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But at least she didn't sign a recall petition ... More Gannett hypocrisy

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Baron Scicluna, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Cincinnati Enquirer ran a major piece on a redevelopment in the city and an organization's role in the whole thing. They barely put in any criticism of the project, nor did they quote any critics of it.

    But that's not the whole story. Publisher Margaret Buchanan sits on the 3DCD Executive committee and is in charge of publicity for the group.

    Which, in the interest of full disclosure ... was not mentioned in the story.


    Seriously, do these people think no one will notice this shit?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Not defending it by any means, but this kind of stuff has been going on forever...

    There is a reason why papers cover every "ground-breaking" when they're building a new mall and crap like that, because they want the advertising dollars that come with those places opening.

    I know of smaller papers where they've had writers covering every single aspect of new supermarkets and Best Buy type stores. One even ran a doubletruck layout of the building plan of the supermarket.

    Whores... All of them...
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but to me, the publisher not only serving on the board, but acting as the PR director is a major conflict of interest.

    Especially in light of the recent brouhaha involving the Wisconsin employees and the recall petition, if nothing else, an editor's note detailing Buchanan's involvement should have been placed prominently at the beginning of the story.

    But of course, when it comes to the executives, Gannett proves its hypocrisy once again.
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Why would what happened in Wisconsin affect the Cincinnati Enquirer's decision making. I think you're linking them as an outsider who has a lot of vitriol toward Gannett Company. I doubt the Enquirer's staff feels closer to Gannett's Wisconsin papers than, say, the Columbus Dispatch.

    You really need to calm down here. You get so worked up about Gannett. There's at least a chance the reporter and editors weren't even aware of the publisher's connection to the company. Most stories in a given newspaper don't go higher than an assignment editor, a reporter and a copy editor. I couldn't tell you a thing about the three publishers for whom I've worked. I know reporters and editors who would say the same.

    I agree that it would have been good to include the note. But I'm betting the reason it's not included is because no one realized the publisher was on the board. Publishers love to see their names in the newspaper, particularly associated with charity or similar work.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Actually, I did work for Gannett for quite a long time until they laid me off. And when (what they consider) to be a major ethical breach happened at one of their papers, we were sure to hear about it and we'd have to sit in more meetings to discuss how to avoid those breaches and be told to avoid them. As ordered by corporate. In other words, what happened at one paper would be used as an example at the other papers.

    One of the spurs behind the Principles of Ethics was the Jack Kelly scandal at USAT. You bet we heard all about it.

    It's the sort of thing where the publisher should notify the top editors of all of her potential conflicts of interest in advance. Barring that, after this story ran, just like with the Wisconsin stuff, the publisher should write a piece disclosing her conflict. The readers are owed that much.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    We are also talking about the same paper that recently did one of those "Top 40 Women in Business" features, and profiled the publisher as one of the 40. No conflict of interest there, right?
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I agree that it should have been noted. I just think you're consistently quick to jump down the throats of anyone at Gannett Company. And I'm not sure the higher-ups had anything to do with this one.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    You might not like it, and perhaps in a perfect journalism world, it's not even "right." And it should be disclosed.

    But the publisher represents the newspaper as a community business, NOT as an editorial voice or watchdog.

    Publishers have been sitting on boards and belonging to the Chamber of Commerce or Jaycees or whatever for 200+ years.

    Good publishers recognize this difference and stay out of the editorial side for the most part.

    Baron, you ARE kind of quick to seek these things out, which would be fine if it wasn't concerning things that are SOP.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    If newspapers want to put advertiser-friendly stories in the paper - fine. I get it these are the times we live in. I just wish they wouldn't undermine a writer's credibility making them write them. Hire an advertorial writer to do that stuff.

    I also notice Sports Illustrated has a habit of running book excerpts a week or two ahead of full page ads for said book appearing in the magazine.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Weird example.

    I wear Newton running shoes, a growing niche brand and have for a couple of years. Runner's World never said a word about Newtons, and Newton never advertised in Runner's World.

    Last month's issue had an editorial profile of the founder of Newton shoes ... and also a double-truck ad.

    This month had a full-page ad.

    I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the next RW shoe review includes Newtons.

    Funny how these things work.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Well, they give me so much material.

    And while publishers may represent the paper as a community business, there are many, who are also very involved in their newsrooms. Katherine Graham was one.

    The difference is, Gannett recently was raked over the coals for claiming a conflict of interest with their employees (including business-side ones) who signed a recall petition. Yet, they seem to have a double-standard for community involvement that also results in news coverage when it comes to their higher-ups. In other words, who's watching the watchdogs?
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Speaking of Cincinnati, anybody else still have that copy of the ethics guide they made everybody go through after the Dole story blew up in the late 90s?
    Hell, we sat through two days (paid) of hearing colleagues read through the principles and then had to sign the sheet. Like most things, it was mainly PR and I figure part of the company's butt covering strategy.
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