Friday, May 23, 2008

Chiquita, again

I read this and thought wow, neither the Enquirer nor anybody else within Gannett would have the guts to publish anything like this today. I had thought that 10 years later, the Chiquita mess really hadn't had a long-term impact on the Enquirer. It wasn't a hard-nosed paper before, and it wasn't afterward, so what was the effect?

Cincinnati Magazine set out to answer that question, but came back with something different. No readers were interviewed, none of the powers that be in the region were interviewed. The editor and the publisher were interviewed. What would Tom Callinan know about the effect of the Chiquita mess? First, he wasn't here at the time. Second, the journalistic tone he's set for the Enquirer shows he doesn't know much about journalism. You get President's Rings for pushing paper, not for putting people in jail.

After reading Cameron McWhirter's look back, it occurred to me that the Enquirer would never, ever write about itself in such terms. A hard-hitting series, the disavowal that didn't say the reporting was in error, the $10 million payment to the richest man in town, the felony conviction, the naming of previously unnamed sources -- the Chiquita affair was a major event in this town, of historical proportions. The Enquirer celebrates the anniversaries of lesser events with front-page treatment. Why not Chiquita? The Enquirer, sadly, can't be honest its present, about its circulation numbers and its business practices. Why would it be honest about its own past?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A few awards the Enquirer might win, but it's not enough

The Enquirer has been informed it's won awards in the following Cleveland Press Club award categories:

Awards will be announced in June. In the Cleveland Press Club awards, there are 66 categories in the Open Print and Daily Newspaper classes. The Enquirer is a winner in just 11 categories; they have two nominees in one category. They are not a winner in the Best Daily Newspaper category, or Best Section, or Editorial, or Criticism, or Columns. One entry is written by Chuck Martin, who is leaving the paper, and another by Jim McNair, who was let go.

State awards should be a slam dunk for good newspapers, and are most meaningful if you win your category. If you don't win, if you get a second or third or an honorable mention, they're almost meaningless. Assuming the Enquirer doesn't finish first in all these categories, it's a poor showing for a major metro daily.