Robert H. Wills, a past national president of SPJ and veteran Wisconsin newsman, has been inducted into the newly created Wisconsin Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame. Wills worked in various capacities at both the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel (the two papers merged in 1995). He eventually became president of Journal Sentinel Inc., the newspaper subsidiary of Journal Communications in Milwaukee. Wills helped create the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and served as its first president from 1979 to 1986. He served as SPJ national president in 1986-1987. During his presidency, SPJ launched Project Watchdog, a First Amendment public education program, which he championed around the country. Mills served on the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors from 1993 through 1996. He was president of the Milwaukee SPJ Chapter, which in 1973 gave him its Newsman of the Year Award. The chapter later renamed its FOI award the Robert H. Wills Freedom of Information Award. Walter Isaacson, former editorial director of Time, Inc. and managing editor of Time magazine, took the reigns of CNN July 9. As chairman and CEO of CNN News Group, Isaacson oversees the CNN domestic network, its Web sites, radio outlets and cable spin-offs, executives told The New York Times. Isaacson’s appointment came less than two weeks after the sudden resignation of CNN’s longtime chairman and chief executive, Tom Johnson. In a statement that ran in The New York Times, Isaacson said that he would maintain the network’s focus on practicing “great journalism.” Meanwhile, John Huey, former editor of the Fortune magazine group, was promoted to replace Issacson as editorial director of all Time Inc. publications except the lifestyle titles. Huey, 53, now reports directly to Time Inc. editor in chief Norm Pearlstine while still overseeing the business titles – Fortune, Money, Business 2.0, FSB and Mutual Funds. In addition, Huey now has the weeklies – Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Entertainment Weekly – reporting directly to him. In a press release, Pearlstine added that Huey will have input with the lifestyle titles, which include In Style, Real Simple and Teen People. Don Edwards and Dick Burdette, veteran columnists for the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader, both took voluntary early retirements in July as part of the newspaper’s response to declining advertising revenue and rising newsprint costs. Edwards, 60, worked for the Herald-Leader off and on since the late ’60s. He became a full-time columnist in 1979. Edwards cited health problems as a reason he decided on early retirement, but told the Herald-Leader that he hoped to continue writing for the paper on a free-lance basis. Burdette, 65, came to the Herald-Leader from the Orlando Sentinel in 1985. Burdette told the Herald-Leader that he plans to write books and maintain his homes in Lexington and Colorado. J. Keith Moyer, 48, was named publisher of the Star Tribune on July 6. Moyer, former publisher of The Fresno (Calif.) Bee, succeeded John Schueler, who left his post in May and was named publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News the following month. Moyer met the Star Tribune staff on July 6 and started work immediately, said Frank Parisi, a Star Tribune spokesman. Taking Moyer’s place at the Bee is Ray Steele Jr. , director of corporate services at The McClatchy Co., which owns the Star Tribune and the Bee. Steele, 55, is a Fresno native and former Bee employee; he was a reporter for the paper in 1967. After a three-year stint as executive editor for the Bee, Moyer served as president for the past four years. Moyer joined McClatchy in 1994. Paul Gigot, a Wall Street Journal columnist who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary last year, was named editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page in July. When Gigot’s promotion takes effect in September, he will be reporting to Robert Bartley, who has been overseeing the Journal’s editorial pages for three decades. Gigot will assume Bartley’s duties at the end of 2002, when Bartley will turn 65, the paper’s publisher, Dow Jones & Co., announced in July. Gigot, a native of Green Bay, Wis., has been a member of the Journal’s editorial board since 1987. He will be only the fifth person in 60 years to lead the Journal’s editorial page. Bartley will still write his column, “Thinking Things Over.” Gigot, based in Washington, will give up writing his column, “Potomac Watch,” and relocate to New York. The Burlington, Vt., Free Press named Mike Townsend, 48, as its new executive editor in July. Townsend, who was managing editor of The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, was to begin his new position Aug. 6. Townsend replaces Mickey Hirten, who became executive editor at The Lansing (Mich.) State Journal in June. Gannett owns all three newspapers. Besides The Register, Townsend has also worked at the Marin (Calif.) Independent Journal, the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star and The Baltimore Sun. Thad Keyes, managing editor for the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo., stunned the newsroom in July with the announcement that he’d accepted a voluntary buyout. “It was a tough decision,” Keyes told the Daily Camera. “I love this place. I feel really lucky to have worked 24 years at this newspaper.” To help reduce expenses, the Daily Camera offered voluntary buyouts in May to employees older than 50. Of the 10 employees who accepted, half of them worked in the newsroom. “You really do start wondering what else life might have in store for you if you open the door,” Keyes said. “I’m basically taking a break from the newspaper business and will see what else might be out there.” Keyes, 52, began working at the Camera in 1977 as a night police reporter after graduating from the University of Colorado. The Camera announced that its publisher, Colleen Conant, will most likely serve as interim managing editor through the end of the year. Ellen Kunes, the first editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine, was hired in late July by Hearst Corp. to hold the same post at Redbook. Kunes, 42, replaces Lesley Jane Seymour, who left the magazine for the U.S. edition of Marie Claire. Kunes isn’t new to Redbook, having served as its executive editor from 1994 to 1998 before moving to O, a joint venture of Hearst and Harpo Entertainment, the company run by Oprah Winfrey. Kunes resigned from her position at O after the first three issues of the magazine. Jane E. Sutter was named the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s managing editor on July 23. Sutter, 42, was managing editor at the Elmira, N.Y., Star-Gazette for a year before becoming executive editor – a position she has held for three years. Previously, Sutter worked in both reporting and editing capacities at papers in Florida, South Carolina, Illinois and Iowa. She also helped with training and coaching at Knight Ridder newspapers’ corporate news division. Sutter, who was scheduled to begin her duties Aug. 13, told the Democrat and Chronicle that her goal was “to produce a newspaper every day that meets the needs of a very diverse group of readers.” The board of directors at Tribune Co. selected Dennis J. FitzSimons, Tribune executive vice president, July 24 to be the company’s president and chief operating officer. FitzSimons, 51, began serving in his posts immediately, the company told The Associated Press. Under FitzSimons, Tribune Television grew from six stations in 1992 to 22 stations – the nation’s fourth-largest station group in the United States. The company said FitzSimons also played an important role in the development of The WB Network, in which Tribune holds a 25 percent stake. Dick Gordon, senior correspondent for Canadian Broadcasting Co. Radio’s “This Morning,” was selected to replace Christopher Lydon as host of WBUR-FM’s “The Connection,” station officials said July 24. According to Boston.com, Gordon was believed to have been one of three finalists. The others were Neal Conan, NPR correspondent and host of “Weekly Edition,” and ABC “Nightline” correspondent John Donvan. Since 1997, Gordon has been senior correspondent, back-up host and reporter for “This Morning,” a current-events show that presents a mix of interviews, documentaries, music, and personal essays. “The Connection” is a call-in show that originates from WBUR’s Boston studios and is syndicated to public radio stations nationwide. Gordon is scheduled to begin hosting “The Connection” on Oct. 1. Kelly Brewer, managing editor of The Albuquerque Tribune, has been promoted to editor. Brewer, 41, succeeds Scott Ware, 47, who is leaving the Tribune after six years to become editor of The Sun in Bremerton, Wash. The E.W. Scripps Co owns both newspapers. A native New Mexican, Brewer began reporting at the Tribune as a college intern. She worked as a reporter and copy editor at the newspaper in the mid-1980s, then spent two years in San Francisco as an adviser to a student newspaper. After returning to The Tribune in 1990, Brewer worked as a copy editor, news editor and assistant managing editor before being named the paper’s managing editor 18 months ago. The New York Times promoted Gerald M. Boyd, a deputy managing editor at the paper for the past four years, to managing editor. Boyd will assume his new post in September, the same time Howell Raines begins his duties as executive editor, the Times said. Boyd, 51, will be the first black to hold that position at the Times. “I’m not about to dwell on the firstness of all of this, but if somewhere a kid of color who reads about this can smile tomorrow or dream a little bigger dream, then that makes me very happy,’’ Boyd told The Associated Press. Boyd will replace Bill Keller as managing editor. Keller, passed over for the executive editor’s job in favor of Raines, is slated to become an op-ed columnist and senior writer for The New York Times Magazine. The current executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, is retiring in September.
William D. Hall, 93, a reporter and editor for the Fort Worth Press and the Pittsburgh Press, died July 5 in Austin, Texas. Hall attended the University of Texas after graduating from what is now Tarleton State University in Stephenville. After a year as a reporter at the afternoon daily Fort Worth Press, he was promoted to city editor – a post he held until the mid-1950s. After being named managing editor, Hall left for the Pittsburgh Press in 1957. There, he was features editor and Sunday editor before retiring in 1970 and returning to Austin. Both newspapers have since closed: The Fort Worth Press folded in 1975, and the Pittsburgh Press closed in 1992. Michael Unger, 63, a reporter whose career at Newsday spanned more than 30 years and who described his own heart attack and subsequent open-heart surgery in a 1979 series, died of another heart attack July 16 in the paper’s Melville newsroom. Unger was a reporter for more than 40 years. At the Newark Evening News and at Newsday starting in 1967, Unger focused on planning and transportation reporting but was eventually drawn to science writing, which became a lifelong interest. Grant Dillman, 83, who worked for United Press International and its predecessors for 41 years and served as its vice president and Washington bureau manager, died of a heart ailment at his Alexandria, Va., home July 14. In his reporting career, Dillman covered the famines after World War II, the presidential campaign in 1948 and the House of Representatives. He was promoted to news editor in 1963 and named to the bureau’s top editorial position in 1973. After his years at UPI, Dillman served as executive director of the National Press Foundation. In 1985, he became the first director of the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Center in Washington. He was a former chairman of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee. Howard Brant, 74, a columnist for The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., for 34 years, died July 14 in Union, N.J. Brant began penning columns about freshwater fishing for The Star-Ledger after a department store where he worked stopped selling guns and cut back on other outdoor goods. Over the years, he used his column to lobby for changes in licensing, to provide safety tips and fish recipes and to relate memorable fishing expeditions. Jim Willse, editor of The Star-Ledger, Told the Associated Press that Brant “had a fiercely loyal following because he was a lot of things to his readers – an advocate, an expert and even a friend.” J. Edward Gerald, 95, a media critic and scholar whose books urged journalists to consider their ethical obligations, died July 25. Gerald was a professional journalist until 1929, when he became a journalism professor at the University of Missouri. In 1946, he earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota, where he taught and authored scholarly pieces. “The Social Responsibility of the Press,” a textbook written by Gerald in 1963, was one of the first to provide ethical help to journalists. In 1970, he helped establish the Minnesota News Council, an independent panel that considers complaints against media institutions. In 1975, he was given the Society of Professional Journalists’ Award for Distinguished Teaching in Journalism. In 1983, he published his final book, “News of Crime in Courts and Press in Conflict.”