And the survey said: DDn to restructure

The reason the Dayton Daily news has lost readership isn’t that they have a liberal bias, or make idiotic endorsements, the reason the Dayton Daily news has lost readership is that they don’t write interesting stories.

With a huge staff (the billboards brag about 1,000 people to “serve you”) the best they can publish is a police blotter crib sheet and stories that are handed to them (often by me).

People have an even greater appetite for useful information- in case the DDn didn’t realize, Google makes a living out of just sending people to places to get good info. The DDn is struggling- for many reasons, but contrary to what the survey says- it’s not the liberal bias: it’s the lack of intelligent thought.

Julia Wallace came to town at the beginning of this year as the new publisher/editor/fixer of a broken newsroom and consolidator of Cox Media holdings in Dayton. She’s yet to write jack in the paper. If she’s been out to meet the people of Dayton- it’s not anyone I know (and I know a lot of people). But, she did order up some market research to confirm what she thought was the problem- and lo and behold she got the stats she wanted.

I questioned how long the DDn would keep editorial writers on board before she rode into town. Now, she’s planning to do the same here. We’ve been down to a staff of two in Dayton, since Scott Elliott left for the Indy paper right as Wallace came on board- and the output of Martin Gottlieb and queen Ellen Belcher has diminished since.

Rumor has it that Martin is finally going to head for the land of typewriters in July- and no one knows if Ellen will follow into retirement or get pushed into some meaningless job until she finds her exit strategy. No more endorsements- no more pontificating- the paper will have more room to run syndicated columnists- because- of course, we can’t have opinions or even discussions in Dayton without calling a blue ribbon panel and inviting half the town to weigh in.

Strong voices aren’t liked here- and Wallace has been doing a good job of not having a voice at all. What’s even more odd- is she’s insisted on screening every story on SB5 that goes into publication- an odd move for a managing editor- but, when you realize that the staff has been working without a contract for over ten years- you know that the Cox sisters have no use for organized labor.

But, to make things even more mundane- rumor also has it that the community doesn’t deserve it’s own columnist either- and Mary McCarty will be reduced to a feature writer- losing her Metro column. Not that McCarty has set the world on fire with columns that shine lights in dark corners or even spotlighting the many great things happening in Dayton- her schtick changed when she went off to China to adopt a little orphan girl and her column turned into a mommy blog.

There is and will continue to be plenty to write about in Dayton that never sees the light of day. Considering I do this site solo- with no compensation- and have managed to scoop the DDn repeatedly. This site gets about 30K unique visitors per month- and when I break news, it gets circulated among the power elite in Dayton. You read about it later in the DDn.

If there is one story I’ve been most proud to bring you- it was the uncovering of Qbase as a fraud and a political slush fund/pay to play operation. The DDN only got the story a year and a half later- and still didn’t get it right.

I was also pretty pleased about uncovering Congressman Turner’s wife’s firm, the Turner Effect, getting the no-bid contract with the Dayton Development Coalition- her over billing, the connection between DDC board members and Real Art- her primary subcontractor and then the subsequent finding that she held a GSA schedule and was doing work for the Army Corps of Engineers while her husband sat on the Defense Appropriation Committee- a direct violation of ethical standards. For icing on the cake I  also uncovering her work for the Home Depot PAC- a cute way to payoff a congressman through his wifes business. Neither company is still in business today as they were.

I’ve been on the forefront of City Charter issues, Board of Elections issues and introduced the Monarchy of Montgomery County to the people who care. That nothing has been done to unseat them- has been partially the work of Ms. Belcher- who has her direct connection to the Democratic machine through her husband, Judge Dennis Langer. You never saw anyone questioning the local party- even though it has failed to ever mount credible opposition to Mike Turner, and the party Chairman- Dayton Clerk of Courts Mark Owens ran Mayor McLin’s failed campaign into a concrete wall with 5x the budget against a nobody, but never got his IQ questioned publicly.

While Wallace may be screwing up the paper, and the community out of real news, the overthrow of Queen Ellen is long overdue and for that, we must say Thank you.

But, Julia- if you really want to improve the paper- it’s really simple- stop being a police and traffic blotter and get down to the real news and investigation on why we live in such a dysfunctional city. Dig out the waste and corruption, showcase our stars and take a few writing classes from Tom Archdeacon, because he’s the only one you have who can write something worth paying for IMHO.

I’ll be scooping you again on Wednesday morning. Get used to it.

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