Censorship



Globe-Times book stops the presses, Author is told
by Mike Frassinell

The Morning Call Allentown Nov 5,1995


As a molder of potential Bersteins and Breslins, Walter Brasch zealously stresses to his students the significance of freedom of the press and taking sometimes unpopular stances.

Now that he is caught amid a debate with Lehigh University over unpopular passages in a finished but unreleased book, the Bloomsburg University Journalism professor might soon be able to use a personal example in his classes.

The 50-year-old author said Lehigh, leery of repercussions from future donors, wants to quash an in-depth book he wrote about the demise of The Globe Times of Beth1eham.

"Betrayed: Death of An American Newspaper,"had been edited, complimented by three reviewers and approved by the board at Associated University Presses, a Cranberry, N.J., consortium that includes publishing factions from Lehigh and similar eastern universities.

A contract was signed last year, and the book, already listed for sale in academic catalogs, was set for release Dec. 1.

The 400-plus-page work was the result of more than 250 interviews with Globe-Times workers and community members, mornings and evenings spent at a home computer and at least 20 visits to the Lehigh Valley during five years of research.

But sometime between the contract signing and the writing of the index for the 125,000-word tome, Brasch found out that his 10th book would be delayed.

Lehigh University officials complained that the book - initially entitled, "We're Management; We Don't Have to Tell You Anything: Restructuring of an American Newspaper"- was sensationalistic."

University higher-ups, Brasch was told, were worried that the book would offend the Globe-Times Taylor family, a potential future donor to Lehigh.

 

Lehigh University agrees to publish book

PNPA Report Dec 5, 1996


Reversing an earlier decision, Lehigh University administrators agreed last month to print an unflattering book about the demise of The Globe-Times, Bethlehem.
"Betrayed: Death of An American Newspaper"was authored by Walter Brasch. The independent Lehigh University Press agreed in June of 1994 to publish the book But several weeks ago, the university wanted to drop the 400-plus-page, 125,000-word book fearing a backlash from potential donors. Some administrators said the book was "sensationalistic"and didn't want the university to be involved in the project.

That decision brought accusations of trampling on freedom of speech. Administrators reconsidered and decided to print Brasch's hook

University Provost Al Pense didn't see the book transcript until August and told Lehigh University Press that he was wary of how the public would perceive the university's role in the book.

"I discussed with them my concerns that the general public might believe the comments in the book would be Lehigh's comments,"Pense said.

But after a meeting with the Lehigh University Press editorial board, Pense said he was satisfied that readers would make the distinction between the university's publishing role and the author's role.

The university press "needs some independence,"Pense said.

The book is Brasch's 10th. He is a journalism professor at Bloomsburg University and a former newspaper editor.

"As a journalist and an educator, I am pleased that Lehigh University learned a few lessons about academic freedom and freedom of the press,"Brasch said.

"A great university must distinguish itself by a search for truth and knowledge above all other consideration."

Before Lehigh officials had expressed misgivings, the book had been edited, given three supportive reviews and approved by the board of Associated University Presses, a Cranberry, NJ., consortium that includes Lehigh University Press and publishing factions from like eastern universities.

The book is expected to retail for around $50 and be on sale in local bookstores by the end of next summer. It takes an in-depth look at the paper's decision to terminate 40 percent of it's editorial employees in 1988 and what Brasch said was the paper's inability to protect its territory from newspaper competitors

The work is the result of interviews with more than 250 Globe-Times staff members and community leaders.

John Rippey, a retired Penn State journalism professor, wrote that the book "is a micro-examination of how a respected small daily was run into the ground because of poor management decisions."

He called Brasch's account of intimidation of employees during the 1988 mass firings "chilling."

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A Cautionary Tale

Presstime March 1996


Mass firings, restructuring and layoffs aren't new to the American economy or its journalism institutions.

In 1981, the Globe-Times was the dominant newspaper in Bethlehem, Pa. it had 39,572 subscribers, about 4,000 more than normal after having scooped up readers from the recently deceased Allentown Evening Chronicle. What it did not know was that the cost of maintaining a geographically diverse population was higher than the rewards from added circulation and advertising revenue. It did not count on recession, a change in the public's newspaper reading habits and a demographic time bomb that was about to explode when advertisers increased emphasis on the quality, rather than quantity, of circulation.

Then, in 1982, the newspaper added a Sunday edition raised rates and forced readers to accept seven-day delivery. Subsequent questionable decisions by managers and good planning by the competition led the Globe-Times into crisis by mid-1988. Its circulation plummeted below 21,000, service to subscribers was poor, advertising dropped and the news operation--once one of the best--began to slide.

In its one-paper town, the Globe-Times should have had a comfortable monopoly, confronted only by weaker radio, television or billboard advertising. The Globe-Times and the nearby Easton Express, a 45,OOO circulation newspaper, had defined their geographical areas. Until the late 1970s, the principal competition facing the Globe-Times was not the Easton Express, 11 area radio stations, two Allentown TV stations, billboards and shoppers, but the Allentown newspapers.

With the larger Morning Call and its Evening Chronicle to hold the evening market, the Allentown newspapers were sleeping giants with a successful bureau in Bethlehem. By the mid-1980s, the Morning Can had a daily circulation of about 135,000, and a Sunday circulation of about 181,000, with every intention of becoming the dominant newspaper in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley. After absorbing its evening paper in 1980, the call successfully began outselling the Globe-Times in the Bethlehem City zone.

The Globe-Times' solution was a massive restructuring in 1988 and the firing of editors, reporters, senior managers and other veteran employees, many in their 4Os and 50s.

So what? In the Lehigh Valley alone, Mack Trucks and Bethlehem Steel, the two largest employers, laid off several thousand employees.

But newspapers aren't conglomerates that can simply retrain or lay off workers to meet economic realities. Only so many reporters can be laid off before coverage suffers. Knowledge of the community is as important to a journalist as technical skills, and continuity is as important to a newspaper as newsprint. Firing almost half its editorial staff for reasons of economics, personality differences and what some managers claimed to be lack of journalistic competence caused a loss in continuity, left the newspaper with no product to sell, and offended its readers. How the restructuring and firings were carried out fostered internal crisis and lack of public confidence.

For more than three years circulation continued to fall. Unable to survive the recession, and facing a stronger editorial competitor, the Globe-Times died Nov. 4, 1991.

Although it might be easy to blame the recession, changing readership patterns and stronger competition, the Globe-Times might have survived had it better understood its audience and basic journalistic principles, and carried out a few creative steps to assure its future.

The problems the Globe-Times faced are not limited to that newspaper. More than half of all U.S. dailies and almost all weeklies have circulations at or below the Globe-Times'; since 1980, more than 74 other dailies have died.

My hope is that we might learn from the G1obe-Times to prevent other newspapers from developing the problems that lead to diminished roles in their communities.


Adapted from the introduction to Betrayed: Death of an American Newspaper, a manuscript that Brasch expects to be published by Lehigh University Presses in September. Brasch claims the 1995 publication was held up by university officials who feared its publication would have inhibited fundraising.

Book about Bethlehem newspaper is scuttled

The Morning Call Allentown July 15, 1996



Any journalist worth his or her weight in typewriters has dreamed of finding a late-breaking scoop, storming into a newsroom and hollering, "Stop the presses!"

But now that the publisher of a controversial book on the demise of The Globe-Times of Bethlehem has said essentially the same thing, it has turned into more of a nightmare for author Walter Brasch.

The on-again, off-again book is off once more after Brasch, a Bloomsburg University journalism professor balked at demands from publisher Associated University Presses to secure a $5 million libel bond and to list Brasch's unnamed sources in the manuscript.

"The manuscript has been pulled because of the demands by the publisher to adhere to the $5 million bond, which is unheard of in the industry, and outrageous requests regarding manuscript changes that would violate certain journalistic standards,"Brasch said.

Things got so ridiculous at one point, he said, that a publishing lawyer required attribution for a sentence describing the color of the drapes in The Globe-Times' newsroom.

"Betrayed: Death of An American Newspaper had been edited, praised by a trio of reviewers and approved by the board of AUP, Cranbury, N.J., a consortium of publishing divisions from Lehigh and other eastern Universities. The 125,00-word book, the result of close to 300 interviews with Globe-Times' workers and community members and 20 visits to the Lehigh Valley, was to go on sale seven months ago

AUP agreed to pay Brasch a $2,000 settlement, half of which Brasch donated to the National Writers Union, a free-lance advocacy group in New York. Branch also recovered the rights to his book

AUP Director Julien Yoseloff confirmed that the book deal was dead but had no additional comment.

For AUP, which mostly deals with scholarly works unlikely to become the targets of legal action, Brasch's use of unnamed sources and the threat of lawsuits were major concerns. The proposed book mentions a sexual harassment case that forced a female employee resign and takes a critical look at the way the paper was run by management.

Brasch said that while he tried to use as few unnamed sources as possible, some of their information was vital to the book. What they had to say was more important than who said it, he determined. Brasch estimates he used no more than 40 unnamed sources and said he always checked with other sources to verify their information.

In some cases, he said, people could not be named because they still collect retirement income from the newspaper or remain in the Lehigh Valley newspaper market.

Phil Mattera, vice president of the National Writers Union and Brasch 1 s legal representative, said he had never seen a case in which the author was required to post a bond.

I think it sends a bad signal to both the publishing industry and tile public at large about the state of free speech,"Mattera said.

When a publisher feels that uncertain about the ability to publish something that might be controversial and resorts to this measure-->

Ironically, one of the reasons Brasch's book listed for the demise of The Globe-Times was the newspaper's eventual reliance on stories that did not offend.

Brasch in his book described a Globe-Times that once had a dedicated readership but failed to protect its territory when it spread its coverage area. He chronicled the events leading up to the mass firings of 40 percent of its editorial staff in 1988, a move Brasch believes deteriorated the paper's editorial quality and contributed to a loss of customers,

Brasch also saw problems with the paper's edict that weekday customers buy a Sunday paper and its reliance on gimmicks, such as a contest in which readers phoned the paper if they noticed their faces circled in crowd photographs.

Circulation, once about 30,000, was down to nearly 20,000 when the paper was sold and merged in 1991 with The Express of Easton.

Brasch, a former newspaper editor, saw in The Globe-Times' case a- metaphor for many other small American papers.

"It was one of those books that I felt needed to be published to alert the journalism profession to what was happening to itself,"said Brasch, author of nine other books, including, "Enquiring Minds and Space Aliens."

Brasch hasn't ruled out shopping the book to other publishers, but wonders whether another publisher would touch it, given AUP's' handling of it.

If the 40O-pagebook never is published, he said, the biggest lost would be the truth.

"In this litigious age, people get very afraid, and you do have a very chilling effect on the truth,"he said. "When people are afraid to write and tell the truth because of fear of what might happen, it's as, good as if they kill the truth."

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Betrayed Yet Again? 


Now for a curious horror story that is more than an entertainment

Walter Brasch--frequent columnist for this newspaper, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and author of nine published books--after five years of research into the death of the Bethlehem Globe-Times, has written a book entitled "Betrayed: The Death of an American Newspaper."In it he charges that The Globe-Times died from a number of causes, but that among these was mismanagement

Now The Globe-Times' last publisher--in the period when the mismanagement was possibly at its worst--was Nancy Adams (Ann) Taylor, who "was naive and didn't fail so much as she allowed others to make bad decisions on her behalf,"in Brasch's judgment.

Now Mrs. Taylor is a wealthy woman whose beneficence local universities and other institutions hope to attract. Having not had read Brasch's book, I have no idea whether his description of the paper's death is correct And nothing I write here should be taken as suggesting that I hold Mrs. Taylor in any way responsible for the following:

Brasch submitted the complete manuscript of "Betrayed"to Lehigh University Press. The book was first read by Philip Metzger, director of the press, then by a number of scholars who were asked to read the book without knowing the author's name, and finally by the press's editorial board. All reacted with enthusiasm and the board voted to publish. In due course, Brasch signed a contract with Associated University Presses, a consortium of about 10 East Coast University presses.

Publication on Dec. 1 was announced in the Lehigh Press catalog and the book was set in print. In keeping with the usual practice, the book in galley form was sent to the treasurer of the university for the purpose of having a lawyer assigned who would check it for possible legal problems.

Brasch says he was told by persons at Lehigh University that the university treasurer became concerned about the book's references to Mrs. Taylor, and--without consulting an attorney--sent it on to the provost of the university, Alan W. Pense.

And then, suddenly, the book was no longer on the schedule.

In a telephone interview, Lehigh University Press Director Metzger was reluctant to talk about "Betrayed"because, he said, "we are still looking at it."There were problems the nature of which he would not discuss. Asked whether those problems were editorial, he repeated that he could not comment.

Provost Pense was equally reluctant. He had been asked to read the book and found "problems"with it, he said. The only specific he would give me was that the style of the book was "sensationalistic."Asked directly whether the concern related to references to Mrs. Taylor, he said that was "possible,"but that he did not wish to discuss the problems at this time. He is to bring his concerns, he said, to a meeting of the editorial committee early this month.

Pense indicated that he may be willing to talk about the matter after the meeting.

Now, whatever the style of Brasch's book, the Lehigh University Press board-->t is charged with deciding what to publish--earlier determined that "Betrayed"was worthy of publication. The decision to at least delay, and possible prevent publication of the book under the Lehigh imprint, was taken not by the board but by Lehigh University's treasurer and provost--people not usually involved in such decisions.

Their participation in the process after contracts arc signed, is usually considered an infringement on First Amendment and academic freedom.

Brasch says that he has never been officially notified by Lehigh University that his book is not to be published, but he understands that the editorial board of Fairleigh-Dickinson University Press, Teaneck, N.J., another member in the Associated University Presses; has reviewed the manuscript, and found it to be "a substantial work of scholarship;"and has approved it for publication.

Given the facts on the record, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that Lehigh University officials are seeking to suppress "Betrayed"because they fear the effect it may have on donations they hope to receive from Mrs. Taylor.

Lehigh University may be a private university, but it receives many public benefits, tax exemption, and federal funds for student aid and research projects to name only a few. We have a right to expect that it will act as a responsible institution in a democratic society. If it discriminated against students or faculty based on religion, race or political beliefs, it rightly would be subject to criticism. If it fired a professor because of pressure from one or more contributors, outrage on behalf of academic freedom would be broadcast throughout the land.

What the university appears to have done in this instance is even worse.

Why is this a horror story? At the heart of our democracy is the right of freedom of speech and press. If we are to be allowed to hear or read only those views which are approved by the wealthy, the wealthy will, in effect, select our government for us.

Lehigh is obliged to publish books of merit without fear. For the University Press to cave in to the anticipation of pressure is beneath the dignity of a great university. It aids in the suppression of democracy and impairs our ability to learn the cause of death of the dominant paper in the Saucon Valley for most of this century.

 
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Lehigh to publish Globe-Times book

The Morning Call Allentown



Just days after being accused of trampling on freedom at speech, Lehigh University administrators have agreed to print an unflattering book about the demise of The Globe-Times of Bethlehem.

University Provost Al Pense yesterday said Lehigh will publish "Betrayed: Death of An American Newspaper"after all

Book author Walter Brasch had been told last week that the University, concerned about backlash from potential donors, wanted to drop the 400-plus page, 125,OOO~word book. The independent Lehigh University Press earlier had agreed to publish the work.

But when some Lehigh administrators complained the book was "sensationalistic,"' it looked like the university's name would not appear on the tome.

Pense, after a meeting with the Lehigh University Press editorial board yesterday, said it was important for university press to maintain its editorial freedom.

"As a journalist and an educator, I am pleased that Lehigh University learned a few lessons about academic freedom and freedom of the press ,"said Brasch, a Bloomsburg University journalist and former newspaper editor.

"A great university must distinguish itself by a search for truth and knowledge, above all other considerations."

Before Lehigh officials had expressed misgivings, the book had been edited, given three supportive reviews and approved by the board of Associated University Presses, a Cranberry, NJ, consortium that includes Lehigh University Press arid publishing factions from like eastern universities.

Brasch had signed a contract on June 9, 1994, and the book was set for release Dec. 1, 1995. Between the contract signing and the writing of the book index, Brasch was told there was a problem.

Pense, who didn't see the book transcript until August, told Lehigh University Press that he was wary of how the public would perceive the university's role in the book.

"I discussed with them my concerns that the general public might believe the comments in the book would be Lehigh's comments,"Pense said.

But after a meeting with the Lehigh University Press board yesterday, Pense was satisfied that readers would make the distinction between the university's publishing role and the author's roll.

The university press, he added, "needs some independence."

'I'm glad we resolved it, and I'm glad the [Lehigh] press is comfortable with the solution,"Pense said "I'm comfortable too."

But while it appears Lehigh will publish the book, there now is the question of what to do with Fairleigh Dickinson University's offer to publish the work, Brasch's 10th.

Fairleigh Dickinson, also a member of Associated University Presses, made the offer this week when it appeared Lehigh would drop its name from the book

Brasch said the question of who will publish the book will be answered after Associated University Presses Director Julien Yoseloff returns to his New Jersey office on Wednesday.

The book, expected to retail for around $50 and be on sale in local bookstores by the end of summer, takes an in-depth look at the paper's decision to terminate 40 percent of its editorial employees in, 1988. and what Brasch said was the paper's inability to protect its territory from newspaper competitors.

The work is the result of interviews with more than 250 Globe-Times staff members and community leaders.

"It is a micro-examination on how a respected small daily was run into the ground because of poor management decisions,"wrote retired Pennsylvania State University journalism Professor John Rippey in a review of the book.

Rippey called Brasch's account of intimidation of employees during the 1988 mass firings "chilling.""

"That chapter is worth excerpting and giving to journalism students,"noted Rippey.

As for his own students, Brasch plans to relate his own freedom of speech debate during Bloomsburg's classes next week.

 
     
 

Another Stalemate

The Valley Voice



Publication of Walt Brasch's book on the demise of the former Globe-Times of Bethlehem has encountered yet another major roadblock. The author's publisher is now requiring him to buy a $5 million liability bond and help pay for a lawyer's review before the book can appear.

The estimated cost of such a bond is $25,000. The cost of lawyering the book would he $2,500 , of which Brasch's share would be $500, Brasch said he has been told.

Brasch, a journalism professor at Bloomsburg University whose humor column frequently appears in The Valley Voice, said in a recent interview that the bond requirement was not in the book contract he signed and that the issue had not been raised until recently.

The book, "Betrayed: The Death of An American Newspaper,"was to have been published in December by Lehigh University Press.

The book charges that The Globe-Times' death was caused by a number of factors, but that among these was mismanagement. Brasch's judgment on Nancy Adams Taylor, the paper's last publisher, was that she was "naive and didn't fail so much as she allowed others to make bad judgments on her behalf."

Brasch said at the time that he was told by persons at Lehigh that the university treasurer became concerned about the book's references to Mrs. Taylor and without consulting an attorney, -sent the book on to the provost of the university, Alan W. Pense.

Though scheduled for December 1995 publication, the book did not appear.

The bond is not being required by Lehigh University but by Associated University Presses of Cranbury, NJ, a consortium of academic presses to which Lehigh belongs. Brasch's contract is with Associated University Presses, not Lehigh University Press.

"Twenty-five thousand dollars is not something I can take out of petty cash,"Brasch said. "Not many writers can. Besides, I wouldn't pay even $2 for such a bond. If people know I have a $5 million liability bond, they're going to sue me for $5 million."

He added that in the course of his career in journalism he had never heard of a book publisher requiring an author to post a bond at his or her own expense. Publishers normally purchase their own liability bonds, although as a rule book contracts require the authors to be a party to any lawsuits that may result from their work.

Brasch currently is being advised by the National Writers' Union, an advocacy group for free-lance writers headquartered in New York City and affiliated with the United Auto Workers.

Phil Mattera, the union's national book grievance officer, also knew of no cases in which the purchase of a liability bond had been required of an author.

"As far as I know, the bond demand is unprecedented and totally unreasonable,"Mattera said. "We are concerned about the censorship implications, among other things."

The union's involvement up until now has been indirect,"Mattera added. "We may get more involved at some point soon, but we haven't yet:"

Both Lehigh Provost Pense and Lehigh University Press director Philip A. Metzger expressed the attitude that the controversy was now between Brasch and Associated University Presses: Lehigh was no longer directly involved. Both also said they were aware of a bond requirement. Pense, in fact, seemed surprised when the bond matter was mentioned.

"I knew about it; didn't [Brasch]?"Pense asked.

Dr. Stephen A. Cutcliffe, a member of the Lehigh faculty press committee, said the issue of a liability bond had been raised by Julien Yoseloff, director of Associated University Presses.

Reached by phone at his office, Yoseloff declined to talk about the issue but said he would be happy to respond to any of your questions in writing."

The Valley Voice faxed Yoseloff a list of 12 questions which related to Associated University Presses policy on liability bonds, as well as to implications for freedom of speech and of the press. One of The Valley Voice's questions asked:

"Has someone placed pressure on you or anyone else at Associated University Presses to not publish Brasch's book about the death of The Globe-Times? If so, who was that and what were the circumstances and details?"

In reply, Yoseloff supplied the following statement, which he requested be printed in its entirety:

"Associated University Presses and Walter Brasch are currently in discussion in regard to certain aspects of the publication contract for his book, 'Betrayed.' These discussions are between private parties and are ongoing. As such, we consider it inappropriate to share the content of these discussions with outside parties at this time.

"These discussions have arisen as a normal part of the production process. We have not been contacted by any outside parties in regard to the matters under discussion."

Asked why he didn't simply seek another publisher, author Brasch replied: "Right now I don't have the energy to pursue other publishers."

He said Penn State University had wanted to publish the book but my first choice was Lehigh. They're an academic publisher, they're right in the area, and they wanted to do it."

Brasch noted that his contract with the Associated University Presses calls for him to receive no royalties at all on the first printing of "Betrayed."

"I didn't do this book for the money,' he asserted. "I did it because the story had to be told."


EDITOR'S NOTE: NEARLY ALL OF THE PERSONS NOW WORKING FOR THE VALLEY VOICE WERE AT ONE TIME ASSOCIATED WITH THE GLOBE-TIMES, INCLUDING THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE. JOAN CAMPION, WHO FREE-LANCED FOR THE GLOBE-TIMES, VOLUNTARILY ENDED HER CONNECTION WITH THAT PAPER ON APUL 5,1988, AFTER A MASS LAYOFF. HER ARTICLE ABOUT THE STAFF FIRINGS OF THAT DAY LED TO BRASCH LEARNING OF THE GLOBE-TIMES STORY
 
     
 

Free speech could cost author $5,000,000

Lehighton Times News



What's freedom of speech worth?

What would you pay to be able to tell the truth even if it bothered some people?

It may seem odd to be asking the price of something which is, by definition, free.

But for Walter Brasch, author of a yet-to-be-published study of the demise of the Globe-Times, a Bethlehem Newspaper, the question has become sickeningly relevant.

Free speech for him could cost $5,000,000.

That's the amount of the bond that his publisher, Associated University Presses has told him he must obtain to protect it from potential libel suits after it publishes "Betrayed: The Death of an American Newspaper.'

AUP produces and markets books for a consortium of universities, including Lehigh University in Bethlehem, which accepted Brasch's book for publication

To get the $5 million bond, the author said, would cost about $25,OOO. Or, alternatively, I could put up my house and all my personal property,"he added wryly.

So unheard of is it to ask an author to put up a $5 million libel bond that when this reporter asked Philip Mattera, grievance officer and vice president of the National Writers Union how common the practice was, he laughed. "It's very unusual to ask for any kind of bond,"he said. 'I have never heard of it before. If this became common practice, most authors would drop out of the business."

Kyle Neiderpruen, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star who heads the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, said, "what's sad here is that a lot of university presses tend to print more unusual topical and subject matter that tends to be a little more controversial, and that is what you associate with them as being bastions of freedom of thought. But that certainly doesn't seem to be happening here. "

SPJ lawyers indicated that book publishers have little to worry about regarding libel suits. "It's my impression,"she said, 'that in several cases in which publishers were sued for libel, the court held that a publisher can't be held liable unless it had a strong influence in constructing the book."That would mean things like helping to draft the content or doing some of the reporting, she said.

Brasch wrote his own book. Additionally, his contract with AUP contains an indemnification clause, in which he promises to pay all the costs of defending against any libel suit.

A former reporter and editor, now a syndicated columnist, journalism professor at Bloomsburg University and an author of nine other books, Brasch spent six years during which he interviewed more than 200 people to write the story of the Globe-Times.

In 1988, the Globe-Times was a respected small Bethlehem newspaper of which one former editor, John Strohmeyer, had won a Pulitzer Prize and served for some years on the Pulitzer Committee. But he left the newspaper in the mid-'80s.

The paper had a circulation in 1988 of about 35,000 when, it brought in a security company to patrol the property one day, and proceeded to lay-off 15 percent of its staff. Newspaper layoffs have become old news since, but in 1988, the fact that it was done and the manner in which it was carried out were shocking enough to shake newsrooms around the Northeast.

Over the years that followed, the paper lost 42 percent of its circulation for various reasons described in 'Betrayed,"and was bought by the Express, an Easton paper, in November 1991.

When Brasch began his research and first called this reporter, who was one or about 12 in the paper's editorial department who were cut, he was planning to do an article about the layoffs.

But as time passed, the author said he realized the paper was going to fail and decided to follow it to the end, which turned out to be its purchase by the Express.

When the book was finished in 1992, Brasch presented it to Lehigh University for publication. The university eventually agreed to publish it. Brasch's contract, which is with AUP, is dated June 9, 1994

Some time before that, he had had a Penn State lawyer read, "a very firm first draft"for libel.

"It came back,"he said, "with three pages of comments that said things like, 'Add he said.' I had it all done in a couple of days. "

The book also had been sent out to reviewers, who praised it. While lamenting its length, they called it "an important book in the field"said it had "extensive thoughtful analysis,"was "loaded with human interest anecdotes,"and sound scholarship.

Nevertheless, in the fall of 1995, things started to go sour. The book was already in galleys, the cover designed, and Brasch said he had been asked to save some time in July 1995 to do the index. The book was planned to come out in time to catch some of the Christmas trade.

"So I blocked out some time in late July, but I didn't hear anything,"the author said in a telephone interview. "I called and asked questions, but no one would give me any answers."

What happened, Brasch found out, was that, AUP had asked Lehigh's press board to have the book lawyered there. The press board sent the manuscript to the treasurer, who controls access to Lehigh's lawyers. The treasurer read it and said it was terrible, that it could anger people and restrict donations to the university. Ann Taylor, the wealthy former publisher of the newspaper, lives in Bethlehem.

The treasurer sent the book to the provost. The provost called it sensationalistic, and said the university shouldn't publish anything like that

"I was told at one point that Lehigh was going to kill the book,"Brasch said.

Several days after that news became public at the beginning of November, the university announced that it did intend to publish the book. And within a few days of that, Brasch received the letter asking for the $5 million bond.

Since then, Brasch also has been asked to pay $500 of an estimated $2,OOO fee for a libel lawyer AUP has gotten to read the book.

Brasch said he researched carefully and followed standard journalistic practice in getting facts confirmed. He also mailed out passages in which they were quoted to 200 people to assure he had quoted them correctly.

When Julien Yoseloff, director of AUP, was asked how frequently they demand libel bonds of their authors, he answered with a prepared statement, saying that, AUP and Walter Brasch are currently in discussions with regard to certain aspects of the publication contract for his book. These discussions are between private parties and are ongoing. As such, we consider it inappropriate to share the content of the discussions with outside parties at this time. These discussions have arisen as a normal part of the production process. We have not been contacted by any outside parties in regard to the matters under discussion."Yoseloff said that last sentence was included because he has been asked whether outside pressure has been exerted not to publish the book. He would not reply to any other questions.

Lehigh takes a similar position, suggesting that nothing unusual has happened. Regarding the $5 million bond, Ron Ticho, vice president for university affairs, said, "It's not our position to comment on that. That's a matter between Walter Brasch and AUP."

Asked whether Lehigh is concerned about the effect publication might have on its donations, Ticho replied, "I think the question is irrelevant. If the book has merit, then it should be published."

The book was reviewed by the press board, he said, "and after a lot of discussion was approved and sent on to AUP."

But when asked how it happened that the last November's discussions took place a year and a half after the contract was signed, Ticho said he wasn't in his current job at the time. "I don't have the exact dates,' he said.

He said the university has no treasurer.

He also suggested that this reporter's writing this story is improper. Aren't you worried about conflict of interest?"he asked.

It would be hard to see the publication of a book as a benefit to a reporter, who appears in it not because of skill, but because of having been in a group who were laid-off.

Mattera of the Writers Union said he thinks the bond is a ploy to get Brasch to withdraw his manuscript, implying that the publisher is showing excessive timidity.

The law is greatly weighted in favor of free speech, he said. For a statement to be libelous, not only must it be untrue, but its author has to have known it was untrue when he wrote it and used it anyway.

"I feel publishers have to have a certain amount of courage in defending free speech rights,"Mattera said. "Some libel suits are really just harassment

"You can't let the lawyers control the process. There are times when you have to take risks. Just because statements are critical doesn't mean its libel."

Brasch, asked whether he thinks his 125,000-word, 400-page book ever will he published, said, "Who knows? I don't know, and at this point, I don't even care. Because at this point, I don't think my publisher's going to have the courage even to defend the book from frivolous lawsuits and a writer depends upon a publisher to do that."

 
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Lehigh to publish Globe-Times book

The Morning Call Allentown



Just days after being accused of trampling on freedom at speech, Lehigh University administrators have agreed to print an unflattering book about the demise of The Globe-Times of Bethlehem.

University Provost Al Pense yesterday said Lehigh will publish "Betrayed: Death of An American Newspaper"after all

Book author Walter Brasch had been told last week that the University, concerned about backlash from potential donors, wanted to drop the 400-plus page, 125,OOO~word book. The independent Lehigh University Press earlier had agreed to publish the work.

But when some Lehigh administrators complained the book was "sensationalistic,"' it looked like the university's name would not appear on the tome.

Pense, after a meeting with the Lehigh University Press editorial board yesterday, said it was important for university press to maintain its editorial freedom.

"As a journalist and an educator, I am pleased that Lehigh University learned a few lessons about academic freedom and freedom of the press ,"said Brasch, a Bloomsburg University journalist and former newspaper editor.

"A great university must distinguish itself by a search for truth and knowledge, above all other considerations."

Before Lehigh officials had expressed misgivings, the book had been edited, given three supportive reviews and approved by the board of Associated University Presses, a Cranberry, NJ, consortium that includes Lehigh University Press arid publishing factions from like eastern universities.

Brasch had signed a contract on June 9, 1994, and the book was set for release Dec. 1, 1995. Between the contract signing and the writing of the book index, Brasch was told there was a problem.

Pense, who didn't see the book transcript until August, told Lehigh University Press that he was wary of how the public would perceive the university's role in the book.

"I discussed with them my concerns that the general public might believe the comments in the book would be Lehigh's comments,"Pense said.

But after a meeting with the Lehigh University Press board yesterday, Pense was satisfied that readers would make the distinction between the university's publishing role and the author's roll.

The university press, he added, "needs some independence."

'I'm glad we resolved it, and I'm glad the [Lehigh] press is comfortable with the solution,"Pense said "I'm comfortable too."

But while it appears Lehigh will publish the book, there now is the question of what to do with Fairleigh Dickinson University's offer to publish the work, Brasch's 10th.

Fairleigh Dickinson, also a member of Associated University Presses, made the offer this week when it appeared Lehigh would drop its name from the book

Brasch said the question of who will publish the book will be answered after Associated University Presses Director Julien Yoseloff returns to his New Jersey office on Wednesday.

The book, expected to retail for around $50 and be on sale in local bookstores by the end of summer, takes an in-depth look at the paper's decision to terminate 40 percent of its editorial employees in, 1988. and what Brasch said was the paper's inability to protect its territory from newspaper competitors.

The work is the result of interviews with more than 250 Globe-Times staff members and community leaders.

"It is a micro-examination on how a respected small daily was run into the ground because of poor management decisions,"wrote retired Pennsylvania State University journalism Professor John Rippey in a review of the book.

Rippey called Brasch's account of intimidation of employees during the 1988 mass firings "chilling.""

"That chapter is worth excerpting and giving to journalism students,"noted Rippey.

As for his own students, Brasch plans to relate his own freedom of speech debate during Bloomsburg's classes next week.

 

Another Stalemate

The Valley Voice



Publication of Walt Brasch's book on the demise of the former Globe-Times of Bethlehem has encountered yet another major roadblock. The author's publisher is now requiring him to buy a $5 million liability bond and help pay for a lawyer's review before the book can appear.

The estimated cost of such a bond is $25,000. The cost of lawyering the book would he $2,500 , of which Brasch's share would be $500, Brasch said he has been told.

Brasch, a journalism professor at Bloomsburg University whose humor column frequently appears in The Valley Voice, said in a recent interview that the bond requirement was not in the book contract he signed and that the issue had not been raised until recently.

The book, "Betrayed: The Death of An American Newspaper,"was to have been published in December by Lehigh University Press.

The book charges that The Globe-Times' death was caused by a number of factors, but that among these was mismanagement. Brasch's judgment on Nancy Adams Taylor, the paper's last publisher, was that she was "naive and didn't fail so much as she allowed others to make bad judgments on her behalf."

Brasch said at the time that he was told by persons at Lehigh that the university treasurer became concerned about the book's references to Mrs. Taylor and without consulting an attorney, -sent the book on to the provost of the university, Alan W. Pense.

Though scheduled for December 1995 publication, the book did not appear.

The bond is not being required by Lehigh University but by Associated University Presses of Cranbury, NJ, a consortium of academic presses to which Lehigh belongs. Brasch's contract is with Associated University Presses, not Lehigh University Press.

"Twenty-five thousand dollars is not something I can take out of petty cash,"Brasch said. "Not many writers can. Besides, I wouldn't pay even $2 for such a bond. If people know I have a $5 million liability bond, they're going to sue me for $5 million."

He added that in the course of his career in journalism he had never heard of a book publisher requiring an author to post a bond at his or her own expense. Publishers normally purchase their own liability bonds, although as a rule book contracts require the authors to be a party to any lawsuits that may result from their work.

Brasch currently is being advised by the National Writers' Union, an advocacy group for free-lance writers headquartered in New York City and affiliated with the United Auto Workers.

Phil Mattera, the union's national book grievance officer, also knew of no cases in which the purchase of a liability bond had been required of an author.

"As far as I know, the bond demand is unprecedented and totally unreasonable,"Mattera said. "We are concerned about the censorship implications, among other things."

The union's involvement up until now has been indirect,"Mattera added. "We may get more involved at some point soon, but we haven't yet:"

Both Lehigh Provost Pense and Lehigh University Press director Philip A. Metzger expressed the attitude that the controversy was now between Brasch and Associated University Presses: Lehigh was no longer directly involved. Both also said they were aware of a bond requirement. Pense, in fact, seemed surprised when the bond matter was mentioned.

"I knew about it; didn't [Brasch]?"Pense asked.

Dr. Stephen A. Cutcliffe, a member of the Lehigh faculty press committee, said the issue of a liability bond had been raised by Julien Yoseloff, director of Associated University Presses.

Reached by phone at his office, Yoseloff declined to talk about the issue but said he would be happy to respond to any of your questions in writing."

The Valley Voice faxed Yoseloff a list of 12 questions which related to Associated University Presses policy on liability bonds, as well as to implications for freedom of speech and of the press. One of The Valley Voice's questions asked:

"Has someone placed pressure on you or anyone else at Associated University Presses to not publish Brasch's book about the death of The Globe-Times? If so, who was that and what were the circumstances and details?"

In reply, Yoseloff supplied the following statement, which he requested be printed in its entirety:

"Associated University Presses and Walter Brasch are currently in discussion in regard to certain aspects of the publication contract for his book, 'Betrayed.' These discussions are between private parties and are ongoing. As such, we consider it inappropriate to share the content of these discussions with outside parties at this time.

"These discussions have arisen as a normal part of the production process. We have not been contacted by any outside parties in regard to the matters under discussion."

Asked why he didn't simply seek another publisher, author Brasch replied: "Right now I don't have the energy to pursue other publishers."

He said Penn State University had wanted to publish the book but my first choice was Lehigh. They're an academic publisher, they're right in the area, and they wanted to do it."

Brasch noted that his contract with the Associated University Presses calls for him to receive no royalties at all on the first printing of "Betrayed."

"I didn't do this book for the money,' he asserted. "I did it because the story had to be told."


EDITOR'S NOTE: NEARLY ALL OF THE PERSONS NOW WORKING FOR THE VALLEY VOICE WERE AT ONE TIME ASSOCIATED WITH THE GLOBE-TIMES, INCLUDING THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE. JOAN CAMPION, WHO FREE-LANCED FOR THE GLOBE-TIMES, VOLUNTARILY ENDED HER CONNECTION WITH THAT PAPER ON APUL 5,1988, AFTER A MASS LAYOFF. HER ARTICLE ABOUT THE STAFF FIRINGS OF THAT DAY LED TO BRASCH LEARNING OF THE GLOBE-TIMES STORY
 

Free speech could cost author $5,000,000

Lehighton Times News



What's freedom of speech worth?

What would you pay to be able to tell the truth even if it bothered some people?

It may seem odd to be asking the price of something which is, by definition, free.

But for Walter Brasch, author of a yet-to-be-published study of the demise of the Globe-Times, a Bethlehem Newspaper, the question has become sickeningly relevant.

Free speech for him could cost $5,000,000.

That's the amount of the bond that his publisher, Associated University Presses has told him he must obtain to protect it from potential libel suits after it publishes "Betrayed: The Death of an American Newspaper.'

AUP produces and markets books for a consortium of universities, including Lehigh University in Bethlehem, which accepted Brasch's book for publication

To get the $5 million bond, the author said, would cost about $25,OOO. Or, alternatively, I could put up my house and all my personal property,"he added wryly.

So unheard of is it to ask an author to put up a $5 million libel bond that when this reporter asked Philip Mattera, grievance officer and vice president of the National Writers Union how common the practice was, he laughed. "It's very unusual to ask for any kind of bond,"he said. 'I have never heard of it before. If this became common practice, most authors would drop out of the business."

Kyle Neiderpruen, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star who heads the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, said, "what's sad here is that a lot of university presses tend to print more unusual topical and subject matter that tends to be a little more controversial, and that is what you associate with them as being bastions of freedom of thought. But that certainly doesn't seem to be happening here. "

SPJ lawyers indicated that book publishers have little to worry about regarding libel suits. "It's my impression,"she said, 'that in several cases in which publishers were sued for libel, the court held that a publisher can't be held liable unless it had a strong influence in constructing the book."That would mean things like helping to draft the content or doing some of the reporting, she said.

Brasch wrote his own book. Additionally, his contract with AUP contains an indemnification clause, in which he promises to pay all the costs of defending against any libel suit.

A former reporter and editor, now a syndicated columnist, journalism professor at Bloomsburg University and an author of nine other books, Brasch spent six years during which he interviewed more than 200 people to write the story of the Globe-Times.

In 1988, the Globe-Times was a respected small Bethlehem newspaper of which one former editor, John Strohmeyer, had won a Pulitzer Prize and served for some years on the Pulitzer Committee. But he left the newspaper in the mid-'80s.

The paper had a circulation in 1988 of about 35,000 when, it brought in a security company to patrol the property one day, and proceeded to lay-off 15 percent of its staff. Newspaper layoffs have become old news since, but in 1988, the fact that it was done and the manner in which it was carried out were shocking enough to shake newsrooms around the Northeast.

Over the years that followed, the paper lost 42 percent of its circulation for various reasons described in 'Betrayed,"and was bought by the Express, an Easton paper, in November 1991.

When Brasch began his research and first called this reporter, who was one or about 12 in the paper's editorial department who were cut, he was planning to do an article about the layoffs.

But as time passed, the author said he realized the paper was going to fail and decided to follow it to the end, which turned out to be its purchase by the Express.

When the book was finished in 1992, Brasch presented it to Lehigh University for publication. The university eventually agreed to publish it. Brasch's contract, which is with AUP, is dated June 9, 1994

Some time before that, he had had a Penn State lawyer read, "a very firm first draft"for libel.

"It came back,"he said, "with three pages of comments that said things like, 'Add he said.' I had it all done in a couple of days. "

The book also had been sent out to reviewers, who praised it. While lamenting its length, they called it "an important book in the field"said it had "extensive thoughtful analysis,"was "loaded with human interest anecdotes,"and sound scholarship.

Nevertheless, in the fall of 1995, things started to go sour. The book was already in galleys, the cover designed, and Brasch said he had been asked to save some time in July 1995 to do the index. The book was planned to come out in time to catch some of the Christmas trade.

"So I blocked out some time in late July, but I didn't hear anything,"the author said in a telephone interview. "I called and asked questions, but no one would give me any answers."

What happened, Brasch found out, was that, AUP had asked Lehigh's press board to have the book lawyered there. The press board sent the manuscript to the treasurer, who controls access to Lehigh's lawyers. The treasurer read it and said it was terrible, that it could anger people and restrict donations to the university. Ann Taylor, the wealthy former publisher of the newspaper, lives in Bethlehem.

The treasurer sent the book to the provost. The provost called it sensationalistic, and said the university shouldn't publish anything like that

"I was told at one point that Lehigh was going to kill the book,"Brasch said.

Several days after that news became public at the beginning of November, the university announced that it did intend to publish the book. And within a few days of that, Brasch received the letter asking for the $5 million bond.

Since then, Brasch also has been asked to pay $500 of an estimated $2,OOO fee for a libel lawyer AUP has gotten to read the book.

Brasch said he researched carefully and followed standard journalistic practice in getting facts confirmed. He also mailed out passages in which they were quoted to 200 people to assure he had quoted them correctly.

When Julien Yoseloff, director of AUP, was asked how frequently they demand libel bonds of their authors, he answered with a prepared statement, saying that, AUP and Walter Brasch are currently in discussions with regard to certain aspects of the publication contract for his book. These discussions are between private parties and are ongoing. As such, we consider it inappropriate to share the content of the discussions with outside parties at this time. These discussions have arisen as a normal part of the production process. We have not been contacted by any outside parties in regard to the matters under discussion."Yoseloff said that last sentence was included because he has been asked whether outside pressure has been exerted not to publish the book. He would not reply to any other questions.

Lehigh takes a similar position, suggesting that nothing unusual has happened. Regarding the $5 million bond, Ron Ticho, vice president for university affairs, said, "It's not our position to comment on that. That's a matter between Walter Brasch and AUP."

Asked whether Lehigh is concerned about the effect publication might have on its donations, Ticho replied, "I think the question is irrelevant. If the book has merit, then it should be published."

The book was reviewed by the press board, he said, "and after a lot of discussion was approved and sent on to AUP."

But when asked how it happened that the last November's discussions took place a year and a half after the contract was signed, Ticho said he wasn't in his current job at the time. "I don't have the exact dates,' he said.

He said the university has no treasurer.

He also suggested that this reporter's writing this story is improper. Aren't you worried about conflict of interest?"he asked.

It would be hard to see the publication of a book as a benefit to a reporter, who appears in it not because of skill, but because of having been in a group who were laid-off.

Mattera of the Writers Union said he thinks the bond is a ploy to get Brasch to withdraw his manuscript, implying that the publisher is showing excessive timidity.

The law is greatly weighted in favor of free speech, he said. For a statement to be libelous, not only must it be untrue, but its author has to have known it was untrue when he wrote it and used it anyway.

"I feel publishers have to have a certain amount of courage in defending free speech rights,"Mattera said. "Some libel suits are really just harassment

"You can't let the lawyers control the process. There are times when you have to take risks. Just because statements are critical doesn't mean its libel."

Brasch, asked whether he thinks his 125,000-word, 400-page book ever will he published, said, "Who knows? I don't know, and at this point, I don't even care. Because at this point, I don't think my publisher's going to have the courage even to defend the book from frivolous lawsuits and a writer depends upon a publisher to do that."