This Week in NEOMG Decision-Making

Many questions remain regarding the decision by Chris Quinn, Vice President of Content for the Northeast Ohio Media Group (NEOMG) to remove the video his outlet took of its endorsement interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich and his two challengers on Thursday, October 23, 2014. This despite his appearance on Friday’s WCPN Sound of Ideas for its weekly regional roundup.

After listening carefully a couple of times to the entire segment, these areas surface as being in need of a deeper dive than the show’s twenty minutes was able to offer. Mr. Quinn provided some information related to all of these questions, but much of that information was contradictory and the only corrective he provided was that next year, everything will be videotaped regardless of what the candidates desire.

  1. What are, and what have we learned about the NEOMG procedures before, during and after endorsement interviews with candidates seeking elected office?
  2. What exactly happened after the news article appeared on, accompanied by the video?
  3. How, precisely, did a question that led to considering whether to remove the video?
  4. How, precisely, was the decision made to remove the video?
  5. How was the decision made to not explain the removal of the video to the public?
  6. How was the decision made for how an explanation would be provided, once it was decided that a public explanation would be given?
  7. How was the timing of publishing the explanation, as provided by Ted Diadiun, made?
  8. What are the consequences of this episode, from before the endorsement interview was set through and to the present?
  9. What public examination of the Plain Dealer-Northeast Ohio Media Group relationship is needed in the wake of this episode?
  10. Was the copyright takedown request legal?
  11. What is fair use under these circumstances?

As will be discussed in future posts, the core of the matter, in Mr. Quinn’s own words, is that he was more fearful of damaging the NEOMG’s relationship with an incumbent officeholder than he was fearful of the public losing respect for or trust in the NEOMG (and by extension, the Plain Dealer).

Sadly, that doesn’t even comport with the pittance of guidelines provided by Advance Local (NEOMG is an Advance Local “brand”)(bold added):

  • Empower readers with serious journalism – rigorous, thorough, aggressive and fair – across all platforms.
  • Provide advertisers with the engaged audiences, marketing tools and ROI they need to grow their businesses and expand their market share.
  • Build a collaborative and performance-driven work culture that rewards innovation, initiative and results.
  • Integrity in the content we produce.
  • Innovation in the way we deliver content and communicate with our audiences.
  • Commitment to community that crosses all of our brands and businesses

We don’t yet know how fatal an error Mr. Quinn’s bias to not damage the NEOMG’s relationship with the incumbent will be, but at least it exposes this favoritism for perceived powerful political figures when it – NEOMG – feels threatened that the power will be used against NEOMG. Which, it appears, was actually what happened.

It makes us have to ask another deep dive question: What power does the public have? Because it sure seems as though, traditionally, it was supposed to have the NEOMG.

What questions still remain for you?

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