Wednesday, April 23, 2008

They never learn

The Enquirer has used each turn in the long and tired saga of the Banks development to boost downtown, and nearly every time it's had to reverse itself. On Nov. 2 the headline in the center of the page said "The Banks is a done deal." On January 15 the headline said, "The Banks hits a new snag," followed a week later by "Banks project might miss finance deadline." Headlines on editorials include "Banks is a dream worth holding" (June 15), "Get ready: Banks really happening" (September 8), "The Banks: Time to get it done" (September 25) and "Stop arguing, just build the Banks" (September 30), "Seal the deal on the Banks" (October 25), "Cooperation key to Banks approval" (November 2), and finally, "Fuckin' A, stop acting like pussies and build the goddam thing already" (November 9).

Okay, I made that last one up. It seemed to fit the Enquirer's comical progression, which shows how hard they try ignore political realities and boost downtown, only to be slapped back to earth by some inevitable petty disagreement. It shows how little Enquirer editors understand about business, finance, development and politics. Yes, ground has finally be broken, but personally, I'm going to hold my applause till I see the first bar open for business there.

The Enquirer's latest display of front-page naivety surrounds the Delta-Northwest merger and the fate of the hub at CVG. We have "Delta: CVG service may grow" (April 17), "Delta hub here may grow" (April 18) and the editorial "Delta merger may help hub here" the same day.

This morning the Enquirer gave us "CVG hub not guaranteed" and later, the news that Delta and Northwest together lost more than $10 billion in the first three months of the year. Delta and Northwest are very nearly bankrupt, getting hosed by high fuel prices, so it would seem prudent to exercise a little caution when proclaiming such optimism about the future of the hub here. Nothing is set in stone. The Enquirer and its editors looks foolish and naive for pumping up that news about the hub, and they look foolish again when they have to report the reality of the situation.

If you hope to save the newspaper, you have to be committed to the belief that a well-researched and well-presented truth is worth paying for. Want boosterism and a spun truth? That's what we have politicians for.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, the city of Cincinnati provides impetus for growth in Northern Kentucky. The Blanks, providing views of the river cities for five years.

As for the Enquirer, they're just giving CPR to a dead man.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail squarely on the head with this post. The Enquirer always seem so naive and poorly researched when I read its daily coverage.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On top of all that: the CincyMoms Life cover centerpiece promoting a book the Enquirer published and written by someone who works in its custom publishing division - oops, it's all the Local Information Center (LIC) now, isn't it? And the book apparently offers such sophisticated fare as a purchased graham cracker crust filled with Cool Whip and fruit. I need a cookbook and a newspaper to teach me that? Poor Polly Campbell. Bet she's throwing out her whisks in despair. Luckily, she didn't have to write this giant house ad.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With news-leadership like this it's no wonder that Gannett's stock flirted with $25 a share yesterday.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gannett is said to be ready for a streamline. Who's vulnerable at the Enquirer?

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who isn't? No one is ever safe in Gannett.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read Gannet Blog's April 23rd ( "Gannett shares plunge nearly 6%, closing under $26" posting.

A comment there alleges that the AZ Republic is going to eliminate 89 jobs and cut everyone else’s pay by 11%.

Frankly, if broader streamlining is coming, then Gannett should hold more publishers accountable for consistently poor results...including MB.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gannett strives to do the opposite of the best management practices, those espoused by Peter Drucker and Tom Peters, among others. When initiatives collapse and the empire burns, Gannett blames rank-and-file employees (for the audacity of earning a paycheck) and rarely holds its managers accountable. Oh, it might shuffle them around, from Sioux Falls to Appleton to Cherry Hill and Tallahassee, but that is another way of saying incompetence is acceptable in this company. Callinan was sent packing from Phoenix because of his shortcomings there. That's how the unwitting readers in Cincinnati, a smaller market in terms of circulation and newspaper revenue, became graced with his "promotion." All of the Enquirer's executives are pass-throughs reaching for the next rung on the Gannett ladder.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why haven't Callinan and Towns "passed through" yet to someplace else?

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cincinnati should be the swan song for Callinan, who counts his blessings for every additional year he lasts here. Buchanan rides him like an abusive parent, and Callinan tried to ease himself out in 2004 by seeking, unsuccessfully, the deanship of the Miami U. J-school. Towns has also stayed longer than the script called for. Gannett does the PC thing by putting African Americans into management and made Towns the executive editor a year ago. Only it was a hollow promotion. Gannett gave him the Exec. Ed. title, but he still falls under Callinan. If anyone doubts that pecking order, note that it is Callinan, not Towns, who also has a vice president title. Gannett preferred to park Towns as VP of diversity at corporate headquarters in northern Virginia, but Towns, who looks in the mirror and sees a composite of Eugene Roberts, John Seigenthaler and Lou Grant, didn't want the job.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Chip said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connie Schultz, the Pulitzer Prize columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, returned last week. Her columns are always a must-read in my book, combining her colorful writing style with a passion for the underdog. Of course, her return begs the questions again: Why doesn't the Enquirer have any local columnists (other than Bronson)?

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that some of the more distressing developments have come at the business desk. The "editor" appears naive and grossly unqualified. Her columns are usually just regurgitations of shameless self-promotion spewed out by the usual suspects -- this time, wrapped into lunch dates. Then there's another youngish female whose beat seems to be how to dress -- oh, and call me if you want to buy my services.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Business coverage has clearly been dealt a bad hand, in large part through less newshole.

Though, admittedly, this week’s column about the Fine Arts fund would resonate more were it not for the Publishers’ actions prior to, and after she become its campaign chair as she had no problem in pushing for more despite the Enquirer’s failing economy.

11:56 AM  

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