WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Media Musings From Cincinnati and Beyond

0 Comments · Thursday, September 4, 2014
The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown moved news media to recall similar lethal encounters between cops and unarmed black youths and men.   

Enquirer Circulation Declines

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
 Many of Ohio’s major newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, lost thousands of readers in the past year, but some managed to beat trends and gain in certain categories, according to a circulation audit from the Alliance for Audited Media.    

Worst Week Ever!: Sept. 25-Oct. 1

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Local News Stations Restructure After Broadcasts Mistaken for Parodies of News Coverage: There are things you can almost guarantee will be on the local TV news if for some reason you find yourself stuck watching it. They are: things on fire, poor people committing crimes and things about people in the community doing something nice :)  
by German Lopez 08.01.2013
Posted In: News, Media at 04:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
749px-cincinnati-enquirer-building

Massive Layoffs at Gannett Papers, Including 'Enquirer'

Kentucky office reportedly closed, moved to Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Enquirer and its parent company Gannett went through another string of layoffs today, including the reported closing of the newspaper’s Kentucky office.[CityBeat followed up on this story on Aug. 2 here.]Jim Romenesko reported on his journalism industry blog that there were layoffs at The Kentucky Enquirer, the Kentucky edition of the local newspaper. One commenter on Gannett Blog echoed the report, saying the Kentucky offices had been closed down and moved to Cincinnati. Gannett Blog reports 11 layoffs at Cincinnati branches, including the Community Press and Community Recorder. That coincides with more than 150 layoffs at newspapers around the country, according to the blog.Because of Gannett’s secrecy with staffing issues, it’s difficult to confirm any specific report. No names have been provided yet. CityBeat was tipped off about the layoffs earlier in the day by a source close to The Enquirer. A spokesperson wasn’t available for questions about the layoffs, but Jeremy Gaines, vice president of communications at Gannett, told Romenesko, “Some USCP (U.S. Community Publishing) sites are making cuts to align their business plans with local market conditions.” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore proudly claimed on July 22, “We are accelerating our transformation into the ‘New Gannett’ every day.”
 
 

Media Slacks on Calling Out Undocumented Quotes

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Typically, invoking a Great Man to settle an argument involves Lincoln, Twain, Stalin, Churchill, Chief Seattle, etc. Hitler is a provocative new favorite. Among some gun control foes, quoting Hitler proves what will happen if Obama has his way: gun registration, confiscation and tyranny.   

Worst Week Ever!: Dec. 19-25

0 Comments · Thursday, December 27, 2012
WEDNESDAY DEC. 19: Like tattoos and blood pacts with the devil, getting a pet is a decision that can have long-term effects. A guest column in today’s Enquirer explains how pets aren’t the same as other gifts people don’t like, because they cost a lot of money after you buy them and will pee all over everything.   

Worst Week Ever!: Dec. 12-18

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
FRIDAY DEC. 14: The Enquirer recently published a six-part series on Barbara Joly, better known as the “Granny Robber.” Joly is currently doing prison time for robbing banks back in 2008 to support her adult son.   

Reporters Should Challenge Candidates on Creationism

3 Comments · Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I’m grateful to the GQ magazine reporter who asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about the age of the earth. It raises a vital question for a country where significant numbers of Americans reject much of science from creation to evolution.     
by Ben L. Kaufman 11.28.2012
 
 
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Curmudgeon Notes 11.28.2012

Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond

• It was a double scoop when HUC Prof. Ben Zion Wacholder and doctoral student Martin G. Abegg Jr. released their bootleg translations of previously unpublished Dead Sea scrolls.  Their highly accurate texts were created without seeing the scrolls and they shattered secrecy created by a cabal of scholars who for decades restricted other researchers’ and translators’ access to the ancient documents. Steve Rosen’s recent Page 1 story in the Enquirer got that right. The other scoop was my 1991 Enquirer story reporting Wacholder and Abegg’s triumph. Our photo showed visually impaired Wacholder looking at a dramatically enlarged image on a Mac.   Their ordeal had its origin in a promise by then-HUC president Nelson Glueck in 1969. He agreed to house 1000-plus photographic images of the scrolls lest something happen to the originals. He also agreed with scholars controlling access to the scrolls that no one else would see the HUC negatives while the original scrolls existed. That included Wacholder. To his frustration, HUC honored that promise even after Glueck’s death and despite the growing international controversy over restricted scholarly access to many of the original scrolls.   Today’s Biblical Archaeology Society website, biblicalarchaeology.org, recalled how Wacholder and Abegg got lucky in 1989. Chief editor of the scrolls John Strugnell sent a copy of a secret concordance of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Wacholder. It “consisted of photocopies of index cards on which every word in the unpublished scrolls was listed, including its location and the few words surrounding it.” It was their Rosetta Stone. Wacholder and Abegg programmed the Mac to apply their knowledge of ancient literature to the data in the concordance. "I'm sick and tired of all this waiting," he told me at the time.  In 1991, the society’s Biblical Archaeology Review published the reconstructions, breaking the more-than-40-year-old monopoly on the scrolls. And when jealous scholars challenged the accuracy of the reconstructions, Wacholder was dismissive. "I'll match my knowing of the . . . texts - even blind — any of them. Wacholder died last year. Abegg became professor and co-director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University in British Columbia.  • I’ve described my fear that the Cleveland Plain Dealer — long Ohio’s best daily — will follow other Advance Publications into print obscurity.  PD journalists also heard the clatter of bean counters and created the Save The Plain Dealer campaign. Earlier this year, Advance — another name for Newhouse family publications — the New Orleans Times-Picayune as a traditional daily. It fired lots of journalists and now is printed three days a week to accommodate heavy advertising. Surviving journalists also work online every day. With that innovation, Newhouse made New Orleans America’s largest city without a daily paper. Smaller Advance dailies suffered the same fate. Poynter.com quoted an email from PD science writer John Mangels earlier this month: “The multi­media campaign will begin Sunday with a half­-page ad in The Plain Dealer, to be followed by bus and billboard ads throughout the city. TV and radio ads will appear soon. There will be mass mailings and e­ mailings to elected officials, political and business leaders and other people of influence. We’ll have a Facebook page with an abundance of content, a petition on Change.org, and a Twitter feed. We’re also working to organize community forums where we’ll discuss the future of journalism in Northeast Ohio, and the potential impact of the loss of the daily paper and much of its experienced news­gathering staff.” Later, reached by phone, Mangels told Poynter that PD  management hasn’t said anything about Advance’s plans. “The only detail that we’ve been told by our bosses here is that major changes are coming, layoffs in some number are coming,” Mangels said.  • Have you noticed how GOP aspirants for the 2016 presidential nomination are using long-reviled mainstream news media (MSM) to distance themselves from Romney and his disdain for retirees, veterans, Hispanics, African Americans, and young adults? I love the GOP’s irony deficit. They’ve spent decades teaching True Believers that the MSM is an evil, liberal cabal, not to be trusted. Now, these same Republican 40-somethings want voters to believe what the mainstream news media tell them about their aspirations and sagacity. They’re also fleeing Romney’s transparent hypocrisy and its blowback; benefits to Democratic constituencies are meant to buy votes but benefits for GOP constituencies never, ever should be understood as a way to woo financial support or votes.   • Here’s an angle I haven’t encountered in post-election coverage: an almost inevitable GOP win in 2016. Not only is a second elected term unusual for modern Democratic presidents, but a third term for either party is rare. Since FDR in 1940, only popular Republican Ronald Reagan was succeeded by a Republican, George H. W. Bush. I’m not alone if my reading to liberal columnists is a fair indicator of grudging agreement. They want Obama to push through agendas they’ve advocated for the past four years and to find the cajones to fight for his nominations when they go before the Senate led by Kentucky Pride Mitch McConnell.  • Propaganda-laden cable news and TV/radio talk shows can lull angry, fearful partisans and voters into believing what facts refute. And I mean refute not rebut. Anything out of sync with those GOP media was rejected as MSM bias. Whether it was a Pavlovian response, delusional thinking or magical realism, the result was Republican candidates, consultants, strategists, voters and Fox News were stunned when state after state went for Obama. Carl Rove went into a spin of denial on Fox News as election returns came in; he believed what Fox News had been telling him for months: Romney in a walk.  What was that cliche, something about drinking the Kool-aid? • This from Eric Alterman in his What Liberal Media? column in The Nation: “They watched Fox News, read The Wall Street Journal, clicked on Drudge and the Daily Caller, and listened to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Karl Rove, Dick Morris and Peggy Noonan promise them that their Kenyan/Muslim/socialist/terrorist nightmare was nearly over. One election was all that stood between them and a country without capital gains taxes, pollution regulation, healthcare mandates, gay marriage and abortions for rape victims.” Alterman continued: “The less wonderful irony involves the supporting role the mainstream media played in this un-reality show. Post-truth politics reached a new pinnacle this year as major MSM machers admitted to a lack of concern with the veracity of the news their institutions reported. ‘It’s not our job to litigate [the facts] in the paper,’ New York Times national editor Sam Sifton told the paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, regarding phony Republican ‘voter fraud’ allegations. ‘We need to state what each side says.’ ‘The truth? C’mon, this is a political convention’ was the headline over a column by Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post ‘fact-checker.’ Yes, you read that right.” How bad was it? Alterman quoted Steve Benen, a blogger and Rachel Maddow Show producer. He “counted fully 917 false statements made by Mitt Romney during 2012. Just about the truest words to come out of the campaign were those of the Romney pollster who explained, ‘We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.’ But not only did many members of the MSM give Romney a pass on his serial lying; they actually endorsed his candidacy on the assumption that we need not take seriously any of those statements the candidate had felt compelled to make in order to win the nomination of his party.” • In the expanding universe of online calumny, few American public officials or public figures strike back big time in part because of broad First Amendment protections available to defamers.  British libel law  makes it much easier for the victim to win. The latest target of false online vilification is Lord Alistair McAlpine. BBC implicated but didn’t name him in its spreading child abuse scandal. However, so little was left to the imagination that in Britain’s media/politics hothouse that McAlpine was named in myriad tweets.  BBC quickly admitted error and paid him almost $300,000 to salve his bruised feelings. ITV — Britain’s Independent Television — followed BBC with apology and more than $200,000 for inadvertently accusing McAlpine of abusing children. McAlpine is offering to accept a tweeted apology and modest payment from most of the tweeters. He’s less forgiving of  20 members of Parliament, journalists and other public officials and figures. They probably face costly libel actions in a country where it’s almost impossible for a defendant to win.  • Assume every microphone in front of you is “on.”  You don’t warm up with “There once was a man from Nantucket . . . “ on the assumption that mic is dead. Myriad public figures have ignored that Law of the Jungle to their pain. The latest is Jonathan Sacks, Orthodox chief rabbi of Great Britain, who delivers a “Thought for the Day” regularly on BBC radio’s  Today program.  Here’s the Telegraph report and another statement from the overworked BBC apology machine. After Sacks finished and apparently assumed his mic was turned off, host Evan Davis asked, “Jonathan, before you go, you know, any thoughts on what’s going on over in Israel and Gaza at the moment?” Lord Sacks sighed, before replying: “I think it has got to do with Iran, actually.” Cohost Sarah Montague realized Sacks did not seem to know his remarks were being broadcast and she could be heard to whisper: “We, we’re live.” Lord Sacks adopted a more formal broadcasting manner and suggested the crisis demanded “a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region. No-one gains from violence. Not the Palestinians, not the Israelis. This is an issue here where we must all pray for peace and work for it.”  Later, BBC apologized for catching Sacks off-guard. A spokesman said: “The Chief Rabbi hadn’t realized he was still on-air and as soon as this became apparent, we interjected. (Host) Evan likes to be spontaneous with guests but he accepts that in this case it was inappropriate and he has apologized to Lord Sacks. The BBC would reiterate that apology.” • So far, I haven’t found a news angle beyond prurience in the Petraeus resignation. Yes, there could have been a national security issue, but once then-spymaster Petraeus went public about his extramarital affair, he couldn’t be blackmailed.  We’ll never know how well the CIA would have run under Petraeus, but turning it further into an almost unaccountable paramilitary force with its fleet of deadly drones killing Americans abroad and others would not have been in the national interest. We need a good spy agency. Killing people you’re trying to subvert and convert is a lousy game plan.  • Admiring and available women are no stranger to powerful public and corporate leaders. Generals are no exception. Neither are social climbers hoping to use them.  All that’s missing from the Petraeus soap opera is for some just-married junior officer to claim his general exercised droit du seigneur.  • We can wonder what their frequently mentioned Lebanese origins have to do with the Tampa twins’ roles in the Petraeus soap opera, or whether Paula’s arms are fitter and better displayed than Michele’s. After that, let’s get to the fun stuff: the ease with which law enforcement obtains our emails.   • And a belated Thanksgiving note. Somehow, I found a turkey on the Copperbelt in Central Africa where I was editing the new daily Zambia Times. I did my best to explain how to roast it with stuffing to the cook in the house I was caring for. He served it that evening with obvious pride. It was brown, roasted over open coal on a spit he’d tended for hours. The stuffing was special beyond my dreams: the sonofabitch had used the kosher salami I’d hoarded for months for stuffing. I thanked and praised him through clenched teeth and dug in. It was memorable. And awful.
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: Nov. 14-19

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
MONDAY NOV. 19: Justin Bieber won artist of the year at the AMA awards last night, leading readers of things everywhere to become less jaded by all the publications that run “Signs of the Apocalypse” blurbs within them.  

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