Dayton Daily “news” is still an establishment tool

There is a reason the three county commissioners asked for the Department of Justice to investigate the County Jail for civil rights violations, but you won’t see it in the Dayton Daily or “The Leader” Channel 7.

While 22/45 had no problem running my video– complete with the link esrati.com/deadly on screen, the Cox papers are pretending the pepper spraying of a restrained inmate revealed on this blog at 7pm on Thursday night had nothing to do with it. In fact- it didn’t happen, won’t happen, until attorney Doug Brannon will file a lawsuit this week on behalf of Charles Alexander Wade.

Channel 2 purposefully did not mention or inform the public of the latest evidence that prompted the commissioners actions, going back to a lawyer for the case of Emily Evans- which is several years old.

They did list 7 other lawsuits/settlements in progress at the jail. And, they took credit for the story they stole and didn’t credit from my blog:

An I-Team analysis of jail housing data found that the majority of female inmates are white and most reside in larger dorm-style housing while the black female population was mostly housed in smaller, more crowded “rollover” cells.

Source: Civil rights probe into jail requested

In the county commissioners press conference two people specifically asked about the pepper spraying of Wade shown in my video, yet the paper cites their work as the reason for this new development:

The I-Team reported in November that one of those cases led to an ongoing federal probe into the pepper spraying of an inmate while she was in a restraint chair, and the disappearance of video and other records of the incident from the sheriff’s office. Dayton police say an investigation into whether the incident was a criminal assault is also ongoing.

Most recently, a homeless veteran sued the jail alleging he was beaten so badly by corrections officers that he was left permanently disabled and wheelchair bound.

The fact that the County Commission isn’t calling to close the jail, because it is unsafe, or asking for guarantees of safety for citizens in the jail, is a gross abdication of their responsibilities to the public. They fund the operation of this house of torture, danger and death. That it took 5 days to act is an indication of how unfit they, and every other political leader is in Dayton.

If any municipality allows their citizens to be locked up in Plummer’s Palace of Peril after reviewing the list of lawsuits, the video evidence of abuse of power in the torture of Mr. Wade, they should know that they are also at risk of being sued.

It’s time for the police chiefs of Montgomery County to meet and devise a safer way to detain and hold their citizens than allow them to risk life and limb in the county clink.

Options include sending inmates to other counties, calling for a private contractor to take over the jail, putting more people on home monitoring, setting up an improvised jail using part of the old Dayton Workhouse, or taking over the jail as a group.

Plummer is supposed to make a statement today. Anything less than his resignation, after he has  removed every supervisor in the jail is unacceptable.

As to the local news, you can get it here, or late from channels 22/45 or not at all from 2, 7 and the “Dayton Daily/when we can take credit for it/ news.”

I have more groundbreaking stories in the works, but this all comes at a personal cost. If you’d like to make sure I can keep dedicating time and resources to making sure the stories that need to be exposed get published, please consider donating to www.esrati.com/donate. Thank you

In the mean time, if you a subscriber to the Dayton Daily, take the time to pen a note to their “editor” Jana Collier and ask why they continue to not credit this site, or report news that is public knowledge thanks to esrati.com.

How else can we have checks and balances on the local politicians when the “press” is in their pockets?

 

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.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/multimedia/philippinesmine/8.html

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 to stick a finger in its eyes

After years of pathetic writing, lame reporting, idiot editorializing and a butt ugly unsophisticated design, the Dayton Daily News has gone on a mad run to try to regain readership. All of a sudden, “investigative reporting” is its new thing. The “iTeam” is out to tell us all about government waste and prove that we’ve elected idiots (most of whom they endorsed).

Despite years of a community urging it to report the positive in our community, it’s still the “If it bleeds, it leads” only it’s about bleeding red ink from government coffers- after moving the police blotter back to the end of the local section.

Brilliant marketing minds came up with a two-week free subscription- try it, you’ll like it so much you’ll want it back. Only thing is what they want to sell is the dead-tree edition, as if the iPad, Kindle and computer aren’t tools of choice for those who really care about the news. Since they have a very expensive printing plant, the answer must be printing- just as if all you have is a hammer- everything looks like a nail. Cox can’t figure out that commentators are your most avid news readers- and major generators of site traffic, instead of welcoming them and building value from their content- they instead drive eyeballs to Facebook, instead of to their own site. Why they aren’t firing the digital top-dogs instead of actual content generators is proof that the Peter Principle is alive and kicking at the DDN.

The billboards, with pictures of people we don’t know, or don’t care about tell us about “customer service” and others tell us it’s the best paper yet (forgetting we haven’t had a choice since the Journal Herald shut down – and even then it was a Cox production).

Last Friday, Editor Jana Collier sent a memo to union chief Lou Grieco giving notice 60 days in advance that 4 editorial assistants and two to four photographers need to hit the bricks. Her attempt at writing in legalese is tortured, with a mish-mash of fonts showing cut and paste from the union contract (the one that hasn’t been ratified for something like 12 years) and her legal department.

Two-time Pulitzer prize-winning photo journalist, and now the Dayton Daily News photo editor, Larry C. Price, decided to resign instead of cut half of his department. In a well written letter to his staff he explains why he fell on the sword:

On Friday, I was asked by the editor in chief to devise a plan to eliminate up to four positions on the photo staff through selective layoffs based on perceived competence.

I cannot and will not do this. I do not believe the layoffs are fair to you as individuals or that they are in the best interest of the Dayton Daily News and our readers. If these cuts are enacted, it will be impossible to meet the Cox initiatives for covering breaking news, sharing content with our media partners and growing our online presence.

I deeply feel this decision by Cox and CMG Ohio management is misguided. The collective savings here are minuscule in comparison to revenue. They certainly pale in comparison with the value of what you as a team bring to the table.

Apparently no one in the Cox Media Group gets the fact that more pictures, not less are needed online to drive page views. Typically, the online iPad edition has less photos than the print edition, even though adding virtually unlimited photos to online stories without additional costs has been figured out by every other major news outlet. Photos cost to print- but, online a photo is really worth a hell of a lot more than 1000 words.

Editorial assistants are responsible for compiling going-out guides, school lunches, church notes, the filler from the press release submission system. Former editorial page editor Ellen Belcher used to have her own EA for letters, and speakups, which just shows how little that woman did at the paper other than contribute to smearing every single independent thinker in the community.

In Grieco’s email to the union he debunks Collier’s “reasoning” for the cuts:

It is because we have “too many” photo and support positions, largely because we have not had any attrition in those two categories, as we have among managers and reporters. This is, in the case of the EAs, not true. In 2008, there were nine full-time EAs. Today, there are five. Three EAs took buyouts and another became a copy editor.

There are more photographers on the list today than in 2008, but that is because the company has reclassified two people who were once considered online. We’re also told that we don’t need as many photographers as before because we’re not using photographs the same way in the paper and because there is not a need for online photo galleries because the Company cannot monetize them.

Despite being a crap paper for the last 15 years, the photojournalism displayed in the Dayton Daily has always been exceptional. Shooters like Jim Witmer, Ty Greenless, Teesha McClam and others have often prompted me to drop emails to them about their fantastic photos I’ve seen in the paper.

There are ways to win back readers, but cutting content creators (especially the uniquely local aspect of photography) is like a fine woodworker selling off his miter box and chisels.

If the Dayton Daily News merger with Ch 7 is ever going to create real synergy, it was because of the new hi-def video capabilities of the digital SLR cameras. Of course, it would also require Cox to learn that embedding Flash video in their sites excludes them from views on the Apple iOS devices. Besides Cox’s pathetic ability to be on top of search in Google (even when searching for their own photographers list that I linked to above) Cox ignores the number two site in the world, YouTube where video is HTML 5 and Apple iOS compliant.

Of course, you won’t read this story in the Dayton Daily News, either. Only on esrati.com do you get the real scoop on news in Dayton. Thanks to my many DDN sources. It’s good to know that some of you like to take care of the person who gets you leads for stories without ever getting credit in your rag. Keep trying to get a contract, and put out a paper we can be proud of despite the idiots at the top. Too bad they have a million to blog on kayaking in Dayton, but can’t keep a top notch photo team on the payroll.

 

 

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.