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Photo Gallery: Images of The Buffalo News from Buffalo-born photojournalist Brendan Bannon

TruckBrendan Bannon practically grew up at The Buffalo News.  His father, Anthony Bannon, was a writer and art critic at the paper in the 1970s and 1980s, (and is now the executive director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center).  The younger Bannon remembers being fascinated with the papers rolling off the presses and loaded onto the trucks, and remembers receiving his first record albums from his father's colleagues in the News features department, Dale Anderson and Jeff Simon.

"I heard the roar of the presses before I got my first job as a newspaper delivery boy," Bannon says.

Since those early days, he has flourished as an international photojournalist, spending much of his time in Africa and other places around the globe, teaching photography and shooting for some big-name organizations.

On a recent assignment for the New York Times, Bannon, 42, returned to The News, where he spent many hours photographing the newsroom, the pressroom, Publisher Stan Lipsey, and more.  Three of his images appeared with the Times story, but many others from that shoot are available on his website.   See all 50 of them here.  I especially like the one I've included here which I would title "News Noir," a nighttime image outside our building on Washington Street.

His photo galleries from around the world are also well worth a look.  Bannon told me how he approaches his work -- whether in Buffalo or Nairobi: "I practice opening myself to whatever I am photographing, being present and empathetic and try to see it fresh as the person, place or thing might see himself, herself or itself in a moment of reflection." 

Twitter: @SulliView

As the New York Times sees it: The Buffalo News under Warren Buffett

For newspaper people, it's always interesting -- and maybe a little nerve-racking -- to be on the other side of the notebook.

 That was the case earlier this month when a New York Times reporter and photographer spent the day at The Buffalo News, researching a story about Warren Buffett's ownership of the paper.  Now that the News chairman is buying up dozens of other newspapers around the country, his ownership here makes a good case study.  Buffett bought The News in 1977.

Here's the New York Times story on The News, scheduled to appear in today's Times business section.   It accurately makes the points that Buffett is hands-off regarding editorial policy and that the paper has remained profitable and kept its high market penetration in the region.   It also mentions our investigative's team's award-winning prescription drug series.


Twitter: @SulliView

On a big news day, The Buffalo News repositions itself for the future with digital subscriptions

Today's a big day at The Buffalo News for many reasons.  One is that it's just an extremely heavy day for breaking news, largely because of Nik Wallenda's planned wire-walk across Niagara Falls tonight.  We will have 25 staffers -- reporters, videographers, photographers -- on the scene.  Check tonight and tomorrow, and the Saturday and Sunday print editions for the results of their work.  It should be quite a night in the newsroom.   Here's a preview of what you'll see online:

6 p.m. Friday: Live chat with special guests, updates from reporters throughout Niagara Falls leading up to wire-walk

10 p.m. Friday: Updates, photos and more during the wire-walk

11 p.m. Friday: Live video webcast with extensive analysis

The international manhunt for ECMC trauma surgeon Timothy V. Jorden Jr.  is another major story that has had our attention.  We've been ahead on this story from the start and broke another aspect of it last night with Lou Michel and Phil Fairbanks' story on Jorden's bank withdrawals and other signs that he was planning to flee.  (Here is an update on that story -- the discovery of Jorden's dead body.)

Meanwhile, The News has let our subscribers, employees and the general public know that we're moving with strength and determination into the future by unveiling our plan to offer digital subscriptions this coming fall.

 My column on the subject is here, and the reader comments beneath it are of particular interest.

Here is a link to frequently asked questions about the upcoming changes.  

It's an exciting time for The News and we're glad you are along for the ride. 

Twitter: @SulliView

Ellen Goodman in Buffalo: funny, sharp and thoughtful, as always

Margaret with Ellen Goodman 2"My generation of women," says Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman, "traded depression for stress."  Speaking to 500 women at Kleinhans Music Hall Wednesday night, she pauses to consider this, and gets a laugh when she decides that, on balance, it's "not a bad bargain."

Goodman's keynote address to the Western New York Women's Foundation was filled with laughs.  I even got to share one with her beforehand, as you'll see in the photo here. 

But amid the laughs was plenty of food for thought.  Goodman spoke of the "socially useful myth" of Superwoman, and spins out a day in the life of this non-existent creature: She starts the morning preparing a healthy breakfast for her 2.3 children ("which they eat"), then dons her Armani suit and sets off for her creatively fulfilling and socially useful job, and ends the evening with a multi-orgasmic session with her supportive husband. 

Goodman has her comic timing down -- as when she mentions bringing up her own daughter years ago.  (Goodman, now 71, is a grandmother these days, though she retains an enviably youthful and elegant look.)

"I wanted to give my daughter a good start in life," she begins, and you can feel the crowd of professional women stiffening a bit, ready for the onslaught of mommy guilt.  But it never comes. Instead, she says, after a beat: "So I didn't go back to work until she was six weeks old." 

Goodman also spoke of the long road women have ahead, despite the gains they've made.  Despite women's apparent advancements in the workplace, the door to true equality is opened only a crack or two, she says.  It will open fully when women's authentic values -- respect for caregiving, among them -- are fully recognized in society as a whole.

Here is Buffalo News Reporter Charity Vogel's interview with Goodman.  It appeared in last Saturday's Life & Arts section as a preview of her talk here.
The photo above is by Sharon Cantillon of the News staff.

It's no day at the beach, but see 'Da' at Irish Classical anyway

ImagesIt's June and Western New Yorkers are thinking about outdoor concerts and scenic drives to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

But in the tiny Irish Classical Theatre downtown, there's something you shouldn't miss, even though it doesn't shout "summer fun."

 It's the Irish Classical Theater's new production of "Da," the Tony-award winning play by the great Irish writer Hugh Leonard.  I had the chance to see it Friday, on the second night of its three-week run.

As with many things Irish, "Da" is both funny and sad.  If you've endured the death of a close family member, it will surely resonate.   And this production is especially moving because of its deep connections to director Vincent O'Neill, shown in the photo above, whose late brother Chris played a major role in its Dublin production and is still closely identified with the play.  The O'Neills grew up 10 minutes from Dalkey, where this autobiographical play is set.

Now, longtime Buffalo actor Gerry Maher plays the title role with verve, leaping about the stage like a deranged sprite and pulling at our heartstrings all the while.

News critic Colin Dabkowski's preview of the play, including a video interview with O'Neill, provides the details.   

It's well worth putting down that plastic beer cup for a couple of hours to see it.  "Da," strangely enough,may  turn out to be one of the most memorable events of the summer.   It's on stage through July 1.

Recap of today's "Ask the Editor" live chat

I fielded questions from readers today on everything from the Buffalo public schools to the value of online comments. 

Thanks to those who stopped by and, as usual, I'm sorry not to have gotten to every question.

Review the chat here.

Let's talk. Join my "Ask the Editor" live chat today at 2 p.m.

I'll be fielding questions from readers -- everything from how we cover your suburb to why Warren Buffett is buying newspapers to what happened in the Corasanti case -- today at 2 p.m.   I hope you'll join my monthly live chat on the home page of

 Come prepared with some questions and I'll do my best to answer them.  


Jerry Sullivan's column on Modie Cox is a poignant nod to his late colleague Allen Wilson

When Buffalo News sports reporter and columnist Allen Wilson first got sick last July, one of the people on his mind was Modie Cox.   Allen had done the reporting for a story on Cox, a former local basketball star who had his share of knocks and is now a motivational speaker helping kids turn their lives around. The photos had even been shot.  But he hadn't had a chance to write it. 

Lying in bed in the emergency room at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, waiting to be admitted to a room, Allen asked his wife, Lisa, who is the News' executive sports editor, to get in touch with Cox. 

"He just said, 'please call Modie and tell him I'm sorry I didn't get to that story," Lisa recalled Monday. A few days later, diagnosed with acute leukemia, Allen moved to Roswell Park Cancer Institute; he was in and out of Roswell for months, and passed away last December.  He is much missed in the community and on the News staff.

 Lisa never forgot Allen's desire to get a piece about Modie Cox into The News.  Today, with the help of senior sports columnist Jerry Sullivan, that wish finally comes to fruition.  Here is Jerry's column.

Twitter: @SulliView

More on Corasanti, more on Buffett -- and something on the lighter side

My recent blog posts have focused on two unrelated topics -- the local manslaughter trial of Dr. James G. Corasanti and Warren Buffett's purchase of 26 daily newspapers. I'm planning to move on from these subjects (any minute now) but before I do, here are a couple of developments:

1. Corasanti. Our story ideas come from all over -- from sources on a beat, from editors, from brainstorming sessions, from reporters themselves and sometimes directly from our readers. After this week's stunning verdict -- the Getzville physician avoided all felony convictions related to the death of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice on July 8 -- Amherst reader Philip Wiggle offered this online coment:

"I think that most of Western New York would like to hear the WHY behind this verdict? Were the Prosecutors totally inept? Were the police at fault? Did the jury find the victim at fault? Can we get a follow-up explanation in the Buffalo News?"

Partially as a result of that comment, court reporter Patrick Lakamp is working on a story that will appear on Sunday's front page that addresses the "why" in the Corasanti verdict. It should be good reading. (Those interested in background on the case can visit the Corasanti topics page, where related stories, columns and photos from The News are gathered.)

2. Buffett. The Buffalo News chairman's recent purchase of 26 daily papers and his optimistic views about how local newspapers can find a workable business model came at the same time as the upsetting news that a major American newspaper would no longer publish daily. The Times-Picayune in New Orleans announced that it would offer its print edition only three days a week.

The contrast was sharp. Now, these two items come together as Buffett today responded to an open letter from a New Orleans musician suggesting that he buy the Times-Picayune. Buffett notes that there's a difference between a newspaper and a periodical, and considers three days a week an "unsustainable" option. "Optimists will note that Buffett did not say he would not buy the paper," writes Julie Moos of Meanwhile, reports are circulating that Buffett is on the verge of buying more papers.


On the less serious side: Jim Romenesko's blog is practically required reading for journalists around the country. At one point today, his lead item, gathered from PR Daily, was a list of the decade's most irritating words and phrases, leading off with the immortal "It is what it is" and "think outside the box." This follows an earlier compilation of words and phrases journalists use but regular people don't. As Romenesko notes, don't miss the attached comments -- they're every bit as entertaining as the lists themselves.

Or should I say every bit as awesome?

Twitter: @SulliView

With the Corasanti case in the jurors' hands, some last-minute observations

I caught up with court reporter Patrick Lakamp in the newsroom this morning as he headed off to what he believes may be the day of reckoning in the Dr. James G. Corasanti hit-and-run and manslaughter trial.  Lakamp's story in today's News presents an overall summary of the case concerning the night of July 8 when the Getzville doctor's car struck and killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice, skating home from work on a longboard.

 In our chat, Lakamp offered the following observations:

*  He thinks the verdict will come quickly, possibly today. 

*  Much hangs on how the jury sees and evaluates the following key elements of the trial:

1. The testimony of motorist Mark Rowland, very damaging to Corasanti if it's found believable.  Rowland testified, for example, that Rice was highly visible as she skated along the side of the road.

2.  The blood test, showing a 0.10 percent blood-alcohol level -- .02 over the legal limit -- five hours after the incident.  Lakamp noted that the defense has vigorously attacked the lab results with an expert witness who said he had no confidence in it.

3. Corasanti's actions when he arrived at home that night.  "How do they perceive that whole scenario, his wife going off to the scene, his interactions with neighbors?"  The defense has leaned heavily on the idea that he panicked and that none of us know how we would act under that pressure.  But will the jury buy that?

Although many who've been riveted by this trial believe it's an easy call against Corasanti, Lakamp says there are many ways the jury could see it.  Was it a terrible but understandable accident, followed by panic?  Or was it a case of drunken reckless driving, followed by an attempted cover-up?  How the jury sees that will mean the difference between a sentence of a year or two in prison versus 23 years.

Lakamp's coverage has been balanced, well-written and perceptive, not only the day-to-day court stories but the more analytical Sunday pieces.  Here is the most recent of those, from this past weekend, concerning key witnesses who were not called to testify.  


Twitter: @SulliView

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