Thursday, March 01, 2007

The point

cindi andrews, commenting in this February 26 post, said
Congratulations -- you have successfully used technology to turn journalistic angst into a spectator sport. I wonder what it accomplishes, though. Do you think the honchos in Northern Virginia are going to wake up one day, read your words of wisdom and triple the Enquirer's staff?

When you get tired of beating this dead horse, maybe you could try something more productive, like giving us the thoughtful news coverage that the Enquirer lacks, or finding a job that doesn't make you miserable.

But I'm probably missing the point of a blog ...

This blog is my rant. I speak only for myself. I choose not to provide my name because the Enquirer is run by people who are small minded and vindictive, and I don't need the headache.

I'm doing this because few others are calling out the bullshit that the Enquirer considers to be journalism. Lists are not journalism, calendars are not journalism, and Wednesday's clip-and-save guide to Newport on the Levee is not journalism. Newspapers in cities this size don't have to be so crappy. The Enquirer is crappy by choice. I know there are lots of good people who work in the newsroom, and they work hard. But the people who run the Enquirer have set the expectations very low, because it's cheaper that way. The Enquirer is doing Cincinnati a great disservice, and I'm writing this blog to let them know we're smarter than they think we are, and we can see what they're doing. I think most of what I do here is to state the obvious.

I keep tabs on "more awards the Enquirer didn't win" to point out the paper's total lack of ambition. You can't even do good journalism if you're not trying to be great once in a while. I'm sorry, but the Ohio AP awards aren't a big deal. And though the Enquirer won two awards and two honorable mentions in the Associated Press Sports Editors competition, 45 newspapers won awards in their bracket (100,000-250,000 circulation). There were 10 winners in every category, so it's hard not to win something.

Aside from Borgman's Pulitzer for editorial cartooning, the Enquirer has never won or been a finalist for a Pulitzer for its reporting, photography or criticism. It's not impossible for a newspaper in a city like Cincinnati to win. Just since 1980, the Louisville Courier-Journal has won 3 Pulizters and been a finalist 5 times. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Toledo Blade, the Dayton Daily News, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Indianapolis Star and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have all won Pulitzers since 1980. Even the Lorain fucking Journal was a finalist in 1985. Just so you know, they don't give Pulitzers for local reporting. Dayton's 1998 Pulitzer was for National Reporting. The Enquirer has goose eggs, and Cincinnati is not to blame. The Enquirer just doesn't know how to be great, and has no desire to be.

So, read this blog or don't read it, I don't care. Like or don't like it, I don't care. I know Tom Callinan and the boys in Northern Virginia aren't reading this, so I don't harbor any delusions that this blog will somehow make the Enquirer better. You can call me a whiner, call me an arse, tell me this blog has deteriorated from "intelligent criticism," I don't care. This is not a full-time job for me. I write when something moves me and when I have the time. I never promised anyone intelligent criticism. The truth is the Enquirer commits that one great sin of journalism every day -- it's just boring -- and most days there's very little you can say about that.

[ UPDATE: This year there is a Pulitzer category for local reporting, which replaces beat reporting. This article speculates on who will win when the awards are chosen next week. Guess which newspaper isn't mentioned. ]

10 Comments:

Anonymous Sinsinnati said...

NewsAche, many of us feel the same way you do. Our city is home to the worst newspaper in this country. God help us when the Cincinnati Post closes up shop. I wish someone out there would buy the remains of the Cincinnati Post, team with the Dayton Daily News and go head to head with the Enquirer as a local morning paper. Many of us would support another morning paper without the agenda of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Lastly you are not alone, there are many local message boards, blogs and websites that have members that are truly unhappy with the sub-par journalism and anti-city bias from the Enquirer.

I have posted a link to your blog entry on http://cinplify.com.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you think of today's story about Cohen askinbg for new trial based on comments from one juror about liz carroll trial? I not an atty, but wonder why Cohen didn't pick up on this sooner? A tainted juror? Sure sounds like it. Should enquirer have gone forward with story when she said this? Should they have contacted Cohen & asked what he thought? Of course. Let chips fall...

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone with more than casual knowledge, and in talking with others who have the same, your blog is very often spot on!

Regarding your anonymity, you're spot on about that too. Unfortunately, the open door policy that the publisher professes to support appears to be the door that people have to use to exit the building should they dare share what's really going on.

And, for me at least, that's what makes this blog great!

You've opened the door for many people to see they're not alone in their concerns. Comments posted by others shows this is deeper than editorial too. Yet, despite management's best efforts, a great number of employees still care. Imagine the good that would result if only the top were willing to truly listen and hear what employees were sharing with one another - you'd almost think that it cost something for the publisher and Gannett to listen.

Regardless, it appears that employees feel there's a price to pay if they you do. Your blog lessens the fear and provides them with a chance to share a bit whether the top's listening or not.

Keep it up!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people blame the publisher for the sad state of affairs at the Enquirer. It is sub standard. It is a difficult place to effect change, things don't work as they should and most (if not all) employees are unhappy. It is well known that the open door policy is indeed an exit ramp and a brutal one.

Known also is that MB has high expectations and ambitions. The individuals that work directly for her often carry sordid tales and expressions about her methods for achieving them. Those same individuals go to extremes to hide or twist what really goes on at the expense of those that work under them. Doing just about anything brings harsh reprisals. Doing good work or offering an idea is beaten down because it could show that other things aren't quite as they should be. Even answers on employee surveys simply bring investigations about who said what, plans for how to get them to not say it again and improvement plans that don't become reality. The culture is that of continuous mixed signals.

It makes you wonder whether she is to blame. Is she as terrible as they say or do they behave as they do because she might act on something she finds out? Does she just not know or does she not care to know? Maybe the blame is hers because she hasn't found out or hasn't been able too.

What is little wonder is why people are tight-lipped about the internal going-ons, act out due to complete frustration or stay in a safe zone. Those are the very reasons that change is difficult, things don't work as they should and employees are unhappy.

Those are the same reasons the Enquirer is a lousy product.

It is a vicious cycle.

This blog is a great place to rant even if nothing comes of it other than knowing others feel the same way. If you know about this blog, pass it on.

8:58 PM  
Blogger The Dean of Cincinnati said...

So I'm thinking of making a big deal about, and trying to get others to join in buying subscriptions to The Post just to piss off The ENquirer.

CincyNewsAche -- I'm curious if you think I should bother.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another one of my issues with this horrible paper is that they publish more NKY garbage than they do Ohio stories unless they are of course negative. Isn't there a NKY.com? We are tied of getting news updates on Louisville & Lexington sports teams. How many staff members of the Enquirer live in Kentucky? For crying out loud... We don't give two shits about those cities or there sports teams. As a UC fan, I think it is sad that this paper will cover Louisville and Lexington college teams over a local school and program like Xavier.

Don’t even get me started on the half ass comparisons of Cincinnati the Enquirer just did with Indianapolis. The lack of research of population, crime & neighborhood boundary data was appalling.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Enquirer runs a very repressive shop, and I'm glad to have left it behind. Managers repress criticism because they don't have the backbone to stand up for what's right. They heap praise on suckups and find fault with anyone with criticism, however constructive it might be. Knowing the editors and publisher, I'd have to say there's absolutely no hope of the Enquirer becoming a better paper in the short run. Someone would have to buy the paper and do a wholesale house cleaning.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though not since 1980, but the The Post has won a least one Pulitzer for reporting even...

Dean, I like your idea, but because the Enquirer controls circulation you may never get the paper. I subscribed in October and then never received it, until one day about a month ago. One landed on my door step. It came again two days after that and I haven't seen it since. Calls to the customer help line aren't helpful and the carrier doesn't return calls.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a 6 day subscription to the Cincinnati Post is 8.59 per month and the Kentucky Post is 9.95. Funny, if you click on subscribe on cincypost.com there is a link in large type to subscribe to the Enquirer and that link is on top of the links to subscribe to the Post. Now, if you click on the link to the Enquirer, there are little bitty links to subscribe to the Post under those for the Enquirer. So much for equal time and the spirit of the "partnership" between the two papers.

I like the Post. I'd be willing to subscribe. It will only make a point to the Enquirer if it happens in quantity though.

2:39 PM  

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