Schaefer, Orlinsky, Clarke in the news again: They'll publish weekly paper in Baltimore

February 29, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Sandy Banisky contributed to this article.

William Donald Schaefer, Walter S. Orlinsky and Mary Pat Clarke finally can take revenge on the press that pilloried them for years.

They've bought their own.

Next week they will become columnists and investors in a new weekly newspaper. The Baltimore News' inaugural issue is scheduled for Wednesday and will be distributed each Wednesday in 20 Baltimore neighborhoods and on the Internet's World Wide Web, its backers say.

Schaefer said this week, adding, "That was always my ambition, to have a newspaper that would have upbeat stories."

Actually, the former mayor and governor -- well known for his loathing of the press -- will be honorary chairman of the board and an occasional columnist.

Mr. Orlinsky, the former City Council president who pleaded guilty to bribery in office 14 years ago, will become the publisher.

Mrs. Clarke, the former City Council president who lost her bid for mayor last year, said she will be an investor and columnist.

Mr. Schaefer declined to say how much money he is investing, but said he would write positive columns about the city.

"I'm not going to fight anybody," said the often cantankerous Mr. Schaefer. "I'm a gentle person who only wants to be positive." He paused, then said sarcastically, "I'm choking now. I almost fell off my chair."

An announcement of the new paper promoted its founders' celebrity:

"Twenty-five years after the beginning of Baltimore's well-documented resurgence, the high energy team of William Donald Schaefer and Wally Orlinsky has reunited as Honorary Chair and Publisher of the Baltimore News." The announcement did not mention that the two men were hardly a team -- they were usually at each other's throats in City Hall during the 1970s.

The paper -- which has yet to open an office or list a phone number -- is starting with a low budget.

About a dozen investors are chipping in a few thousand dollars each, said Mr. Orlinsky, who will keep his day job as a state employee in charge of a tree-planting program. He estimated it will take $10,000 a week to publish the newspaper, which will be distributed free and be supported by advertising.

The paper will be operated by editor Mark Adams, a disbarred lawyer who published the Harbor Crescent -- a newspaper that served Baltimore's waterfront communities for 1 1/2 years until it folded last year. It will be printed outside Philadelphia and trucked to Baltimore.

Mrs. Clarke said she and her husband, Joe, have put $5,000 in the newspaper. She already has a deadline to write her first column about how a community newspaper plays a role in bringing people together.

The News also will publish a wine column and an anonymous neighborhood column from South Baltimore called "Baltimore Hon."

Mr. Adams was barred from practicing law in May after taking money from clients but not performing legal work. He said he did not think that would be a problem in his new job.

"Baltimore's a very tolerant and open place," he said.

The paper will be distributed in 20 mostly white neighborhoods, so as not to compete with the Baltimore Times, a weekly newspaper distributed in mostly African-American communities, said Mr. Orlinsky. The two papers will exchange some articles each week.

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