by German Lopez
Newspaper's president says she wants to avoid conflict of interest
Cincinnati Enquirer President and Publisher Margaret Buchanan is leaving the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, citing potential perception of a conflict of interest as her reporters cover the recent departure of UC's former president, Greg Williams, who abruptly resigned on Aug. 21.
“My news team is reporting aggressively on the departure
of UC President Greg Williams and the search for the next president,”
Buchanan said in a statement. “The credibility that is so important to
our news team’s work is my highest priority, and I did not want my
involvement with UC to make it uncomfortable or confusing for them or
for the community.”When The Enquirer first reported Williams' resignation, the newspaper mentioned that Buchanan was on the UC board. However, The Enquirer did not mention asking Buchanan about the resignation even though she was present when it happened — an omission that raised questions for Jim Romenesko, a popular journalism blogger. In response, The Enquirer emailed Romenesko saying Buchanan did not know any extra information.The Enquirer in at least six
follow-up stories about various individuals involved in the Williams resignation
neglected to mention Buchanan’s connection. The Enquirer again
noted Buchanan’s status on the board in an Aug. 24 story titled, “Williams, UC
board frustrated each other.” The story again failed to mention why
Buchanan wouldn’t comment.For full disclosure, Buchanan today cited her board
positions at the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC),
Cincinnati Business Committee, UC Health, Marvin Lewis Foundation and
Neediest Kids of All.
CityBeat previously highlighted the potential conflict of interest between The Enquirer
and other local organizations due to Buchanan's involvement. The Enquirer failed to cite connections between Buchanan and 3CDC multiple times in the past. A CityBeat analysis found Buchanan was only mentioned in 15 out of 481 potential news articles about 3CDC. (Due to how The Enquirer’s database is organized, some of those news articles could be duplicates.) In one particular story, The Enquirer praised 3CDC while omitting the publisher’s ties to the nonprofit corporation.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
University of Cincinnati President Greg
Williams abruptly stepped down Aug. 21. According to reports, Williams
walked into a UC Board of Trustees meeting, announced he was resigning
effective immediately and left.
by German Lopez
Misleading headline bogs down otherwise accurate story on important issue
In-person early voting in Hamilton County has been given a minimum price tag: $18,676. That’s how much The Cincinnati Enquirer
says it will cost to staff polling booths in downtown
Cincinnati during the early voting hours directed by Secretary of
State Jon Husted.
Unfortunately, in an effort to appear as if the early voting issue has two sides, the Enquirer
never bothered putting the number in context. The article reads as if
that number, which amounts to $406 an hour, is a big expense for
Hamilton County. In reality, the additional cost would amount to about
0.009 percent of the 2012 county budget — a rounding error in the $206 million budget. Meanwhile, the Enquirer downplayed a new $300,000 cost to county taxpayers in the top story for today's paper. The article pointed out the unnecessary cost is due to county commissioners refusing to make a tough decision, but the headline made it seem like the county is getting away with little-to-no trouble.
The number is important because costs are the top
non-racist concern Republicans bring up when opposing more early voting
hours. The other concerns are empowering military voters above normal citizens, which contradicts the entire point of civilian control of the military and ignores mail-in absentee ballots, and voter fraud, which is completely overblown by Republicans.
Over the weekend, Ohio’s early voting battle caught national headlines again when Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party, told The Columbus Dispatch
in an email, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the
voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American —
voter-turnout machine.” The statement echoed earlier statements from
former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer, who told MSNBC that voting
restrictions are an attempt to limit voting from minorities and younger
voters.The admission to racial politics confirmed suspicions from Democrats that limiting early voting hours is at least partly about
suppressing the vote among demographics that typically vote Democrat.
The estimate comes in the middle of an ongoing controversy
regarding in-person early voting hours. Husted
said Wednesday that counties must all follow the same early voting
hours. But the hours excluded early voting during the weekend, much to
the dismay of state Democrats. In response, Democrats in Montgomery
County, which is where Dayton is, decided to try having weekend voting
anyway, and Husted suspended and threatened to fire the Democrats on the
Montgomery County Board of Elections. Democrats were not happy with the threats.“It's outrageous and borderline criminal,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, in a statement.
Ohio Democrats held a rally in Columbus this morning in
support of Montgomery County Democrats. The Dayton-area Democrats appeared in a hearing with Husted today to see if they will be fired
from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. A decision will be given later in the week.
At the hearing, Dennis Lieberman, one of the Democrats on the Montgomery County Board of Elections,
said he “was not put on the board of elections to be a puppet.”
Lieberman also pointed out that Montgomery County saved $200,000 in the
2008 elections by lowering the amount of precincts required with weekend
The controversy is following up an earlier controversy
about county-by-county discrepancies in early voting hours — an issue
Hamilton County barely avoided when Husted
directed county boards to invoke uniform in-person early voting hours
across the state a day before Hamilton County Board of Election
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: Life
at 01:36 PM | Permalink
Seriously, Bill, we're feeling left out
Front page news at The Enquirer('s website):
“Bill Cunningham and his TV show producers want you to like him… on Facebook."Media reporter John Kiesewetter today encouraged his readers to check out the new Facebook page of Bill Cunningham's TV show. Kiesewetter posted an awesome autographed photo that was sent to him. Here's what the giddy Kiesewetter wrote: "The Bill Cunningham Show wants you to get his Facebook page
updates on the show, as it ramps up social media efforts for
its national launch Sept. 17 on the CW Network (Channel 12.2). They
wanted me to like him so much that his producers sent me this
Upon receiving a staff email titled "WHY IS THIS A BLOG" "HOW COOL IS THIS?", CityBeat editors and reporters hurried to our mailboxes to see who might have scored the promo of all promos.
We were disappointed. And because we didn't get the photo we will not be “like”ing your page, Bill, and
then hiding it from our timeline so our friends don’t find out.Maybe we'll go like the FB page of one of the people who sent these items we recently received and tossed into a large pile of shit we don't want:
The Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs (four-disk set seems like overkill)
Armywives episode 619
Syfy’s Boogeyman (a Syfy original movie)
Fatal Honeymoon (premieres Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m.)
Budz House starting the guy from the Miller High Life commercials
Jodi Picoult collection (Salem Falls, Plain Truth and The Pact)
Lifetime’s Surviving High School
Kathy Griffin double feature called “Pants off and Tired Hooker”
Barack Obama: From his childhood to the presidency
Four IFC Blu-rays: ATM (“No warning. No control. No escape.”); Brake (“The only way out is to give in”); Kill List; and 4:44 Last Day on Earth.
A FaceOff makeup kit
Twenty-three episodes of the 1937-74 series The Rookies
Bob Dylan book called Forget About Today
Two copies of The History of Us, a novel
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
For participants in cannabis culture, 4/20, 420, or 4:20 is Christmas, July 4th and Thanksgiving wrapped into one. The annual date has evolved from being message board material and a secret stoner code to something much more widespread.
by Kevin Osborne
Buchanan says 3CDC is covered fairly, despite her ties
The Enquirer’s top boss has
told CityBeat that her connection to a major real estate development group was “overlooked”
in a lengthy, front-page article about the organization that was published
Publisher Margaret Buchanan wrote
in response to an email that she didn’t influence the preparation, editing or
placement of an article about the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC).
Buchanan sits on 3CDC’s executive committee, and is in charge of overseeing
publicity and marketing efforts for the organization.
The Enquirer published a 1,900
word-plus article about 3CDC, lauding the group for its efforts to redevelop
Over-the-Rhine despite the economic downturn. Buchanan’s role with 3CDC wasn’t
mentioned, but she told CityBeat it has been disclosed in past articles and
will be done again in the future.
Buchanan’s response was sent
the same day that CityBeat published a column criticizing the lack of disclosure,
and questioning whether her role violates The Gannett Co.’s ethical guidelines
Here’s the full text of
Over several years, The
Cincinnati Enquirer has fully covered the pro's and con's (sic) of 3CDC's development
efforts in Over-the-Rhine for our readers and we are very proud of that
As publisher, I sit on 3CDC's
executive committee — and did not influence any of the reporting on this issue.
Our editor is completely responsible for all editorial decisions. Typically my
participation on this committee is disclosed, although it was overlooked for
the article that ran on Sunday, April 15. It will continue to be disclosed in
A search using the ProQuest
database of The Enquirer’s archives found that the newspaper has published 481
articles and news briefs mentioning 3CDC since the group began its efforts in 2004.
(Given how the database is organized, however, it’s likely that some of the
entries might be duplicative.)
Of the 481 entries, Buchanan
was mentioned in 15 articles. That equates to about 1/32nd of the
Most of the published
mentions about Buchanan’s ties to 3CDC weren’t in articles about the group’s retail
and residential development projects. Rather, they mostly occurred in articles
about 3CDC’s efforts to move a homeless shelter away from Over-the-Rhine.
Also, one mention was in an
article about the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, while another
occurred in a piece marking the 10th anniversary of the police
shooting death of Timothy Thomas.
Interestingly, most of the
mentions occurred after 2010, when local blogger Jason Haap and CityBeat began
publishing items about the lack of disclosure.
This week’s Porkopolis column
mentioned Gannett’s ethics code, which includes such admonishments as “We will
remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that
may compromise the credibility of our news report,” and “We will avoid
potential conflicts of interest and eliminate inappropriate influence on
The code also states “When
unavoidable personal or business interests could compromise the newspaper’s
credibility, such potential conflicts must be disclosed to one’s superior and,
if relevant, to readers.”
In her email, Buchanan didn’t
address why these rules don’t apply to her connection to 3CDC.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 17, 2012
WVXU’s decision to hire retiring Enquirer politics reporter Howard Wilkinson is the rare bright spot in the increasingly constricted world of local news gathering. Adding him to WVXU’s reporting staff
scored a twofer for news director Maryanne Zeleznik. In addition to his
sense of local and state politics, Howard is as passionate and
knowledgable about the Reds.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 4, 2012
We at CityBeat try hard to
maintain high journalistic standards, as evidenced by last week’s
internal editing debate over whether a freelancer who used the word
“shit” was literally referencing “feces” or “stuff” (turns out it was