Sunday, February 25, 2007

Expecting a good apology? Sorry

Random thoughts on Enquirer editor Tom Callinan's apology for publishing the names of the jurors in the Liz Carroll case:
  • Callinan says: "So how did this decision to publish all the jurors’ names happen? All I can say is that we lost our perspective." Let's just say he misspoke. What he really means is "all I am willing to say is ..." or "the truth is really too embarrassing to say, so ...." Accountability is a cornerstone of good journalism. Good journalists demand it of the powerful people they cover. But the Enquirer does very little of this type of journalism, so it's no wonder Callinan doesn't understand that or that the Enquirer doesn't come clean on this decision.
  • "The horrific story galvanized Ohio...." That's an exaggeration, in which Callinan tries to justify the Enquirer's overboard coverage. The name Marcus Fiesel appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer just once, in the Akron Beacon Journal just twice, the Columbus Dispatch just five times, the Toledo Blade never. The Dayton Daily News assigned a reporter to the case, probably due to the Butler County connection. Callinan is out of touch.
  • "It has attracted national attention, including a recent series on National Public Radio." I challenge Callinan to prove that. Which media? Which publications? I searched for "marcus fiesel" and got no hits.
  • The apology probably killed any slim chance the Enquirer had of winning awards for its coverage of the case.

Why did Callinan apologize? Because he couldn't do the other thing, which was to justify publishing the names. If he could have explained that decision cogently, he would have stuck by it, and often great journalism emerges when newspapers stick to their convictions even as everyone else is telling them to back off. The truth is probably that the decision to publish the names was such a clusterfuck that Callinan is embarrassed to expose the Enquirer's slipshod editorial process.

Maybe, after all, Callinan is ashamed of the Enquirer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis. I agree- Callinan needed to appear to walk the plank because he can't reveal the way business is done at that paper.
The idea that they chose to reveal the jurors' names because it was somehow a special case is ridiculous. Does that mean that the paper chooses to withhold jurors' names in say, gang murder cases because the Enquirer editors are qualified to decide? Are they claiming that they assessed potential risk to the Feisel jurors and said what the hell, go for it?

Any daily paper covers trials all the time. It's Newspaper 101. They have to have a policy on revealing the identies of jurors. The issue didn't arise for the first time on this case.

If this is the way that business is being conducted at the paper, it's just a free for all.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Callinan: "It has attracted national attention, including a recent series on National Public Radio."

Newsache: I challenge Callinan to prove that. Which media? Which publications? I searched for "marcus fiesel" and got no hits.

Callinan may have been referring to ongoing coverage of the case on WVXU. However, calling story coverage by the local NPR affiliate a "series on National Public Radio" could be construed as intentionally misleading.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will the Enquirer answer the questions that the public has been asking regarding this decision? Should they conveniently "forget" what those questions are, both NewsAche and The Daily Bellwether have summed up what many want answers for.

Guess if there is no answer, their hope will be that we will just all forget. I, for one, feel that there can be no gain on "trust" until those questions ARE answered.

Freedom of the press is no longer only for those who can afford a press.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess this will be one of those times that getting NO answer IS the answer.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found out about this blog... Wish I knew it was here a long time ago. I too am outraged by the actions of the Enquirer by release the jurors names, but it doesn't surprise me.

Now that everyone knows how low the Enquirer would go to become part of the story and influence a trial, did any of you also know this little piece of information...

Anyone who has received home delivery of the weekend Enquirer in the last several years knows that they would also give you "premium issues" (Columbus Day, MLK Day, etc.) for free. But what they failed to tell you in your bill is that they started charging you for those papers last year, without your authorization. Yep, it's true. It took complaints to the Better Business Bureau and the Ohio Attorney General Consumer Fraud Division to get them to stop the rip off. Look for the change in your next bill. How many of you knew that?

Yep, THAT'S your Enquirer for you. How low would they go next time?

By the way, if you are one of those Enquirer weekend delivery subscribers since May of 2006 who was unwittingly paying for those "premium issues", but did not want them, call up the subscription department and demand a refund/credit. I did, and received it. SPREAD THE WORD!

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How far will the Enquirer go in their pursuit of profits?

- Circulation cut 12,000 copies of 3 Community Press papers in January, yet doubtful many advertisers know.

- Enquirer sales reps "encouraged" not to tell advertisers who buy larger ad zones that they can buy smaller zones, for less money with Hometown Enquirer for fear of less revenue.

- Recent Enquirer story shared news about paycuts and unpaid vacations at a company of 900 plus employees, yet the Enquirer failed to share that they - a larger company, "encouraged" employees to take unpaid vacation this year because of tough times. Other larger job cut numbers have yet to be published.

These actions, those mentioned in this thread regarding "premium issues" and the catalyst that started this all, the apology show's there's problems well beyond editiorial.

And, there's really only one person in charge of it all...the publisher. Gannett should assign someone to take a closer look.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problems at the Enquirer are well beyond the news department. If you care to take the circulation complaints to a higher authority, ABC (The Audit Bureau of Circulation) is the the place to do it. Complaining to Gannett will get you nothing. Complaining to the Enquirer might get you a refund but only masks the issue.

Here is the ABC contact information:

ABC Headquarters
900 N. Meacham Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4968
Tel: 847-605-0909
Fax: 847-605-0483

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things have gotten downright comical down at the Enquirer blog department. There has been a wave of critism over their printing of the Carroll juror names, and they have now taken to shutting down blogs and deleting all their content. Now (Tues. morning), there is a new message that accompanies the "post a comment" section, which directs you to their "Terms of Service". However, I can only guess that no one at the Enquirer blog section actually read the "Terms", since it has virtually nothing to do with blogs. Here is a blog message posted to them (which will probably be promptly removed) this morning...

"The Enquirer might actually want to read the "Terms of Service" link they have now added below, since 1. the only section that might be read to apply to blogs (if at all) is quoted below, and 2. the section entitled "Use of Company Directories" doesn't make sense as it's presented. You didn't think anyone was actually going to read it, did you?

"By posting messages, uploading files, or otherwise providing any material to us for display on the Service, you are representing that you are the owner of the material, or are making your submission with the express consent of the owner of the material. In addition, when you post a message, upload a file, or otherwise provide us with material for display on the Service, you are granting Cincinnati.Com a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to:

1. Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication.

2. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.

The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, service mark or patent laws under any relevant jurisdiction."

Did you read it?"

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still can't get over their policy that "profane, vulgar and racist comments" will lead to all comments being pulled. From what I can tell, those comments stay put for a long while, inflaming others.

When an anti-Enquirer gets posted, it is another instance. Those comments get permanently stricken while the vulgarity, profanity and racism comments breed on the message boards. Guess that "breeding" gets them more web hits.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are the editors who made the call to publish the jurors' names?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been wondering since the story came out about a potential Carroll retrial if folks really think that the jury pool was tainted by the Enquirer.

I, for one, think that those stories were a bunch of bunk and questioned the timing. When I read the juror story the first thing I thought was that she had gone in with a predisposition.

Who out there thinks that they are indeed meddling? Anyone think that they are just stupid to think that we want to read crap like that or was it in anyway meaningful to anyone? Does this stuff really sell papers? Think that the timing on the on the stories the weekend before jury selection had to do with public interest or was it an intentional attempt to sway the justice system? Were the juror quotes out of context or, is that what she really meant?

Did anyone that was on the jury complain or receive any harassment due to the publishing of the names?

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Whistleblower has it that Callinan didn't even know about the thought of publishing the names since he's moved on to other things. Seems Towns left the decision up to others to decide. If true, it's typical. Mislead again by the Enquirer.

1:07 PM  

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