A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

People & Places

By Quill

At the St. Petersburg Times in late July, Robert Hooker was named deputy managing editor and Tim Nickens, the newspaper’s political editor, was named metro editor. Hooker, a 30-year employee of the Times, served as metro editor for the past five years. As deputy managing editor, he supervises investigative projects and leads recruitment efforts with an emphasis on drawing minorities. Nickens succeeds Hooker as the Times’ metro editor. Nickens has covered Florida journalism for nearly two decades, including seven years on the governor and Legislature beat in Tallahassee, first for the Times and then for five years with The Miami Herald’s capital bureau. In 1995, he rejoined the Times as an editorial writer and then became political editor. Tom FitzGerald, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, was reinstated July 25 after serving a one-week suspension without pay for using material from other publications without proper attribution. FitzGerald also publicly apologized to his readers in the Chronicle sports section July 26. FitzGerald, who joined the Chronicle staff in 1983, has written his Open Season column since 1989. In mid-July, FitzGerald was suspended after a reader reported to editors that one of his June columns was similar to a report published in The Boston Globe the previous day. Dozens of readers wrote in, nearly all of them protesting the move to suspend FitzGerald, and members of the Chronicle staff submitted a petition to management supporting FitzGerald. In a memo to Chronicle staff members on July 25, Chronicle Executive Editor Phil Bronstein said that the main factors he considered in deciding to reinstate FitzGerald were the columnist’s “integrity, the scope of his career and his entire body of work.” George de Lama, the Chicago Tribune’s associate managing editor for foreign and national news, was promoted to deputy managing editor/news, and James Warren, associate managing editor for Washington news, was named deputy managing editor/features. James Shea, Tribune managing editor, made the announcement in July. Since joining the Tribune in 1978, De Lama has been a reporter, foreign correspondent, White House correspondent and associate managing editor for foreign, national and metropolitan news. Warren, who joined the Tribune in 1984, has covered labor, media, law and politics, edited the Tribune’s Tempo section and worked for the last seven years as chief of the Tribune’s Washington bureau. Matthew Wilson, executive vice president of news and associate publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle, resigned in late July, saying he wished “to pursue other business and professional interests,” according to a story in the Chronicle on July 20. Wilson joined the paper in 1975 as a copy boy, working his way up to managing editor in 1988. As executive editor in the late 1990s,Wilson, 45, led a redesign of the paper and crusaded for more attention to the paper’s credibility with readers. Under Wilson, The Chronicle was awarded two Pulitzers: one for the late columnist Herb Caen, and one for architecture critic Allan Temko. Wilson is the son of the late Kenneth Wilson, who was an assistant to the publisher when he retired in 1988. Terri Fleming resigned as editor and vice president of The Colorado Springs Gazette, President and Publisher Tom Mullen announced July 24. Fleming served three years as The Gazette’s managing editor before becoming editor in early 2000. “While I deeply regret my departure, I leave with an abundance of great memories during my years at this newspaper,” Fleming said in a story published in The Gazette. “I was a proud member of the best newsroom in southern Colorado, and I was fortunate to help chronicle the issues and events that shaped our region over the past 20 years.” It was also announced that managing editors Cliff Foster and Keith Briscoe would assume new roles, in part to support the leadership transition now under way. A transition group, made up of news division leaders, was being assembled to ensure that the newspaper’s quality would not diminish during the changeover. In late July, Media General named Steve M. Weaver president and publisher of the Tampa Tribune. Weaver succeeded Reid Ashe, who was named president and chief operating officer of Media General on July 1. Weaver joined the Tribune, the largest of the company’s 25 daily newspapers, in January 2000 as vice president of sales and marketing. Before that, he was vice president of advertising and circulation at The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News. The Tribune also promoted Gilbert C. Thelen to senior vice president and executive editor. Thelen, who came to the Tribune as vice president and executive editor in 1998, was previously vice president and executive editor of The State, the daily paper in Columbia, S.C. Before that, he was vice president and editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. Harry Moskos, vice president and editor of The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, is scheduled to retire on Oct. 31, according to an announcement from parent company E.W. Scripps Co. Moskos, who has worked for the News-Sentinel for 17 years, is approaching 65, the mandatory retirement age for senior Scripps newspaper executives. Moskos, whose newspaper career began in 1953 at The Albuquerque Tribune, previously served as editor of the El Paso (Texas) Herald-Post and the Grants, N.M., Daily Beacon. Philip Taubman, assistant editorial page editor of The New York Times, has been appointed deputy editor, effective in March. He will succeed Philip M. Boffey, who plans to retire. The Times’ new editorial page editor, Gail Collins, announced the appointment in August. Taubman, 53, was named assistant editor in 1994. He was deputy national editor from 1993 to 1994, and deputy Washington editor from 1989 to 1992. He reported for The Times from Moscow from 1985 through 1988. Boffey, 65, joined The Times as an editorial writer in 1977 and held several other reporting and editing positions, including that of science editor, before returning to the editorial page as deputy editor in 1990. Investigative reporter William Gaines retired from the Chicago Tribune in late July to teach investigative reporting at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The departure of Gaines, 67, was closely followed by another: The Sun-Times’ Chuck Neubauer announced his intentions to join the investigative unit of the Los Angeles Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau, which was expanding from four reporters to eight. Gaines won a Pulitzer with Lipinski and Dean Baquet, now the Los Angeles Times’ managing editor, in 1988 for their investigation of Chicago’s city council. In 1976, Gaines and Neubauer worked on separate Tribune teams that were jointly awarded a Pulitzer. John “Jack” Findley Jr., publisher of the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, Calif., said he planned to resign Nov. 1 in order to pursue other business ventures in the area. Findley, 50, arrived at the Press-Telegram in January 1998 and became the paper’s first publisher under MediaNews, which purchased the paper from Knight Ridder. Findley led a broad overhaul effort that returned the Press-Telegram to financial health and stopped its declining circulation. Findley previously served as president and general manager of Charleston Newspapers in West Virginia, the business entity for the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail, which publish under a joint operating agreement. Juan Williams, of National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” midday call-in show, is out after only 18 months as host, reported The Washington Post in mid-August. His last show was scheduled for Aug. 30. Bruce Drake, NPR’s vice president for news and information, said that the demanding workload of the four-day-a-week show – heard on 180 stations by 2.2 million listeners a week – made it difficult for Williams to continue his outside commitments as a television commentator and author. Williams will become a senior correspondent for NPR news, appearing twice monthly on “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition.” Williams was to be replaced for the time being by “Weekly Edition’s” Neal Conan.


Bob Rothe, 59, a former editor and writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Newsday and Philadelphia Inquirer, died of an apparent heart attack July 23 at his home in Roanoke, Va. In the Chronicle’s People section of the 1970s and early 1980s, Rothe penned features on topics as diverse as how to drink straight shots of whiskey, how to buy lumber and how to make Texas chili. Rothe moved to New York Newsday in 1985, where he was the news editor for the editorial and op-ed section. He joined the Philadelphia Inquirer as a news editor two years later, then retired and moved to Roanoke in 1999. Lawrence ‘Laury’ Minard, 51, a Seattle native who relocated to London to edit and write for Forbes Global magazine, died during a guided climb on Mount Rainier in Washington state on Aug. 2. Minard, who had been a bureau chief in London and Los Angeles, assistant managing editor, deputy managing editor and managing editor of Forbes magazine, became the first editor of Forbes Global in 1997. “Laury wonderfully personified the entrepreneurial spirit of Forbes and Forbes Global,” Steve Forbes, president and editor in chief of Forbes Inc., said in a press release. “His extraordinary intellect, unflagging energy, insatiable curiosity and impressive knowledge of business here and abroad made him a superb reporter and editor.” Milly Wohler, 79, a journalist who helped break the glass ceiling and lead The Oregonian’s coverage of travel and women’s issues into the national spotlight, died of cancer Aug. 2 in her home in Portland. Wohler retired as The Oregonian’s travel editor in 1995 after 40 years in journalism. She was one of the first women to obtain an executive title at the newspaper. After her retirement, Wohler continued to contribute stories about life and travel to the Oregonian. Her last stories ran on the last two Sundays in June. An Aug. 3 obituary quoted Sandy Rowe, editor of The Oregonian, as saying that Wohler “understood the crosscurrents of the times and helped make sure newspaper coverage reflected the richness and complexity of women’s lives. I remember Milly as the grande dame of The Oregonian – gracious, wise, witty and a wonderful influence on those around her.” Cleveland Johnson, 73, who crusaded for racial equality through his Tampa Bay-area weekly, the Weekly Challenger, died July 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla., according to The Associated Press. Over the years, Johnson wrote about the necessity for social change in the United States, the devastating effects of drugs on the black community and the virtues of black economic power. Sterling Greene Slappey, 84, a retired journalist whose career included covering the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the racial integration of the University of Mississippi, died Aug. 8 at Alexandria Hospital, according to The Washington Post. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Slappey launched his journalism career in 1945 when he joined the Atlanta Constitution. He went on to report for The Associated Press, U.S. News, the Los Angeles Times and Nation’s Business. From 1978 until his retirement in 1989, Slappey served as a media relations specialist for the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University. Robert V. Beier, 82, a pipe-puffing presence at the Albuquerque Journal for nearly three decades, died suddenly at his home on Aug. 12, according to The Associated Press. Beier handled the police and federal courts beats before becoming the Journal’s politics reporter. After attending the University of Denver, Beier had started working for United Press, followed by jobs with International News Service, a newspaper in Manhattan, Kan., and the Colorado Free Press in Colorado Springs. Beier began writing for the Journal in 1954. Robert L. Rose, 77, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, died of complications from prostate cancer at his home in Alexandria, Va., his son Michael told The Associated Press on Aug. 14. A World War II veteran, Rose spent 22 years with the now-defunct Chicago Daily News, coordinating an investigative series on organized crime and a series about providing counseling on birth control to public aid recipients in Chicago, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1963. At the Daily News, Rose is credited with advancing the career of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mike Royko by letting him write a column and for allowing noted foreign correspondent Georgie Anne Geyer to leave her city beat and take on international stories. Rose worked for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., after the Daily News shut down in 1978. Donald Woods, 67, a longtime South African newspaper editor and anti-apartheid crusader whose efforts were captured in the film “Cry Freedom,” died Aug. 19 after a long battle with cancer. Woods established the Daily Dispatch paper and edited it from 1965 to 1977, when the government placed him under effective house arrest. He escaped in 1978 by slipping past the police who were keeping vigil over his home, disguised as a priest. Woods fled to Britain, where he campaigned for a democracy in South Africa through lecture tours and news articles. Woods was closely associated with Steve Biko, a leader of South Africa’s Black Consciousness movement who died in detention after being tortured by apartheid-era security police. Kerry J. Arter, 42, an assistant news editor at The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, died Aug. 19 in Perrysburg Township, Ohio. He had gastrointestinal cancer, his wife, Marie, told The Blade. Born in Indianapolis, Arter worked as a copy editor, sports reporter and editor for the former Muncie (Ind.) Star. He also was state editor and assistant managing editor, leading the Star copy desk’s transition to pagination. In May 1996, he served on the transition team that planned the merging of Muncie’s two daily newspapers into the Muncie Star Press, of which he was eventually named deputy managing editor. He was named managing editor/presentation in January 1998. Arter began at The Blade as a copy editor in 1998 and became assistant news editor two years later. Arter’s co-workers at The Blade said that he was known for the ability to keep his sense of humor no matter what the situation.