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January 25, 1993

Undated (AP) _ A summary of developments in the news industry for the week of Jan. 18-25: Tentative Agreement Reached to Sell New York Post

NEW YORK (AP) - The head of a medical debt-collecting company reached a tentative agreement to buy the financially troubled New York Post and keep the nation’s oldest daily newspaper alive.

Steven Hoffenberg, board chairman of Towers Financial Inc., a nationwide accounts receivable financial institution, came forward with the offer Jan. 24. It was made minutes before the Post’s current owner, Peter Kalikow, was to announce that the paper was suspending publication, just days after its banks had cut off its credit.

The tentative agreement was announced at the end of a tumultuous day in which employees agreed to take 20 percent pay cuts to save the newspaper but the Post’s banks decided that was insufficient to restore the paper’s credit.

Terms of the deal weren’t immediately disclosed. However, Gov. Mario Cuomo had said that Hoffenberg, 48, was willing to invest as much as $300,000 to $500,000 a week until a longer-term plan to save the paper could be worked out. State officials had been trying for three days to help the paper.

″The New York Post does not deserve to die,″ said Hoffenberg, who added that he believes the paper can be made into ″an economically viable newspaper that can successfully compete in the New York marketplace.″

The Post is the smallest of New York’s four major metropolitan dailies.

Hoffenberg’s offer is subject to approval by Kalikow’s creditors committee and Bankers Trust. Kalikow spokesman Howard Rubenstein said the bankers and creditors would allow the paper to continue publishing while the deal was examined.

Hoffenberg’s New York company does $1 billion to $2 billion in business a year in bill collecting, Rubenstein said.

He said that if Hoffenberg takes over the paper, he plans to use Towers’ 1,000 salespeople and independent agents to help sell the Post.

Kalikow spent Jan. 24 meeting with his bankers trying to arrange a deal that would keep the 192-year-old Post publishing if its employees accepted the wage cuts and the paper’s price were raised 10 cents, to 50 cents a copy.

By the end of the night, the last of the paper’s nine unions had voted to support the reduction. In some cases the support was offered grudgingly and came after heated debate.

Members of The Newspaper Guild approved the cuts by a voice vote after a loud, heated, two-hour meeting.

The 20 percent pay cut was the second in 2 1/2 years, although about half of the first one has since been restored. About 720 people work at the paper.

A Kalikow spokesman said the average annual salary for reporters at the newspaper before the cut was about $40,000.

Despite a reputation for aggressive journalism and such provocative headlines as ″Headless Body In Topless Bar,″ the Post has steadily lost circulation and encountered financial problems in recent years. It was founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. William Cullen Bryant became editor in 1829, a position he held for 48 years.

Its daily circulation, which reached a high of nearly 1 million in the early 1980s, has tumbled to about 490,000. The Post doesn’t publish a Sunday edition.

Kalikow bought the Post from Rupert Murdoch for $37 million in 1988.

Two years later, he was about to close the tabloid when employees agreed to switch to a four-day work week and accept 20 percent pay cuts.

Kalikow filed for personal reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws in 1991 as the deep real estate slump stretched his credit.

--- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Overwhelmed By Demand

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is trying to cope with a crush of calls from readers after resuming publication following an eight- month strike by delivery drivers.

The Post-Gazette resumed publishing Sept. 18 as the city’s sole daily newspaper. The paper has been printing about 385,000 copies a day.

The paper circulated 636,000 papers on Jan. 24, the date of its first Sunday edition. Figures on how many papers were actually sold weren’t immediately available, but newsstands said demand was heavy.

Some subscribers complained they were missing comics and advertising supplements.

The newspaper has increased the number of telephone lines available to receive inquiries and complaints to 38 from 12. The lines are staffed around the clock.

Before the strike, the Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Press, which the Post-Gazette acquired and closed, had a combined circulation of about 350,000 on weekdays.

Some Post-Gazette subscribers have yet to receive a newspaper. As many as 7,000 callers a day have tried to reach the Post-Gazette’s circulation department since publication resumed and not all have been able to get through. ″We never anticipated the volume of all this when we started publishing,″ said William Block Sr., chairman of the paper.

--- Holyoke, Mass., Transcript-Telegram Closed as Daily

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) - The 110-year-old Transcript-Telegram closed as a daily newspaper. The paper’s owners announced the opening of two local weeklies and vowed to keep running two others.

The afternoon paper lost more than $1 million since 1988 as it floundered in the bleak regional economy and battled the larger Union-News of Springfield for readers and advertisers, managers said. Circulation dropped to about 16,000, from 28,000 a decade ago.

The owners said Jan. 21 they intend to lay off 36 of the 69 workers. Those remaining will put out the four free-delivery weeklies from the Transcript- Telegram building near a huge shopping mall two miles from downtown.

The weekly aimed at the city of Holyoke will retain the name the Transcript-Telegram. The other weeklies will be called In South Hadley and Granby, In Chicopee, and In Westfield.

The newspaper began publishing the weeklies aimed at Chicopee and Westfield last year. The other two weeklies will begin publication Jan. 29.

In addition to the Holyoke paper, the parent company, Newspapers of New England, owns three daily newspapers, the Greenfield Recorder in Massachusetts and the Concord Monitor and Lebanon Valley News in New Hampshire. It also owns the weekly Monadnock Ledger in New Hampshire. Justices Refuse to Let Texas School Restrict Newspaper Distribution

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court refused to let a state university in Texas restrict the on-campus distribution of most newspapers.

The court, without comment, on Jan. 19 let stand a ruling that said such a regulation violates free-speech rights.

Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos expanded its anti- solicitation rule in 1989 to include all newspapers that contain advertising.

Distribution of such newspapers was limited to vending machines at five campus locations, a single ″free expression area″ or by subscription.

The Hays County Guardian, a free newspaper then distributed throughout San Marcos, challenged the university’s policy but U.S. District Judge Walter Smith threw out the lawsuit in 1990.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last August said the school’s policy on solicitation could not be applied to newspapers.

The appeals court also rejected arguments by university officials that they merely were regulating commercial speech.

Past Supreme Court decisions have given government more leeway to restrict commercial speech. For example, the court in 1989 ruled that the peddling of Tupperware and similarly sold products can be banned from college dormitories.

The 5th Circuit court also rejected the university’s arguments that most of its campus is not a ″public forum″ where free-speech rights are most ardently protected.

And the appeals court said the university was misguided in trying to limit distribution of the Guardian to preserve the academic environment for its 22,000 students.

University officials also cited litter control, security and preventing fraud and deception as reasons for its anti-solicitation policy.

In the appeal to the Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Dan Morales argued that ″without significant limitations the campus would eventually be dominated by unwarranted hawking from every salesperson in town.″

The appeal drew no distinction between newspapers and commercial speech.

--- Asbury Park Press to Purchase The Central New Jersey Home News

NEPTUNE, N.J. (AP) - The Central New Jersey Home News is being purchased by the parent of the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey’s second-largest daily newspaper.

Joseph D. Fontana, president and publisher of the Home News, said Jan. 21 he expected the actual transfer of ownership to take place within four to six months.

New Jersey Press Inc. said it plans to continue the New Brunswick-based Home News as an independent publication. Neither side disclosed the purchase price, but Fontana said the sale didn’t include the newspaper’s building or printing facilities.

Press spokesman Tim Zeiss said it was too early to say whether any staffing changes would be made at the Home News, which has a circulation of 51,248 daily and 59,744 on Sunday.

The paper has been owned by the family of William Boyd, chairman of the board of The Home News Publishing Co. and its parent company, The Home News Co., for 113 years.

Zeiss also declined to say where the Home News might be based after New Jersey Press Inc. takes over.

The Asbury Park Press has a daily circulation of 164,756 and a Sunday circulation of 232,979.

--- Sheriff’s Officer Accused of Harassing Reporter Resigns

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) - A sheriff’s officer accused of sexually harassing a reporter covering a court case has applied for a pre-trial intervention program and agreed to resign from his job.

The move came Jan. 20 just before suspended Cumberland County sheriff’s officer Moises Hernandez was scheduled to go on trial on official misconduct charges stemming from the May 19 incident.

Hernandez was indicted in June for allegedly making comments and writing a sexually suggestive note to Jo-Ann Walters, a reporter for The Press of Atlantic City. Walters was covering a trial; Hernandez was assigned to security duty.

If convicted, Hernandez, 40, of Vineland, could have faced a up to 10 years in prison.

--- Nebraska Lawmakers Propose Erasing State’s Shield Law

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The state’s law that allows reporters to keep sources confidential would be repealed under a bill introduced in the Legislature.

Sens. Tim Hall and Ernie Chambers of Omaha, and Speaker of the Legislature Dennis Baack of Kimball sponsored the measure Jan. 21.

Hall cited unspecified newspaper editorials that have said the Legislature should allow State Auditor John Breslow to audit lawmakers’ long-distance telephone records and other expenses.

″All is fair,″ Hall said. ″It seems to me that if we have a law that allows reporters to protect sources, to keep them confidential, the Legislature ought to have at least that same privilege when it comes to communications with constituents that are private and confidential.″

Chambers and Baack have opposed releasing the telephone and other records sought by Breslow. Several lawmakers have said Breslow’s demand for the material, which is audited privately, is politically motivated. Breslow denies the charge.

--- Hoax Ad Angers Jewish Groups, Brings Apology

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A Fort Lauderdale newspaper has taken steps to avoid recurrence of an ethnically offensive hoax ad that angered readers, a spokesman for the Sun-Sentinel said.

The advertisement offered ″Jewish human soap″ for sale and listed the phone number of a Lantana group formed to fight anti-Semitism.

The newspaper printed an apology Jan. 21. The Florida Christian Task Force said it had no role in placing the free classified ad, which offered the ″World War II″ relic for $50.

Local organizations vigorously protested the ad and several others, including the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Defense League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, complained.

The Sun-Sentinel apologized for the ad and said it has ″taken appropriate action to ensure a mistake such as this does not recur.″

Jim Smith, the newspaper’s vice president for marketing, said free ads would be monitored for any reference to an ethnic group or anyone else who could be the target of ridicule. Media Grouse That Clinton People Limiting Access

WASHINGTON (AP) - Presidents can be counted on to clamp down on reporters’ access when they get in trouble. President Clinton, still in the afterglow of his inauguration, appears to be weighing a similar course right from the start.

Communications Director George Stephanopoulos drew howls of protest at his inaugural White House briefing Jan. 21 after top spokesmen cut off reporters’ access to their offices and were largely unreachable by phone.

Stephanopoulos insisted that no final decisions had been made on whether the offices would be permanently off-limits. But he added that ″I don’t fully understand the argument″ against closing off access to parts of the White House press operation.

″We’ll continue to make sure that we can give you all the information you need to do your job,″ he said.

When reporters complained that no press aides had been available for prompt contact on the latest Iraqi military action, Stephanopoulos replied: ″Pick up the phone.″

That drew a chorus of protests from journalists who had been unable to get through by telephone.

The dismay over reduced access to press officials was offset somewhat by a reversal of the traditional White House ban on television coverage of daily press briefings. Stephanopoulos’ briefing was carried live on CNN.

Early Jan. 22, press secretary Dee Dee Myers called The Associated Press to say Clinton would have a statement concerning Zoe Baird, his embattled nominee to be attorney general. About 45 minutes later, the White House faxed the AP Baird’s request for Clinton to withdraw her nomination, Clinton’s acceptance and a personal letter from Clinton to Baird.

Lou Cannon, a Washington Post reporter who covered the White House from the end of the Nixon administration through the Reagan years, said presidents generally ″start off with at least the promise of access and then start closing doors when they get into trouble.″

″I would think it’s an ominous sign if an administration started off with closed doors,″ said Cannon, who now reports from the Post’s Los Angeles bureau.

Jonathan Wolman, AP’s Washington bureau chief, said it was important to the public for White House press officials to be available to answer questions and explain policy matters.

″I don’t understand who’s served by the Clinton press operation putting itself into isolation as its first act on the job,″ Wolman said.

Presidential scholar Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution said reporters have had full access to White House press offices for nearly a quarter-century - ″during good and bad days in White House press relations.″

″It adds to a sense of informality that seems to me would be in keeping with a Clinton persona,″ he said.

Hess noted that Clinton plans to hold fewer news conferences than did President Bush and appears intent on relying on other formats, such as speeches to Congress and other groups to help get his message across.

Cannon said Clinton was successful during the presidential campaign at going around the national media, communicating through talk shows and other formats that went directly to voters.

″It may be a misconception on their part that they can do what they did so well during the campaign″ now that Clinton is in office, he said.

--- Cheboyan Newspaper Alleges Open-Meeting Violations

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) - The Cheboygan Daily Tribune filed suit against the City Council, alleging two violations of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The council met privately Dec. 22 and Jan. 12 to discuss what it said was pending litigation involving former City Manager Bill Chlopan, the newspaper reported.

The Tribune contends the meetings violated the law because Chlopan has not sued the city and has not threatened to do so. He has asked the council for about $13,000 compensation for sick and vacation days he lost while recovering from an automobile accident last February.

The newspaper’s Jan. 20 lawsuit does not seek the $500-per-violation fine that the Open Meetings Act prescribes, Tribune attorney Michael Hackett said. Instead, it requests complete disclosure of what happened at the two meetings, a court order barring future violations of the law, and payment of court costs and attorney’s fees.

City Manager Scott McNeil said he would not comment until receiving the court papers.

--- Wall Street Journal Did Not Libel Water Company, Jury Rules

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A federal jury has ruled that the Wall Street Journal did not libel a water company when it said the company misled consumers about the source of its product.

Rick Scoville, president of Artesia Waters Inc., said Jan. 21 he planned to appeal. Scoville claimed moral victory because the jury did find that the company had not distributed contaminated water and did not have to recall any of its products.

On April 10, 1991, the newspaper reported that Artesia promotes its water as ″100 percent pure sparkling Texas natural water.″

″But the (U.S. House subcommittee) staff investigators found that Artesia and the city of San Antonio draw their water from the Edwards Aquifer ...,″ the paper said.

An investigation of the industry conducted by the Food and Drug Administration did not accuse Artesia of any violation of FDA rules.

The jury found that the ″article is a substantially true account of the activities of the FDA″ and a congressional committee.

Scoville claimed in the $10 million libel suit, filed in March 1992, that the story damaged the company’s reputation and reduced its sales.

Journal lawyer R. James George said the company misled the public by claiming the water was ″bottled at the source″ and showed a waterfall on the label. However, George said, there was no waterfall at the source. He claimed Scoville even kept the source a ″trade secret″ for some time. For Sale: Russian Journalists Struggling in a Free Market

MOSCOW (AP) - Every couple of weeks, Mikhail Berger, economics editor of Russia’s most influential newspaper, turns down a bribe offered by a businessman eager to see his company name in print.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Berger can afford to be ethical.

″Recently, I rejected 150,000 rubles,″ he said. ″To be quite honest, it wasn’t just because of my principles, but also because I make good money.″

Many Russian journalists and their employers are too worried about surviving in the new market economy to spurn such offers. The bribe Berger rejected, equal to about $300, is 15 times the monthly pay of most reporters.

For decades, Soviet journalists did not have to worry about how to write their stories or pay their bills. The Communist Party and state took care of both.

The end of Communist rule left them with no party line to follow or party to pay their expenses, and led to the birth of the Russian advertising industry.

In the new free-market free-for-all, Russian media have discovered they can sell more than just ads. They can sell stories.

″Many editorial offices faced with the question of life and death resort to compromises,″ said Berger, who oversees economic coverage for the daily Izvestia.

The compromise is called indirect or hidden advertising, in which companies pay for flattering articles. Because the stories are not labeled as advertising, most readers think they are legitimate.

″Not a single newspaper or television station has avoided this process,″ said Vladislav Surkov, president of the Russian Advertisers Association. ″This is what I call the piratic privatization of the mass media.″

″The fact is that every one of these Russian publications and broadcasters is desperate for hard currency,″ said Peter Necarsulmer, president of the PBN Company, a San Francisco public relations firm that advises Western clients operating in the former Soviet Union.

Necarsulmer said he knew of a major Western company that paid 1 million rubles ($2,000) for a one-minute television news story in an effort to break into the Russian market.

He said he advises clients to stick to legitimate advertising.

Surkov said companies commonly pay a reporter 30,000 rubles ($60) for a story, and ″there are many enterprises willing to pay.″

Berger traces the willingness to accept money, gifts and free trips to the Communist legacy.

″Practically all of Soviet journalism ... was paid for by the party Central Committee,″ he said. ″So a journalist realized he was paid and kept in work because he advertised the bad system, bad production and so on.

Stopping the practice is difficult.

Izvestia rejects hidden advertising and tries to prevent reporters from taking bribes, Berger said, but ″I can’t rule out that this may be present in our newspaper.″

Newspapers threaten to discipline bribe-takers, he said, but ″I know of no case of any action taken against a journalist. It’s hard to prove.″

--- Tabloid Editor Confronts Parliamentary Committee On Press Prying

LONDON (AP) - Flush with royal scandals, the editor of Britain’s top- selling tabloid confronted a parliamentary inquiry into media intrusions - and pledged to stick to his ways.

″We’re not going to change our news judgment because Parliament decides it doesn’t like what it reads in The Sun,″ editor Kelvin Mackenzie told Parliament’s 11-member National Heritage Committee, which is responsible for media in addition to arts, tourism and sports.

The methods of the racy tabloids and the possibility of government curbs have become a national issue in Britain, which has no privacy laws. Mackenzie was one of several journalists called to give evidence Jan. 21.

The previous week, the government proposed new laws, with heavy fines, barring the harassment of individuals on private property and the bugging of telephone calls. The government said it wanted to hear more debate on the proposals before they go to lawmakers.

Some British newspapers last week published transcripts of an intimate - and sometimes steamy - conversation they said was between Prince Charles and his old flame, Camilla Parker Bowles.

Mackenzie, 46, has edited the 4-million circulation Sun for 12 years and is one of publisher Rupert Murdoch’s longest-serving editors.

Committee chairman Gerald Kaufman said the big issue was protecting ordinary people - such as the widows of two British soldiers slain in Northern Ireland who were harassed by reporters for weeks.

Mackenzie acknowledged occasional lapses, such as publishing a picture of a London vicar’s daughter who was raped.

But it was press pursuit last year of famous and influential people - especially the royal family - that brought about present demands for press curbs.

In addition to its relentless coverage of the breakdown of the marriages of Queen Elizabeth II’s sons Charles and Andrew, the tabloids exposed a Cabinet minister’s love affair through a taped phone call.

The tabloids - widely criticized and widely read - also published treasury chief Norman Lamont’s credit card accounts, showing he had exceeded his limit five times.

--- Prominent Turkish Journalist Killed By Bomb

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A prominent left-wing journalist was killed when a bomb planted under his car exploded. Turkey’s prime minister pledged that the killers would be brought to justice.

Ugur Mumcu, 50, a columnist for the Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet, had been an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism and Kurdish separatism. Two Islamic groups that had never been heard of before claimed responsibility for the assassination.

Mumcu, a vigorous defender of secularism in Turkey, had reported receiving death threats from extremist Islamic groups.

He died instantly Sept. 24 when the bomb exploded as he started his car outside his apartment in a residential district. The Anatolia news agency quoted officials as saying the bomb had been planted under the car.

Premier Suleyman Demirel and several cabinet members went to Mumcu’s house to express their sympathy to his wife. ″The killers will be found,″ Demirel said.

A group calling itself the Islamic Salvation called newspapers to claim responsibility.

Demirel’s government is under fire for failing to catch the killers of other leading figures, including another journalist and two professors who were slain in the past three years. BROADCAST Woman Sues Over ‘Street Stories’ Videotape

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A woman who dialed 911 after her husband allegedly beat her is suing CBS for more than $10 million for sending a camera crew to her apartment and airing footage of her unhappy home on ″Street Stories.″

Yolanda Baugh, 27, said the crew masqueraded as part of a victims’ aid team; CBS said she knowingly gave her consent.

The footage showed her crying inside her Oakland apartment.

Her invasion-of-privacy suit raises questions about ″reality-based television,″ which relies on images of unfolding real-life disputes and tragedies.

″What amount of control does an individual have over one’s image?″ asked Tom Goldstein, dean of the University of California School of Journalism. ″People are going to be saying, ’I invited in the police, not a national television audience.‴

Baugh filed the lawsuit in state court Jan. 19 against CBS, local affiliate KPIX-TV, KPIX owner Group W Television and segment producer Dan Mogulof.

″What CBS did here was outrageous. They’re trying to say that since she called the police, she lost all right of privacy,″ said her attorney, Robert Kroll.

CBS attorney John Zucker said the lawsuit is unfounded. ″Our crew entered the apartment and videotaped there with her permission. She knew that the crew was videotaping material for CBS News and for ’Street Stories,‴ he said.

Baugh was featured on an April 9 segment about a now-disbanded Alameda County team that counseled victims at the scene of domestic disputes. The crew followed counselor Elaine Lopes for about a week, Zucker said.

Baugh claims she protested the presence of the camera crew as soon as it arrived, but relented after being told it was ″with″ Lopes. Kroll said Baugh assumed the crew was making a training video or a production for victims.

When Lopes told her in March that the story would be broadcast, Baugh demanded CBS scrap any footage of her, her daughter or her apartment, the lawsuit said. Mogulof refused, telling Baugh the network didn’t need her permission, the lawsuit said.

Lopes was unavailable for comment, but her boss at the district attorney’s office said allowing a camera crew in without the victim’s permission would be inconsistent with policy and Lopes’ record as a victims’ advocate.

CBS said it went out of its way to honor Baugh’s wishes. Her name and address weren’t mentioned on the program and her face was blocked in the San Francisco Bay area, Zucker said.

″Her call to police, her complaint of domestic violence ... all these were matters of public record,″ Zucker said. ″Sometimes there’s a question about what kind of consent is required - it is still an unclear area of the law. In this case, though, we believe there was no question, that her consent was clear.″

--- Prosecutor Stings Reporter After Interview Of Alleged Rape Victim

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutor Ellen Roberts wanted to prove a point to a television tabloid reporter stalking for interviews in a rape case so she invited the reporter to her office - then served him with a subpoena.

Roberts said she had a good reason for the subterfuge.

″I did what I had to do to protect my case,″ Roberts said. ″It’s tough to do this job.″

Roberts’ problems began several weeks ago when two reporters from the syndicated show ″Hard Copy″ began asking for interviews about the Charles Zenobia case. Zenobia is charged with raping and torturing a nightclub dancer whom he allegedly held hostage for 18 days.

″Hard Copy″ reporter Eames Yates and freelance journalist Malcolm Balfour tracked down the woman and interviewed her.

Roberts says the reporters misrepresented the facts to get their interview.

″They told her that they know me, that they talk to me all the time and that I said she could give them an interview,″ Roberts said.

The case against Zenobia will be weaker if there are inconsistencies between the story the woman told police and the story she told the reporters. But the state’s case could be demolished when the jury learns that the reporters paid the woman, Roberts said.

″The problem is if during cross-examination the defense attorney asks, ’Did they pay you?‴ Roberts said. ″We could be in big trouble.″

Roberts, angry that the woman’s credibility has been jeopardized, decided to subpoena the reporters to get a copy of the taped interview and find out how much money the tabloid paid for the interview.

Worried the reporters would not give her their tape or answer her questions, Roberts invited them to her office Jan 14. Yates, who is based in New York, walked into the lobby of the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office and was greeted by an investigator with a subpoena.

Yates refused to comment Jan. 21. Balfour said he and Yates did not lie to the woman to get her to tell her story.

--- Gray Communications Studying Possible Sale

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - Gray Communications System Inc., owner of three television stations and The Albany Herald newspaper, said it has retained an investment firm to advise it of a possible sale of the company.

Gray said Jan. 20 the sale of the media company or some of its subsidiaries was among options being explored to ″maximize shareholder value.″

The southwest Georgia company said it has retained The Lodestar Group of New York to provide financial advisory and other investment banking services. The decision to do so was made by the Gray board of directors, said president and chief executive John T. Williams.

Williams said several companies have expressed interest in buying Gray or its subsidiaries, but no deals have been made.

Gray’s holdings include WALB-TV in Albany, KTVE-TV in Monroe, La., and WJHG-TV in Panama City, Fla.

--- Alliance Broadcasting Agrees to Buy KFRC Radio

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Walnut Creek-based Alliance Broadcasting has agreed to buy KFRC-AM and FM from developer Peter Bedford.

Alliance has signed a letter of intent with a Bedford-controlled company, Coast Broadcasting Co., to buy the San Francisco stations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A formal agreement was expected within a month; both parties expect to close the deal by late spring.

KFRC-AM plays popular music dating back to the 1940s. KFRC-FM plays music from the ’60s and ’70s. A spokesman for Alliance, which owns or operates two stations in Dallas and another in Detroit, said the company has no immediate plans to change station formats.

Bedford paid $26.5 million for the two stations two years ago. PERSONNEL Ruth Gersh Named Assistant to AP President

NEW YORK (AP) - Ruth D. Gersh, Associated Press bureau chief in Iowa since 1988, has been appointed assistant to the president of the news cooperative. President and chief executive officer Louis D. Boccardi made the announcement Jan. 21.

Gersh, 39, joined the AP in Richmond in 1978 after working as a reporter at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and a copy editor at The Sun in Baltimore. She was named correspondent in Norfolk in 1980, and returned to the Richmond bureau in 1982 to help cover the Virginia statehouse. She became the state’s chief political writer in 1985.

In 1986, Gersh was named news editor in Louisville, Ky. Two years later, she was appointed chief of bureau in Des Moines.

Gersh is a native of Tuckahoe, N.Y. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan.

--- Vice President-General Manager Named at Boston Herald

BOSTON (AP) - Jean H. Eichenbaum has been appointed to the newly created job of vice president and general manager of the Boston Herald and will oversee the day-to-day operation of the newspaper.

Her appointment was announced Jan. 19 by Herald Publisher Patrick Purcell, who said it would allow him to concentrate on his additional duties as president of News America Publishing.

Ms. Eichenbaum, 41, had been vice president of finance for the Herald, which she joined in 1987 as controller.

Before that, she had been assistant controller of The Miami Herald and worked in the accounting department of that newspaper’s parent company, Knight-Ridder Inc.

Rupert Murdoch recently promoted Purcell to head News America Publishing, the U.S. publishing arm of Murdoch’s News Corp.

News America publishes the Boston Herald, TV Guide, and Mirabella magazine and owns two newspaper insert companies.

--- Time Warner Elects Levin Chairman

NEW YORK (AP) - Time Warner Inc.’s board of directors elected Gerald M. Levin, the chief executive officer and president, as chairman of the global media-entertainment conglomerate.

Levin replaces Steven J. Ross, who died Dec. 20 after undergoing a year of treatment for prostate cancer.

Levin’s Jan. 21 appointment had been widely anticipated since February 1992, when he was elevated from chief operating officer and vice chairman to president and co-chief executive, effectively sharing the duties of running the company with an ailing Ross.

Levin, 53, was often described by colleagues as a brainy visionary who was a key architect of the 1989 deal that combined the publisher Time Inc. with the music and film maker Warner Communications Inc. The combined company is a world leader in publishing, films, music, and cable TV.

--- J. Mark Lile New ME of York (Neb.) News-Times

YORK, Neb. (AP) - J. Mark Lile is the new managing editor of the York News- Times, Publisher Dan Collin announced.

Lile, 28, and a native of Marshfield, Mo., succeeded Kevin Warneke, who took a position with AAA of Omaha.

Lile, a graduate of Drury College in Springfield, Mo., has been managing editor of the weekly Marshfield (Mo.) Mail since June 1991. --- Washington Named Executive Editor of Philadelphia Tribune

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Former Philadelphia Tribune reporter Linn Washington Jr. has returned to the nation’s oldest continuously publishing black newspaper as its executive editor.

Washington, 42, began his new job Jan. 22; he had been special assistant to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix Jr.

Washington will be responsible for managing the 109-year-old Tribune, a twice-weekly newspaper. He’ll also manage other supplements, including: The Tribune Magazine, a monthly publication; Weekend Portfolio, a weekend entertainment section; and The Learning Key, an educational supplement.

Washington began working at the Tribune after graduating from Temple University, starting as a part-time jazz and film critic and then moving on to general assignment reporting, photography and a column.

He also worked 10 years as a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

--- Las Vegas Review-Journal Names New General Manager

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Lynn Mosier was named general manager of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, publisher Sherman R. Frederick announced.

Mrs. Mosier, director of accounting for Donrey Media Group’s administrative support offices in Fort Smith, Ark., replaces John P. Wright.

Wright, who has been general manager of the Review-Journal since June 1991, will become publisher of the Sherman Democrat in Sherman, Texas.

The Review-Journal and the Sherman Democrat are owned by the Donrey Media Group.

An Oklahoma native, Mosier, 37, is a graduate of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., and a certified public accountant. She joined Donrey in 1980 as an accountant and worked as accounts payable supervisor, corporate activities accounting supervisor and assistant controller.

She became director of accounting in 1990. She has worked as an accountant for all of Donrey’s individual media properties and for the company’s nationwide corporate activities.

Mrs. Mosier’s move was one of several announced by Donrey Jan. 18. Wright’s promotion came after Sherman Democrat publisher Don Schneider was appointed publisher of the Donrey-owned Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith. Schneider replaces Bob Nunley, a longtime Donrey employee who will retire Feb. 1.

Roger Southerland, assistant director of accounting for Donrey’s administrative support group, was named director of that department to replace Mrs. Mosier.

Donrey owns 53 daily newspapers, 11 outdoor advertising companies, five cable television companies and one television station in 20 states. DEATHS

Franklin Alexander

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Franklin O. Alexander, who drew editorial cartoons at the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulletin for 26 years, died Jan. 17. He was 95.

From 1941 until he retired in 1967, Alexander commented on the issues of the day using his alter ego, Joe Doakes, in the Bulletin cartoons.

Like Doakes, the cartoonist was short and bald, had a round face, wore glasses and carried his hat in his hand.

His 10,000 editorial cartoons mainly depicted his strong conservative views, although he did generate some readers’ ire for cartoons criticizing the actions of U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s.

Alexander won a National Headliners Award in 1944 for a three-day series of cartoons called ″Joe Doakes and the New World.″

He is survived by two daughters. Mary Ellen Galvin

WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) - Mary Ellen Galvin, former owner of an Ohio newspaper group, died Jan. 21. She was 82.

She had owned the Galvin newspaper group that included the Circleville Herald, Hillsboro Press Gazette, Logan Daily News, Van Wert Times Bulletin, Washington Court House Record-Herald and Wilmington News-Journal.

In 1986, Cincinnati-based Brown Publishing Co. bought the Galvin newspapers.

Her husband, Wayne W. Galvin, died in January 1971.

Surviving are a son and a sister. Richard K. Redburn

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - Richard K. Redburn, retired longtime editor of The Sheridan Press, died Jan. 20. He was 68.

Redburn retired from the daily newspaper in the fall of 1988.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

--- NOTES FROM EVERYWHERE:

A new German weekly newsmagazine called Focus went on sale Jan. 18. Focus, using almost exclusively color pictures, is competing with the venerable Der Spiegel, which uses mostly black-and-white photos. ... French-Canadian visitors to Hollywood, Fla., demanded an apology from the alternative newspaper XS which jokingly portrayed them as overweight, sunburned, penny- pinching tourists. ... Paul Conrad, whose political cartoons have won three Pulitzer Prizes, will retire from the Los Angeles Times on March 31. Conrad, 68, won his first Pulitzer for the Denver Post in 1964.

End Industry News Advisory

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