Sunday, January 02, 2011

Cincy | Will Washburn get the nod this week?

Multiple sources point to an early-morning meeting tomorrow among top executives at The Cincinnati Enquirer, where a replacement could be discussed for retiring Executive Editor Tom Callinan.

The leading contender appears to be Des Moines Register Executive Editor Carolyn Washburn, a Cincinnati native who is close to Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan. They worked together at The Idaho Statesman, when Buchanan was publisher and Washburn was the top newsroom executive. (That was before Gannett sold the Statesman in a 2005 deal that landed the paper in McClatchy's portfolio.)

From her bio on the Register's website: "Carolyn came to Des Moines in September 2005. Carolyn grew up in the Midwest, in a rural area west of Cincinnati, and graduated from Indiana University. She started her career as a business reporter and business editor, covering the auto industry and UAW in Lansing, Michigan and Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester, N.Y. She has been business editor and managing editor at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., and managing editor and executive editor of the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before coming to Des Moines."

14 comments:

  1. If it's Washburn, she's got her work cut out for her. Working under Buchanan in Boise is one thing, but a major population and corporate center like Cincinnati is a different story. If Washburn wants to restore reader confidence in the Enquirer, she'll have to re-erect the wall between news and advertising that Buchanan recklessly tore down without a fight from Callinan. The paper's content is so blatantly promotional that it looks like the chamber, 3CDC, businesses, politicians and the city's high and mighty conceived and wrote it themselves. Buchanan doesn't understand the fundamental reason for the paper's existence. It isn't selling ads and it shouldn't be about hitting a 30 percent profit margin. If your readers no longer trust you and can't depend on you as a formidable and thoughtful source of information, you're toast.

    Words of advice to Washburn: Take a hard look at your staff. The Enquirer needs fresh blood in the worst way. Once you build a new team, develop a first-name relationship with people and find out what they do and how they can make the worst big-city newspaper in the country better. And when Buchanan orders up marshmallows on the most influential women and the best places to work, point to the door of the marketing department.

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  2. 11:26 the days of the wall are gone. That is not to say that there doesn't have to be ground rules, but the separation of powers is gone. Sorry but it is. Without revenues there are no papers. That is a fact that we have to wrap our arms around. Even web based news sites understand that. You have to drive revenues or the company goes out of business. I NEVER hear the public rant about the wall. The only place I hear it is within the newsroom from folks who remember what it was like when the web did not exist. Craig's List and the Web have changed the game. You have to change or the game is over. Now you can call me a troll or a shill or anything else you have in your ditty bag but the economic realities are just that...our reality.

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  3. The public doesn't rant. They leave, and they are leaving in droves. If you sell out, that's not going to bring them back. Newspapers need to preserve their credibility if they have any hope of survival.

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  4. Margaret Buchanan just announced to staff that Carolyn Washburn will the new Enquirer editor, starting next Monday.

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  5. 3:27 they don't leave because an ad appears next to a story about the product in the ad, they leave because of the web. You choose to believe the contrary but that doesn't make it true. Sorry

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  6. Of course people are dropping the paper because of the web. Because readers are dying, too. But when other loyal readers start seeing ads and "stories" that are barely distinguishable, like those of Knickers in Hyde Park Square, they question our commitment to journalism. It's a fair assessment. Look how easy we go on Fifth Third, our bumbling business partner in cincylifeandmoney.com. Why didn't we write about them paying $9.5 million to settle a class-action suit over rigging the checking account debiting process to maximize overdraft fees? Everyone else did. Another reason why readers who care read the Business Courier.

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  7. People drop the Enquirer because they're tired of reading in print (and paying for it) what they read online only days earlier.

    Regarding Fifth Third, Does Buchanan's husband still work for them?

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  8. The silence on this Cincinnati thread is ominously deafening.

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  9. According to the spring 2010 edition of The Huntsman alumni magazine at Gregory Buchanan's alma mater, Utah State, he's a VP at PNC Bank.

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  10. Readers are leaving Cincinnati.com too--because there's only ever photos of girls at parties on the main news site. It's "New Years Eve at Club___" all the time.

    We just had a major story with City Council trying/failing to craft a budget with huge amounts of debt. And what do I see on my newspaper's website? Bar photos. There's a reason CinWeekly failed, folks.

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  11. The T & A is the best part of that site now. The reporting is terrible.

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  12. Hmm, didn't Washburn work with Callinan in Rochester? He became editor there in 1994 and she was named ME in 1995, so he hired her there, right? Now Rick Green - who Callinan could not usher out of the Enquirer building fast enough - is taking Washburn's spot in Des Moines. Interesting - and quintessential Gannett - crossing of paths.

    Wonder what happens next to other front-runner in the Enquirer hiring: Beryl Love. Looks like Green got the consolation prize. And where does this leave the career of Julie Engebrecht, who has been running the Enquirer newsroom (if you discount Buchanan) the past few years?

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  13. Gannett certainly has a knack for taking good papers like the Enquirer and great papers like the Register and driving them into the ground.

    What exactly will Washburn be expected to do? I can't believe it's to improve the news coverage. Quality is NOT on the Gannett agenda. Those who think otherwise only have to look around. Has Gannett ever improved any news operation anywhere?

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