Archive for July 2008

ON THE MOVE – August 2008

July 22, 2008

Cape GirardeauJim Maxwell, formerly president and publisher of Pocono Mountains Media Group, has been named associate publisher of the Southeast Missourian. He also has been named vice president of operations for Rust Communications’ 18 daily and more than 30 weekly papers in eight states.
Maxwell joined the Cape Girardeau daily on July 2. For the next 18 months he will work with chief operating officer Wally Lage, who will transition to a consulting role in 2010, publisher Jon Rust said.
For the past eight years Maxwell has been an executive with Ottaway newspaper group, a division of News Corp.
Maxwell is a native of Oregon. He was a teacher and high school coach before entering radio and newspaper sales.
As publisher of the Pocono Record, he was recognized by the American Press Institute for his newspaper’s initiatives in mobile news delivery and the internet.
Maxwell and his wife, Patty, have one daughter, who attends school and works in the New York City area.

Jess Hamlet has joined the news staff of the Cedar County Republican. She’s been working as an athletic trainer at Citizen’s Memorial Hospital in Bolivar since graduating from Missouri State University in 2006.
Hamlet is a 2001 graduate of Stockton High School.

RichmondDennis Sharkey has been named news editor of The Daily News. Sharkey is a 2006 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville. He has been a reporter for Sun Publications in Johnson County, Kan., and for the Leavenworth Times.
Sharkey was editor-in-chief of the Northwest Missourian while at the university, and he was named 2006 Missouri College Media Association Journalist of the Year.

Concordia ‹ After serving as interim editor of The Concordian for several editions, Chris Post has been named editor of the weekly.
Post, a teacher at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, began working at The Concordian in May while publisher Shelly Arth looked for a permanent editor.
Post is a native of Missouri. He earned a degree from the University of Central Missouri. He lives on a small farm near Marshall with his wife, Callie, and their six children, which include brand new twins.

SedaliaJoshua D. Appleman, 32, has joined The Sedalia Democrat as an ad rep. He will work on print and online advertising programs for area companies.
Appleman is a graduate of Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia and has a degree in telecommunications management from DeVry Institute in Kansas City. He has more than 10 years of experience in sales.
Appleman and his wife, Jamie, have four children.

Springfield Marty Goodnight, 32, formerly a Kansas City Star ad executive, has been named advertising director of the Springfield News-Leader.
Goodnight joined the paper July 21. He succeeded Cheryl Lindus, who was named president and publisher of the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama.
After he graduated from Kansas State, the Wichita native began his advertising career at the News-Leader in 1998 as an ad rep. He left Springfield in 1999 and began a nine-year stint at The Star, where he recently was promoted to interim vice president of advertising.
Goodnight’s family lives in Rogers, Ark. The family of his wife, Kristin, lives in the south Springfield area. The Goodnights have an 18-month-old daughter.



July 15, 2008

€ Park Hills ‹ Jim York, publisher of the Park Hills Daily Journal for the past five years, has taken an executive management position in Cincinnati with The E.W. Scripps Co. He will lead the information technology group for Scripps’ 15 newspapers.
Before being named publisher in Park Hills, York was vice president of information technology for the former Pulitzer Newspapers, Inc. Lee Enterprises now owns the Pulitzer publications, including the Daily Journal.
Gary Berblinger, controller, has been named interim publisher in Park Hills.

€ Independence ‹ Sports reporter Dick Puhr, 75, and community reporter Frank Haight, 72, have spent nearly a half century each at The Examiner writing stories about local people. They retired this spring.
The Examiner held a public reception for the two on May 29.
Both of the reporters continue to work as correspondents, writing stories and weekly columns. Puhr started writing about local sports in 1959. Haight has been writing for The Examiner since 1961.
Puhr didn’t miss a day of work in 44 years until a kidney stone operation laid him up for a bit.

€ Concordia ‹ Chris Post was named interim editor of The Concordian in May. He is on summer break from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, where he is a professor of mass communications. He served as senior staff writer of The Marshall Democrat-News for eight years.
Post and his wife, Callie, live on a small farm outside Marshall with their four children. Post has a journalism degree from the University of Central Missouri and is working on a master’s degree through Eastern Michigan University.
Shelly Arth, owner/publisher of The Concordian, said she is searching for an editor for the weekly.

€ Dexter ‹ Mike McCoy has joined the news staff of the Daily Statesman. He is a native of Dexter and attended Westminster College in Fulton.
McCoy worked at the Statesman in the mid-1970s before moving to Arkansas. He has worked as editor and city editor for Graves Publishing Co. in Nashville, Ark., since 1982.
McCoy replaced Sacha Champion, who accepted a position nearer her Poplar Bluff home. He joins Corey Noles as a full-time writer for the Statesman.

€ Columbia ‹ Caroline Dohack has been hired as lifestyles editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune. She manages the Sunday section that carries fashion, fitness, travel, home décor and society news.
Dohack is a graduate of Doniphan High School. She attended Cottey College in Nevada, then transferred to the School of Journalism at MU.

€ Carrollton ‹ Klarissa Olvera, Carrollton, a junior at the Missouri School of Journalism, is working as a summer intern at the Carrollton Democrat.

€ Elsberry ‹ Mariah Suddarth, Elsberry, is working as a summer intern at The Elsberry Democrat. She’ll be a junior this fall at the Missouri School of Journalism.

€ King City ‹ King City High School student Megan Saeidi is interning at the Tri-County News for the third consecutive summer. She’ll be a senior this fall.

€ Springfield ‹ Cheryl Lindus, ad director for the Springfield News-Leader since July 2005, has been named president and publisher of the Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Ala.
The News-Leader and the Advertiser are owned by Gannett Co. Inc.
Before joining the News-Leader Lindus was the ad director of the Hunting, W.Va., Herald-Dispatch and ad director of the Star Press in Muncie, Ind.
Gannett presented her with a President’s Ring in 2007 in recognition of her achievements.

Associate publisher named at Southeast Missourian newspaper

July 15, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Southeast Missourian

A newspaper veteran with a history of new media innovation has been named associate publisher of the Southeast Missourian, said Jon K. Rust, publisher of the newspaper. The executive, Jim Maxwell, is currently president and publisher of the Pocono Mountains Media Group, which includes a 20,000-circulation daily in eastern Pennsylvania and several nearby weeklies.

Maxwell has also been named vice president of operations for Rust Communications, a family media group based in Cape Girardeau with 18 daily and more than 30 weekly newspapers in eight states.

“Jim is coming on board not only to provide additional management strength in Cape Girardeau and other regional newspapers, but we have identified him as the next chief operating officer of Rust Communications,” Rust said. “For the next 18 months, he will be working closely with current JIM MAXWELL COO Wally Lage, who will transition to a consulting role in 2010.”

The chief operating officer and vice president of operations both report to brothers Rex Rust and Jon K. Rust, co-presidents of Rust Communications. Gary W. Rust is chairman of the board.

“Jim has a great understanding of what makes dynamic communities tick and how important a community newspaper is to area progress,” Rex Rust said. “For the past eight years, he has played vital leadership roles with the Ottaway newspaper group, a division of News Corporation, which also owns the Wall Street Journal and Fox TV.

“We’re excited about Jim and his wife Patty joining our newspaper family,” Rust added.

Maxwell is a native of Oregon and a former teacher and high school coach before entering radio and newspaper sales. He has worked in newspaper markets both much larger and smaller than Cape Girardeau, and he is a former corporate advertising director for Ottaway, a publicly traded company. As publisher of the Pocono Record, he was recognized by the American Press Institute for his newspaper’s initiatives in mobile news delivery and the Internet.

“We conducted an extensive search process before hiring Jim,” Wally Lage said. “Several publishers from throughout our company were involved, and we’re thrilled to have him join the team. I really think the folks within the Rust organization and the communities we serve will determine quickly that Jim is a quality guy.”

The Maxwells have one daughter who attends school and works in the New York City area. Jim Maxwell will begin at the Missourian next Wednesday.

An Opportunity Lost (FOIA)

July 3, 2008

A just completed study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government shows that federal departments and agencies have made little if any progress in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, despite a two-year-old presidential order to improve service.

The CJOG findings are in stark contrast to a bullish Justice Department report made public in mid-June that claims “remarkable improvements.”

The CJOG review of performance reports shows agencies did cut their record backlog but more because of a steep decline in requests than stepped up processing of requests. It also indicated scant improvement and some regression in traditional measures of response, including the amount of time requesters have to wait for an answer and whether a request or an appeal is granted.

The Justice Department based its assessment primarily on progress agencies made toward self-established process goals. The CJOG study, using reporting requirements mandated by Congress, assessed actual performance in responding to FOIA requests.

The CJOG study looked at 25 departments and agencies that handle the bulk of the third-party information requests. It looked at but did not incorporate a comparative analysis of the performance of four agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, that include large numbers of first person Privacy Act requests in their FOIA reporting. These requests are quickly and routinely handled and their inclusion would skew a meaningful analysis of FOIA response issues.

Here’s what the CJOG review found:

The 25 agencies blew an opportunity to make a significant dent in their huge backlog of requests. Those agencies received the fewest requests since reporting began in 1998 — 63,000 fewer than 2006. But they processed only 2,100 more requests than they did in 2006 when the backlog soared to a record 39%.

The backlog did fall to 33% of requests processed, primarily because of significant reductions at Homeland Security (97% to 62%),  HUD (188% to 10%), and the Securities and Exchange Commission, (126 to 55%). Eleven agencies showed no improvement or greater backlogs.

Faced with a mandate to bring down the backlog and improve service, agencies cut FOIA personnel. The number of FOIA workers fell by 8%. Spending on FOIA processing was down 3% .

Agencies got even stingier in granting requests. Fewer people got all the information they sought than at any time since agency reporting began in 1998. The percent of requesters getting either a full or a partial grant fell to 60%, also a record low.

Those who did get information still had to endure lengthy delays. Fifteen of the agencies reported slower processing times than the year before in the handling of “Simple” requests and 13 showed slower times in dealing with “Complex” requests. And all 21 agencies that processed requests in the “Complex” category said they missed the 20-day statutory response deadline for at least half of the requests processed.

Those who file administrative appeals are usually out of luck. Even more so in 2007.   However, a majority of the agencies did say “no” more quickly. In 2007, the percentage of appeals granted dropped to the lowest level in 10 years. Only 13% of those who appealed got any satisfaction. Of those who appealed, only 3% got all the records requested; another 10% received a partial grant.

In its report, the Justice Department noted at one point that the executive order challenged agencies to deal with the severe backlog of unprocessed requests in a manner “consistent with available resources.” The CJOG study shows that FOIA spending at the 25 agencies studied fell by $7 million to $233.8 million and the agencies put 209 fewer people to work processing FOIA requests.

A few agencies did manage to find additional resources, but most did what they did with less.  For instance, Homeland Security, despite a 20%  reduction in FOIA personnel, processed 23,000 more requests in 2007, a 21% increase.

The rose-colored Justice report said in boldface that an increase in the number of “incoming requests” challenged agencies on backlog reduction, but that statement is dependent on counting the combination FOIA-Privacy Act requests made to Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration by individuals seeking personal records. Those agencies have historically handled those requests quickly, with little or no backlog.

The troubled agencies, whose performance prompted the executive order, experienced a significant drop in requests in 2007, a fact ignored by Justice. The 25 agencies in the CJOG study — all of the departments except HHS, plus 12 agencies handling at least 1,000 FOIA requests a year — experienced a 13 percent drop in requests, from 494,270 in 2006 o 431,170 last year.

The Justice report also gives credit in some places where it isn’t due. In citing specific agencies for “improvements in the area of backlog reduction” it named Agriculture, Education, and Labor. Whatever gains they made, it wasn’t in actually reducing their percentage backlog. Indeed, Education and Labor showed both a numerical and percentage gain.

The CJOG study, including a variety of tables showing both full 2007 results and comparisons by reporting categories, can be found at

Pete Weitzel, Coordinator