Good riddance Ellen Belcher: DDN reshuffle

The Dayton Daily news finally brings intelligent leadership to the editorial pages by promoting Ron Rollins to run the section. No more political party hack bias from Belcher, or pontifications from Sir Martin Gottlieb.

Here is the official internal memo from managing editor Jana Collier:

From: Collier, Jana
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 6:27 PM

Subject: staff announcements

After more than 30 years at the Journal-Herald and Dayton Daily News, Ellen Belcher is leaving the paper. Ellen has been a model of integrity, a dedicated journalist, a tireless community advocate and a wonderful partner in leading the newsroom.

Her willingness to take on any person, regardless of their rank, has earned her a reputation as a fierce journalist. But her perfect professionalism and great ability to empathize has kept her approachable and human. She’s been an important part of our institutional makeup for three decades, and she’s also been a supportive friend. I will miss her greatly, and I know you will, too.

I want to also tell you that Ron Rollins has accepted a new role as associate editor, effective immediately. In this position he’ll lead an effort to create a new model for the editorial pages, a new way of generating community dialogue and propelling change on important issues throughout our coverage area. He’ll be responsible for all four daily editorial pages and is already digging in to understand what’s important in each community.

We all know Ron as a longtime newspaper writer and editor, but he’s also been active in numerous community organizations and efforts. He’ll use his experience as a journalist and community leader to help find solutions to local problems. He’s a Miami University graduate, has worked in the Dayton and Northern Cincinnati newsrooms and is currently serving as editor of the Northern Cincinnati papers.

You’ll hear more from Ron about his vision for the editorial pages in the next few weeks, and I’m sure he’ll be soliciting your feedback. The new editorial page launches on June 26.

Mike Williams, editorial page editor in the Northern Cincinnati Group, will join Ron’s new team. Martin Gottlieb, longtime editorial writer and columnist, will retire later this month. Production of the editorial page will move to the universal desk. Ron will also hire at least one other person to help with the content on the pages and other projects tied to improving the Miami Valley. This will be an internal hire, and Ron will post the position soon.

We will not be replacing Ron in NCG, and Edwina Blackwell Clark will assume the position of Editor and Publisher of the Northern Cincinnati newspapers and related websites.

We’ll plan a farewell party worthy of Ellen and Martin’s long tenure at the paper. If you have ideas on how to do that, please let me know. Ellen’s last day will be later this month.

Jana

When I ran my piece last week about this shakeup– I had called the new publisher for comment and was handed off to Ms. Collier. It was the most amicable and interesting conversation I’ve had with a DDN employee who was on the clock, with a promise that they were planning on doing more investigative journalism. Maybe this is the year that the DDN becomes a vibrant part of the community again, instead of a police blotter and bad news herald.

There are so many things that the DDn could choose to write about- one suggestion I made (again- last time was to Max Jennings) was to start running a weekly roundup of area patents (yes- we get enough in the community to do it weekly). We’ll see what other changes come down the pike.

I’ve known Ron Rollins for years- and have always been impressed by his willingness to get out in the community as “one of us”- talking with the community- instead of at us. Congratulations, Ron.

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9 Responses

  1. Greg Hunter June 2, 2011 / 8:19 am
    Great News!  No more Saint Tony “Monsanto” Hall love fests.  It is amazing how long it actually took to get rid of the two biggest idiots in Dayton.
  2. Mark Duddridge June 2, 2011 / 9:22 am
    I hope this means a lot more journalistic reporting and a lot less Democrat jingoism at the paper, although one has to wonder just how much this is a path for the future or just that perking up that seems to happen with the terminally ill, just before they expire.
  3. joe_mamma June 2, 2011 / 3:06 pm
    How on earth am I going to be able to function in life with out busy body Ellen telling me what to do?  Who’s going to to personally take up the mantel of convincing me that RINO’s like George Voinovich and John McCain are sensible “conservatives” now that Martin is gone?  

    “My Favorite Martin” moment was about a year ago when he claimed he was not a socialist but a pragmatist. 

  4. Greg Hunter June 2, 2011 / 3:57 pm
    That was funny!

    sensible “conservatives”

    Oxymoron in every sense of the word….

  5. truddick June 3, 2011 / 8:32 am
    How interesting that the complaints against the former editorial staff have to do with perceived political bias and less with the general quality of journalism.  My complaints about Belcher centered on how the editorial page printed anonymous comments that often were nothing more than name-calling, and frequently contained plain falsehoods.  As Harlan Ellison put it, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I don’t have to respect it unless it’s an informed, considered opinion.  By printing “speak up” sections with falsehoods and name-calling, Belcher showed that she couldn’t be bothered with truth.

    Let’s hope Ron Rollins or whoever’s really in charge now will understand the traditional American journalistic ethic: you don’t print falsehoods unless you intend to expose them; you don’t print anonymous comments unless there’s a compelling reason to protect your source.

  6. Jeff Dziwulski June 5, 2011 / 5:14 pm
    The critique on the DDN is usually ideological.  The critics could care less about objectivity or journalistic standards in general.

    The opponents of the paper dont like it because its ‘liberal’.  If the paper was conservative and had the same type of failings mentioned by truddick you’d see nary a complaint.

  7. Ice Bandit June 7, 2011 / 8:51 pm
    …one has to wonder just how much this is a path for the future or just that perking up that seems to happen with the terminally ill, just before they expire. (Mark Duddridge)
     
    …great minds think alike, dear Mark, but the Old Bandito was thinking more along the lines of those of flashes of lucidity the mentally ill have right before they get bum-rushed into a rubber room….
  8. Ice Bandit June 9, 2011 / 8:46 pm
    The critique on the DDN is usually ideological.  The critics could care less about objectivity or journalistic standards in general. (Jeff Dziwulski)
     
    …help an old man understand, dear Jeff. If Ellen is literally sleeping with one of the Chief Potentates of the local Democrat appartachik, isn’t that an invite to question the DDN’s objectivity and journalistic integrity? Just askin’…..
  9. Teri L June 13, 2011 / 8:27 am
    I’m liking the changes I see so far. It looks like a website. It’s clean, it’s focused, I can find a few pages without any advertising (although I probably shouldn’t point that out as the DDN might mistake that as a flaw). I prefer it to the DDN site which is a visual monstrosity. And, truth is, I’m old enough to still like to read dead trees and I would miss the paper. I wish it the best.

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