Loss of institutional knowledge at Dayton Daily news showing

A good friend thanked me for posting about the passing of two former candidates for the Dayton City Commission. I didn’t write much- but, both times, the following day, the paper had a decent send-off for these past leaders. Granted, both of them died way too young (55, 53) but, by no means should they have received more ink than this man- Tom Wilson. The sum total of the obit that I could find in the DDn is this:


Former Montgomery County Sheriff Lewis “Tom” Wilson died Friday, a day after his 86th birthday.

Wilson, of Kettering, served as sheriff from 1979 to 1987.

Funeral visitation is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 4, followed by the funeral services at 2 p.m. at the Kettering Routsong Funeral home, 2100 E. Stroop Road.

via Former sheriff Tom Wilson dies at 86 | www.mydaytondailynews.com. Posted: 6:26 p.m. Sunday, March 30, 2014

No photo, no recollections, no noted accomplishments- just what amounts to the same as a death notice.

From the paid death notice:

WILSON, Lewis Thomas Of Dayton, Ohio, died peacefully in his apartment at One Lincoln Park on March 28, 2014, the day after celebrating his 86th birthday. Tom was the 5th born to Russell and Madeline Wilson of Falmouth Ky. on March 27th, 1928. His family moved to Dayton where he graduated from Wilbur Wright HS in 1946. While there, Tom lettered in football and track, worked as a lifeguard at NCR’s Old River, and met Lois Joan Anderson whom he was married to for 54 yrs. After high cchool, he got a job with NCR as a key bank setter where he saved up enough money to pay for his first year at UD and was awarded a football scholarship. Tom would soon find his calling and spend a total of 37 years in law enforcement. He served 8 years with Oakwood and graduated from the FBI National Academy. Tom then served 19 years as chief deputy sheriff and 10 years as sheriff of Montgomery County from 1978 to 1988. He was past president of the FBI National Academy Association of Ohio, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, Law Enforcement Officers Association of Montgomery County, Ohio-Indiana Police Association, S.W. Ohio Police and Sheriffs Association and was awarded the Ohio’s Outstanding Sheriff’s Award in 1981. His involvement and lifelong contributions to the Dayton community are many where he has served as past president of the Dayton Agonis Club and on the boards for AAA, Goodwill Industries, Dayton Boys/Girls Club, Kiwanis Club, Easter Seals, Camp Fire Council, and Old Time Newsies. He was past master of George Marshall Lodge which became Far Hills Lodge #784, a member of the York Rite Bodies, a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Royal Order of Jesters, and a past potentate of the Antioch Shrine Temple. Most of all, Tom was deeply dedicated to his family and numerous friends and always strived to deliver an unsurpassed level of excellence in all that he did. Tom was predeceased by his wife, Lois in 2003. She was the love of his life. He is survived by his very dear loving companion, June Mathewson of Centerville, OH; son, Joseph C. Wilson of West Carrollton, OH; 2 daughters, Penny Ellis of Boulder Creek, Calif., and Wendy McArdle of Bristol, Vt.; 2 grandsons, Jason Wilson and Alex Ellis; 2 granddaughters, Caroline McArdle, Jenna McArdle; 2 great grandchildren and a host of loving nieces and nephews. A Masonic service will be held at 1:45 p.m., with a memorial service to follow at 2:00 p.m., Friday, April 4, 2014, at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Rd. in Kettering. The family will greet friends in the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. to 1: p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Antioch Building Corp., 107 E. First St., Dayton, OH 45402 or The Dayton Masonic Foundation for the Scottish Rite Learning Center, PO Box 932, Dayton, OH 45401. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.routsong.com

Published in Dayton Daily News on Apr. 2, 2014
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dayton/obituary.aspx?pid=170459471#sthash.uj8Jvzy1.dpuf

In the past, the DDn has been criticized for not remembering D-Day, Pearl Harbor Day, MLK Day, etc.- so they make sure to give ample coverage- but, that’s not really news in our community, that’s fluff. A man whp served in our community as the highest elected lawman for a decade, deserved more.

The fact is, with all the “retirements” and cutbacks- the Dayton Daily news institutional knowledge base is minimal. They don’t know the history, the connections, the reason 2+2 often only equals 3 in this community.

My father chastised me for writing about the death notices- and calling them failed obits. I’m pretty sure, had I not written about them, the DDn wouldn’t have either. To Tom Wilson, and all his friends- and I’m sure he had way more friends than I’ll ever have, he deserved better. I’m sorry I didn’t catch it. And to TP, thanks for pointing this out.


Dayton Daily news slanders VA for fun and profit

The latest “news” from the paper that publishes stories about its own meteorologist rescuing a kitten – is that in 13 years, the VA has paid a pittance in settlements and attempts to suggest that the VA is a horribly run institution where veterans die from delayed care.

Of course, the metric that’s missing- the VA doesn’t spend a ton of money with Cox enterprises for advertising like the local private hospitals. When you draw a comparison between just the local yokel hospitals and the entire VA system- it’s comparing watermelons to a tenth of a grain of rice.

The fact that the idiots in Congress have latched onto this story is just further proof that we need IQ tests for our Congress as qualifications to run. That the NYTimes calls this an uproar- is an embarrassment to journalism as well:

The uproar over medical care for military veterans involves one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion.

The need for care has increased with a surge in the number of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming on top of a population of aging veterans who were already straining the capacity of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Improvements in battlefield medicine mean that many service members survive with severe injuries that need treatment after they leave the armed forces….

Q: How big is the Department of Veterans Affairs?

A: The clinics and hospitals serve more than 230,000 veterans a day and deliver care in 85 million appointments a year. The 6.5 million patients treated each year include more than 757,000 whose military service began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

via History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs – NYTimes.com.

The reality is our private hospital system turns away people every single day for lack of insurance. Billions are paid out in malpractice suits in the private sector- and this is ignoring the fact that many veterans have very serious health conditions due to their military service.

While it’s easy to pick on the VA – by those who have never experienced the system, and that there is always room for improvement, this veteran would suggest that this is just smoke and mirrors distracting Americans from the real failures of the “American Health Care System” that fails many more Americans daily than the VA does in a decade.

The fact that General Shinseki runs a system far bigger than all of Premier Health Partners for less than a tenth of what Premier pays its top dogs, totally escapes the public. The fact that Shinseki, is himself a Service Disabled Veteran who has counted on the VA for care gets overlooked.

Considering that we now have the fewest legislators who have served in the military in our nation’s history, most of them need a real lesson in what public service is.

The VA has been on a massive search for veterans to enroll in its programs- with many veterans unaware that they are eligible for care if they served more than 180 days and have a general or honorable discharge. This manufactured hysteria about failed care isn’t helping the mission or improving the system in a meaningful way.

Our veterans deserve better than being used as fodder for selling newspapers. If someone with integrity exists in journalism today- they’d do a true comparison between this government-run health-care system and the joke of our private one. Dollar for dollar, patient for patient, the VA would win hands down.

Dayton media bias called out

Remember when a guru was going to buy the old Society/Key bank building for half-a-million dollars at auction, and the Dayton Daily News crawled up his legal behind with a microscope, questioning everything about him? I do. I wrote about it: “You must be crazy – to invest in Dayton” It turned out they were partially right, the Commander Swami sold off what he could in the building (including a ton of really nice office furniture for pennies on the dollar) and then neglected to heat the building, allowing pipes to freeze, break and flood parts of the building rendering it worth even less.

But as I pointed out in that article, there were plenty of lawsuits against local “developers” that pretty much go unreported.

A few weeks ago, Larry Ealy turned in enough valid signatures to run as a Democratic nominee for Governor. No less than four articles appeared in the Dayton Daily News about “possible voter fraud” in his petitions. Other candidates have turned in all kinds of wonky petitions- and there is never another word said. In fact, a certain Democratic Party Queen was investigated for forging petitions for a gubernatorial candidate when she was in college and it never made the paper. She’s now sitting in office. What was most interesting was how the paper felt the need to recap an entire story of the questionable prosecution of one of the circulators for conviction of voter fraud years ago- yet, there is no law against a convicted felon circulating petitions in Ohio, nor is there one stopping them from voting (a common misconception).

When I ran for Commission last time, the paper had to make sure that readers knew I had tax liabilities, even though they were small and being taken care of. No mention of one of my opponents failed business ventures with lawsuits galore, or his wife’s vehicular homicide charges. In fact the first time he ran for office, they barely figured out that he didn’t actually live in the city when he filed- and he had to get his property annexed into Dayton to run legally.

Then there is the persecution of Raleigh Trammell, the preacher who used to be able to come and yell at the City Commission at will when he was in his prime. Had I ever raised my voice to the commission like that, I’d have been arrested. Despite the fact that Reverend Trammell had been convicted of felony welfare fraud and served time in the late seventies, no one seemed to question how he was given a contract to administer welfare dollars for years without oversight or why no one else was held responsible? Someone kept signing those checks right? I lost some friends in the local business community for posting this question (three times) “who’s the criminal”  Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 as the most powerful man in the world, and the CEO of CareSource pays herself $3 million a year with tax dollars that are supposed to go to aid the poor? Oh, but that’s right, without these quasi-governmental contract jobs Dayton would be in bankruptcy just like Detroit right now. Something is wrong when companies that only get tax dollars as income, spend it on lavish CEO pay and hire a bevy of lobbyists.

Nah, the media won’t write about that here.

But, wait, just a week ago, the Dayton Daily news did three pieces questioning the Dayton Development Coalition and their questionable right to be secretive with their financials, despite being a quasi-governmental organization. Never mentioned their hiring of Congressman Turner’s former wife on a grossly inflated no-bid contract to come up with a horrible branding campaign. Nope- not a word. You had to read that here on Esrati.com.

Somehow, local developers have managed to tax the little peoples’ income in townships where income taxes aren’t supposed to be levied. That’s right- if you are a white=collar worker, working for a law firm that has a state legislator on staff and a candidate for Lt. Governor- you don’t pay income tax, but if you work for a retailer and are paid close to minimum wage- you pay income tax. Barely a peep in the media- had to read it here: Only the people who don’t pay off politicians pay income taxes at Austin Road

There is a former local restauranteur who made a real mess of her business and is currently serving prison time and facing deportation when she gets out. They’ve had a field day reporting about this stupid case of insurance fraud. Yet, right across the street, there is another restauranteur who has a history that’s even more fascinating that has never hit the local press. Confidential sources inside the Cox Castle confirm that they’ve known about this story- bur didn’t think it was newsworthy. Note, this restauranteur was financially backed by a local kingmaker who likes to think he’s the man behind the curtain and Dayton’s savior.

As they’ve always said- politics makes strange bedfellows.

If you look at the Dayton Daily News over the last year, hardly a week has gone by without some mention of Drones and UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicle) as our potential economic savior. I’m sorry, but I built model airplanes as a kid and flew them, but that didn’t make me the next big thing since the Wright Brothers. First, we need to get some basic terminology straight- drones and UAV’s aren’t interchangeable terms. A drone is something that isn’t controlled by a pilot. It just goes up and does its thing. UAV’s can be a drone- or they can be remotely piloted. If it’s not bigger than a lawn chair, and it doesn’t fly over 1.000 odd feet- it’s no different than a model airplane (don’t quote me as an FAA source). Really, if this is our future- we’re all in trouble. Even if it’s big- and flies fast and high like a Predator, this isn’t going to solve the world’s problems- not like renewable energy, greener technology, sustainable agriculture. Nope, this is a line of bunk created to keep a small group of fear-o-crats in high priced suits in jobs. The Dayton Development Coalition has gotten a hall pass for years, despite it being an illegal slush fund for tax dollars being funneled to lobbying activities. And yes, loyal readers have read that here too- including the flow chart that showed how it was a big circle jerk of money for what is left of Dayton’s old boy network.

I apologize for not writing the story about a sitting mayor who is also a Realtor, handling the lease for a county agency, or about the lack of accountability for a woman dying by dog bites, or any of the other stories people have asked me to write over the last month or so. I’d love to do it, but, unfortunately, when you write articles like this and expose local media bias, your ability to earn a living from local business is hampered. I’ve been working my rear-end off trying to make a living so that I can afford the time to hang basketball nets again this summer- and to pay all my taxes on time (wouldn’t want the paper to write me up again for it). I’ve also got to paint my house by June 1st, and because I do it right (my last paint job lasted almost 20 years before it started to peel), I need to work extra hard.

Of course, if I step on too many toes, I may end up an unsolved murder, like that of the father of a former Mayor. Word on the street has it that his father was killed because of a flip-flop on a vote on a landfill. I’m still wondering when Sgt. Maj. North Woodall‘s murder will be solved- or that of Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame.

When I first ran for mayor over 20 years ago, I had my office windows shot out two nights in a row. That was a message not to keep screwing with the system. Lucky for you, I’m better at sending messages than receiving them, so here we are 20 years later- the “ad guy with nothing to say” (what former DDn editorial page writer Martin Gottlieb said about me when I ran the first time) is still telling it like it is.Thank you for reading- and your continued support. Did I miss much?

Dayton Daily news/Cox Ohio does the reorg dance- again

In November, the last of what I call the “typewriter brigade” left the building. The old-timers (not really old enough to remember editing copy with scissors and rubber cement paste pot) were the last bastion of true institutional knowledge in the building, took a buyout and tossed their steno books.

With the exception of Tom Archdeacon and maybe one or two others, the last of the true writers disappeared. And with even fewer people in the “integrated newsroom of the future” it didn’t take long to realize, that there were sometimes only one or two people under a manager. Yes, there were chiefs everywhere and even fewer Indians.

So over the last few days- managers were demoted to reporters, and the shuffle begins again- seeking the ultimate combination of low pay and low expectations to create products that aren’t integrated at all in the newsroom of the future.

Apparently there is still an major issue to be resolved with the differing pay scales between news-paper vs news-tv photographers, with the tv guys unhappy with the higher pay of the paper guys. Not that there are any visuals in the paper anymore- or that the video on TV is much more than car wrecks and crime scenes. Again, in the pursuit of the mighty ad dollar, the idea of hiring and paying people who can tell a story isn’t even on their doppler radar.

As long as they can write 3 stories a week fed to them by the Dayton Development Coalition, and run countless “ScareCenter 7″ stories about the weather and the “polar vortex” they think they are producing product worth not only reading- but paying for.

There are stories all over this city of people doing interesting things. There are smart businessmen creating the future without government handouts, and there are college professors creating new, original research. There is an Air Force Base that runs programs that the military doesn’t want or need- and congressmen who work for those who buy them. Yet none of this is what makes the paper- because it takes work to tell those stories.

In a fitting reminder of what real journalism is about, today, at 6pm, PBS Newshour ran former DDn Photo Editor Larry Price‘s piece about compressor mining in the Philippines. The practice is a deadly game of chance for those who work for hours at a time to dig ore from the bottom of 40-foot, water-filled pits. Many are children- and all are exposed to the poison mercury which is used to separate the gold from the silt.


Price, btw, has won the Pulitzer prize twice. Publisher Julia Wallace and Editor Jana Collier wouldn’t know what makes a Pulitzer possible if their lives depended on it.

I still read the DDn everyday. My biggest decision is to read it before or after I read the NY Times. I’ve not figured out which way makes me feel smarter- but then again, these days it doesn’t take long to read the DDn, esp. once I skip all the wire copy, there’s not much left.

A few tips to save your time: If the byline is by DL Stewart, Mary McCarty (correction left with the typewriter brigade) or Amelia Robinson- skip it. If it’s by Lynn Hulsey, prepare to read it twice to try to figure out what she’s trying to say. If it’s by Ron Rollins- expect it mostly to be quotes to softball questions or a lightweight treatment of serious issues. Why it takes more than one “editor” to deal with the 2 pages of “editorial” is beyond me.  If you are reading on the iPad app- be prepared for it to be slow to load, confused as to what date it is, and devoid of useful digital features. And if you see a teaser on Facebook- know that it’s just a ploy to get you to hit the paywall- so don’t. As to commenting on FB about DDn stories- stop yourself- you’re just feeding the trolls. And lastly, know that if they do steal a story from esrati.com, they’ll never give it credit like a professional news organization does. That’s why I don’t feel dirty when I pay the Dayton Business Journal for my subscription.



Dayton Daily news writer Laura Bischoff – pretends to be a journalist

In today’s Dayton Daily news- “reporter” Laura Bischoff questions State Representative Jim Butler’s official bio:

In his official Ohio House biography, state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, tells the public that he “served in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot, flying the F-14 Tomcat. ”Butler trained on the F-14 but received a medical discharge from the Navy before he ever landed one on an aircraft carrier or received an assignment to a fleet. So does that still make him a ‘fighter pilot?’ ”

via Lawmaker’s military claims questioned | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

She goes on to cite a Retired Navy Capt. Jack Kennedy- claiming that Butler is “exaggerating his military experience.”

My question is if Mr. Butler had crashed his F-14, would the story have said he wasn’t a fighter pilot? The difference between being a fighter pilot and not being a fighter pilot- is one of them has actually flown a fighter. There are plenty of Naval Captains that never were Captain of a ship- does that still make them a captain (if you want to go totally stupid Capt. Kennedy). In the military, you are assigned a vocation, MOS, which is what you are trained to do, you are also assigned a unit- which may or may not use your vocation. What unit the military assigns you to has nothing to do with your skill set, or what you put on your résumé.

To be clear, there is no 2-pilot seat version of the F-14. If you’re in it- either you are a pilot- a back seat RIO or a jackass VIP getting a chance to shit yourself. The Navy doesn’t let people sit in the front seat and take their $38 million planes for a joyride for giggles.

Unfortunately- they’ll let any fool sit down in front of a computer at the Dayton Daily news and write crap. No lives are at stake, and if you make a mistake, no one dies and you don’t crash $38 million worth of avionics and propulsion systems.

Jim Butler served his country as a jet jockey after graduating from the Naval Academy. There aren’t that many people that get to do that. He now serves as our elected State Representative. Is Bischoff’s next article going to question if he really is a State Rep. because he didn’t sponsor enough bills?

The only thing that needs questioning is why did she write this bullshit article and why did it appear in the newspaper?
Frankly, if you want to talk about dishonor- questioning this naval officer’s résumé in public, when there is no legitimate basis- is the true dishonor.

The editors of the Dayton Daily News owe Mr. Butler a public apology.

Dayton Daily news still can’t sell papers- layoff time (again)

On the same day the “iTeam” blows a mole hill into a mountain with the $3000 trash pickup, the “market vice president” Julia Wallace sent out the following request for about 22 people over 55 to hang up their careers because Cox can’t figure out how to produce a product worth paying for:

October 10, 2013

Dear Staff:

Today, we are offering select Cox Media Group Ohio employees in newspaper content and newspaper sales a Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP). This is an effort to reduce our newspaper expenses to meet the 2014 budget.

Despite the hard work and dedication of employees throughout the company, the newspaper business continues to undergo significant challenges due to the changing media landscape and our local economic conditions. Our 2013 newspaper revenue is down, and we expect that trend to continue into next year. We must scale our business to better align newspaper revenue and expenses.

Our goal is to achieve staff reductions voluntarily, so we have put together a plan that we believe is very generous and will be very appealing to eligible employees. To be eligible, employees must work full-time in CMGO’s newspaper content and sales departments in salary grades 6 through 10. They cannot have retired from Cox before and must meet the following criteria as of October 31, 2013:

  • Have at least 10 years of pension vesting service under the Cox Enterprise, Inc. pension plan and
  • Be at least 55 years of age

Employees have until Friday, November 22, 2013, to submit their decision. That will also be their last day of work if they accept the offer.

It has been almost five years since we last offered a Voluntary Separation Plan and it is not a decision we make lightly. If we do not reach our reduction goal, we will have involuntary layoffs within all areas of the newspaper, including content and sales.

This is a challenging time for newspapers financially, but it is also an exciting time to be in the media business. Our newspapers are important, relevant and valuable to hundreds of thousands of local residents. Our television and radio stations are No. 1 in the market, and we are expanding our digital businesses. CMG Ohio is the leading media company here, reaching more than 90 percent of the Dayton/Springfield DMA.

We will continue to strive for the highest level of journalism, community service and entertainment; to innovate in the digital space; and to leverage the power of all of our brands to drive audience and revenue.

If you have questions, please contact Toni Mitchell or another member of her Human Resources team.


Julia Wallace
Market Vice President

Here are some tips for Ms. Wallace-

  • Your senior people are the ones with the institutional knowledge about this community- you lose many more of them and you won’t have people that can find their way to the dump without a GPS.
  • Producing a website for News Radio, TV and for the paper is 3x the work- to do the same thing. Hint: a screen, is a screen, is a screen- TV, iPad, smart phone- one site is all you need- and to state the obvious- more traffic to one site means more ad revenue.
  • If you don’t know who is reading, watching, commenting, and listening- you aren’t worth a dime to advertisers. Giving people access to content- gives you access to their demographic info- which in turn gives you the chance to target ads precisely- which pays more. Wake up and stop playing tease with your paywall.
  • Besides Archdeacon, you have very few people that can tell a story. Better writers sell more papers. Same goes for photos- but you are very lucky to have a crew of shutterbugs like Jim Witmer who can make anything look good. Try using more photos online, tell the story with words and pictures.
  • And last but not least, printing the dead tree edition is stupid. Buy all your subscribers Kindles and stop wasting money and gas making bird cage liners.

If you want to hire someone who not only knows how to find the stories, and get eyeballs, and understands interface design- you’re reading his post right here. I’d be happy to show you how to keep some people employed by producing something people want to pay for to read/watch/listen to.

Sorry for those left slaving in the Cox slammer- you deserve better leadership. And Julia, resign from the Dayton Development Coalition board- no real publisher would allow themselves to be bought by the lobbyists. Drones won’t save us. Repeat after me, Drones won’t save us. Cheers.

For all its flaws, we still need the Dayton Daily news

This morning on Facebook an acquaintance was railing against the new Dayton Daily news paywall. There was an article she wanted to read (ironically about the shift to temp and part-time workers) but didn’t want to pay for.

This is a person who rallies against minimum wage jobs, Monsanto and the 1%, yet, doesn’t think the journalists at the Dayton Daily news should be paid for their work.

In Cleveland this week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer cut home delivery to three days a week and laid off about a third of its newsroom. That means a third less people digging into government doings to uncover unethical behavior, misguided spending and criminal conduct- by corporations, criminals, politicians, etc.

While advertising used to support journalism, times are changing. As is the way we gather news. For many people, they depend on their Facebook friends to share some of the news. Others, who don’t have Internet access, may have to depend on local TV news (which is news “lite” at best). It’s hard to monetize information- which just wants to be free on the Internet. The government is having a really hard time understanding that you can’t classify things as secret that are readily available online (that’s from a NY Times article today- but I’m not going to link to it, because all you free loaders don’t subscribe and don’t read it daily).

I pay for the NY Times. It’s worth every penny to me. Unfortunately, I also pay almost as much for the Dayton Daily news, which isn’t worth nearly as much, but I still need to read it so I know what’s going on in this community since I can’t dedicate my life to full-time blogging).

Recently, I made a switch to read the NY Times first, and then the DDn. It makes me feel smarter- and I can skip over about half of the global and national news in the DDn which is just dumbed down NYT content. I almost feel guilty with this switch up- but, if I have to skim one because I’m pressed for time- the DDn skims much easier since there is less substance.

I still laugh about the DDn pricing structure- an all digital edition with all access actually costs more than buying just the Thursday and Sunday paper which comes with full digital access. They do this to increase their printed circulation numbers because they still think their ad rates are based on the dead tree numbers. Makes me laugh, except for the pile of unopened papers in my living room. I much prefer reading a paper on the iPad these days, even if it is the horrible Olive Software version of the DDn.

If you think journalism is important- and being well informed is a civic duty as I do, get a subscription so we don’t have to see the kind of cuts in Dayton that just went down in Cleveland. And, people in charge of the DDn- please consider a way that I can skip getting your dead tree edition and still get the reasonable rate, at heart, I’m still a tree hugger.

Quit the DDn, travel the world, make a difference: Larry Price triumphs over mediocrity

When I broke the story that Larry C. Price, the two time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, quit his job as head of photography for the Dayton Daily news, it went global fast.

I’d not met Larry before that. Since then, we’ve become friends. Before Dayton, he’d traveled the world recording images of civil rights abuses, wars, famine and  black cowboys in America. His photographs are poignant, thought provoking and beautiful in that they capture the human condition for eternity.

Lately he’s been traveling to Africa and the Philippines where children are being forced into very dangerous mines. The images will haunt you. Last week, his work was featured on PBS Newshour. Of course, you wouldn’t read about this in the Dayton Daily- so it’s on Esrati.com. I’m sorry I didn’t write this last Thursday when the show was on- but, things were hectic.

Children caked in dust and sweat climb in and out of 150-foot mine shafts with dexterity. Their small bodies operate makeshift grinding machines to extract gold from its ore.

Photographer Larry C. Price traveled to remote mining towns in Burkina Faso, along the Ghana and Ivory Coast borders, to document the use of child labor, which is technically against the law but often overlooked in the West African country that depends on gold exports for revenues.

via In Burkina Faso’s Gold Mines, Children Toil Along With Adults | PBS NewsHour.

Watch Children in Burkina Faso Get Dirty Work of Digging Up Gold on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

 Read the full transcript of the video here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec13/burkinafaso_07-10.html

The complete project page, documenting the work for the Pulitzer Center is here: http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/burkina-faso-gold-mines-child-labor-exploitation-poverty-migration-famine

Congratulations to Larry for being one of the amazing Dayton Originals, who are doing things that no one else on the planet is doing.


Who delivers in the snow?

Snow removal mission accomplished, City of Dayton, side streets

Corner of Bonner and Adams Streets before 8am Mar 25th, 2013

The City of Dayton Street Maintenance department delivered this morning- with a plow, hitting my street (which is three blocks long) and the rest of South Park. This is what we pay taxes for- and it’s the first time in a long time that the City has impressed me in a “snow emergency.” (Here’s a post out of frustration about snow removal from 2009)

Schools are off for “Spring break” this week, so it’s not causing a school shutdown, but, it does have an impact on local businesses who depend on customers who won’t come if the roads are bad. Investing in top notch delivery of services like snow removal has a bigger economic impact in one day, than the “investment” in a private business like Midmark- and is what the city has failed to understand over the last 20 years.

Clear streets are also essential for delivery of police and fire services, if the roads aren’t passable- fire trucks can’t get to a house fire. We also see a dramatic decrease in traffic accidents when streets are passable- all of which are keys to economic growth (unless you own a body shop or towing company).

And, onto who doesn’t deliver in the snow? The Dayton Daily news- can’t get their iPad edition delivered. Apparently the snow is interfering with their electrons getting to my house. I called, and they started to offer the dead tree edition- until I repeated “iPad edition.” Guess I get to read my old stories re-published in the DDn later today- if ever.

But, the real experts at delivery in Dayton today, weren’t delivering in Dayton- they were delivering on the home-court of a lower ranked opponent in the Women’s NCAA basketball playoffs, where the University of Dayton Women’s team went into double overtime to beat St. John’s 96-90. Congrats to the UD Women, who are the best deal and real deal when it comes to watching more hoops for your buck (yep, they sell tickets for a buck on televised games and $5 normally).

If you haven’t watched the UD Women this year, don’t call yourself a basketball fan. And considering that they only have 3 seniors this year, maybe you should be buying season tickets now (the games are all general admission- so I’m not sure they even sell season tickets- yet).

I’m almost tempted to spend the day shoveling snow for campaign donations, but I’ve got a ton of work to do, so get out there and do it yourself ;-)

(note, as I was finishing this at 8:26 the plow just went back down Bonner)


Dayton Daily shows bias and amateur journalistic skills

There is a reason Gary Leitzell has learned not to talk to the media in Dayton- they play favorites, misquote, fail to attribute and generally skew the news. The push poll story was a perfect example of why when he does, it’s a waste of time.

It’s always been known that Cox lives for fear. “If it bleeds, it leads” was the subject of a short documentary done by some WSU film students almost 30 years ago- and it continues today with “ScareCenter 7″ and the DDn.

For example, in today’s article about Nan Whaley’s push poll, which Dayton first learned about on Esrati.com, there is no link or mention of this site. The story does have a link to Gary’s site (note it’s a general link- and not to the actual article so it will prove useless over time, unfortunately, the site is on the blogger platform and I can’t do any better the  correct link is http://www.daytonmayor.blogspot.com/2013/02/been-push-polled-lately.html)  and uses one of the poll questions which refers to something Gary said on my site (which I linked to in my article).

“I am disgusted,” Leitzell posted on garyleitzell.com. “Commissioner Whaley has disgraced herself and has proven that she can never be a role model for our children. She really needs to apologize to the citizens of Dayton for attempting to divide the community.”

One of the poll questions included the statement, “Leitzell recently commented on a blog that he wants to raise his pay as mayor to $90,000 a year.”Leitzell said Whaley should “probably resign her seat as City Commissioner because she is not acting in the best interests of the city and should be ashamed of what she is allowing to happen.”

One of the poll questions included the statement, “Leitzell recently commented on a blog that he wants to raise his pay as mayor to $90,000 a year.”

The mayor said he had jokingly posted a comment on a local blog that his aide had resigned and that he would love to get paid more to handle his own scheduling.

Leitzell wrote, “If the people want to pay me $90,000 so my wife can quit work and be a stay at home mom and full time educator I could handle it. Even if I had to print all those proclamations and type out the marriage certificates myself.

via Poll angers Dayton mayor candidates | www.daytondailynews.com.

I’m also leaving in the repeated content that still appeared on the DDn site this AM despite me telling their staff it was repeated last night.

At the end of this article is also makes reference to “Whaley and Wagner are both Democrats, who face-off in the May primary.”

To be perfectly correct, there is no May primary in the Dayton City Commission or Mayor’s race yet. So far only Nan has turned in enough signatures to appear on the ballot for Mayor and Joey Williams and David Esrati are the only candidates for Commission. It will take at least 2 more candidates certified for Mayor and 4 more certified for Commission to have a primary. Also note, despite David Esrati actually qualifying for the ballot, the only coverage has been a single tweet by “Ohio Politics” which belongs to the Dayton Daily. When Darryl Fairchild “announced” he was running for City Commission, he got a story, top front of the local section, with a photo- despite not having turned in petitions and eventually dropping out of the race when the Democratic Party told him it wasn’t his time- and endorsed Jeff Mims.

For a full list of POTENTIAL candidates for Mayor and Dayton City Commission in 2013, I’ve tried to keep a list here: http://electesrati.com/whos-running-2013/

In another article in today’s paper, about the senseless shooting of a 13 year old by an ex-con, the paper quotes North West Priority Board Chair, David Greer:

David Greer, longtime chairman of Dayton’s Northwest Priority Board, said the community is upset about the recent rash of shootings.

“The senselessness of it all is what one can’t put their finger on,” Greer said. “It’s unfortunate that so many feel that they have to use guns to settle differences.”

via Police seek ex-con in shootings of 2 teens.

No mention that Mr. Greer is also a candidate for Dayton City Commission, at least by the same standard that both AJ Wagner and Gary Leitzell are candidates for Mayor in that they’ve taken out petitions.

Despite this blog breaking major news on a regular basis (unpaid, uncompensated) it has never been referenced in the Dayton Daily news- and never had a link placed in an article. The Qbase political contribution scandal started here- the DDn got the story almost a year and a half later. In the last week, you would have read about these things first: Dayton Legal Blank closing its doors, Bank president and Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams changing jobs, the First Four party being cancelled and the Nan Whaley push poll. Considering the Dayton Daily has the “iTeam” and a whole staff of “journalists” they fail miserably at basic journalistic practices.

If we want a better Dayton, not only do we need better candidates than slime buckets who engage in push-polls, but we need a newspaper that’s unbiased, has integrity and follows fundamental professional standards- you cite your sources.

If this blog didn’t cite via links or attribution the content it quotes from the Dayton Daily news- they’d sue me. I remember having a conversation with their “digital editor” Ray Marcano once where he tried to threaten me for using parts of their content in my posts. It’s one of the reasons I don’t accept advertising on this site to help compensate me for my time- because then they would use that my revenue to claim that I somehow benefited from their “labor.”

Dayton deserves a better newspaper. To the editors and publisher, who’s names don’t deserve to be connected with those terms, you run a rag. And, to top it all off, you were given a heads up on this Push Poll in advance because we like one of your editors. We’ll make sure not to do that in the future (We being, Gary Leitzell and myself). From now on, you can go back to trying to cover the news without help.