In Dayton, Cox Media Group is integrating its print, TV (a CBS affiliate) and radio operations and using the slogan, “Come Together.” According to a memo that Dayton Daily News staffers received on Friday, coming together means not publishing anything critical about CBS.
The wire filler story on D2 of today’s Life section cast all of the TV networks, including CBS, in a negative light. Our news station – WHIO-TV is a CBS-affiliate station. We do not want to run any stories that cast our station in a negative light or even allude to it negatively.
I know we’re working really hard – and very quickly – to do the very best in selecting wire stories. But I wanted to bring this to our attention so that we can be more careful in selecting nondaily wire copy and in our editing and/or selection of stories that contain references to CBS. Remember, we are better together.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
I’ve asked Rawls and Dayton Daily News editor Jana Collier about the paper’s nothing-negative-about-CBS policy.
Update: Cox Media Group Ohio communications manager Mike Athmer sends this email:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to this issue. We can assure you that our partnership with WHIO-TV, a CBS affiliate, in no way keeps us from objectively covering any news story. There is nothing more important to us than our role as a watchdog in this community, and we will never back down from that job.
The article in question is a critique of television entertainment shows. You will see if you read our newspaper that we have routinely published these kinds of critiques – pro and con – about all kinds of shows and networks.
Far from hindering our objectivity, our relationship with WHIO-TV has strengthened our ability to cover the most important concerns in our community. This is what our readers – and WHIO-TV’s viewers – expect from us, and we are committed to doing our best every day.
I wrote back to Athmer and told him that while he says “we have routinely published these kinds of critiques – pro and con – about all kinds of shows and networks,” the memo to staff indicates the paper will no longer publish these kinds of critiques about CBS; he fails to address that matter.