Newspapers: Replying in Spades

A dozen years ago, a green but confident Cleveland reporter assigned to cover the city's criminal court was scooped on a major grand jury report his very first day on the beat. Thomas Van Husen Vail did not have to worry about losing his job—his family owned the paper—but he has never forgotten the experience. "I resolved then and there," he recalls, "that not only would that never happen again, but that I would reply in kind." Now that he is editor-publisher of Cleveland's 121-year-old Plain Dealer (circ. 336,210) —a job he was named to earlier this month—Tom...

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