Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday Roundup

Some followup, mostly on previous items...and all from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as it turns out:

NEW ANCHOR TEAM: Just an hour before we posted our own item, the Plain Dealer's Entertainment blog had official word of WOIO/19's new "19 Action News" weekend anchor team.

As we reported earlier, and heard from our own sources, it's indeed former KOVR/13 Sacramento anchor mainstay Paul Joncich coming to Reserve Square as half of the weekend anchor team at the local CBS affiliate.

His co-anchor, as rumored, is Danielle Serino...who spent six years in Chicago, and has worked in Miami and New York City. Her most recent gig has been as consumer reporter for FOX's O&O in Chicago, WFLD/32...in segments entitled "The Bottom Line".

The move not only puts Catherine Bosley back to full-time reporting, but also does the same for Denise Strzelczyk...who'd been solo anchor of "19 Action News"' Sunday broadcasts.

TIME WARNER/ADELPHIA: We're finally getting down to the wire in the Time Warner takeover of the Cleveland-based Adelphia systems...and Comcast here, as well. (In other markets, Comcast will be the company doing such consolidating.)

Cleveland Plain Dealer tech columnist Henry Gomez reports that Time Warner plans a big splash at Jacobs Field on August 1st...the date that the merger will apparently be completed.

Time Warner suits tell Gomez that they're not planning on rate increases "right now", and as expected, that it'll take some time for all the systems to be merged.

To that end, Time Warner is apparently undergoing negotiations with cable channels that are carried by Adelphia and Comcast locally, and aren't carried by the Time Warner Northeast Ohio system. Time Warner's Stephen Fry admits that some "obscure" channels could be lost to current Adelphia/Comcast subscribers.

The entire process is expected to take about two years, and will include the introduction of TWC's "DigitalPhone" service to the ex-Adelphia/Comcast service areas and new jobs at two area call centers.

911 CALL: Plain Dealer news columnist Sam Fulwood III defends WOIO/19 for airing that controversial 911 call involving family members of Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

Fulwood's basic reasoning is that "the rich should be treated just like the poor", and that WOIO would have (and should have) aired such a call no matter what the status is, of the bank account of the family involved. He writes:

Airing that call was a courageous - if unpopular - act of journalism. Every media outlet in this city should applaud Channel 19 for its integrity.

Channel 19 did what it is supposed to do. It informed the public by broadcasting news without fear or favor. Facing the possible loss of millions of dollars, the station refused to kowtow to a beloved local business and the wealthy family that owns it.

A brief comment or two...we don't want to veer too far off into Opinion Land here:

Airing a 911 call of a grieving mother is hardly an act of courage. It's done, as suggested, in newsrooms all over the country.

WOIO airing this particular call was hardly an act of integrity. It was very likely just "something they do". The flash-and-dash style of "19 Action News" calls for theatrics, and what better ready-made bit of theatrics than a crying mother calling 911 about her dead daughter?

Mr. Fulwood makes it sound like it was a courageous, conscious decision by WOIO to air the call, "wealthy team owner be damned". Nope...it's just how the station does business. Fulwood considers that an act of "integrity"...we consider it more of an accident if it appears that way to him.

And he, like everyone else, is well aware of the nature of the Action News Beast. He spends much of the first part of his column even talking about it.

As we've said more than once, it's the opinion of this corner that Channel 19 had every right to obtain and air the tape. The Browns organization has every right to try to find a legal exit to the contract with the TV station. And WOIO made a business - not news - decision to enter that contract.

And we would be much more impressed with "19 Action News" if the story were not the sobs of a mother who just lost her 6 year-old daughter, but some sort of actual news story involving Randy Lerner or his operations. If Lerner, say, were in some sort of legal hot water, WOIO would be expected...if not demanded...to cover such a story fairly and accurately. This is not the same thing.

To call what WOIO did an "act of integrity" is about the funniest thing we've read in the Plain Dealer since we hit the comic section...


74WIXYGrad said...

Right now the only people who benefited from the 911 call was 19 Action news. The negative publicity gained probably got them a few more viewers for a short season(however not me). If we need filler material like that to make sure that we have enough news, then maybe we should go bsck to what we had 30 years ago: 30 minutes of local news and 30 minutes of national news. BTW click the button that says other and you don't have to be anonymous.

Anonymous said...

After reading the story, one has to wonder if the Plain Dealer and WOIO/WUAB share some sort of common ownership. I have to agree with you 100% in your entry and could not have said it better myself as I would of used much more colorful and vulgar words do describe my feelings. I cannot figure out where he gets he gets the concept of ch 19 being courageous act of journalism. in what they did. All they did was take a tradgey of a little girl's death and a mother who was frantic and upset trying to save her life and exploit it for a ratings boost. The defintion of courageous is a person who shows courage (courage defined is the quality of a confident character not to be afraid or intimidated easily but without being incautious or inconsiderate;
the ability to do things which one finds frightening). How can that be applied to 19 action news? Well if they were courageous they would of realize that you atleast need to be considerate of what the family had to go though and that they are in pain and suffering. A courageous act would be one that does not cause pain, one that is done for postive not one that exploits pain and misery for profit. As for integrity, I suggest Mr.Sam Fulwood to look up the word because to have integrity,you need to have one thing 19 action news doe not have and that is a strict ethical code. Remeber this station felt its was ethically sound to allow a anchor strip for the 11'oclock news. The idea of right and wrong for them is if you are wrong and we can make money off you then it is ok and ethically justified to expose you for the low life you make youself out to be reguardles of it that is the case. If Channel 19 did what it is supposed to do, then why is there such a problem with people from all over the area? If there wasn't, then message boards and blogs would not be discussing a week after the fact. In addition, are you suggesting that CH 3 and 5 (CH 8 aired a portion of the tape) did not do their job and inform the public of a news story? I hate to be the one to inform you, but they actually did inform the people of the story. But unlike 19 live and breaking action crap news, they chose to actually excerise integrity and only air the portion of the story that was needed. The public did not need to hear the 9-11 call because it had no bearing on the story unless you are a uncreditable half-ass station who believes that exploitation and sensationalism is more important than telling a story fairly,honestly, and that is balanced.

Anonymous said...

Sensationalism is not journalism.

P.T. Barnum: "There is no such thing as 'bad' publicity."

Anonymous said...


"Integrity?" Ch. 19/43? That's the FIRST TIME in those stations' history that such a word has been used to define them. And it'll be the LAST, as well, unless Fullwood has a follow-up column. Sheesh.

Hope the stations lose their shirts trying to sue the Browns. Wonder which entity has more $$$ to sock into the fight? For once, let's also hope a judge in this town can see damaging crappy muckraking for what it is, and END this ill-advised "business relationship" between two warring enemies.

Anonymous said...


Live in Akron? Soon to switch to Time Warner from Adelphia? Assuming the site doesn't require cookies, the address above should point you to what could be your future channel lineup. Print it out and be ready before you get it in the mail. Yes, there are four-digit channel numbers.


General Time Warner channel lineups for anywhere already served by them.


General Comcast channel lineups. Be sure to punch in not YOUR ZIP code, but one you know is Comcast already.

Johnny Morgan said...

Here's what Fulwood and Antiadgirl from "the other other place" don't understand.

This was NEVER about Action News not being permitted to air the tape. This was about the newsroom doing what news should do--reporting, even a 911 tape. Few dispute that Action News was within its journalistic rights to run the tape (I enjoy CKLW 20/20 News so who am I to object?)

The problem occurs when NO ONE at the station decided that maybe, just maybe, we should consider our existing business relationships that may be harmed by running this tape. The newsroom should be independent, and should not have to cater to anyone. But the newsroom is but ONE division within the whole station, equal to sales, programming, network relations, community relations, etc. Therefore, the ultimate judgment as to whether something airs is not in the divisional management, but in the overall manager's slot--the one who is paid to weigh the needs, wants, and wishes of each division against the others and determine what is best for the station.

Bill Applegate is that man. And he failed in his duty--neither he, nor anyone else in station management ever considered the effect airing such a tape might have on other programming elements, sponsors, business relationships, etc.

This is not, and never was, rich vs. poor--but don't expect "Class Warfare Sam" to understand that. He wants nothing more than to start World War III with plowshares battling BMWs. It's never a consideration because the poor don't often own football teams that have contracts with WOIO. But surely WOIO chooses to air or not air a story for racial reasons. Does Fulwood have an issue with that?

Didn't think so. No wonder Fulwood's never been accepted in this city. Race and class rioters are particularly heinous when the come from foreign areas.

Anonymous said...

It isn't the funniest thing - it was the saddest. This station should lose it license for it's tabloid TV. I don't care if you are rich or poor they had no business airing this 911 call. That is not journalism.

Anonymous said...

Sam Full-of-it-wood is one of the more comically inept writers at the Pee-Dee. It's not the first time he never cared to look at the facts when writing something, so he only did it to get attention.

But the Pee-Dee has really been left-leaning in opinion for a very long time; only no one cares to admit it. His employment isn't surprising to me at all. Hell, when you've also got the over-the-hill Dick Feagler pipe out the same dreck week after week...

Sam will never win a Pulitzer. Or any respect in Cleveland. Probably only a commentator's role on InAction News...

- nate81

Anonymous said...

Sam better check himself, or he'll become known as Fool-wood. Like Applegate, always tied to this disaster.

Anonymous said...

Sam's column doesn't surprise me in the least - in fact I was expecting someone at PD to say it long before today. There's a sizeable group of print journalists out there who believe you defend your own, no matter how far over the line they go... and if the egregious acts offended some rich and powerful in the process, then the reporter must have been doing something right.

These are generally the same people who actually believe that journalism is some rare, special profession with a strictly followed code of conduct and ethics which precludes more common folks from understanding the intricacies of the profession. The sanctity of the newsroom and all that absolute horeshit that they sholve out to anyone foolish enough to listen...

Of course, these are the same people who call trashing someone's reputation or airing a mother's grief "courageous." Sprinkle on some not-so-subtle racial undertones and references to class inequity, and the irony is so thick you can almost taste it.

Sam avoids the obvious - that 19 went beyond the boundries of good taste this time and got burned for it - instead using the opportunity to shift focus to his own pet issues. You know, like a good little liberal columnist does...


Johnny Morgan said...

The funniest Fulwood column was two weeks ago when he was repeating as gospel truth the idea that Ken Blackwell suppressed black votes in 2004.

What was funny about that?

Plain Dealer "reader's representative" Ted Diadun wrote a column effectively debunking all of those "truths" about a month earlier.

So, either Fulwood has some racist agenda, or he's so inept he doesn't read his own newspaper.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in Denise Strzelczyk's coverage of a UFO sighting above Key Tower in Cleveland on Saturday, March 10.

Clearly the witness, Sam Phillips, has an unsteady hand and used the hype to promote attention to the rally he was attending. Denise should have done her homework!

We imported still shots captured from his video into photo editing software. In each shot, we imposed a box pasted from the clipboard and found that the mysterious light in the sky never moves in relation to the light on Key Tower. Only the shaky camera and the superimposed oval move.