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Still a Place for Small Independent Papers

By Ben L. Kaufman · May 3rd, 2006 · Media, Myself & I
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  Worley Rodehaver owns several local papers.
Ben L. Kaufman

Worley Rodehaver owns several local papers.



Long before corporate journalism became today's high-anxiety business, Worley Rodehaver dropped out. That was the 1970s, and he'd already been a radio and print journalist for at least 20 years.

Worley still goes his own way, a publisher who finds niches that others miss, ignore or shun: urban neighborhoods, gays, Appalachians.

"I just sort of do my own little thing," he says. "It's not much, but it's mine."

He published papers for his seventh and eighth grade classes. Today he's publishing small, free papers "so that neighborhoods can tell their stories . . . the good things."

Volunteers write much of the copy for the ad-supported papers that provide a modest living for this cable TV pioneer and former editor of a successful Southern Ohio Episcopal paper and a failed Cincinnati singles paper.

"I'm surviving," Rodehaver says. "I'm still around doing it ... I have fun doing it. This is the most important thing to me."

His monthly Metro Neighbors distributes 8,000-10,000 copies; most go to Northside and Walnut Hills, whose community councils abandoned newsletters for space in Worley's paper. Those not delivered to homes are found at neighborhood businesses in Northside and Uptown. Metro Neighbors combines the former Northsider and Uptown News; one press run is cheaper than two.

He started Uptown News in 1989 and bought the Northsider. Now he is editor/publisher, sometime-writer and photographer, circulation overseer, ad seller and fulltime dogsbody.

Rodehaver started the monthly GBLT News in 1997 when Paul Delph, a friend's son, was dying of AIDS; he remains publisher. Bruce Beisner now is editor.

Another niche was filled by the bimonthly The Appalachian Connection in 1998; Rodehaver is publisher and cofounder Mike Maloney is editor.

They publish in cooperation with the Urban Appalachian Council and Appalachian Community Development Association.

Rodehaver created the now-defunct monthly Hamilton County's Religion Forum in early 1989.

"If I were to add a publication today, it would be a second Religion Forum," he says. "I have recently begun a 'Religion Forum' page in Metro Neighbors."

And the next niche? "Don't get me started."

· · ·

Curmudgeon notes:
· Attribution is fundamental to the credibility of news and news media. The Enquirer concedes it screwed up by not saying explicitly that its blogging local grandmother was a public affairs specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq. Rick Hines at cincynation.com might have been first to spot the omission, and it went national on journalism Web sites. The Enquirer quickly revised the top of her blog to clarify her Army role.

· Enquirer editor Tom Callinan responded in part to criticism of Grandma's blog by creating his own. He quit blogging after two weeks because it required too much time. Good decision.

· Pious pilgrims are afoot again. The Enquirer carries another unskeptical promo for another church group spending lots of money to send members abroad with goods easily purchased there. Similar story in CityBeat. Why not stay home, send the money to hosts and trust them to buy stuff from their local merchants? Infusion of cash would be a God-send.

· Will reporters covering oil company profits --- shared by millions of individual stockholders and pension funds -- also tell us that those "obscene" and "windfall" oil profits are far below percentages posted by America's mostly monopoly newspapers?

· The New Orleans Times-Picayune won Pulitzers for 2005 after judges dropped their ban on Web content. The Times-Picayune served readers via Internet while its presses were inundated by Hurricane Katrina. Maybe my early and persistent questioning of the Pulitzer administrator helped persuade the Pulitzer board to amend its rules.

· Some news media reported that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave reporters "the finger" or another "obscene" gesture leaving a Boston church. The photo that started the brouhaha shows he was not flipping them the bird. Scalia suggested culturally challenged editors take a short course in dismissive Sicilian gestures.

· Robert Wallace of Norwood provided this winning entry for the inaugural Little Gem News Service competition. Last month I recalled LGNS history and asked readers to help revive it by writing stories to fit this Cincinnati Post page 1 headline: "Was Christ Headed to Suburbs?" Here is Wallace's entry:

According to crime scene investigators at the site of the grisly, execution-style slaying of a transient named "Christ" (aka "Jesus," "Messiah," "Nazarene") indications are that the victim was indeed headed to the suburbs until waylaid and betrayed at a local garden spot on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Information about his future plans remains sketchy, though his apparent intent was to continue on to the 'burbs according to Mary (aka "The Magdalene"), common-law wife of the deceased.

"Always on the road with those deadbeat buddies of his," she stated.

She was not present at the time of the incident, clearing up after the deceased inviting in 5,000 of his closed friends and associates for loaves and fishes.

"What a mess," she is quoted as saying. "I'm still collecting up baskets full of fragments. Next time these ignorant sumbitches are going to Captain D's, and I mean that thing!"

Two persons of interest are currently being sought: Judas Iscariot (aka "Jude the Obscure") and a paunchy pilot for questioning on allegations of conspiracy to commit crucifixion and jury tampering. Other possible charges pending are for lewd and lascivious behavior against Judas, whom witnesses say that just prior to the incident was seen kissing the deceased. Also pending is a charge of sex-for-hire having been paid 30 pieces of silver to perform said lewd act.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of either of these individuals or can identify the two alleged thieves also found slain at the site, is asked to notify their local Sanhedrin.

· How did Tri state news media miss the local angle? Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, fined $1,500 by her state ethics commission for illegally soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists, is the daughter of John J. Gilligan, a Cincinnati school board member and former Ohio governor. She also is a former ethics commission member. AP said an e-mail went to 92,000 people, including some lobbyists and the line, "Make a contribution."



Ben L. Kaufman teaches journalism ethics at Northern Kentucky University.
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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