Fun Journalism New Media

Crisis communication comedy

I joined a class this morning on crisis communication for non-profits. There were some good tidbits from the lecture. I was able to get glean some useful information from the talk, and even got the slides from the presentation afterward.

Here it is:

I mostly like what was said, aside from the “never talk off the record” part and no mention of “never lying” to a reporter, which is something I think people fall into a lot.

At the end of the class we were asked to role play a crisis situation discussion with a member of the media. The person I’m working with runs a small private school and the scenario we came up with a child was picked up by an authorized person, namely a parent who did not have custody, and was now missing. I played the reporter. We decided to keep it light (after hearing a class full of people take it seriously).


Worker kills his boss as boss travels to work

I don’t mean to make light of this, but, geez, what bad luck. Very sad indeed…

Indian Hill official dies in crash | Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati.Com

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Enquirer: No Pay For You

Well, this majorly sucks. I can’t believe it is getting as bad as it is getting with no let-up in sight.

In a memo distributed today to all non-unionized employees at The Gannet Co., The Enquirer’s parent firm, a top executive announced that workers must take a five-day unpaid furlough from their jobs before the end of March.

“Like others, Gannett has had to make some very difficult decisions over the past year,” stated the memo, written by Robert J. Dickey, Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing president. “Having to reduce staff, reformat newspapers and end delivery to some customers has had a deep impact on our company and all of us. We have consulted with many of you on how to minimize the impact on our readers and customers.”

The memo continued, “As a result of your feedback, and in an effort to minimize the need for more layoffs, I have decided to take another approach as we enter 2009. To that end, every non-represented employee in the USCP division will be furloughed for five business days during this quarter. That includes me, your publisher, everyone. Unions will be asked to accept furloughs in lieu of layoffs. We all will be sharing the financial hardship.”

via Enquirer: No Pay For You.


When it comes to giveaways, Dayton Daily cares more about spaghetti than your tax dollars | Esrati

This is pathetic. But, I guess, some consolation that we are not alone in our media misery…

The Dayton Daily “news” wasn’t at the Dayton Public Schools school board meeting yesterday when they voted to give an open ended $108,000 PR contract to the Cleveland political consulting group, Burges & Burges. However, the Dayton Daily was at a Fazoli’s in Huber Heights to cover a corporate PR stunt of giving away 25 $3 bowls of spaghetti.

Some area spaghetti lovers got a free plate of the stuff Saturday, Jan. 10, and a reminder about the most important rule of success – you have to show up.

via 25 win free spaghetti for a year from local restaurant.

via When it comes to giveaways, Dayton Daily cares more about spaghetti than your tax dollars | Esrati.

Community News

A firefighter’s final sign-off

Lt. Al Piening, whom I’ve only met once briefly, just retired from the Cincinnati Fire Department after 46 years. He spent his last years on the department at the firehouse at Clifton and Ludlow avenues in Clifton.

I post this because it brought a tear to my girlfriend Melissa’s eye when she saw and heard this YouTube clip. She loves Al, a guy she called “The Silver Fox” very much, saying he was one of the good guys who treated her fairly and with respect. Watch the clip closely and read between the lines, and if you know anything about the politics of this fire department or a general assumption about many public safety professionals, you can see, with tears in his eyes, why this guy is obviously a big loss for the citizens of Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Enquirer had a nice article about him that ran the day after his last tour on Dec. 26, 2008. I’m headed to his retirement party now.


Atherton leaving Fox19

Maybe he thought it was time to get out of journalism while he still had some dignity left?

WXIX-TV Vice President and General Manager Bill Lanesey announced Atherton’s pending departure in a press release. Dan Carroll, FOX19’s morning news anchor, will serve in Atherton’s place, aside co-ancher Tricia Macke, until a successor is named.

via Atherton leaving Fox19 – Business Courier of Cincinnati:.


Gannett Blog: Shrink ‘n’ spin: Papers drop sections this week

The Cincinnati Enquirer got a little bit smaller this week. Did anyone notice? Does anyone care? I certainly do – for a lot of reasons.

Here’s what Gannett Blog had to say about The Enquirer’s change (and others):

Shrink ‘n’ spin: Papers drop sections this week

In the latest phase of the current big budget cut, many Gannett newspapers are rolling out thinner papers, starting tomorrow. Sections are being combined, features moved around — or eliminated altogether.

Cincinnati Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan offers the best spin so far. After reeling off a litany of changes in a nearly 600-word note to readers on page one today, M.B. writes: “These changes are not because we have an audience problem, but rather are to meet the revenue challenges we, like many other businesses and families, face.”

via Gannett Blog: Shrink ‘n’ spin: Papers drop sections this week.

The opninon page is now shrunk to a single page in the front section and the features section – called “Tempo” for generations but changed to “Life” a few years ago – is now, get this, part of the “Local” section (called “Metro” for generations until a couple years ago). It’s called “Local Life.”

Besides a love for politics – local and national – and a desire for inner-ring and urban communities to be revitalized, I am obsessed with the hunt for a practical new business model for media. Why? Because we need good, competent, thorough local reporting. Otherwise that whole First Amendment thing about “freedom of the press” really doesn’t mean squat. And I do not mean that we need to find a way to fix the print edition (though I still like to read my news printed on paper, but do it other ways (like on a computer screen of varying sizes and resolutions and portablity) all the time. The whole business model is a joke and I believe strongly that our society – the American way of life – is suffering immeasurably, albeit subtly for now, as a result.


Hamilton drive-in open on Christmas day

One of the coolest things about living in California for two plus years was the abundance of great drive-in movie theaters open year round. The climate supported being outside watching movies next your car listening to the audio through the radio 365 days a year (aside from rainy days, which were few).

But in southwestern Ohio? Apparently the new owners of the Holiday Auto Theatre – a place I love to go in warmer months – will be open throughout the winter, including Christmas day.

Families seeking entertainment on Christmas night can pile in their car — and stay there.

The Holiday Auto Theatre on Old Oxford Road in Hamilton will show a triple feature Thursday, Dec. 25. Movies slated to air include Disney’s “Bedtime Stories” (PG), Disney’s “Bolt” (PG) and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (PG-13).

Beginning Dec. 26 and running through Jan. 1 will be “Twilight” (PG-13) as the third feature to follow “Bedtime Stories” and “Bolt.”

Holiday Auto Theatre opens at 6:30 p.m. nightly with shots beginning at 7:15 p.m. Admission includes all three films and is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for children ages 3 and younger. The refreshment center now offers apple juice and Hawaiian Punch.

For more information go online to

via Holiday Auto Theatre to show films on Christmas.


Lonely man jumps into polar bear’s cage in Berlin

As a kid I always thought the bears at the zoo were quite cute. But I never felt compelled to jump into their cage. Heck, I have even felt lonely before, but it never struck me that the caged animals – the ones that can rip me into shreds and eat me half-alive – were lonely, too.

That apparently was not the case for a German man who did just that and for that reason.

BERLIN — A man jumped into the Berlin zoo enclosure of famed polar bear Knut on Monday, but officials were able to keep the animal away from the intruder by distracting him with a leg of beef, police said. The 37-year-old man jumped over a fence into a water-filled ditch at the edge of the bear’s enclosure Monday morning, police said in a statement.

Zoo keepers, who had just let Knut into his outdoor enclosure, were able to lure the bear back into his cage by producing a leg of beef.

Police said the man, a German, was less cooperative, initially ignoring instructions to leave the enclosure. He was led away unharmed but, although he was soaked and cold, he refused to undergo a medical checkup.

Police said that, before being let go, the man told them that he felt lonely and the bear appeared lonely, too.

Knut, now age 2, was hand-raised after his mother rejected him at birth. He rose to stardom early last year as a cute white ball of fluff, but has since grown rapidly into a hulking 440-pound 200-kilogram predator.

via Lonely man jumps into polar bear’s cage in Berlin.

Hurricane Ike in Cincinnati

The aftermath: St. Paulus Kirche in Over-the-Rhine

The aftermath

Originally uploaded by hjoew

Remains of St Paulus Kirche’s steeple at 15th and Race streets after high winds from Hurricane Ike tore through Cincinnati Sunday wreaking damage all over the area. Few were spared some sort of heartache.

CityKin has some nice photographs of the steeple prior to Sunday’s damage.

In my archive I could only find one photo – from March’s other Weird Weather Event of 2008: the 10-inches + of snow – that showed the steeple in recent times.

An employee of an excavating company who said they have an on-call contract with the city of Cincinnati told me the plans are to remove the remaining top of the steeple (the wooden part), any flashing and possibly some masonry if it is deemed unstable. Another big loss for our struggling community.

Meanwhile, Race Street south of Liberty Street to 14th Street remains closed from a fallen utility pole.