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FORMER 'STAR' METRO EDITOR KONSKI DIES

Tim Konski, who worked for the Arizona Daily Star as a metro editor, among other duties, and taught journalism courses at the UA, died Feb. 28 in Delaware. He was 53.

Konski, or Koncki (the family's preferred spelling in his obituary), spent 30 years in the journalism profession. He was at the Star from the late-1990s to the mid-2000s before accepting a position as assistant city editor at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.

"Tim was great to work with and had an enormous strength of spirit and tenderness of heart—valued traits in the newsroom habitat," said News Journal reporter Beth Miller via email. "He also cared about quality journalism and understood what it takes to produce it."

The family did not disclose the cause of death.


THE 'STAR' PAYWALL IS COMING ... PROBABLY

Following in the footsteps of numerous major newspapers nationally, Lee Enterprises has announced plans to expand its paywall subscription model. How that affects the Arizona Daily Star has yet to be officially announced.

Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, is already utilizing an online-subscription approach for a few of its papers. The rollout took hold at newspapers in Montana and Wyoming in August.

The model is typical of approaches at other newspapers: Readers get free access to a limited amount of stories over the course of a month. Once they reach a certain level—20 stories, for instance—further online access requires a paid subscription. One such plan, at the Billings Gazette in Billings, Mont., costs $19.50 annually for print subscribers, and $69.50 a year for online-only access.

Lee CEO Mary Junck said at a stockholders' meeting last week that digital advertising revenue was not hurt by the paywall move, and that page views remained strong.

However, Lee's overall revenues continued to slide. Lee revenue dipped nearly 4 percent in its second quarter, which ended March 25. That follows a 4 percent revenue dip in the previous quarter.


KGUN HIRES SPORTS DIRECTOR

The search for Dave Silver's replacement is over: KGUN Channel 9 has gone cross-country and nabbed Jason Barr to fill the position Silver locked down for 28 years.

Barr recently obtained an MBA from the University of North Carolina. Before that, he had stints at WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va.; and at Time Warner Cable's 24-hour news channel in Albany, N.Y.

Barr will fill the sports-anchor chair Monday through Friday while Jake Knapp, now in his sixth year at the station, maintains his position as the weekend sports anchor and weekday sports reporter. If fill-in situations are necessary, Jody Oehler remains available. Oehler, who hosts The Happy Hour at KFFN AM 1450 AM/FM 104.9 on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., stepped in from time to time during the three-month search to replace Silver, who left for a job with the University of Arizona Foundation.


OSER COULD FACE MAJOR REVENUE HIT

The want ads have become required reading for the 300 or so Tucson-area media professionals hit by downsizing in the last three years. And among the ads for copy editors on Craigslist or account executives posted at CareerBuilder.com, there will undoubtedly be some ads from Oser Communications Group.

Oser, which publishes magazines for trade shows, has a reputation for cutting through its work force like a man wielding a machete in a meadow full of daffodils. However, Oser may finally be feeling some brush-back.

The company has had numerous documented entanglements with trade shows and advertisers upset with the way it does business. And the trade show of all trade shows, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is hoping a scheduled October court date will result in a dramatic limit to Oser's presence at the show.

Attorneys for CES, which is held each January, argue that Oser's publications are marketed in a way that suggests they are officially sanctioned by the trade show. The attorneys also hypothesize that when Oser's sales reps contact potential advertisers, they don't mention whether they're with an official or unofficial publication. They simply say the trade magazine is handed out on the showroom floor and distributed in hotels.

As a result, the lawyers say, advertisers book with Oser, thinking it's the official publication—and end up complaining to the trade show when they find out it's not.

Oser's advertiser contracts state that the Oser-produced magazine is not the official trade-show publication, but CES lawyers argue that it is not made clear in sales presentations.

Since 2002, according to the WestlawNext legal database, Oser has been involved in 39 lawsuits as a plaintiff or a defendant. The organization has had run-ins with the Solar Energy Trade Show, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores and others. There are rumblings that Oser may encounter future distribution issues with the National Restaurant Association trade show, another massive event, although the association confirms that Oser has paid for a booth at this year's trade show.

The October court hearing likely will determine the fate of Oser's relationship with the Consumer Electronics Show, which dates to the 1970s.

Oser representatives could not be reached for comment as of our press deadline.

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