Journalism News

A conversation with Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn

I will be live-Tweeting and/or covering the “Meet the Editor” with Cincinnati Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at Northern Kentucky University.

It will be live on uStream and I will be using Cover It Live to report on the event. Both streams can be found below.


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News Thoughts & Observations

Doctor “hero” at Giffords shooting says he and others are just “normal people”

Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...
Image via Wikipedia

I heard this quote on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” today and I really liked it. Choking back tears, Dr. David Bowman, who was shopping with his wife at the Safeway store in Tuscon, Arizona where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six others were killed by an alleged lone gunman, including a 9-year-old girl who was born on September 11, 2001, said he is not particularly comfortable with being called a “hero:”

“I think that there were maybe heroic things done by normal people. That means we’re human beings. And I think that’s, to me, one of the lasting impressions, is to see what people were doing for someone else – injured people – helping someone else more injured. Not concerned about themselves. And not screaming and not yelling, “Medic! Medic!,” and helping the person next to them. It gives you a lot of hope that we are doing it the right way, somehow.”

-Dr. David Bowman, aided Rep.Gifford at shooting, on being called hero

We have a hero culture now. Anyone and everyone who acts is, by default, a hero. A woman, who also is being called a hero for yanking the second gun clip out of the alleged shooter’s hands, said if she is a hero then the retired Colonel who tackled the gunman to the ground is a “super hero.” She said that her son told her that Tuscon needs heroes right now and that she needs to embrace the moniker.

I think we needed “normal people” that day – and that is what we got. Calling everyone a “hero” makes it sound like only “heroes” respond to desperate situations like that. Do you consider yourself a hero? I don’t think I am a hero. I bet you don’t either. But, I believe I would try to help in a situation like that. And I’m just a normal guy.

Categories Community Journalism New Media News Politics Technology

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Election Night coverage using Qik video

I will be running around downtown Cincinnati – including the Hamilton County Board of Elections and various campaign victory parties – reporting on what I am seeing using Qik video. Check out the video below to see the latest:
City Living Community News

Taming the mighty Mill Creek


Tomorrow I embark on an adventure few in this area would ever consider doing – canoeing down the Mill Creek.

It won’t be my first time. The last time was May 1, 2007 when we left from Spring Grove Avenue and got out near the Ohio River – in utter filth. What I learned on that trip is that the Mill Creek is in much better shape than it has been since the introduction of industry along its banks. Though it can change from day-to-day, the water for 90 percent of its length is safe for humans to be in and around, which was never the case years ago. That’s why you – if you’re from the Greater Cincinnati area – are probably aghast at what I have done and plan to do again tomorrow.

I was also surprised to find an abundance of life living in and around the creek, including spawning fish, snakes and turtles. I saw rushing rapids flowing over resistant rocks, creating a gorgeous display of one of nature’s enduring beauties – a moving stream. Above us and around us were highways with trucks and cars, plus railroad tracks with giant locomotives moving in and out of town. Along side us were closed factories, a wheat mill, a rail yard and a sewage treatment plant. There were also beautiful tall, green grasses and other vegetation that did not seem to know that common knowledge says they should not be there. All that touches the Mill Creek dies. Not so anymore, apparently.

Trash in the Mill Creek near the Ohio River
Trash in the Mill Creek near the Ohio Rover

Tomorrow, I will be hosted again by Commodore Bruce Koehler, a member of the “Mill Creek Yacht Club,” a tongue-in-cheek “organization” of people who are passionate about our local environment, study it and can teach us about what we are seeing. Dr. Mike Miller, a University of Cincinnati professor of aquatic ecology, will also be on the trip again. His insights are instrumental in educating the trip’s partipants on the transformation of the Mill Creek watershed and what it once was before that much-needed makeover.

We are taking a different trip than last time. This time we are starting farther north, in Sharonville, and ending up in Reading. The whole trip is about 6 1/4 miles and is expected to take about five hours. I plan to bring a notebook, my Tevos, a video camera and a still camera. For now, though, check out the beautiful – and some disturbing – photos from the 2007 trip. Click on the above photo to be taken to the Flickr set.

Journalism News Politics

Hamilton County poised to go back to “red” this fall?

Ted Strickland, governor of the U.S. state of Ohio
Ted Strickland, governor of the U.S. state of Ohio. Image via Wikipedia

It’s campaign season and candidates all across the region and the state are in full campaign mode. Or are they?

In 2008, Hamilton County tilted toward the Democratic side for the first time since 1967 when President Lyndon Johnson lead that party’s ticket. Now, two years later and some signs point toward a red win, thanks, it appears, to party and supporter apathy.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in a Sept. 5 Columbus Dispatch poll, trailed former Congressman John Kasich, 10 percentage points, 49-39 in a statewide poll, according to Real Clear Politics.  Strickland bumped up slightly in poll averages in mid-June, but otherwise has trailed Kasich.

But despite this, Tuesday, when he and his Republican opponent square off in their first televised debate, there are no watch parties planned in the county, according to the Organizing for America Web site, Parties are planned in all adjacent counties: the Republican strongholds of Butler, Clermont and Warren. Hamilton County would be considered a critical county for Strickland if he were to win re-election.

Then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama‘s online juggernaut, combining social media with savvy Web marketing, appears to be underutilized in this area. Praised by politicos from all parties, the site and its accompanying iPhone, iPad and plethora of social networking-connected sites can be used to help organize campaign workers and inform voters in ways that were not previously seen in any campaign. The site  and its millions of registered users transitioned from Obama’s campaign Web site  to Organizing for America, designed to keep enthusiasm and momentum going after Obama’s winning the presidency.

Republican supporters do not appear to have scheduled any debate watch parties in this area.

City Living Community Journalism Thoughts & Observations

Parking enforcement officer writes ticket for after 8 – before 8

Just watched as a neighbor of mine got a ticket for parking in an after-8 a.m. truck loading zone along Perry Street in downtown Cincinnati (even though this alley hasn’t been used for loading trucks in probably 30 years). Only problem was it wasn’t after 8 a.m. – even when the officer handed the neighbor her ticket.

I watched out my bedroom window as she showed the officer her cell phone (which carries a signal from her wireless service that maintains the exact real time, lapse a 10-30 seconds). She was rather upset – the ticket costs $50 – but the officer would not even budge.

So, I went out and said I looked on the two computers I had open and on, both with automatically updated Internet time (also very accurate) and my cell phone and said she was right and he was wrong. His response? Look at the ticket.

She showed me the ticket. “8:00 a.m., April 2, 2010.” No Day-After April Fool’s Day joke here. I told him that even right then, as we “discussed” the ticket, it was only 8:01 a.m. so there is no way it was after 8 a.m. when he wrote the ticket.

I encouraged the woman to go to the ” parking court.” Court, in this case, is a closet with a hearing officer (“judge”), an appointee who also works as a lawyer someplace else, who almost always lets parking violaters off the first time they appear before him (or sit next to him, as is the case in Hamilton County) and usually halves fines if you take the time to go on subsequent visits. I know this from personal experience – I had a few “surprise” tickets when I lived in Over-the-Rhine. The surprise was I never got them, likely removed from the windshield by some board passer-by (and we had more than our share of those types). The excuse took with the judge  because I had actually paid, on time, other tickets over the years.

But this all comes at a cost: The experience for those living in downtown Cincinnati. It is one we cannot afford right now. And this is a stupid way for the city to make up expenses in a gigantic budget hole.

In an effort to beef up parking enforcement, officers (the parking kind, not police) have been armed with electronic ticket-writing devices that dramatically speed up the process. There apparently also have been several new hires in the past 18 months or so, making the force larger than it has been in recent years (this is an observation). Couple that with a more than doubling of the original $14 fine (as it was until 2005, late, as I recall) to the now $35 fine for parking at an expired meter, and I think we have ourselves a grand way for the city to make money for itself.

Good. No new taxes, right? But it comes at the expense of creating massive discontent about living downtown. Parking spaces – like on Perry Street – still reflect an industrial alleyway where trucks needed to park throughout the day. Now, it’s low-hanging fruit for parking enforcement folks and the bane of people who live in the former warehouses and manufacturing facilities now converted into townhomes, condos and apartments – the people who are making downtown work again.

Should parking on the street be made legal for anyone? No, but there are best practices from other cities of similar size that allow for residents to park on the street near their residence.

Cincinnati has a similar ordinance. Why haven’t you heard of it? It’s pretty fascinating, actually. Passed in the early 1980s, but it has never been used once, because the burden for residents to enact is nearly insurmountable. Why? Who knows for sure. It was either an extremely poor piece of legislation or doing exactly what it was intended to do. I have (or had) a copy of the ordinance, and some accompanying complaints by current and former Council members, and will track that down and discuss that in a future post.

Community Radio

About to be on City Talk Radio

About to be on City Talk Radio in Cincinnati. 550 AM. We are in studio with Tom, Brandon, Marianne (from – gasp! – Cin Weekly) and Sweets, also known as Courtney. 🙂

Community News

Fernald’s magical tranformation

Wandered Into, what is now called, the Fernald Nature Preserve. I’m here now. They have done a wonderful job transforming an old nuclear weapons processing facillity into a nature preserve and museum.

The visitors’ center is the first LEED platinum certified buliding in Ohio. Seems like they are doing their darndest to fix a horrible wrong

Journalism News Radio

Frank Paul Daugherty entry about being canned by WLW

Radio locally sucks. Even little old WAIF-FM, once a great respite for local radio has gone completely down hill. Now, WLW, in an effort to save money (a push made nationally by owner Clear Channel), has cut a big chunk of their staff. John Kiesewetter at the Enquirer has a good round-up of what happened.

But Paul Daugherty, the Enquirer’s incredible sports columnist (and I don’t typically even like sports – but his columns are great) does a great first-person about what happened… Here is an excerpt… link at the end.

At 10 AM Tuesday, I was handed a severance package and shown the door. Literally overnight, I went from being “the future of the radio station” (Parks) to the parking lot. The whole transaction took 5 minutes. Since I’d never been “severed” before, I don’t know if that’s the norm. And obviously, there is no “right” way to do that sort of thing. Regardless, it was entirely classless and, from what I’ve heard from others within ClearChannel Cincinnati, not atypical.

via Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati PluckPersona | Cincinnati.Com.

City Living Community News

Cincinnati census office opening to be a grand spectacle

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Hamilton County Commission President David Pepper are celebrating the opening of the 2010 U.S. Census Cincinnati office with an amazing amount of fanfare.

Here’s the “Who” part of the press release sent out this morning. Note that the regulars are at the beginning, added by an ever-increasing amount of, well, relatively strange folks to be at a census office opening.

Mayor Mark Mallory, Hamilton County Board of Commissioners President David Pepper, Ohio Governor’s Regional Director Brewster Rhoads, Ohio State Representative Denise Driehaus, Director of the U. S. Census Bureau Detroit Region Dwight P. Dean, Cincinnati Local Census Office Manager George Conner, Reverend Doris Hoskins, Lebanon High School Color Guard, Cincinnati Public School of Creative and Performing Arts harpists and vocalist, and a host of Cincinnati and Hamilton County leaders and dignitaries…

Why night have the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, all the employees of Duke Energy, the Westwood Blue Devils 4th grade softball team, Larry Flynt and the ghosts of Marge Schott and Peanut Jim there, too?

It’s all happening at 2 p.m. today at the local census office, 801 Linn Street, 4th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45203-1603 (map).

I agree the census is important and more important than past city leaders have made it. It just seems like a lot to do for an office of literal bean counters. Funny, too. Might have to go just to see the grand spectacle.