Plain Dealer ombud: Why I haven’t written about the editorial board video brouhaha

I recently got this email from a frustrated Cleveland Plain Dealer staffer:

Chris Quinn

Chris Quinn

“It is so obvious to those of us who work here the huge difference between the PD and NEOMG [Northeast Ohio Media Group]…The FitzGerald [campaign] press release [about the editorial board’s endorsement interviews video being pulled] reads like we – the PD – did the interviews, shot the interviews and then pulled the videos. It sucks because it was all NEOMG. I bet [NEOMG content chief] Chris Quinn is loving all of this because it makes the PD look bad, when I can almost bet that [Gov. John] Kasich’s camp got to Quinn and demanded it be pulled.”

Has the Plain Dealer brand been damaged by Quinn because of his actions, then silence on the video-removal issue? I asked Plain Dealer Newspaper Guild unit chair Wendy McManamon. She replied:

Many of us are concerned that reporters at NEOMG are not only damaging our brand, and our standards, as Plain Dealer journalists, but they’re also taking advantage of the public’s confusion. Sources and readers don’t know what an NEOMG is, so they have been heard saying they’re with the Plain Dealer or represent the “new” Plain Dealer; they allow others to refer to them as PD journalists, especially sportswriters who appear on TV and radio.

McManamon adds that it’s “interesting” that Plain Dealer/NEOMG reader representative Ted Diadiun won’t answer questions – including Jay Rosen‘s – about the Kasich-FitzGerald interview video being pulled. “That’s what he’s supposed to do,” she writes in an email, “but since 2013 he merely has been Chris Quinn’s apologist. He only represents NEOMG, not The Plain Dealer. I wish I had stock in Kool-Aid.”

I asked Diadiun about McManamon’s comments and his silence on the video controversy. He replied:

I was sorry to read Wendy’s remarks. I always considered her a friend and a dedicated journalist, but a lot of things have changed since the reorganization of the news operation a bit more than a year ago, resulting in emotions not unlike what happens in the wake of a divisive strike.

Ted Diadiun

Ted Diadiun

In any case, I’m not going to attack her in response. She is right that I’ve been spending more time on Website issues in the last year, often more in an explanatory role than as a critic. As for the rest of what she said, I will let my work over almost 10 years of being the newspaper’s – and the website’s – reader representative stand for whatever people think of my integrity and credibility.

I have not written about this or given out quotes because I felt I was in an untenable position and could do nothing to help the situation. Stay tuned, however, if you continue to be interested in this issue.

Oh, we will!

* New: Watch the video that Quinn had removed

* Quinn needs to explain why the campaign interview video disappeared (cjr.org)
* Jay Rosen: “Quinn’s the man and he ain’t talking” (pressthink.org)
* Earlier: Quinn threatens a website that posted the video he took down (jimromenesko.com)


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