WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 08.02.2013
Posted In: News, Pensions, 2013 Election, Media at 09:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

Cranley outraises Qualls, city pension recommendations stalled, layoffs at 'The Enquirer'

Ex-Councilman John Cranley is outraising Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls in the mayoral race by $124,000, but the history and research of money in politics suggest the lead might not matter much, if at all. Mayor Mark Mallory was outspent more than three-to-one in the 2005 mayoral race by David Pepper, but Mallory won the vote 52-48 percent. Political scientists argue fundraising and campaigns generally have a marginal impact, while economic growth, the direction of the city, state and country, incumbency or successorship, name likability and recognition, and political affiliation have much bigger effects. [Correction: This originally said $134,000 when the correct number is $124,000.] The board that manages Cincinnati employees’ struggling pension system won’t make a recommendation to City Council Monday, as originally planned, because it can’t decide how much taxpayers and employees should suffer to help fix the $862 million unfunded liability. Board members couldn’t agree on the proper balance between benefit cuts and increased funding from the city. Credit rating agency Moody’s on July 15 downgraded Cincinnati’s bond rating from Aa1 to Aa2 and revised the bonds’ outlook to “negative.” Moody’s stated one of the biggest causes of concern for Cincinnati’s debt outlook is its pension fund. There were massive layoffs at The Cincinnati Enquirer and its parent company Gannett yesterday, including the reported closing of the newspaper’s Kentucky office. As of the latest update from Gannett Blog, more than 200 people were laid off nationwide and 11 lost their jobs at the Cincinnati offices. The news comes just two weeks after Gannett CEO Gracia Martore proudly claimed on July 22, “We are accelerating our transformation into the ‘New Gannett’ every day.” Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held and raped three women at his house for years, yesterday was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years. A few dozen residents organized by a conservative group asked the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority to kill Cincinnati’s parking lease at a meeting Thursday. The Port is taking control over Cincinnati’s parking meters, lots and garages as part of a controversial deal that will net the city $92 million up front and $3 million or more a year afterward. CityBeat covered the lease in further detail here. While the Port Authority meeting apparently warranted live tweeting and various articles from several outlets, other local media outlets never covered a streetcar social that involved roughly 200 supporters of the Cincinnati streetcar and Mayor Mallory. State officials claim average costs for health insurance will soar by 41 percent for Ohioans who buy coverage online under Obamacare, but experts say the state’s claims are misleading. “These are sticker prices, and very few people will pay these prices,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many will qualify for subsidies.” The Republican officials touting the claims of higher costs, including Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, have opposed Obamacare from the start. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald is once again asking for an ethics probe of Gov. John Kasich and JobsOhio, the privatized development agency established by Republicans to replace the Ohio Department of Development. Republicans claim JobsOhio is creating thousands of job in the state, but Democrats argue the agency’s secretive nature makes it difficult to verify whether taxpayer dollars are being effectively used. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine yesterday announced a statewide Internet cafe investigation spanning to an establishment in Middletown. “We are still in the beginning stages of what we expect to be a very lengthy investigation,” DeWine said in a statement.  “While it is too early in the investigation to go into specifics, we do believe the alleged criminal activity at these locations goes beyond illegal gambling.” Earlier in the year, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature effectively banned Internet cafes, which they claimed were hubs for online gambling and illegal activity. The Ohio crime lab received about 3,300 untested rape kits from law enforcement around the state and found nearly 400 DNA matches after testing more than 1,300 of the kits. DeWine says the extensive tests are helping solve sexual assault crimes. The Cincinnati Zoo has a region-wide economic impact of $143 million, according to a study from the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center. Just one day after announcing he’s quitting the mayoral race, Libertarian Jim Berns is asking to rejoin. Berns withdrew from the race Wednesday in protest of the mayoral primary election and debate schedule. In a statement, he said he had changed his mind because staying in the race supposedly allows him to shed light on important issues. Keeping Cincinnati Beautiful is offering a one-day free recycling event Saturday for hard-to-recycle items. Evolution punishes selfish people, according to a game theory study.
 
 

Flawed Research Costs Reporters, Scientific Journals Credibility

0 Comments · Friday, August 2, 2013
Pity local editors who must decide whether a distant medical and scientific study or discovery is newsworthy.   

Curmudgeon Notes 7.24.2013

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Northern Kentucky’s Sarah Jones is a statistic, one of many public school teachers caught having sex with students. Jones’ conviction joins her local identity with “former Bengals cheerleader.” Now, she could become more widely known as winner of a vexing First Amendment case.   

Facts vs. Perceptions in Trayvon Martin Coverage

9 Comments · Tuesday, July 23, 2013
If Zimmerman is guilty of anything, it was prosecutors, not jurors, who let him walk free. That kind of over-charging isn’t alien to Hamilton County, but it too rarely is questioned by reporters, especially when pleas to lesser charges are accepted by prosecutors and judges.   
by German Lopez 07.10.2013
Posted In: News, Budget, Media at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
media bridges studio

Media Bridges Shutting Down

Public access media organization to close by end of year

Local public access media organization Media Bridges is shutting its doors for good by the end of the year, ending nearly 25 years of public service. The organization’s demise is a result of the city eliminating funding for Media Bridges in its latest budget, which was passed by City Council in May. “It is with great sadness that I must announce that Media Bridges will close its doors by the end of 2013. The city has made it extremely clear that we will not be receiving any more funding from them. While we have tried many other avenues for revenue it has become clear that we will be unable to sustain operations beyond 2013,” Media Bridges Executive Director Tom Bishop announced Tuesday in the organization’s newsletter.The shutdown will be a steady process, with Media Bridges completely closing once its channels are transferred or Dec. 13 — whichever comes first.The city’s budget cuts were originally considered in December, but City Council managed to restore some funding to keep the organization afloat. Prior to the partial restoration, Bishop had called the cuts a “meteor” to his organization’s budget. City officials previously defended the cuts to Media Bridges, citing city surveys that ranked the program poorly in terms of budgetary importance. For the surveys, the city used meetings and mailed questionnaires to gauge public opinion. But Bishop claims the surveys’ demographics were lopsided against low-income Cincinnatians, the income group that benefits the most from public access programs like Media Bridges. For both the meeting-based and mail-in surveys, Bishop’s claim checks out. His concern is even directly acknowledged and backed in the documented survey results for the meetings: “Twenty-two percent of meeting participants earned less than $23,050 per year, compared to 40.8 percent of the population at large who earn less than $24,999 per year. While this is not representative of the population at large, the data does indicate strong participation from low income residents.” Meanwhile, wealthier Cincinnatians were much better represented, with 11 percent of meeting participants making $150,000 or more per year despite only 6 percent of the city at large belonging to that income group, according to the survey results. The same issue can be found in the mail-in survey: Only 22 percent of respondents made less than $25,000, while 10 percent made $150,000 or more.“It’s ridiculous that they would call that representative of the city of Cincinnati,” Bishop says. Instead of using its skewed survey results, Bishop argues the city should have looked at the 2010 Spring Greater Cincinnati Survey from the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research. In that survey, Cincinnati respondents were asked how important it was to provide recording equipment to citizens and neighborhoods so they can “produce educational and public access programs for cable television.” About 54.3 percent called it “very important,” 33.9 percent labeled it “somewhat important” and 11.7 percent said it was “not too important.” City officials also defended the cuts by claiming that funding was only provided as a “one-year reprieve” after Media Bridges lost state funding that came through Time Warner Cable, which successfully lobbied to end its required contributions in 2011. Bishop disputes the city’s claim, saying Media Bridges and its staff weren’t informed that the city funding was meant to be temporary — at least until it was too late. Media Bridges is a public access media organization founded in 1988 that allows anyone in Cincinnati to record video and sound for publicly broadcasted television and radio. It also provides educational programs for people new to the process. Although Media Bridges is closing down, the city is still funding CitiCable, which, among other programming, broadcasts City Council and county commissioner meetings, through franchise fees from Cincinnati Bell and Time Warner.
 
 

Shield Laws Create Gray Areas

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
 A press card means we’re special until we irritate someone who can ignore it or take it away. It doesn’t matter what level of government is involved; the power to issue a press card is the power to withhold.  

Much Ado About Court Packing

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Language abuse — as opposed to abusive language — is as old as language itself. After 50-plus years of reporting and editing, I should be used to it, but I’m increasingly irritated by its deliberate, partisan misuse.   

The Unjustified Contempt for Watchdog Journalism

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 29, 2013
 If sources begin to think twice about contacting us in any fashion other than midnight meetings in darkened parking garages, public service reporting will become an endangered species.   

The Ethics of Intrusion

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Intruding is something reporters do. Intrusions can be personal, professional, financial or commercial. Or more than one of the above. And, yes, despite inexplicably loud cell phone conversations, awareness of omnipresent smartphone cameras and overly revealing Facebook posts, many Americans still assert their right to privacy.   

Media Misses Opportunity with West, Texas, Coverage

0 Comments · Thursday, May 2, 2013
You want news of a real weapon of mass destruction? Try ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored in tanks in the tiny town of West, Texas. At least 14 dead. Hundreds wounded. High school and nursing home blitzed. Dozens of homes destroyed.   

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