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May 4th, 2011 By | News | Posted In: Media, Ethics, Business, Community

Washburn's PR Tour

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The newly hired top editor at The Enquirer will be making several public appearances in coming weeks in an effort to become acquainted with the community.

Carolyn K. Washburn, the newspaper's editor and vice president, will be speaking at events organized by Northern Kentucky University and the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area, among others.

Washburn will speak in NKU's student union ballroom at 6:30 p.m. May 10, in Highland Heights. The “Meet the Editor” session is free and open to the public. It's designed to “discuss her vision for the newspaper and to take questions,” organizers said, and will be conducted in a town hall-style format.

More information is available here.

Also, Washburn will be the guest speaker at the League's annual meeting on May 18. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. and Washburn will speak around 6:30 p.m. It will be held at the Marriott Kingsgate Conference Center, located on Goodman Street on the University of Cincinnati campus.

The League's event costs $27 per person if attending the entire session, including dinner; it costs $5 to attend just the speech and the meeting's business portion. To register, click here.

Washburn, 48, began her new job in January. She previously worked with Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan while both were at The Idaho Statesman. Washburn is the first woman to hold the top editorial spot in The Enquirer's 169-year history.

While in Idaho, Washburn was criticized for how she oversaw the newspaper's coverage. During the period when The Gannett Co. owned The Idaho Statesman, and while Washburn served as that paper's executive editor from 1999-2005, it was involved in a controversy involving conflicts of interest and journalistic integrity that caught the attention of The Washington Post and media watchdog groups.

The Statesman was criticized for being too deferential to Micron Technologies, one of the largest employers in Boise, Idaho. As Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) wrote in 2001: “The Idaho Statesman has a curious definition of 'fact checking.' The business editor of the Gannett-owned daily, Jim Bartimo, resigned when he was told that a story he had worked on about Micron Technologies, the area's largest employer, had to be sent for pre-publication 'review'... to Micron Technologies.”

Previously The Statesman's business news practices were examined by The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, in articles from January and February 2000. Kurtz's article revealed that The Statesman reporter covering the Micron beat was married to a Micron employee.

When Kurtz asked Washburn about the paper's Micron coverage and whether it was afraid to be too critical, she replied, “It's not that it has anything to do with their being the biggest employer. What we write can affect a lot of people in this community. It can affect the stock price.”

Buchanan — the newspaper's top boss — was publisher at The Statesman while Washburn was there, and is responsible for bringing her to the Queen City.

The Enquirer has a daily circulation of 170,185 and Sunday circulation of 259,771. Additionally, the newspaper's website gets 40.2 million pages views monthly and has 3.7 million unique visitors per month.


 
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