Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Monday, August 20, 2007

4 Ohio Bloggers Courted By Plain Dealer: Possible Deal In The Works

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Quiet talks are underway between four independent Ohio bloggers -- two on the left, and two on the right -- and The Plain Dealer, which is courting them to become featured commentators of a sort on its branded Website, The indys are popular, have followings in the state and outside, and could bring fresh and sometimes audacious perspectives to a traditionally stolid MSM outlet. There is no question that the newspaper came courting because of a need to somehow preserve its role as a key source of information in a media business environment that is rapidly changing.

According to whispers The Daily Bellwether has overheard, the bloggers who are in talks with the PeeDee are Writes Like She Talks, Ohio Daily, NixGuy, and Bizzyblog. An editor from the PeeDee, Jean Dubail, approached Jill Miller Zimon of Writes Like She Talks recently with a proposal that set in motion the discussions. Nothing has been structured yet, and Dubail reportedly plans to place something on the negotiating table this week with more details. Dubail was the editor who put together the newspaper's OPENERS blog, which went online in early 2006. This could be the first marriage between the MSM and the indy Ohiosphere, which is newly ascendant and barely three years old.

[UPDATE: 7:29 am -- Cincy Newsache intelligently discussed the difficult situation that metro daily newspapers are finding themselves in these days as they attempt to remain relevant for readers and advertisers while producing revenue streams for their owners. (I, too, wrote about the Harvard study last week, but Newsache did a superior job.) Newsache's report probably explains why the MSM is now looking at the indy bloggers -- people who were once dismissed as amateurs in newsrooms -- with unfeigned interest. Change is definitely in the wind.]

[UPDATE: 8:00 am -- Rasmussen Reports had a poll out last Thursday that said hardly anybody who is not a senior citizen gets their news from newspapers. For Americans under 40, they turn to the 'net.]

So far, there is no financial package, nor have any compensation arrangements been offered -- and there may never be. Instead, the bloggers might simply choose to be affiliated with for prestige and leverage that would increase their influence as members of the digital commentariat. It also could give them a leg up as voices to pay attention to while the 2008 presidential race unfolds. As bloggers associated with Ohio's largest news gathering organization in a critical state, they would probably be viewed as players on the political stage.

For the PeeDee, the deal has other upsides. Newspaper Websites have not been growing, according to recent academic research. Indy bloggers would offer a new approach, especially since the four voices sought would be non-professional journalists who kicked off their careers by writing about things on their own agendas, things that interested themselves. They found audiences through their work and writing.

If the arrangement jells, it could be a tipping point in the Ohiosphere. Other MSM outlets may have to start looking for indy bloggers to compete, or to freshen themselves, or to join the paradigm shift, which is trending away from MSM outlets rooted in print. They are losing audience. The bloggers may be able to show them how to find an audience, or new audiences.

Bizzyblog and NixGuy are located in Cincinnati's suburbs and lean Republican and right. Write Like She Talks and Ohio Daily are Cleveland area blogs and lean left. The authors, Jill Miller Zimon and Jeff Coryell respectively, make no bones about hiding their politics. They proudly call themselves Democrats.

Anyhow, the match hasn't yet been made with the PeeDee. It could come to naught. Or the indy bloggers could soon be getting ready for their star turn on the MSM stage.


  1. Hey Bill,

    At least I can say that I know none of this came from me. :)

    One correction: while I definitely am a registered Democrat, I would never write that I am proud to call myself a Democrat - though I reserve the right to go back and search my blog to see if I've ever done that. :)

    I consider myself center to left of center. And, in general, I'm proud of the positions I take. But, for sure, there are a few positions I might take that I may not feel as proud about, for whatever reasons (Middle East situations tend to fall into that cateogory).

    You're such a good digger - you know I admire it.

    Thanks for the nice write-up.

    I'm off to an 8am meeting with my co-room parent and the classroom teacher for my youngest child's class. Hit the ground running...

  2. posted by Matt N.-

    I think it would be impossible for Jill to write a comment that is less than 5 paragraphs.

    I think the deal is a bad idea- But Tom and Dave are two excellent bloggers who are so true to their principles that a couple of bucks from some MSM rag will not hold them back from any topic. Good luck to them.

    And I don't know why Jill would be hired by the PD. They don't exactly have a shortage of obnoxious, wordy libs.

  3. Hi Jill --

    Well, what do you think? Some kind of syndication, or free pub for you all to cross post, or write commentary for Give us some hints and details. Sounds good to me.

  4. Hi Matt --

    And thanks for saying I'm now over 50%. That's quite a compliment coming from you. When Bob Novak retires, I think you would be a good replacement for the Dark Prince.

    That said, if the PeeDee can work out something, it would be great for the Fab 4 of the Ohiosphere. I don't think they would become staffers at the paper under the Guild or anything like that. There may not be any financial renumeration involved -- just the free pub and display. And I don't know if the whispers I caught in the breeze will ever become more than whispers. I guess we'll have to watch what shakes down. I think it could be win-win all the way around, especially if there is cash on the table. W/O cash I'd probably walk away.

  5. Bill, you're way more experienced than I am. Sounds like you got some pretty good hints & details already. :)

    Honestly, I can't add much to what you've written. Here's to hoping it works out - from all sides.

    If anything, Tom, Dave, Jeff and I should be asking you for advice, since you worked there for a while.

    I would say more.

    But I don't know what to say.

    But I have a five graph quota, you know.

    And in the sphere, your graphs don't even need to be three sentences long, like they do for us old school freelancers.

    You done fine, Bill. Thanks for the boost.

  6. Looks the PD is serious about improving their rep. Last week they announced a major coup by signing Terry Pluto away from the Akron Beacon Journal. Pluto is far and away the best sports writer in Ohio.

  7. Hi Jill --

    Nice short sentences.

    Nice short grafs.

    No ledes longer than 15 words.

    Not many quotes.

    You'll do great.

  8. Hi LargeBill --

    Terry Pluto is an excellent sportswriter. But the Plain Dealer already had an excellent staff. Whose was better in Ohio?

    Still, he'll add panache to the place. I have worked at both the PeeDee and the Beacon. The Beacon is in serious decline and doesn't seem to have a clue how to right itself. The PeeDee tried to buy it and was outbid. When the PeeDee lost out, the whole State of Ohio lost out. That's my opinion.

  9. 86 the quotes!?

    You know that song, "they tried to make me go to rehab I said no no no?"

    Quote withdrawal, here I come.

  10. Hi,
    Well this is a nice Blog on most important facts. I am happy to read this. But I am looking more and more info. Please add some thing more. I shall link from my blogs to this blog to day itself.
    More than 2000 searchable profiles are there in the data base and since this is free nothing for you to lose. So act now and start to find with a suitable person to share your life.
    How are you? Are you looking for a free and absolutely apt matrimonial web site to register your profile for free as well as to search and find apt partner to share life. Here is matrifind matrimonial for you. Free to join, free to search and find apt person for you. Whole service is free. Logon to
    Later come and search for suitable profiles. We are going to promote this new service heavily so millions will login to the site all will see your profile free. So act now and visit the site to register now