimer said. “Like any startup, we did not make money the first few years,” he said. “But after that, we always made money. We always had to make money.”

The paper was not immune, however, to the revenue declines that have hit the newspaper industry in recent years, as digital competition eroded audience and advertising. The Jewish Star cut back the paper from 20 pages to about eight, while staffing was reduced to the immediate family.

“It was just the three of us at the end,” said Doug Wertheimer, a Chicago native who grew up in Hyde Park and Albany Park.

Wertheimer would not disclose exact circulation, but said “it was less” in its final years.

While he saw the writing on the wall, Wertheimer never created an online version of the Jewish Star, a “conscious decision” to stick with the print-only business plan in an increasingly digital media world.

“We put all of our effort into the print paper and tried to run it as economically as we could,” he said. “I did not ever see that the internet would help or save us.”

With the end of the Jewish Star, Chicagoans can still turn to the JUF News, a monthly run by the Jewish Federation of Chicago, and the Chicago Jewish News, a weekly nonprofit, but loyal readers say the publication will be missed.

Charles Bernstein, 76, a retired lawyer and longtime South Side resident, said he picked up his copy of the Chicago Jewish Star at his Hyde Park synagogue.

“I’m going to miss it,” Bernstein said. “It was a little more independent than other newspapers. It was well-written and they take controversial topics and handle them well. It was quite independent.”

The demise of the Jewish Star is an increasingly familiar story. The ranks of the American Jewish Press Association, a not-for-profit group, are down to 51 member publications.

“We have seen a decline in our members,” said Cathy Herring, the association’s executive director. “We have seen some publications close in recent years.”

Wertheimer and his wife, a Canadian whom he met in Israel, launched the original Jewish Star in 1980 in Calgary, where they lived at the time. They brought the paper with them when they moved to Skokie 10 years later.

The new publication came on the scene just as Chicago’s legacy Jewish newspaper, The Sentinel, was nearing the end of an 85-year run. The Sentinel ceased publication in 1997 after the death of its longtime editor and publisher, Jack Fishbein.

The Jewish Star tackled local, national and international issues of interest to the Jewish community, Wertheimer said. It also successfully grappled with the city of Chicago, which tried to remove and relocate its news boxes more than 25 years ago.

In 1994, after years of denials from the city, a Jewish Star staffer caught what was described in the Chicago Tribune at the time as “a beefy Streets and Sanitation worker” using bolt cutters to snap the anchoring cable of a news box at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. A photo was splashed on Page 1 of the Star’s next edition, and distributed to other media.

The newspaper also enlisted the help of the Illinois Press Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, eventually getting a sit-down with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. The city agreed to pay the Jewish Star $1,600 for moving and destroying its news boxes, Doug Wertheimer said.

“One of my regrets as a journalist here is that we did not sue the city,” he said. “I wish we would have sued them.”

Penthouse in line for third bankruptcy

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Penthouse Global Media Inc. is undertaking another bankruptcy, the third for the adult entertainment brand. The brand began with Bob Guccione’s Penthouse Magazine in 1965. Chapter 11 papers were filed in California court in mid-January.

Kelly Holland runs the brand’s current, Los Angeles-based owner. Before Holland’s bought it, the brand was owned by FriendFinder Networks Inc. and underwent a bankruptcy in 2013. Another bankruptcy happened in 2003.

The company falsified records and made misleading statements to hide financial losses in recent years, according to a lawsuit filed this week in California Superior Court, Bloomberg reports. Plaintiff Dream Media Corp. claims the company defaulted on loans to ExWorks Capital Fund. Dream Media Corp. now has the loans, and claims Penthouse Global Media owes it more than $10 million. Holland and a lawyer for the company didn’t return calls and emails for comment to Bloomberg.

Holland told the LA Times that Penthouse isn’t trying to compete with free online porn. “We need to offer distinct content that is different from the free stuff out there,” she said.

Japanese turn to digital news

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More Japanese people are reading news on their smartphones or computers than in morning newspapers, a survey by the Japan Press Research Institute and reported by the Japan Times showed. It was the first time for that result.

In a 2008 survey, some 90 percent of the respondents said they read morning newspapers, but that fell to 68.5 percent in this year’s poll.

Print, however, beat the internet in terms of credibility. On a scale of 100, the reliability score for newspapers edged up to 68.7, while that for online sources fell 2.1 points to 51.4.

This year’s survey addressed “fake news” for the first time. About 40 percent of respondents said they knew the term, and the same percent said they consider whether material they read is fake.

Harrisburg-area Sentinel paper to move

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The Sentinel of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, will move to a new building, the Wheelhouse building at the corner of North College Street and B Street in Carlisle, the newspaper announced in early January.

The paper, owned and operated by Lee Enterprises, will relocate to the new place in April at the earlier, according to Sentinel interim Publisher Kim Kamowski.

The Sentinel announced in late 2017 that a deal had been reached for the sale of its current building at 457 E. North St. to pretzel-bread baker Amish Country Bakehouse.

The Sentinel serves the Harrisburg metro area.

Current Newspapers files for Chapter 11

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Current Newspapers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the first week of January, according to court records, Washingtonian magazine reports. The company publishes five weekly community papers around Washington D.C. Davis Kennedy has owned the Current since 1994.

Current owes more than $1.25 million to creditors, including lenders, printers, software vendors, and others. The Wall Street Journal first reported the filing.

In addition to delays in paying vendors, recently there’ve been reports of withheld paychecks, a health-insurance policy lapse and major staff turnover at the troubled publisher. Chris Kain, managing editor for 26 years, resigned in December. Former Prince George’s Sentinel managing editor Shawn McFarland will now head the news staff, the magazine reports.

Two printers, Gannett and Bartash Print Media, are suing Current, and the paper reportedly owes $60,000 to another printer, Maryland-based APG of Chesapeake.

Herald salaries made public in bankruptcy filing

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The salaries of Patrick J. Purcell, publisher of the Boston Herald, and other officials at the paper were listed as part of the Boston Herald's Chapter 11 filing, the paper reports

Purcell got $970,092 in the year before the Herald filed for bankruptcy in December 2017. Purcell also received membership to a golf club and clearance to use a company vehicle.

“I continued to pay myself what I was earning previously at News Corp.,” Purcell told the paper. “I took some raises, same as everyone else. When there were no raises, I took no raises.”

Finance and operations executive Jeff Magram received $652,904 over the same time, the filing says. Purcell said Magram’s pay was gauged given “the outstanding job he did in negotiating various contracts.”

Purcell’s daughter, Herald advertising executive Kathleen Rush, got $155,320 in the year before the filing, including a monthly $1,100 “cash auto allowance.” Purcell daughter Kerry Stanton, a Herald food writer, got $68,009. Erin Purcell Gallo, another Purcell daughters, was paid $41,992. Purcell’s son, Patrick J. Purcell Jr., was paid biweekly amounts of $160 for the six months prior to the bankruptcy.

The company owes $31 million. Among other debts, it owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid payments to its employee pension plans, the paper said.

In December, Purcell said the company had an agreement from GateHouse to buy the paper in a court-run auction that’s expected to drop the paper’s pension and severance obligations.

The auction has been set for Feb. 13.

Denver Post adds paywall

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The Denver Post is asking its readers to support local journalism. Starting Jan, 15, any online reader who hits a per-month threshold will be asked to buy a digital subscription, writes Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett.

The cost of a digital subscription will be $11.99 a month for those with no subscription.

The move comes amid other changes at the paper. In January, the Post newsroom is moving out of its building at 101 W. Colfax, across from Civic Center at the top of the 16th Street Mall. Most of the newsroom will work from the paper’s printing plant in Adams County.

Parent company Digital First Media will stay in the well-known building on Colfax. The paper’s editorial board, city hall reporter, politics team and others will be next door in the Petroleum Building.

Newsday may change printing, distribution

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Long Island-based Newsday is reportedly negotiating with The New York Times to use the Times's printing plant and have Times transport carry Newsday to Long Island, the Long Island Press reports

The move could mean layoffs of 100 or so of Newsday's unionized employees, according to the Long Island Press. Union contracts expired on Dec. 31 and negotiations resulted in a tentative deal in January.

The paper may relocate from its longtime Melville office, on Long Island, the Long Island Press says.

"We are in the early stages of conversations with the union leadership about exploring possible changes to our business," says Newsday spokeswoman Kim Grabina-Como, told the Long Island Press, without providing details. Newsday is the sixth largest newspaper in the nation, according to Agility PR Daily print circulation has fallen to less than 175,000, according to the latest Alliance for Audited Media report.

McClatchy adds regional editors

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McClatchy has made changes in the company’s leadership structure, Poynter reports.

Starting in the Carolinas and California, McClatchy is adding two regional editor positions to help newsrooms reshape as a group rather than individually. McClatchy will add regional editors as the year goes on. 

Robyn Tomlin, managing editor at the Dallas Morning News, will be the regional editor for the Carolinas. Lauren Gustus, executive editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, will be the regional editor for McClatchy’s newsrooms in California and Boise, Idaho. 

John Drescher, executive editor of the News and Observer, will be Opinion and Solutions Editor in Raleigh. Sacramento Bee executive editor Joyce Terhaar is departing the company.

“Our current system, with each newsroom operating separately from the others, discourages cooperation in favor of competition and duplication,” the company said, according to the News and Observer. “By working together, we will marshal all the resources and talents and expertise from each region, and across the company, to produce local journalism that is ever more essential to the communities we serve.”

Like many in the industry, McClatchy’s 30 local newsrooms saw cuts last year and have struggled to turn profits.

Meanwhile, a few other job moves at McClatchy: Modesto Bee editor Joe Kieta will become the editor of the Fresno Bee. Colleen McCain Nelson, the Kansas City Star’s editorial page editor, will become McClatchy’s opinion editor. 

Florida Times-Union to cut staff

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The Florida Times-Union will cut its non-production workforce by about 10 percent, or around two dozen, the paper reported.

The cuts will include advertising, circulation, newsroom, accounting and administration.

Many of the have disappeared through attrition or transfer, Mark Nusbaum, president of the Times-Union, told the paper.

In December, the paper announced the cutting of more than 50 production positions, as its outsourced its printing and production to Gainesville and Daytona Beach, starting Feb. 12.

“The combined reductions are in response to declining print revenues, particularly from major and national retailers, that have plagued the newspaper industry throughout the country,’’ said Nusbaum. “The Times-Union’s digital revenues have been increasing in recent years, but unfortunately, not fast enough to yet offset the print decreases.

The Times-Union was bought by GateHouse Media in fall 2017, with 10 other dailies the Morris Publishing Group owned.

LA Times newsroom votes for union

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Employees in the LA Times newsroom have voted to form a union. The National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots; the final vote count, according to the union, was 248-44.

“For the first time since the Los Angeles Times printed its inaugural edition in 1881, our journalists have voted to form a union,” organizers said in a statement. “We’ve long been a proud voice for our readers. Finally, we can be a proud voice for ourselves.”

Tronc, which owns the paper, opposed the move.

“We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward,” a Tronc statement said. “We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on.” 

The paper has been roiled recently by management turmoil, including NPR’s playing of audio recordings of Editor-in-Chief Lewis D’Vorkin criticizing an employee for giving audio of a meeting to The New York Times and an NPR story that included allegations of “frat house” behavior by Publisher and CEO Ross Levinsohn.

Financial Times offers students free access

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The Financial Times, in partnership with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, has extended its free access to for all 16-19 year old school students globally. Individual schools can register at

The project is designed to help supplement classroom study and better prepare students for college and work, according to the paper. In addition to being able to read content on, students will get a weekly curated email with content that is relevant to their school curriculum. “We are thrilled to be in a position to offer free FT journalism to students around the world,” said Caspar de Bono, the FT’s B2B managing director. “We hope to emulate the success of the UK schools initiative which has resulted in over 1,400 secondary schools and colleges and over 13,000 students gaining free access to FT content.”

Wisconsin paper to move printing

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Printing at Post-Crescent Media in Appleton, Wisconsin, will move to a regional facility in Milwaukee owned by parent company Gannett, the paper reported.

The move is expected to take place in spring and will affect some 140 employees in Appleton.

“The decision was made to create operational efficiencies within Gannett,” said Chris Stegman, President of USA Today Network-Wisconsin. “Consolidating our Appleton printing operations into Milwaukee enables us to fully use the resources of Milwaukee’s Burnham Facility and its state-of-the-art equipment.”

Stegman said the company will help workers apply for other Gannett positions for which they are qualified, including in Milwaukee. Separation packages are available for eligible employees.

Stegman said the move is not likely to meaningfully alter delivery times of products.

Oklahoma paper closes office

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The Sand Springs Leader office was closed permanently on Jan. 22, Tulsa World reported

The Leader will continue to publish a weekly paper and will operate out of the Tulsa World office in downtown Tulsa.

"When BH Media bought the Leader several years ago, they immediately upgraded our equipment, providing us with the tools we needed to be successful," Managing Editor Kirk McCracken told Tulsa World. "I see this as the same thing. We will have so much more technology within our reach and we will be able to focus more on proving great coverage for Sand Springs."

In in 2015, BH Media Group acquired the Leader and six other newspapers from Community Publishers Inc. In the buy, BH Media bought the Broken Arrow Ledger, the Sand Springs Leader, the Coweta American, the Wagoner Tribune, the Owasso Reporter, the Skiatook Journal and the Tulsa Business & Legal News. The Broken Arrow Ledger has stopped printing a paper, but offers content online on the Ledger website, and the Coweta American and the Wagoner Tribune merged to form the Wagoner County American-Tribune.

Minnesota paper launching new website

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The Belle Plaine Herald (Minnesota) website is moving to an enhanced design to be compatible with all browser software and devices, the paper said. The site will incorporate new features and subscription-based access.

The new site uses the TownNews digital publishing and BLOX Content Management System.

"We feel confident the changes being implemented will provide a better user experience," said Dan Townsend, publisher of The Belle Plaine Herald. 

The eEdition of the Belle Plaine Herald will be available to all subscribers, and is optimized for reading on all computers, smartphones and tablets, the paper said.

Byline protest ends at Pittsburgh paper

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Employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper have stopped their byline protest, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The 150 workers withheld their bylines from content in protest of stalled contract negotiations between the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, and the paper's owners, Block Communications of Toledo, Ohio.

On Jan. 28, the Post-Gazette employees ended the four-day byline strike. 

"The byline strike was but one mobilization effort in our arsenal. We are prepared to use others. We hope we don't have to do so," Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and a PG enterprise reporter, said in a press release. "We will not — we cannot — approve another concessionary contract offered by a highly profitable parent company." 

All guild members at the paper participated in the protest, Fuoco said. 

In January, the union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, contending Block Communications violated labor laws by not paying for a 5 percent rise in health care premiums for 2018. The contract for union members expired March 31.

CNHI launches regional editor system

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Alabama-based publisher CNHI has made change to its news leadership structure, the company says.

Dennis Lyons, editor of the Sunbury Daily Item in Pennsylvania, will add the title of national editor and team up with nine regional editors, who will work with the company's local editors to deliver content.

James Zachary, editor of the Valdosta Daily Times in Georgia, will become the deputy national editor. He will also serve as regional editor for CNHI papers in North Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

The announcement of the regional editor system was made by Bill Ketter, CNHI's senior vice president for news, and Kayla Castille, CNHI's senior vice president for content and digital operations.

The pair noted CNHI has been working on the structure for the past six months as part of a project to strengthen the quality of print and online content produced by CNHI papers, build a rich multimedia culture and step up digital news growth across the company, the company said. "Great content is key to our future, and this system will help our newsrooms achieve even more success in the digital era," Castille said.

CNHI operates newspapers, websites and specialty publications in more than 110 communities in 23 states. CNHI, owned by Raycom Media, is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.

Cision lists top newspaper on Twitter

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The top ten newspapers on Twitter as of January 26, 2018, according to Cision, are The New York Times, with 40,986,005 followers; The Wall Street Journal, with 15,447,462 followers; The Washington Post, with 12,976,647 followers; USA Today, with 3,570,202 followers; the Los Angeles Times, with 3,187,144 followers; the New York Post, with 1,351,520 followers; the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with 1,017,373 followers; the Chicago Tribune, with 1,017,323 followers; The Boston Globe, with 694,169 followers; and the New York Daily News, with 644,055 followers.

Schumer pushes against newsprint duties

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) on Jan. 26 urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconsider its recent decision to impose duties on the raw material, uncoated groundwood paper from Canada, used by New York's "already at-risk Upstate and local newspaper companies," according to a release from his office. 

Schumer said if the federal government pursues large duties, New York's large and small newspapers, which already operate on tight margins, would suffer, causing workers to lose jobs and diminishing the flow of top-notch journalism to people across Upstate New York. "Declining newspaper demand could, in turn, harm the paper industry, which these duties aim to protect," the release said.

The American Forestry Paper Association, which represents 80 percent of U.S. paper manufacturers, opposes the case, the office pointed out. 

Schumer called on the Commerce Department to "reconsider the impact of these duties on America's paper industry and by extension, newspaper industry, and reconsider their decision that would stave off harmful impacts to an already at-risk, vital American industry."

On Jan. 9, the Department of Commerce assessed preliminary countervailing duties ranging from 6 to 9.9 percent on Canadian imports of groundwood paper, which are currently being collected. Commerce will assess preliminary antidumping duties in early March. The investigations are scheduled to be finalized in July, when the ITC will decide whether there's injury or risk of injury to the domestic industry.