by Kevin Osborne
Ray Cooklis is among seven more names confirmed
(**UPDATE AT BOTTOM)The Enquirer’s sole remaining editorial writer is among the employees who will be departing the newspaper as part of a round of “early retirement” buyouts.Executives accepted the buyout application submitted by Ray Cooklis, the newspaper’s editorial page editor, multiple sources have confirmed. Cooklis assumed control of The Enquirer’s Op/Ed pages in July 2009 when his predecessor, David Wells, was laid off.Cooklis, who also is a classically trained pianist and previously served as a music critic, didn’t respond to an email this morning seeking comment.In recent months, the daily newspaper has been criticized in journalism circles and on some blogs for only publishing one original, locally produced editorial a week, so it’s unclear what impact Cooklis’ departure will have.Sources say others who are leaving The Enquirer include Features Editor Dave Caudill; photographer Glenn Hartong; reporter Steve Kemme, who covers eastern Hamilton County; Copy Desk Chief Sue Lancaster; Bill Thompson, a sports copy editor and occasional music critic; and Copy Editor Tim Vondebrink.CityBeat confirmed Tuesday that political columnist Howard Wilkinson and longtime photographer Michael Keating also were leaving the newspaper.The Gannett Co., The Enquirer’s corporate owner, announced the buyout offer Feb. 9 and gave employees 45 days to decide whether to apply for the deal.Under the deal, newspaper employees who are age 56 or older and have at least 20 years of service with Gannett as of March 31 are eligible. The Enquirer’s goal is to eliminate 26 positions through the buyouts, sources said.As part of reductions mandated by Gannett, The Enquirer has laid off about 150 workers during the past two years. Also, employees have had to take five unpaid furloughs during the past three years.Of the departures announced so far, Cooklis’ resignation could have the most immediate impact for readers.Some progressive voices in Cincinnati dislike Cooklis because he is ardently right-wing in his opinions; they believe he too frequently blasted Democratic politicians, while turning a blind eye to excesses by their Republican counterparts and local corporations. Further, Cooklis lacked the courage to criticize some of the people and institutions that are among The Enquirer's many sacred cows, they added.Still, Cooklis’ departure is a bad omen for local news, with some media observers worried that it means The Enquirer has abandoned its First Amendment duty to hold powerful people accountable for their deeds.Virginia-based Gannett also owns USA Today, more than 100 newspapers nationwide and 23 TV stations.(**UPDATE: Glenn Hartong is not taking the buyout. Despite some sources at The Enquirer saying that he was, Hartong is only 51 years old and, thus, ineligible.)
8 Comments · Wednesday, February 15, 2012
As The Enquirer staff braces for
another reduction in staff, the paper and its parent company might not
yet have seen the full fallout of its decision to cut staff last year.
Two of the newspaper’s former editors, Joe Fenton and Cathy Ruetter,
have filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the newspaper and The
by Kevin Osborne
The corporate parent of The Enquirer is offering a voluntary “early retirement” buyout proposal to rid the company of some older and more highly paid employees.Robert J. Dickey, president of The Gannett Co.'s U.S. newspaper division, announced the buyout offer Thursday in a memorandum to employees.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 14, 2011
the other day, I thought Cincinnati police officers were too bright
to confiscate cameras in a public place at a public meeting to which
the public was invited.
the owners of the cameras weren’t disrupting the meeting or
photographing coppers using excessive force.
I was wrong. One of Cincinnati’s finest took two voters’ cameras
on orders from U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) or people working
for Chabot. It was a town meeting and Chabot was the speaker.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Everybody understands that historical facts can be difficult to remember — boring topics, long-lost cultures, people who thought dinosaurs were real, etc. That’s why it wasn’t a big deal when Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann incorrectly described a couple of Revolutionary War battles and confused Elvis Presley’s birthday with his death (what’s the difference — he’s in Heaven now with all the black people whose music he stole).
0 Comments · Friday, January 7, 2011
Dump consultants. Cancel audience-counting contracts. Fire click whores. Ice eyeballs. Adopt my cost-free 12-step program (actually 15) to save surviving news media ... from ourselves. Readers, viewers and listeners know we fill space and time with meaningless words. It goes beyond verbosity. It's insulting. Start the new year by embracing virtue.
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I just don't have time for the stupidity, ignorance, anger, obscenities and racism that anonymous online commenting encourages. In a more innocent online era, many daily papers and others opened themselves to online comments. It was to be an instant Letters to the Editor, a more personal connection with the reader. But the resulting toxic stream of comments have led The Enquirer and other Gannett dailies to hire an outside company, Pluck, to intervene on reader online comments.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Gannett's Indianapolis Star has a real mess on its hands involving a breach of ethics and the readers' trust, started when the paper "repurposed" a three-year-old feature story and photo spread on summer camps in a new camp guide advertising section without the reporter's or photographer's knowledge. The old story was labeled "special advertising feature" and presented as if it contained up-to-date information. I asked Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan about his policy on the separation of news- and advertising-oriented content.
0 Comments · Friday, December 26, 2008
By limiting home delivery to days that most appeal to advertisers (Thursday, Friday and Sunday) while reducing production and delivery costs on four days, The Detroit Free Times and Detroit News can save a lot of money and some journalists' jobs.