Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cincy | Former mayor blasts paper's coverage

"Seems we can't get the reasons for William's resignation, but we can get plenty of self-serving stories about what a bang-up job the Enquirer reporting staff is doing and how all the new changes at the Enquirer aren't really just designed to save them money."

-- former U.S. congressman and Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken, in a comment yesterday on The Cincinnati Enquirer's story about the surprise resignation of the president of the University of Cincinnati. Greg Williams' resignation is effective immediately and he gave no explanation. Publisher Margaret Buchanan, posing a significant conflict of interest in the paper's reporting, is a member of the university's governing board.

Earlier: Phoenix publisher Zidich quits Fiesta Bowl board amid conflict of interest accusations.


  1. "Greg Williams' resignation is effective immediately and he gave no resignation."

    Did you mean "explanation" on the second usage?

  2. Have you confirmed that is Luken or an imposter commenting?

  3. 7:23, it's Luken. It would be damn near impossible to pull off a ruse like that on Facebook, as I'm sure the real Charlie Luken would take notice of a fake account with such extensive personal details.

  4. The identity of the poster is inconsequential; the comment is valid regardless of who it came from.

  5. This is a helluva story. To put it context, Univ. of Cincinnati is the largest single employer in town (bigger than P&G, bigger than Kroger). The university and med complex are economic drivers for the region.

    Now, the CEO quits abruptly (and at the starting day of classes, yet, how nasty is that?). There are two scenarios I can imagine, neither good:

    #1 -- As a UC board member, publisher Margaret Buchanan knew this was in the works and elected not to tip off her own newsroom to whatever crisis of confidence was developing. Making her a good (as in silent) board member, but lousy civic-minded publisher.

    #2 -- As a UC board member, Buchanan and her board NEVER saw this coming. Making her a lousy board member AND complicating her newsroom's efforts to follow this story ("follow," because obviously they never led). The student paper's web site had rumors of this story first.

    The "UC CEO Quits" story will be the Story of the Month (and maybe year) in Cincinnati. Can a publisher be privy to all the internal news of the resignation/firing/whatever, yet tell her newsroom to buzz off when they ask probing questions? Or worse yet, reign her reporters in, if they make trouble for her FELLOW UC board members or hassle key UC administrators for info on the frantic search for a successor?

    None of this bodes well for the poor sap assigned to cover this story for the next few months. He/she will either trip over his/her own publisher during newsgathering, or be told to cease and desist on some juicy element of the situation. Good times, good times.

  6. Here's a laugh. Minutes from a UC board meeting.

    Guess what. A meeting of the governing board of one of the largest public institutions in Ohio goes immediately into private executive session for the ENTIRE meeting, in a motion SECONDED by the publisher of the Enquirer. She couldn't just sit there, she HAD to be one of two votes to skirt sunshine laws?

    Sigh. This is what made Penn State such a great institution.

    1. She needs to quit the board. this is ridiculous. even by schoolmarm standards.

  7. Oh, sweet. Margaret is CHAIRPERSON of the four-person Governance & Audit Committee this year on the UC board. Not a chance she can sit back and be a passive board member during this firestorm!

    Board of Trustees
    University of Cincinnati

    DATE: June 22, 2012
    Governance and Audit Committee
    Margaret E. Buchanan, Chairperson
    Thomas D. Cassady
    Gary Heiman
    Geraldine B. Warner

  8. It doesn’t really matter who posted the comment as the fact is Buchanan’s role on UC’s board puts the Enquirer in yet another difficult spot whereby people will be questioning her role, rightly or wrongly.

    Frankly, she needs to walk away from it when her term expires as UC is one of greater Cincinnati’s largest employers with a wealth of stories that could be told that they just won’t touch now (how much money is spent giving free rides to employee’s children, monies wasted on wine tasting trips for administrators, etc., etc.).

    Better yet, she can step down from the Enquirer and go teach an anger management class at UC from the perspective of the aggressor, an unwanted skill whereby she excels.

  9. This conflict should surprise no one, least of all anyone in Cincinnati or at the Enquirer. Business as usual.

  10. If that's someone impersonating Luken, the Facebook friends he fooled include Enquirer business editor Lee Ann Hamilton, reporter Barry Horstman and former editor in chief Tom Callinan.

  11. It must be an Ohio thing.

    "Joseph H. Zerbey, IV, Vice Chairman (2018)"
    "Mr. Zerbey was appointed to the UT Board of Trustees in 2009. He is Vice Chairman of the Board, Chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.

    Zerbey is currently the President and General Manager for The [Toledo]Blade, having joined the organization in July of 2004.

  12. With the cutback in the quality of news coverage, Gannett is only fooling the people who subscribe so they have something to line the bottom of their birdcage with. You constantly hear people complain about the paper and wonder why they still subscribe. And it's only going to get worse.

  13. A recent refresher on Gannett's ethics policy.

  14. Buchanan's first priority should be as publisher of Cincy's largest news organization. Her duties to the Enquirer outweigh her duties to UC. Let's face it, if she wasn't Cincinnati publisher, she wouldn't be on the board.
    Fess up Margaret. What happened? Smells like a scandal covered up. She runs a news operation. Although she is not a news person, she should have contacted her newsroom and told them what she knows. Period. She is an embarrassing hack.

    1. You are being way too kind.

  15. Good God ... do you people not GET it? Buchanan doesn't give a hoot about sunshine laws or fair coverage. She's all about herself and making money for Gannett. I'm sure she's VERY proud of her spot on the UC board and would do NOTHING to jeopardize it. I'm also sure she thinks it's the newsroom's job to get the story, not hers. And she no doubt thinks that the NEWS doesn't matter, just the ads and subscription the paper sells. This is what is fundamentally wrong with Gannett as a company: it's run by cut-throat execs who only care about the bottom line and their careers. A good biz school case study comparison would be Apple under the leadership of Pepsi executive John Scully (before Jobs returned and saved the company).

  16. Not that they will actually do so, but someone from Gannett Corporate needs to step in and tell Buchanan to either resign from the paper or quit her board membership.

    Her own employees should, en masse, contact Gannett and demand this. They are the ones who are told they have to follow Gannett's Rules of Ethics. So why is the publisher immune to this?

    Come on, Enquirer employees. Get together and organize. They won't be able to fire all of you.

  17. 8:30 a.m., that is possibly the stupidest post ever at this site, and that is saying a lot.

    OF COURSE it matters if it's a valid identity. If you don't think so, then I pray to the heavens that you have nothing to do with anything related to journalism.

    10:05 a.m. -- same goes for you.

  18. Add this to list of great scoops not reported by The Enquirer on this story:

    August 21, 2012
    U. of Cincinnati President Resigns Abruptly, Citing 'Personal Reasons'

    By Jack Stripling
    Chronicle of Higher Education

    Gregory H. Williams walked into a cabinet meeting at the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday and calmly told his top lieutenants that he was resigning, effective immediately. He said little else.

    Mr. Williams, who has led the university for three years, betrayed little emotion when he entered the president's conference room of the University Pavilion building around noon, according to a faculty member who was present. Indeed, Mr. Williams patiently waited for the conclusion of a report on the university's enrollment numbers before he dropped the bombshell.

    "He allowed the report to finish, and he said something to the effect of, 'Effective today I am stepping down from the University of Cincinnati for personal reasons.' He thanked all of us, and he left," said Richard A. Miller, chair of the Faculty Senate and a professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

  19. Whew! UC didn't let the body grow cold on this one. PLEASE, Mrs. Buchanan, tell your reporters and the public what you know about this brewing escapade!

    Ono Named 28th President of the University of Cincinnati

    Date: 8/22/2012 12:00:00 AM
    By: Greg Hand

    Santa J. Ono has been appointed interim president of the University of Cincinnati, following the announcement Tuesday that Gregory H. Williams had resigned from the presidency due to personal reasons.

    Ono has served as UC’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Provost since September 2010.

  20. Followed none too soon by this tweet:

    Santa Ono Santa Ono ‏@ProvostOno

    I thank U Cincinnati Board for electing me to serve in an interim role as UC's 28th president. Will give 150% for #HottestCollegeinAmerica


  21. I don't know anything about Buchanan personally, but from what I've read of this, and numerous other episodes where she clearly chiseled away at her paper's credibility, why is she still employed?

    Oh right.
    It's G A N N E T T.
    She must be one of the GG's (Gracia's Girls).
    Never mind.

  22. @4:01 pm – Of course Luken’s comment is noteworthy, but if you seriously think a material amount of the Enquirer’s reader base actually read his post online, let alone had yet to wonder why they aren’t being told more given Buchanan’s frequently published role on UC’s board before he raised it, you’re delusional.

    That’s certainly the point of my post as Buchanan being on UC’s board, 3CDC, etc. hasn’t gone unnoticed the relationships of which harms the Enquirer’s credibility with its readers whether she interferes with the newsroom's coverage or not.

    Frankly, if you had even a modicum of experience on the editorial side you would have recognized the issue it creates with readers, something you obviously still don’t. Funny.

    Seem you need to "pray to the heavens" for more knowledge.

    10:05 AM

  23. JIM: B F D

    Dang, Jim, another day of non-professional journalist/Einsteins posting. Wow, they give Rush Limbaugh, plenty of ammo. To wit --

    1. Donnie Graham of WaPo chairs Facebook. Is he their next target? Billions lost there.

    If you've got something on Maggie - BRING IT. Show you have a BACKBONE. Otherwise -- you're nothing but yapper.

    2. A simple google would revealed much about the publisher of this shit-kicker GCI newspaper --

    She's an UC alum, she's a local, she does numbers. Wow.

    3. The UC president is 68. I hope I don't have a mind-numbing job like that at age 68. Maybe he finally woke up.

    4. Biggest employer is UC? Yeah -- thanks to the HOSPITAL. Duh.

    5. About conflicts -- how many reporters are married to unionized teachers or hospital workers? Whose benefits they are going to rely on, in retirement?

    Is that a conflict? Has that been disclosed?

    6. As much fun as the shit-kicker chain provides -- it has been rare when a problem develops between the business side and the news side.

    Anyone who reads CJR would know that -- which, of course, the yahoo-crowd does not.

    Jim, you ought to start a voting contest -- "Dumbest Post of the Week." There are a lot of candidates here.

    Sent you a check. Doubt the yahoos did.

  24. Jim Romenesko jump in on this -----

  25. Nice try, 5:41/10:05, but none of that has anything to do with my valid criticism of what you posted. You said it didn't matter who posted the comment.

    Next time try reading first, then posting.

  26. 4:01, no it doesn't matter who made the comment. It doesn't change the accuracy of the comment.

    I don't see what my involvement with journalism has to do with it either.

    Yours in prayer,
    8:30 AM

  27. God, what I wouldn't give to hear the conversation about this breaking story and who knew what and when between Buchanan and Washburn.

  28. Does anyone know if Buchanan gets a stipend for being a board member and committee chair?


    For those who actually read the story -- stupids can't read very well -- it says the UC president resigned with no advance notice to board.

    Jim -- why is that Maggie's fault?

    Heck, Maggie's a 'homer' and publisher of a shit-kicker newspaper, in a shit-kicker town. Was she suppose to baby-sit the president, too?

    An old guy, 68, quits a highly-stressful job, in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. BFD, IMHO.

    So the Democrats are upset. The taxpayers could give a f'ing rip, frankly. Economic depressions do that to one's mind-set.

    Hey, Democrats -- how much money have you sent Jim? As much as Biden -- $0.00? Way to go.

  30. Check out the response to Washburn's bleatings at Romenesko. See the comment section. lol

  31. 4:58 when men ran this company and 90% of the division heads were men I don't remember hearing about "Craig's Boys." Jim I can't believe you let these kinds of posts remain on the site. Take shots at style of leadership but gender?

  32. In the comment by 6:19 p.m., he/she says:

    6. As much fun as the shit-kicker chain provides -- it has been rare when a problem develops between the business side and the news side.

    That may be because the news side has long ago caved in to the PR drivel, "run whatever they (the advertiser) want" attitude driven by the advertising department and publishers wanting more revenue and fewer hassles with big businesses-advertisers.

    There is seldom a "problem" at a newspaper when one side does not stand up for integrity and ethics - something Gannett shrugged off a long time ago.

  33. Buchanan’s outside board roles, like those of other publishers in Gannett does create credibility issues and those unable to comprehend and/or admit it are kidding themselves as readers need little, if any, evidence to allege newspaper bias, hence, why it’s worthy of debate.

    Cincinnati’s former mayor was the catalyst for the one here and he added to one with dozens of others linked to the Enquirer’s story. However, the spark he created really does mean little in the macro view given how thousands of other Enquirer readers were already questioning why Buchanan’s well-known role on UC’s board didn’t yield more details.

    Moreover, they’d be right in asking and if Buchanan’s management style is any guide, it’s likely because she was clueless to why Williams’ resigned with immediate effect.

  34. PROVE IT

    Thanks for the 50-word diatribe. I'll save it for bedtime.

    Got some proof? Margie provides a lot of humor .. and I've never any proof of bias.

    Yeah, yeah, you want Banana-gate reprinted and Romney blasted. Go ahead and do it yourself -- we'll report on it.

    Debate, debate, debate, blah, blah, blah (inf.) .. zzzzzzzzz


    Buchanan’s outside board roles, like those of other publishers in Gannett does create credibility issues and those unable to comprehend and/or admit it are kidding themselves as readers need little, if any, evidence to allege newspaper bias, hence, why it’s worthy of debate.


    Jim, glad to see, the teachers' unions are "hard at work" here, tearing at their bosses --

    Can't think of a better reason to voucherize taxpayer-subsidized "education" -- self-dealing, self-entitlement, and low productivity.

  36. JIm, feel free to delete some of the above off-topic, (no-topic?) comments. Especially the one that cuts and pastes earlier comments, I'm at a loss to find any point to that at all.

  37. The operative word here 12:10 PM is ALLEGE as no claim was made Buchanan interfered and/or that there was bias here*, only that readers believe news organizations engage in it and that credibility suffers as a result, even in Cincinnati.

    For PROOF, a number of entities track reader perceptions (even Gannett) and the link below to Pew Research Center’s efforts should be more than enlightening to you given your intransigence, though proof isn’t what you seek is it.

    *Not sure where you’ve been but plenty have shared her hand in news here…directing a fluff story to appease a large Toyota dealer is but one example, one that even that dealership’s management team proudly admitted.

  38. 12:34 take your last line and insert it into any description of a Union! Nice job

  39. PROVE IT (II)

    Dear AAUP-CINCI:

    If you have "proof" that Margie has run rough-shod over the newsroom and demanded "puff-pieces" -- PROVE IT.

    Release a HARD-COPY statement, alleging that. With the "proof."

    I am 99.99% certain that the Cinci media will print it. If AAUP has the backbone to go on the record.

    UC students, good luck. Teacher unions like NEA, AFT and AAUP cripple good education by arguing about everything.


    Dear AAUP @ U-Cinci:

    Those on the front lines of journalism (and not thumb-suckers and bed-wetters in ivory towers) receive hundreds of "perceptions" and "theories" a day.

    And approximately 80% of them are either goofy, weird, stone-cold wrong, time-wasters, and/or would lead to a successful libel judgment. Those go right into the round file cabinet.

    GCI CEO Gracia is many things. And if she knew with reasonable certainty that Margie was negatively affecting the GCI brand (shit-kicker newspapers), she'd yank Margie in a NYC minute. After all, her bonus and cred involved.

    That's the real world of journalism. You're welcome, and be sure to send Jim the $5,000 that he deserves for this encounter.

  41. As recently as about 10 years ago the Enquirer's beat reporter covering UC was on the UC payroll. Moonlighting as an instructor.

  42. “Margie” again.

    If you’re 99.99% certain of newsroom actions and likely the same in your belief of Buchanan’s lack of interference, then how do you explain using that name instead of MB or Margaret?

    That, and the few examples people touched on that you still ignore doesn’t speak well for what you so desperately seek to attempt here.


    Hey, 2:09 (AAUP), this is Gannett, we're casual. Sort of like the Titanic, without the water.

    Ol' Marg may be the 'homer' publisher of a shit-kicker newspaper, in a shit-kicker town.

    But Marg-o's our shit-kicker -- unless we catch her with the Chamber gang, eating bananas while doing voice-mail and building a $54 million Banana-gate scenario.

    Hey, good luck with your new U-C work rules. Appears that U-C needed them, with so much time being wasted. It is about "the children," right?

    And get that $5,000 AAUP-Cinci check to Jim, ASAP, OK? Thanks, and keep attacking the U-C board -- so classy!

    Blah, blah, blah, debate, debate, debate ... zzzzzZZZZZZZZ ...

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    TYSON'S CORNERS, Va. (PRNEWSWIRE) -- Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE:GCI) announced today that Gregory Williams, former president of the University of Cincinnati, has been named publisher and president of GCI's Podunk Daily News.

    "Greg's strong efforts to wake up a sleepy, out-of-the-way university were admirable," said GCI CEO G. Les Matt. "He'll make a great caretaker publisher in Podunk, while GCI keeps begging Warren Buffett to buy GCI, either in parts or in toto.

    "He's good at sitting in meetings, listening to endless chattering, and staying awake. That's the Gannett Way -- talking, more talking, and even more talking. Like television, except newspapers use less electricity. Yup-per!"



    Example: those attacking Citizens United, which allows for unlimited corporate and union funding in elections, as perceived "unfairness."

    Yeah, right, as if buying enough advertising can "buy" an election.

    News-flash: we're newspaper people. Some of us know something about advertising.

    And we know that advertising does NOT work in a 100%-predictable fashion. If it did, GCI's stock would be $50/share.

    So much for the evidence-value of "perceptions."

  47. While Hollis Towns was managing editor at the Enquirer he also sat on the board of the Cincinnati Children's Theatre. The group competes aggressively for funding, relying heavily on Enquirer publicity and on money from an arts fund that made Margaret Buchanan a board member.


    Jack Germond knew his stuff about GCI.

    Big Al did get a Pulitizer, he had news-sense.

    After Banana-gate -- highly doubtful.

    And the same ol' f'ing dull BS every day does NOT make profits. Not good.

    The more things change, the less things change.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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