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Marty Hurney - Meet The Journalist Who Drafted 8 Panthers Pro Bowlers

If the Panthers win it all this season, he won't receive a Super Bowl ring. But he played a major role in assembling the team with the best regular season record in 2015, acquiring eight of the 10 Pro Bowlers on the roster, including likely MVP Cam Newton, and hiring Ron Rivera, the likely Coach of the Year.

Reached by phone, former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney declined to comment on his role in constructing the 15-1 Panthers, modestly saying all credit should go to current Carolina GM Dave Gettleman.

"That's the kind of guy Marty is," said former general manager Bobby Beathard, who guided the Redskins to three Super Bowls.

A journalist by trade, Hurney worked for the Montgomery Journal in Silver Spring, Md. In 1978 he moved to The Washington Star. After covering the Redskins for The Washington Times, the former college football player at Catholic University in Washington D.C. began the unusual career jump from sports writer to NFL general manager. That path was more common in the early 20th century but is nearly unheard of in modern-day sports.

Hurney, though, impressed Beathard as a reporter. While other writers focused on churning out copy to meet deadline, he had an intellectual curiosity and took time to delve into deeper topics. He became particularly intrigued with scouting and the draft, how they picked players and -- especially -- the financial ramifications of those moves.

"He was always more interested than everyone else," Beathard said. "His interest went beyond getting the story, and we became pretty good friends."

Hurney started working for the Redskins’ public relations department, and then in 1990, Beathard brought him to San Diego where Hurney negotiated player contracts and served as a capologist.

Attribution: Jeff Fedotin,

Full Story: Journalist General Manager

Newspapers’ big challenge: Learning to compete

The day was August 7, 1981. The Washington Post newsroom was jubilant. The Washington Star, only years earlier the city’s leading newspaper, abruptly ceased publishing that day. The Post had whipped it, toe to toe, first crippling it and then killing it under the leadership of brilliant Watergate editor Ben Bradlee.

The Post in just a few years had become a newspaper of legend. It was a legendary victory.
newsbug newspapers
They can and should survive going head-to head with their digital rivals

But not everyone at the Post was jubilant. Cooler minds saw trouble ahead. They were right.

Once the scrappy underdog, daring to challenge the order of things, daring to shock, the Post in an instant had become a 900 pound gorilla, the sole voice in Washington.

The dread among those cooler minds was that the 900-pound gorilla, with no one to scrap with, would doze off, go to sleep, in effect become like so many other papers in one-newspaper towns across America.

They knew this about newspapers: They are meant to compete. It’s in their DNA. Competition is vital to any industry, but it’s absolutely vital in media, and most so for newspapers.

Its absence leads to sloth, a disconnection with communities and, worse, arrogance, most especially arrogance.

In many ways the decline of competition–what those cooler minds worried about–laid the groundwork for the problems newspapers face today.

Back in 1981 newspapers were making tons of money, with profit margins running as high as 40 percent, But they had stopped innovating. They had become in effect unregulated public utilities.

It was now all about driving profits, and that often meant abandoning marginal, smaller advertisers for the big spenders. News operations were regarded as a necessary expense, the reader an afterthought.

That created a perfect environment for the digital players when the internet came along the following decade.

Attribution: Editors,

Full Story: Digital Rivals

Tom Fox - NCR veteran decides to take 'rewirement'

Tom Fox is retiring as NCR publisher (2008 file photo)
The call came 36 years ago this month. It was the always-scheming Arthur Jones. He said he would be in Washington, wanted to sit down at the National Press Club over lunch. Jones was NCR editor; I was then an editor at The Washington Star. I’d written for NCR over the years and always enjoyed Jones’ edgy journalism style.
We had corresponded over the years and had met once, in Rome, during the conclave following Pope Paul VI’s death in 1978. He was there for NCR; I, for the Detroit Free Press, where I was a reporter before coming to the Star.

Over lunch at the Press Club in January 1980, Jones asked if I might consider coming to Kansas City, Mo., as NCR editor. As I had just come to Washington 18 months before, I told him the timing was bad.

He was persistent. Two months later, he called again. “There’s no other journalism position in America with the freedom and satisfaction of NCR editor,” he again said. Would I consider coming to Kansas City, just to look around?

Well, you know where this story went...

Oh, the rich memories.

I have been blessed over these past 36 years. Alas, it’s time to move on to the next phase in my life. Some might call it “retirement.” I prefer to call it “rewirement.”

I leave with a sense of gratitude to NCR board and staff, who have cooperated so amazingly to grow the NCR mission. I am keenly aware this could not have happened without the support of our readers. You make up the NCR family. Know how grateful I am. Please continue to support NCR.

Attribution: Tom Fox,

Full Story:
Tom Fox "rewirement"

New "Star People" Picasa Photo Album Created

FYI - The Picasa "Images" Album needed an early spring clean up (close to 500 photos). Events and activities will still be kept their. I have moved most reference personnel shots over to a new album called "Star People" that is only available to those with the link. I will supply the link in the Quarterly Updates. Please remember there is already an "Obits" photo album.

Anyone who has a recent photo of themselves they wish to add, please email me:

Star People -

Pulitzer Prize winner David Shribman - Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport on February 10 at 7:00 pm.

Newport ~ Veteran journalists Cynthia Skrzycki and Pulitzer Prize winner David Shribman will take a critical look at the state of news today in a talk at Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport on February 10 at 7:00 pm. Their talk, “Confused by the News?” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public. (Please note this talk takes place on a special date on the second Wednesday of February.)

Skrzycki and Shribman’s talk will examine the contemporary news scene with an eye to helping people discern truth from untruth, professional from amateur, and the enduring from the ephemeral.

Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He came to Pittsburgh from The Boston Globe where he was assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief. He served as national political correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, covered Congress and national politics for The New York Times, and was a member of the national staff of The Washington Star. Mr. Shribman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his coverage of Washington and the American political scene.

Attribution: Jeff Euber,

Full Article: Confused by the News?

When Michael Oberman Met David Bowie

At the time, Oberman was working as a music journalist for the now-defunct Washington Star—a position he took over for his older brother, Ron, who went to Chicago to work for Mercury Records, Bowie's American label. It was fortuitous timing for the Oberman family: Ron's plans to bring Bowie over for his first American publicity tour coincided with a trip home to visit the family. Thus, Ron could visit with his family and get Bowie his first bit of American interviews for The Man Who Sold The World—with Michael, who had been following and writing about Bowie's career already for the past three years. "I drove my parents to the airport and I explained to them who David Bowie was," Oberman says.

Since Bowie's passing, Oberman—who's now 68—has been reflecting on the Thin White Duke's life and art. "For me, his loss is more meaningful than a lot of rock 'n' roll artists that have died," he says. "The fact that David lived his life with cancer for 18 months—released his album and did all the things he did... he did more in the 18 months of having cancer than many people do in ten years. I feel honored, I feel lucky that someone who became a bright star spent some time with an American family... my family."

Attribution: Matt Cohen -

Full story: When David Bowie Came to Silver Spring


Derek Jeter’s “The Players’ Tribune” has become a remarkable success on several levels, attracting millions in investment from both outside venture capital firms and athletes, drawing site-crashing traffic, and even looking to start a restaurant chain. Sports Business Journal‘s Liz Mullen has an excellent feature on the site, where it’s come from, and where it’s going (including a plan to potentially take it public in a few years), but what really stands out are the comments from editorial director Gary Hoenig (a veteran of ESPN The Magazine,  The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Washington Star) on why so many athletes are opening up to TPT:

“What I thought would be really hard was to get athletes to trust us and really get them to tell their stories, and that turned out to be a lot easier than I thought,” he said.

That trust, he says — echoed by others at The Players’ Tribune — has a lot to do with the state of the traditional sports media environment.

“It’s toxic right now,” Hoenig said. “The level of trust is very low.

Attribution: Andrew Bucholtz,
Full story: Players' Tribune