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A summary of developments in the news industry for the week of Jan. 6-13: Maxwell Brothers Refuse To Answer Parliament Panel’s Questions
LONDON (AP) - Robert Maxwell’s sons refused on Jan. 13 to answer questions from a Parliament committee on what happened to hundreds of millions of dollars missing from the assets and pension funds of their late father’s media empire.
Lawyers for Kevin and Ian Maxwell said their clients were invoking their right of silence since they could be the focus of a criminal prosecution.
The Serious Fraud Office, a prosecuting agency, has said it is investigating the financial affairs of the Maxwell family, whose debt-burdened corporate empire collapsed after Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death at sea Nov. 5.
Investigators have said that in the months before Maxwell’s death, more than $1.2 billion was siphoned from companies he controlled and their pension funds to support the stock price of one company, meet loan payments and cover operating losses at private Maxwell firms.
The Financial Times reported Jan. 13 that Kevin Maxwell’s signature appeared on an improper transfer of $57.6 million in shares from a private firm that managed pension funds for Maxwell companies. It did not say whether the transfer occurred before or after Robert Maxwell died.
There have been previous media reports that some of the missing money might have been transferred improperly after the media magnate died.
In another development, the Pearson Group said it decided against trying to buy Mirror Group Newspapers, one of two public companies controlled by Robert Maxwell. That left executives at Mirror Group, backed by the venture capital firm Electra, as the only bidder for Maxwell’s 51 percent stake in the struggling company.
Kevin and Ian Maxwell were summoned by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Social Security, which is conducting a general inquiry into the operation of pension funds.
Both brothers appeared but neither would testify at the hearing, which was broadcast live by British television. Their lawyers said they would remain silent because of the investigation by the fraud office.
The committee had no power to require testimony from the brothers, who have made no public comment on what happened to the missing money.
Earlier, the committee’s chairman, Frank Field, said members of Parliament would take a dim view of the brothers’ refusing to answer questions.
Field said a failure to do so could lead the committee to ask the full House to determine whether the brothers were in contempt of Parliament.
The Financial Times said its story was based on a preliminary report by the accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte, which is auditing Bishopsgate Investment Management, the pension fund manager.
It said Coopers and Lybrand found that Kevin Maxwell alone ordered the transfer of $57.6 million in shares in a French investment trust, EURIS, to a French bank as security for a loan to a private Maxwell company. Coopers and Lybrand said the signatures of two Maxwell executives should have been on the order, the story said.
The Financial Times did not identify the private Maxwell company that got the loan or say how much it was for. Reports: Maxwell Clung to Boat Before Dying; No Violence Indicated
LONDON (AP) - Two of Britain’s leading pathologists dismissed claims in a French magazine that Robert Maxwell was murdered, but added they could not rule out suicide, The Sunday Times reported.
On Jan. 12, however, The Mail said the 68-year-old Maxwell ″clung frantically to the side of his yacht in a desperate bid to save his life″ before falling and drowning in the Atlantic on Nov. 5.
Both newspapers based their reports on experts’ analyses of copies each paper obtained of a 130-minute videotape of an autopsy conducted in Israel before Maxwell was buried in Jerusalem.
The Mail said the telltale clues that Maxwell tried to save his life were ″two badly torn back muscles - one in his left shoulder and one in his lower back.″
The Mail said it showed the tape to unidentified medical experts who said the torn muscles are consistent with a man of Maxwell’s weight, estimated at up to 300 pounds, grabbing at the rail of his yacht as he fell to his death.
The Sunday Times reported that the pathologists it consulted said, contrary to an earlier report in Paris Match, there was no evidence that Maxwell had been beaten, and he had probably died by accident or natural causes.
But they left open the question of whether Maxwell took his own life, the newspaper said.
Questions about the cause of death could cause a dispute over Maxwell’s $36 million insurance policy.
A preliminary report on the autopsy, issued well before the published accounts in Paris and London, was inconclusive, said John Fisher, claims underwriter for the lead insurance company, P.N. Slade.
″It doesn’t say one thing or another as to whether it was an accidental death, natural causes, suicide or homicide,″ Fisher said. ″I’m hoping that will be more conclusive in the final report.″
An earlier autopsy by a Spanish coroner ruled out foul play and said Maxwell died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack, but could not pinpoint the reason.
The insurers will pay if they are satisfied Maxwell died accidentally or was murdered, but the claim will be rejected if Maxwell committed suicide or died of natural causes, said Fisher.
If the claim is disputed, it could go to arbitration. If that fails, the case could end up in court.
″This is not going to be concluded for some little while yet,″ said Fisher, who noted the burden of proof lies with the Maxwell companies, which took out the accidental death policy. Long-Term Survival of NY Daily News Will Require Outside Capital
NEW YORK (AP) - Kevin Maxwell’s departure as publisher, new deals with creditors and $8 million in budget cuts dominated the short-term strategy of the Daily News after it filed for federal bankruptcy protection.
Now the newspaper’s long-term prospects depend on outside investment.
An accounting firm is still working on a full audit of the News’ books following the death of British investor Robert Maxwell, but several businessmen have already expressed an interest in becoming the latest owner of the tabloid.
The most serious so far is Mortimer Zuckerman, a New York real estate developer and owner of U.S. News & World Report magazine. Zuckerman was also among the suitors last year when Maxwell acquired the paper after a bitter strike against the Tribune Co. ownership.
With Maxwell dead, his son out of the publisher’s office and the Daily News in the hands of court administrators and creditors, Zuckerman is back.
″We were the bridesmaid last time and we are still interested,″ said Fred Drasner, president of U.S. News & World Report. ″We obviously think at some point within our resources the News will become profitable, or we wouldn’t be interested. We think it needs refurbishment, but it’s a great franchise.″
Other inquiries have come from California billionaire Marvin Davis, New York jeweler David Cornstein, and Minneapolis philanthropist Percy Ross, who heads a group of nine investors willing to put up $100 million.
Ross writes a syndicated column, ″Thanks A Million,″ in which he grants wishes to people who are down on their luck and need cash for a car repair or a washing machine.
″My column has been running in the News for almost nine years,″ Ross said. ″I get 150 letters a day from New York City, and I have a real feeling for the paper. ... I’m more interested than ever in owning it.″
The News announced Jan. 9 that it retained the investment banking firm of Salomon Brothers Inc. to come up with a business plan for its future and to review any offers from potential investors.
The News listed $53 million in liabilities when it filed for bankruptcy court protection Dec. 5, against assets of $37.4 million. In the first 30 days since the filing the News said it did ″somewhat better than″ a projected shortfall of $1.7 million.
Any new owner also must consider the need for major capital improvements.
The News competes with three other major dailies for advertising in a recession. Once the nation’s largest newspaper, its circulation is now 800,000 daily, down from 1.09 million in 1990. And experts say it is overmanned, with 1,800 employees.
″The only way you make this paper look at all interesting to an investor is you go in and get some more massive union concessions,″ said John Reidy, an analyst with Smith Barney.
The unions are likely to demand part-ownership as part of any deal with an outsider. But they also are looking for someone with money to guarantee the paper’s longevity.
With the Maxwells gone, the unions are ″the ones with real equity in the place,″ said Newspaper Guild local president Barry Lipton.
″If outside people ultimately do come in, the key group they’re going to be dealing with are the employees.″
Potential investors also will have to meet the approval of creditors, the bankruptcy judge in New York and the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, which is the court-appointed administrator for Maxwell’s private holdings and their $1.7 billion debt. Networks Broadcast New, Graphic Scenes of Bush Collapse
TOKYO (AP) - Japanese television networks, criticized by the government for airing videotape of President Bush becoming ill at a state dinner, broadcast new, more graphic images of the incident on Jan. 12 after the tape was shown in the United States by ABC.
But the most explicit tape - of the president vomiting into Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa’s lap - was edited out, as it was in the version shown the previous night by ABC. The version broadcast initially in Japan and abroad showed Bush only after he had collapsed after being stricken by stomach flu.
After ABC aired the new scenes Jan. 11 in the United States, the Japanese networks demanded that Japan’s public television, NHK, obtain and distribute the tape.
NHK had the only camera in the banquet room when Bush collapsed, which happened after reporters were asked to leave. The camera was meant to provide ″pool″ coverage to other networks at the same time.
Under an agreement with the prime minister’s office, NHK was to record and broadcast only the speeches at the dinner. But an unmanned camera aimed at Bush was left on.
NHK officials said they began videotaping after Bush was seen collapsing, and later decided to broadcast the scene. The network has since been sharply criticized by the government for recording and broadcasting the shorter, less explicit videotape, which officials feared would be embarrassing to Bush.
NHK has insisted that it did not make the longer videotape, which contains scenes of the president collapsing, vomiting and being aided by his wife.
NHK officials said Jan. 11 they had no idea how any other tape could have been made, but then said that several networks, including ABC, had access to the signal from an unmanned NHK camera and could have recorded it.
ABC officials in Tokyo would not say where they got the longer videotape.
ABC deleted a few seconds that show Bush vomiting because the footage was too graphic, said Daphne Polatty, a spokeswoman for ABC News in New York.
MORE Times Reorganizes Business Operations
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times has announced a major reorganization of business operations, including merging the circulation, sales promotion and advertising departments.
″These changes will make the most of today’s market conditions, establish future directions and take full advantage of new information technologies,″ Lance Primis, president and general manager, said Jan. 9.
Primis said the arrangements would ″allow the Times to continue to lower costs and increase revenues through staff redeployment and technological innovations.″
William Pollak, 35, who has been senior vice president for circulation, will become executive vice president for sales.
The Times’ reorganized marketing department will focus on long term projects and new business development and will develop and expand product and service offerings.
The department will be headed by James Cutie, 40, who moves from vice president to senior vice president.
Information systems and the technological parts of the Times’ business operations will be merged into a single department headed by Elise Ross, 48. Ross previously headed the systems department.
Other announced changes:
-Newspaper delivery operations are being moved to the production department.
-Financial functions, including payroll and purchasing, are being moved into a single department.
-Labor relations, benefits, training and employment functions will report to Michael Kurtz, vice president for human resources. Los Angeles Times Plans Eastern Edition
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Times announced plans to begin publishing an edition on the East Coast for distribution in Washington and New York City.
The new edition will be printed in Manassas, Va., and will replace the 2,000 copies of an early edition now printed Monday through Friday in Los Angeles and flown to the East Coast nightly.
The new edition, which is to go on newsstands Jan. 28, is designed to save money and improve distribution, the newspaper reported Jan. 9.
The edition will feature two 12-page sections of news taken from the Times and on Tuesdays will also carry the newspaper’s World Report section.
The edition will be edited and made up in Los Angeles, with pages transmitted to the Virginia printing plant by satellite. Connoisseur Ceases Publication After 91 Years
NEW YORK (AP) - Connoisseur magazine - whose stories about wealthy celebrities, pricey art and antiques were aimed at upscale readers - is folding because too many people no longer are living the good life.
Connoisseur will cease publication with its February 1992 issue, Hearst Magazines, its parent, announced Jan. 8.
Hearst Magazines President D. Claeys Bahrenburg, blamed its demise on an upper-class recession he said was triggered by the 1987 stock market crash.
″The violent contractions of financial markets in October 1987 marked the end of the free-spending lifestyles of many of the newly affluent people who were Connoisseur’s primary audience,″ Bahrenburg said.
The magazine’s subscription list will be merged with Hearst’s Town and Country magazine, and some Connoisseur features and columns will move to Town and Country.
Some of the magazine’s staff also may be offered jobs at other Hearst magazines.
Founded in London in 1901, Connoisseur became part of the Hearst empire in 1927, moving to the United States in 1982.
It is one of many magazines to go under as hard times have plagued the publishing industry. Magazines including Men’s Life, Fame, Egg, Memories, Discover and Health all folded last year. Schwarzkopf, Thomas Make 1992 World Book
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (AP) - Norman Schwarzkopf, Clarence Thomas and Martin Scorsese made the World Book encyclopedia. John Sununu didn’t - at least not an entry of his own.
The company debuted its 1992 edition on Jan. 8. Earning a mention requires more than making today’s headlines, editorial director Richard Harmet said.
″Judge Clarence Thomas is in World Book because he was confirmed to the Supreme Court, not as a result of the controversy surrounding his confirmation,″ he said.
Sununu, despite the headlines he often made in 1991, didn’t merit an entry of his own. But he’s mentioned in the New Hampshire article as a former governor.
″We often take a wait-and-see attitude,″ Harmet said. ″For a new article, we look for a person who has made a major contribution to his or her field or a topic that has lasting significance.″
Former Hostage Tells Students He Missed News
ALBION, Mich. (AP) - Alann Steen returned to the classroom for the first time since he was taken captive in Lebanon and told journalism students the biggest problem captives faced was being cut off from the news.
″We did get little sentences (of news) here and there and it drove us crazy,″ the journalism teacher told 11 students in an advanced news-writing class at Albion College on Jan. 13.
″They didn’t give us bad leads,″ he said. ″We were basically able to surmise what was going to happen. I think our biggest problem was not knowing what was going on in the real world.″
This semester, Steen also will teach photojournalism and advanced expository writing at Albion, a small liberal arts school in south-central Michigan. The news-writing students in the class Jan. 13 were outnumbered by reporters and television camera-crew members.
Steen spent most of the class talking about his requirements for the course. However, for the last 10 minutes, he told stories about his captivity from Jan. 24, 1987, until Dec. 3 of last year.
Steen went to Lebanon in 1983 to work on the copy desk at the Beirut Daily Star. He taught public relations at Beirut University College from 1984 until he was kidnapped. Since his release, he has lived in nearby Clark Lake with his wife, Virginia, an art history teacher at Albion College.
Steen and Albion College have only a one-semester agreement. Steen said a brother in Florida and his two daughters in California want him to live near them after he completes the semester.
He has also been offered at least a temporary position at the American University in Washington. Kuwaiti Censorship Eased
KUWAIT CITY (AP) - The government has lifted pre-publication censorship of newspapers but retained the right to shutter those it finds objectionable.
The decision, announced Jan. 12 by Information Minister Badr al-Yacoub, does not affect broadcast media, which are still run by the government.
The move followed adoption by journalists of their own code that asks reporters to refrain from showing disrespect to the head of state, or to interfere with internal affairs of ″sisterly and friendly nations.″
″This is the first step toward democracy since liberation,″ said Ahmed al-Rabe’i, a columnist and a prominent member of the Kuwaiti opposition.
″I hope this will be followed by a wave of political relaxation that will lead to forming a new government that, in turn, can guarantee honest parliamentary elections,″ said al-Rabe’i, whose columns in the independent paper Al-Qabas have been censored repeatedly.
The editor in chief of Al-Qabas, Mohammad al-Saqer, said the lifting of censorship was welcome, but called the step incomplete as long as the information minister had the right to take post-publication action against newspapers, including closing them down.
Censorship was imposed on the press after the emir, Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, dissolved Parliament in 1986.
It has eased since the war. Articles critical of government policies have been getting past the censors. But editors said articles on stateless Arabs, bad debts and security have been banned lately. Court Leaves Intact Sanctions Against Law Firm in Bombing Suit
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has left intact sanctions of over $1 million against a non-profit law firm and two journalists who sued over the injuries they suffered when a bomb exploded during a news conference in Nicaragua.
The justices, without comment, refused on Jan. 13 to hear arguments that federal court sanctions should not have been imposed against the law firm - the Christic Institute - and the two journalists, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy earlier this month postponed enforcement of the sanctions, but the latest action sets aside his previous order.
A lower court had determined that the institute and the journalists acted in bad faith when they sued a group of defendants, some of whom allegedly were linked with the Central Intelligence Agency. Among the defendants were Richard Secord, Albert Hakim and John Singlaub.
Avirgan, who is married to Honey and, like her, covers Central America for various news agencies, was among some 30 journalists who attended a May 30, 1984, news conference in La Penca, Nicaragua, held by Contra leader Eden Pastora.
A bomb exploded during the press conference, killing eight people and seriously injuring others.
Both Avirgan and Honey participated in an investigation, commissioned by the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Newspaper Guild, into who was responsible for the attack.
Daniel Sheehan, chief counsel of the Christic Institute, sued numerous defendants in 1986 on behalf of Avirgan and Honey. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Miami, alleged that the defendants had joined in an assassination plot aimed at Pastora.
The suit also alleged that the defendants threatened Avirgan and Honey with murder and physical injury during their investigation of the bombing, twice forcing them to flee Costa Rica.
U.S. District Judge James L. King in Miami dismissed the suit, and ordered the Christic Institute, Sheehan, Avirgan and Honey to pay the defendants $1.05 million for costs and legal fees they incurred.
After posting a $1.2 million bond, the law firm, Sheehan, Avirgan and Honey appealed. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sanctions last June, ruling that they had pursued the suit in bad faith.
″Sheehan could not have reasonably believed at the time of the filing of the complaint ... that the complaint was well-grounded in fact,″ the appeals court said. The affidavit that accompanied the complaint featured information from ″unknown, nonexistent, deceased sources ... fabricated testimony and ... deceptive style to mask its shortcomings,″ the appeals court said.
It added that Avirgan and Honey were ″willful participants in Sheehan’s litigation strategy.″
The cases are Christic Institute vs. Hull, 91-617; Sheehan vs. Hull, 91-618; and Avirgan vs. Hull, 91-619. Baltimore Sun Co. Buyout Plan Accepted by 350 Workers
BALTIMORE (AP) - A voluntary buyout plan offered by The Baltimore Sun Co. was accepted by 350 employees - so many that the company will have to hire extra people to fill key jobs.
″We are proud that we were able to achieve downsizing in such a humane way,″ said Michael J. Davies, publisher and chief executive officer of the company, which publishes The Sun and The Evening Sun.
Those who accepted the plan by the Jan. 7 deadline represented 29 percent of the workers who were eligible and 17 percent of the newspaper company’s total work force. They had a week in which to change their minds. Davies said more people took advantage of the offer than expected, and that additional workers would be hired to fill some jobs left vacant by the buyout.
Declines in advertising and circulation, made worse by the recession, prompted the company to offer the plan to 1,200 full-time employees on Nov. 22.
Eligible employees were offered from six to 15 months of pay plus health benefits, depending on their length of service. Courthouse Janitor Fired for Leak of Dahmer Report to Newspaper
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A courthouse janitor was fired for giving a New York Times reporter a confidential report detailing serial killer Jeffrey L. Dahmer’s confession to murder, dismemberment and cannibalism.
Stephen D. Sessions, who had been suspended without pay since mid-August, was fired Jan. 7 by the Milwaukee County Personnel Review Board.
Sessions, 29, admitted to the board he made a ″stupid mistake.″ He said he acted after the reporter told him officials had no right to keep the report secret.
″I thought, ’Yes, people do have a right to know what kind of monster (Dahmer) is,‴ Sessions said.
The report included the earliest allegations of cannibalism against Dahmer, who is scheduled for trial Jan. 27 on 15 counts of murder.
Sessions said he got the document while cleaning a prosecutor’s office. No criminal charges will be filed against the janitor, authorities said. Okla. Contempt Case Made Moot When Defendant Pleads Guilty
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A contempt case against a reporter who refused to surrender her notes has been rendered moot by a guilty plea from the subject of her interview.
Angela Horton, a former reporter for The Pryor Daily Times, was found in contempt of court in February after refusing to give the court notes taken during a November 1989 interview with Alicia Jo Gowers. Prosecutors charged Ms. Gowers with child stealing.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Ms. Horton’s appeal last month following Ms. Gower’s guilty plea. The appeals court action made the case moot.
Ms. Horton left the paper when her husband took a job in another city. USA Today, CNN, Gallup To Produce Polls
WASHINGTON (AP) - USA Today, Cable News Network and the Gallup Organization said they will produce polls on issues in the 1992 presidential election.
The project will include monthly surveys on the electorate’s mood and reaction to the conventions and the candidate debates. Journalism Conference on Elections
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Foundation for American Communications is presenting a conference on economic issues in this year’s elections.
The program, March 13-15 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, is co-sponsored by the California Society of Newspaper Editors and The Associated Press News Executives Council of California-Nevada.
Speakers will include Frank Wykoff and Hans Palmer of Pomona College, and Mark Zupan of the University of Southern California.
Further information is available from Douglas A. Ramsey, senior vice president of the foundation. The address is 3800 Barham Blvd., Suite 409, Los Angeles, Calif., 90068. The telephone number is (213) 851-7372. GM Workers Picket Newspaper Over Editorial, Cartoon
WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (AP) - About 50 furloughed General Motors workers picketed offices of The News Tribune to protest a guest editorial and an editorial cartoon they found offensive.
Executive Editor Glen Ritt said he met Jan. 8 for about an hour with some of the pickets, members of United Auto Workers Local 595 in Linden, and agreed to give them space on the editorial page to express their views.
Union shop chairman Guy Messina said a cartoon by The Hartford (Conn.) Courant’s Bob Englehart reprinted Jan. 8 and a guest editorial from Newsday printed the previous week angered the workers, who have been furloughed while GM retools its Linden assembly plant.
The editorial suggested that instead of trying to improve markets in Japan, United States automakers should build better cars. The cartoon, captioned ″boat people,″ depicted President Bush and three men inside a car adorned with the logos of GM, Ford and Chrysler.
Workers carried signs reading ″Buy American,″ ″News Tribune Unfair to American Labor,″ and ″News Tribune, Your Job May Be Next.″ After meeting with Ritt, Messina said there were no plans to continue the protest.
John Zakarian, editorial page editor of The Hartford Courant, said workers were not the target of Englehart’s cartoon.
″If anything, it was critical of the management of the companies,″ he said. ″I do not know how this could translate into an indictment of the assembly line worker.″
Ritt said the protest was ironic because The News Tribune published a front-page story the same day on a phone-in poll that found readers overwhelmingly favored American cars over foreign cars. BROADCAST NEWS NBC President Says Network Faces Gloomy Economic Conditions in 1992
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (AP) - The National Broadcasting Co. is probably in for continuing tough financial times, its president said, but he declined to respond to persistent rumors that its television network is up for sale.
″I’m afraid, as difficult or inconsistent as it may seem, I just can’t comment on it,″ Robert C. Wright told the annual winter press tour for the nation’s television critics Jan. 9.
He did say that the gloomy economic conditions, which saw all three broadcast networks lose money in 1991 - an industry first - were expected to continue this year.
″The network business is a very troubled business,″ Wright said. ″If we adjust, if we constantly pay attention to what’s happening around us, we’ll find a way to pull through.″
The networks have been troubled by a declining audience share and increased competition from cable channels, along with the troubled economy.
Wright spoke during a panel discussion that included NBC entertainment president Warren Littlefield, news president Michael Gartner and sports president Dick Ebersol.
Wright said NBC ran up massive bills in covering the Persian Gulf War last year and would probably have to do the same to cover the Olympics from Barcelona, Spain, this summer.
But Gartner said there are no immediate plans to further trim NBC’s news staff. He said he wanted to ″let the dust settle,″ after last year’s cuts, which included layoffs and the closing of bureaus. CNN Headline News Almost Reported Death of Bush; Caller in Mental Hospital
ATLANTA (AP) - CNN Headline News came within seconds of reporting that President Bush had died at a banquet in Japan before an editor realized it was a hoax. The man believed to have made the call was later put in a mental hospital.
A caller identifying himself as Bush’s doctor had telephoned CNN on Jan. 8, about three hours after the president collapsed from stomach flu, and said the president was dead. The alleged caller left his number with CNN and was traced to Idaho, where the man was arrested.
CNN Headline News anchorman Don Harrison started to read the report on the air at 9:45 a.m. EST during coverage of Bush’s collapse, when he was alerted by another staff member, said CNN spokesman Steve Haworth.
In Garden City, Idaho, where the call was traced, Police Chief Willard Heaps said James Edward Smith, 71, was being held at Intermountain Hospital of Boise, a private mental facility that has a contract with the county.
In Washington, a Secret Service official who spoke on condition of anonymity said agents interviewed the man, but he was not charged with any federal violation.
Headline News, a sister service of CNN, features condensed versions of CNN reports.
CNN and Headline News are two floors apart but use the same newsroom computer system. A staff member, whom Haworth would not identify, had typed the telephoned report into the computer.
Haworth would not discuss CNN procedures for handling a bulletin of such magnitude. But he said the network is reinforcing existing checklists requiring that senior staff members be notified about important bulletins being put into the computer.
CNN executives determined almost immediately that the report was a fake and it was not used. ″As soon as we determined it to be a hoax, we took it out of the computer file,″ Haworth told The Atlanta Constitution.
But downstairs at Headline News, it nearly was broadcast.
″This just in to CNN Headline News,″ Harrison said. ″And we say right off the bat, we have not confirmed this through any other source.″
At that point a voice off camera said, ″No. Stop.″
″We are now getting a correction,″ Harrison said. ″We will not give you that story. It was regarding some rather tragic news involving President Bush. But updating that story, President Bush is reported resting comfortably.″ Highlights of William Kennedy Smith Trial Marketed on Video
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Courtroom Television Network, which covered the rape trial of William Kennedy Smith from gavel to gavel, is marketing a videotape of the legal highlights of the trial.
″This is not ‘The Most Anguished Moments of the William Kennedy Smith Trial,‴ CTN President Steven Brill said. ″We are not ‘A Current Affair.’ We don’t want to exploit trials that way.″
Brill said the four-hour, $95 video would be marketed as an instructional aid for lawyers and law students. He said it features legal analysts picking apart prosecution and defense strategies throughout the trial.
The analysts will explain, for example, that they believe prosecutor Moira Lasch should have shown more sympathy for Patricia Bowman, Smith’s accuser, when questioning her about her rape allegations.
″It’s meant to be a training tape for lawyers,″ Brill said. ″It’s not a cavalcade of sound bites.″ D.C. Sportscaster Has Tumor
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sportscaster Glenn Brenner, one of Washington’s best- known television personalities, has been diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable brain tumor.
Brenner, 44, who has worked for WUSA-TV for nearly 15 years, had been off the air since suffering what was believed to be a cerebral hemorrhage Nov. 3 after completing a marathon.
The tumor was discovered Jan. 10 during tests. A four-hour operation the next day led doctors to conclude the mass was inoperable, neurosurgeon Arthur Kobrine said in a statement.
Kobrine said no further surgery, chemotherapy or radiation is planned. A WUSA statement described the chances for a full recovery as poor.
Brenner, a minor-league pitcher for six years, joined the station in 1977. He previously worked as a sportscaster for KYW-TV in Philadelphia and a sports reporter for WOWK-TV in Huntington, W.Va. Indiana Court OKs TV Relay of Tyson Trial to Media
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The rape trial of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson may be piped by closed-circuit television to a media room for an expected overflow of reporters, the Indiana Supreme Court said.
The court said Jan. 9 that the case qualified for a limited exception to rules that normally forbid photography and television coverage in courtrooms in Indiana.
But Chief Justice Randall Shepard said the transmission would be for note- taking purposes only. He ordered Marion Superior Court Judge Patricia Gifford, who is presiding over Tyson’s trial, to ensure the transmission is not taped, reproduced or broadcast.
Tyson, 25, is charged with one count of rape, two counts of criminal deviate conduct and one count of confinement for an alleged attack on an 18- year-old Miss Black America contestant last July. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27.
Almost 120 local, national and foreign media organizations have requested credentials to cover the trial, but only 25 seats will be available for reporters in the courtroom. CNBC Corners Wealthy Audience for Business News
FORT LEE, N.J (AP) - Business thrives on competition, but it hasn’t worked that way in the market for covering business news on cable TV.
A year ago, two national cable TV networks vied for viewers and advertisers with full-time coverage of business news. Both were losing money.
But the 10-year-old Financial News Network’s parent filed for bankruptcy protection last year, and the Consumer News and Business Channel won an auction for its ailing rival. CNBC, a unit of General Electric Co. launched two years earlier, merged the services under the CNBC banner starting last May 22.
CNBC president Albert F. Barber said in a recent interview that the merged channel broke even on an operating basis, excluding acquisition costs, in the last three months of 1991. He expects a pure profit in two to four years.
The audience ratings are still fairly small and the recession has hurt efforts to sign more national advertisers. But industry analysts say the new service has a more promising future than either network could have claimed separately.
Cable system operators are generally satisfied with the quality of the channel. Ad agency executives say the wider availability of the network should draw new sponsors. And an investors’ association leader said he has heard few complaints about having just one national all-business channel.
Meanwhile, Barber says he wants to make CNBC the ″video version of The Wall Street Journal,″ an ironic analogy in view of who lost in the bidding for FNN.
CNBC’s bid of $154.3 million for FNN topped a rival offer from a partnership of Dow Jones & Co., the Journal’s publisher, and Westinghouse Broadcasting Co.
Barber said he is blending FNN’s strength in financial reporting with CNBC’s stronger focus on business news and analytical stories. The daytime programming is called CNBC-FNN.
CNBC, which employed 350 people, hired 76 of FNN’s 322 staff members as either regular or short-term employees.
CNBC also draws on its corporate sibling, the NBC television network, for research material, technical support and sometimes general news stories. Pete Rose Begins Radio Career
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Pete Rose’s debut as a South Florida radio host included interviews with Don Shula and Mike Schmidt but few comments about his ban from the Hall of Fame.
Appearing Jan. 8 on a two-hour morning call-in show on WJNO-AM, Rose discussed subjects ranging from old ballparks to the NBA. He may take a permanent job with station.
Rose’s banishment from baseball for betting on games prevented him from becoming eligible for the Hall of Fame. Pitchers Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers were elected, while Rose received 41 write-in ballots that didn’t count.
″I’m very happy today for two good friends of mine,″ said Rose, who played against Fingers in the World Series and was Seaver’s teammate with the Cincinnati Reds.
Most callers expressed support for Rose. While not talking specifically about his dream of making the Hall of Fame, Rose said he hopes the game gives him a second chance.
″I’m not going to need a third or fourth chance,″ he said. ″I proved that I was human and I did make some mistakes. I’ve paid for my mistakes. I’m looking for an opportunity, I’m not looking for sympathy. I live like a good model citizen should live today.″ PERSONNEL Miller Retires as Chairman of Battle Creek Enquirer
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Robert B. Miller Jr. has retired after little more than a year as chairman of the Battle Creek Enquirer, a newspaper once led by both his father and grandfather.
Miller, 56, announced his retirement on Jan. 5, citing health problems. He has had Parkinson’s disease since 1977.
Miller became publisher in July 1979, succeeding his father, Robert Miller Sr., who had run the Enquirer since the death of his father, Albert L. Miller, in 1958.
A.L. Miller was hired as editor by C.W. Post in 1910. By 1919, he had bought out Post’s newspaper holdings and combined the city’s morning Enquirer and Evening News into a single newspaper.
He later formed Federated Publications Inc., which owned several newspapers including the Lansing State Journal, The Idaho Statesman and the Daily Olympian in Olympia, Wash. Gannett bought Federated in 1971. Bushman Returns as Publisher of Fort Dodge Messenger
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Larry D. Bushman, who left The Messenger to become a regional manager for parent company Ogden Newspapers Inc., has returned as publisher.
Bushman was publisher from 1978-80. On returning, he replaces Edward W. Kruger, who was named publisher of The Parkersburg (Va.) News and The Parkersburg Sentinel, also owned by Ogden. Barrett Named Publisher of Laurel (Miss.) Leader-Call
LAUREL, Miss. (AP) - Paul M. Barrett, advertising manager of the Laurel Leader-Call, has been named publisher.
Barrett, 39, succeeds Ruth Bryant, who is assuming other duties with Thomson Newspapers. He was formerly publisher of Family Health magazine in Dallas.
The appointment was announced Jan. 9. Bird Named Publisher at Anderson (Ind.) Herald-Bulletin
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) - Henry Bird, publisher of The Sheboygan Press, has been named publisher of the Anderson (Ind.) Herald-Bulletin effective Jan. 27.
Both papers are owned by Thomson Newspapers Inc.
Bird was formerly general manager of Capital Newspapers in Albany, N.Y., and general manager at Madison Newspapers in Wisconsin.
He succeeds John Shields, who left to become publisher of the Santa Maria, (Calif.) Times. Millsaps Named Managing Editor of Richmond Times-Dispatch
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - William H. Millsaps Jr., sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 15 years, has been named the newspaper’s managing editor.
He succeeds Marvin E. Garrette, who died Jan. 4.
Millsaps, 49, will continue to run the news department after the Times- Dispatch merges with the afternoon Richmond News Leader, June 1.
In November he was named deputy managing editor for business, sports and features in the expanded paper. That position will now be taken by David Burton, city editor of The News Leader.
Millsaps joined the Times-Dispatch in 1966 after three years with the Knoxville (Tenn.) Journal. He was named associate sports editor in 1972, executive sports editor in 1973 and sports editor in 1977.
The appointment was announced Jan. 9. Lindemann Named Publisher of the Graham Leader
GRAHAM, Texas (AP) - William Lee ″Bill″ Lindemann, publisher and general manager of the Herald Newspaper Group in San Antonio, has been named publisher of the weekly Graham Leader.
Herald is a group of community weekly newspapers. Lindemann was formerly publisher of the Del Rio News-Herald.
The appointment was announced Jan. 8 by MediaNews Group of Houston, which owns the paper. Former NY Daily News Publisher Named Freedom Forum Senior Fellow
NEW YORK (AP) - James Hoge, former publisher of the Daily News, has been named a senior fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University.
Hoge, also a former editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, will study the future of metropolitan dailies, The New York Times reported Jan. 11.
He was most recently a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. DEATHS John Michael Barry
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - John Michael Barry, who published the Kentucky Irish American and later wrote columns for The Louisville Times, died Jan. 10 of prostate cancer. He was 82.
Barry was editor, publisher and columnist of the Irish American, a weekly periodical, for about 20 years. He worked with his brother and business manager Joseph after they took the paper over when their father, John, died in 1950. The paper closed in 1968.
Barry later wrote columns for The Times and the Sunday Courier-Journal & Times. He retired in 1984.
Survivors include his wife, seven children and six grandchildren. Joseph L. Floyd
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Joseph L. Floyd, chairman emeritus of Midcontinent Media Inc., parent company of KELO television and radio, died Jan. 7 at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home. He was 80.
Floyd became a partner in Midcontinent in 1946 and the company bought KELO- AM six years later. KELO-TV went on the air in 1953.
Floyd was included in the South Dakota Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1984. He retired in 1990.
Survivors include his wife and son, Joseph H. Floyd, the executive president and chief operation officer of Midcontinent; and two daughters. Thelma Thurston Gorham
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Thelma Thurston Gorham, a Florida A&M University journalism professor, was found dead Jan. 7 at age 82.
The cause of death was not disclosed.
Mrs. Gorham had written articles for Jet and Ebony magazines and edited the NAACP’s Crisis magazine. She came to FAMU in 1963.
She is survived by a son. Marilyn Kirkby
SEATTLE (AP) - Marilyn Kirkby, fashion editor for The Seattle Times for 30 years, died of cancer Jan. 4. She was 61.
Kirkby joined the Times as a home economist after graduating from the University of Washington. She later became a writer and was named fashion editor in 1961.
In a story in the Times in September, she chronicled how a 35-year smoking habit resulted in cancer of the esophagus.
Her husband died in 1978. The couple had no children. George V. Mather
ALBION, Mich. (AP) - George V. Mather, former editor of the Albion Recorder, died Jan. 1 after a long illness. He was 81.
Mather began working at the newspaper while in high school and became editor in 1941. He also was sports editor on and off from 1928 to 1976.
He retired in 1976.
Survivors include his wife, a daughter and two sons. Robert O’Boyle
SEATTLE (AP) - Robert O’Boyle, a columnist who chronicled his battle with AIDS for more than a year and a half in The Seattle Times, died Jan. 6 of the disease. He was 32.
O’Boyle wrote a weekly column, ″Living With AIDS,″ in which he described efforts to combat AIDS and how people coped with the disease. He told of the progress of his own illness and his thoughts on facing death.
He worked previously for Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.
He is survived by his parents, a sister and four brothers. David Paul O’Brian
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - David Paul O’Brian, a religion and ethics editor at the San Jose Mercury News, died Jan. 9 of complications from heart problems and diabetes. He was 46.
O’Brian, who grew up near Brockton, Mass., formerly worked for the Boston Herald American and the Boston Phoenix.
While at the Phoenix in 1975, he rode with two white police officers in Boston and saw them kill an unarmed black man. A book, ″Deadly Force,″ and a TV adaptation of the book depicted his testimony at the officers’ trial.
O’Brian joined the Mercury News in 1986.
He is survived by his mother and brother. Robert Peel
BOSTON (AP) - Robert Peel, an author and journalist for the Christian Science Monitor, died Jan. 8 at age 82.
Peel wrote the first scholarly biography of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy and other books including ″Christian Science: Its Encounter with American Culture″ and ″Spiritual Healing in a Scientific Age.″
He served in World War II as a civilian intelligence agent in the South Pacific. After the war, he was assigned to cultivate political connections in Japan.
Peel never married. His sister, Doris, who was a poet and journalist for the Monitor, died two years ago. David N. Rosenthal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - David N. Rosenthal, the San Jose Mercury News television writer who was known for his biting wit, died after battling lung failure. He was 41.
Rosenthal, a former writer for The Associated Press, died Jan. 10 at Mount Zion Hospital.
He became ill last month with what he thought was stomach flu, but on Dec. 16 doctors discovered that his lower intestine had perforated.
Following surgery he appeared to be recovering. But the infection spread throughout his body, causing acute respiratory distress syndrome, which made it impossible for his lungs to operate on their own.
Rosenthal, who lived in San Francisco, worked for the AP in New Orleans from 1976 to 1978, when he transferred to the San Francisco bureau.
He left the AP in 1980 to take a job as a feature writer for the Mercury News and later became a television columnist for the newspaper.
His father is AP writer and columnist Harry Rosenthal, based in Washington. Lucile Powell Singleton
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Lucile Powell Singleton, described as a pioneer in business and race relations with CBS radio, died Jan. 8. She was 98.
Singleton joined CBS in 1929. She auditioned vocalists, supervised staff singers and assigned singers to programs. In the late 1930s she helped get the first black performers on radio, insisting that Tuskegee University’s Jubilee Gospel Singers be allowed to perform on CBS.
Survivors include a nephew. Gale A. Tollin
ATLANTA (AP) - Gale A. Tollin, an Associated Press newsman for 41 years, died Jan. 11 after suffering a heart attack on vacation. He was 69.
Tollin joined AP in Bismarck, N.D., in 1945 and later worked in bureaus in Pierre, S.D., and Fargo, N.D., before joining the Minneapolis staff in 1950. He retired in 1986 and lived in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Tollin was hospitalized on New Year’s Day as he and his wife, Carol, were traveling to Hilton Head, S.C., on vacation.
Besides his wife, survivors include his two sisters, a son and a granddaughter. NOTES FROM EVERYWHERE
NBC News President Michael Gartner said he doesn’t regret last year’s much- criticized decision to identify Patricia Bowman as the woman who accused William Kennedy Smith of rape. ″It was an agonizing decision,″ Gartner said at the network’s annual winter press tour. ″There’s all kinds of people at NBC who aren’t entirely comfortable with it.″ He said Smith’s acquittal and Bowman’s later decision to identify herself reinforced his judgment. ″We’re in the business of imparting information, not of keeping secrets,″ he said. ″When you strip away everything, that’s the reason we did it.″
End Industry News