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  • July 30, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The New York Times, if you haven't heard, is reporting that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are among the roughly 100 Major Leaguers who tested positive for performance-enhacing drugs in what was supposed to be a confidential test in 2003.

    Manny, we already knew about. But Papi. Oh, Papi. Your recent decline on the field was disheartening, but at least we could understand it.

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  • July 29, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    After the latest round of layoffs at the Providence Journal this Spring, a certain calm took hold on Fountain Street. Maybe the worst was behind the paper. This week, reason for renewed anxiety: the latest round of numbers from A.H. Belo, the ProJo's parent company, are not good.

    A.H. Belo's second-quarter losses, detailed here by the Providence Business News, are more than double what they were a year ago.

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  • July 28, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    In case you missed it, Brown University professor Glenn C. Loury had a powerful op-ed in the New York Times over the weekend on the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

    Loury, a black man who has had his own run-ins with the law, bemoans the simplistic, predictable quality of the debate on race and law enforcement that has sprouted up around the incident.

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  • July 27, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    I can zone out to SportsCenter, ESPN's daily highlight reel, with the best of 'em. But the network's latest foray, creating localized sports web sites that will go head-to-head with local television and newspapers - if predictable - is upsetting. For anyone with a rooting interest in the local news, sports is an important franchise - a reason to tune in to a stripped-down 11 o'clock News or to buy a diminished morning paper.

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  • July 24, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    When Barack Obama gave his pivotal speech on race during the presidential campaign, he set what much of the country hoped would be a new standard. Here was a nuanced speech that went beyond the usual platitudes, that avoided easy divisions, that looked at the impact of a racist history on 21st Century blacks and understood the grievances of blue-collar whites in an era of affirmative action.

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  • July 23, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Two days ago, pro-life Congressman Jim Langevin and four other Democrats - with mixed views on abortion - sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi worried that abortion politics could derail health care reform.

    Republicans, seizing on an opportunity to sink President Obama's health care push, have suggested that reform packages making their way through Congress could lead to a sort of stealth federal funding of abortion.

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  • July 23, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Really no downside on this one. Expect more outrage from on high. Here's the press release from City Hall:

    Councilman Michael Solomon, Chairman of the Committee on Ordinances, announced that he has submitted legislation to prohibit minors from working at adult entertainment venues in the city of Providence. The ordinance will be introduced at the Council’s special meeting on Monday evening.

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  • July 23, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    I reported in this space yesterday that John J. Palumbo, long-time president and publisher of Rhode Island Monthly magazine, took out $525,000 in U.S. Small Business Administration-backed loans to purchase the magazine from the Providence Journal.

    A ProJo story on the sale, which did not mention the loan amount or sales price, reported that the loans accounted for 90 percent of the sales price.

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  • July 22, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    John J. Palumbo, long-time president and publisher of Rhode Island Monthly magazine, took out $525,000 in U.S. Small Business Administration-backed loans to purchase the publication from the Providence Journal.

    The ProJo reported agreement on the sale this weekend, with the deal to close sometime this week.

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  • July 22, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Robinson Ewert, co-owner of ABC6, has left the station. "He resigned and we wish him well," said Kevin P. O'Brien, Ewert's former partner, declining to elaborate.

    Industry sources say the station announced the move to employees a couple of weeks ago.

    O'Brien, a former president of Meredith Broadcasting Group, worked with Ewert during his Meredith days.

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  • July 22, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The most significant, if least-noticed, part of the Providence Journal's redesign is the axing of the business section. The paper is keeping business coverage in place, but it is scattering stories - local business news in the new, local-heavy A section and national, wire-service pieces in the new national, wire service-heavy B section.

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  • July 22, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Congressman Jim Langevin, a pro-life Democrat, is among a group of five Congressmen - with mixed views on abortion - who sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi yesterday voicing concern that the abortion debate could scuttle health care reform.

    Republicans, eager to derail the Democratic-led health care push, have suggested the reform package inching its way through Congress could lead to federal funding of abortion through private insurers which participate in proposed insurance exchanges.

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  • July 21, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Boston Newspaper Guild, the largest union at the Boston Globe, approved a concessions package by a 366 to 179 vote yesterday that includes pay cuts, unpaid vacation, and cuts in health and retirement benefits with a net value of $10 million.

    The vote, which came a month after the union rejected an initial concessions package, could clear the way for the New York Times Co.

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  • July 21, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Those of you who still read the paper version of the Providence Journal - and there are some of us left - will notice a redesign today that speaks volumes about the direction of the newspaper industry.

    Newspapers, under assault from the Internet, have become increasingly local creatures in a bid to remain relevant and profitable.

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  • July 20, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Three months after the Phoenix Media/Communications Group announced a handful of layoffs and pay cuts of two to 10 percent (with heftier reductions for some top-tier managers), there are more reductions on the way.

    Brad Mindich, chairman of the company, sent an email to employees today with word of 10 percent cuts over the next three months for all salaried employees.

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