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Monday, November 22, 2010

University of Cincinnati Hires Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan: Newspaper Boss To Become Journalism Prof By Winter Qtr.

Enquirer's Editor Headed To Academia
[UPDATED: Gannett Blog founder Jim Hopkins names three candidates who are possibly in line for the top editor job at the Enquirer.  None are based in Cincinnati. The University posts Callinan's bio and title and tells prospective students, "Since 2002, Callinan was Editor of (sic) Vice President/Content of Enquirer Media . . . ]

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- There hasn't yet been an official announcement or a press release.  Wags say that's why there's been nothing in the newspaper Tom Callinan edits -- without handouts the Enquirer is lost.  But University of Cincinnati insiders tell The Daily Bellwether that Tom Callinan has already accepted a job in the school's Journalism Department and will start teaching winter quarter.  Callinan will have the title McMicken professor of journalism.  The insiders said Callinan will give up the editorship to become a full-time academic.  According to a senior U.C. official:  "He starts winter quarter.  There's going to be an announcement.  It's a done deal.  He's going to have one class at the start, and we'll see what kind of teacher he is.  The feeling here is that somebody who has been the editor of a major newspaper is qualified to teach one class."

It is not quite clear how wide a search process U.C. conducted it for the new professorship.  There are sure to be public records requests filed seeking access to resumes, applications and whatever other hiring material went into the selection process.  Were their other candidates considered and rejected?  Apparently, the university believes that it has landed a big name because Callinan ran the newsroom for SW Ohio's largest daily newspaper and its companion web portal.  The University of Cincinnati has been trying to build a journalism program, and awarded its first bachelor's degrees in journalism in 2005 from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.  The program has been headed by Jon Hughes, who has been a booster for upgrading the program and getting the journalism BA established.  There could be some push-back against Callinan who is jumping from a slumping newspaper to academia at age 62.  The Enquirer does not have a good reputation in newspaper industry circles -- it is considered staid, stolid, understaffed and uninspiring.  One U.C. faculty member said one of Callinan's selling points is that he served on the panel that awards Pulitzer Prizes.  However, others have pointed out that the Enquirer's only Pulitzer in recent memory involved editorial cartooning by Jim Borgman.  And Borgman left the Cincinnati Enquirer under the Callinan regime.  The newspaper no longer publishes locally drawn editorial cartoons.

Said one faculty member:  "U.C. has an editor who will teach journalism.  Mostly this editor has cut and cut.  Maybe he wants to inspire people.  Here's the chance.   I don't know what to think about this, especially since the guy (Callinan) tried to get hired by Miami University a few years ago.  I read that he didn't get the Miami job at the time."

The Enquirer's publisher, Margaret Buchanan, serves on the University of Cincinnati's board of trustees.  She was appointed by former GOP Gov. Bob Taft.  Buchanan listed her political affiliation as Republican.  College officials said that Buchanan played no role in Callinan's hiring by the university.

[UPDATE: 12:48 pm -- Jim said...
The Daily Bellwether story does not say anything about who would succeed Callinan.
Speculation on this blog has focused on three people: Palm Springs Executive Editor Rick Green; Reno Gazette-Journal EE Beryl Love, and Des Moines Register EE Carolyn Washburn.]

[UPDATE 2: 1:24 pm -- Callinan e-mails The Bellwether with some details about the UC post.  It doesn't look full-time.  Bill: Your post seems to infer that my UC class is a full-time position.  It's just a 3-credit adjunct job one night a week. Thanks.]

[UPDATE 3: 2:52 pm -- The Bellwether sent Tom Callinan an e-mail in response to the above message that included an inquiry about the title McMicken professor of journalism.  The Bellwether wondered what a public records request at UC would turn up.  Here's Tom Callinan's reply:

"I don't know what you would find in a public records request but I can tell you what I know.  I have had a very good relationship with the UC Journalism program.  I have been a big supporter as it has grown from 0-200+ in a few years.  They are good kids and I have helped many with internships, etc.

"Jon and Elissa have asked me to teach a class on and off over the years...but I have been too busy.  Infer what you want from that but I expect to have time after the first of the year.  That's all I can say today.  Not trying to be evasive just honest and respectful my employer and staff.

"As we talked, Jon told me he wanted to try for a 'title and affiliation' that would give me supposed status.  The Dean approved it.  (Buchanan had no hand in fact learned of it from me). I plan to remain active in journalism and industry organizations.  Perhaps that title works to heighten UC J's exposure. I'm a bit humbled.

"While I concur my years at The Enquirer have had ups and downs in these changing times...the title recognizes my work over 35 years as an editor and previous teaching experience at the University of South Dakota, Arizona State and Michigan State. I also have a M.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology. That would be on a resume on file with UC. All the best Bill ... It would be an honor to have you to speak to a class down the line."]

[UPDATE 4: 4:12 pm -- Here's what's up on the UC website:  

Tom Callinan
McMicken Professor of Journalism
English - Adjunct Faculty
22 McMicken Hall

Professional Summary

Tom Callinan joins the University of Cincinnati in the Winter Quarter 2011 as McMicken Professor of Journalism.

Since 2002, Callinan was Editor of Vice President/Content of Enquirer Media, which includes the daily Enquirer, 27 community weeklies and and its more than 230 web sites and social media initiatives.

A Minnesota native, Callinan worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Michigan, Florida, New York, and USA Today in Washington, D.C. Before coming to Cincinnati he was Editor of The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, where he worked with partner Gannett TV station KPNX-12 on one of the nation's first and largest convergence initiatives with His journalism awards include two Willam Allen White awards for editorial writing and a Society of News Design medal. He has twice been a Pulitzer prize judge at Columbia University.
Callinan holds an M.S. degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where his master's thesis focused on management and new media.

His previous teaching experience has been as an adjunct instructor at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism, Michigan State University, the University of South Dakota and the University of California at Berkeley's Summer Program for Minority Journalists.


  1. UC's loss and the Enquirer's gain. Callinan wrote the book on clock-punching. He also likes to hole up in his office and stare at his computer. Not the kind of guy to keep hung-over college students awake for an hourlong lecture.

  2. This looks bad for UC because Callinan's boss is the Enquirer's publisher. She is on the UC board. Inquiring minds are wondering: Did she engineer a job on the public till for a dud on her staff? WTF went on?

  3. Dear U.C.,

    One word for you...bamboozled.

  4. Worst editor in Enquirer history. LOL UC. Proves the adage. If you can't do it, teach it.

  5. Why is U.C. increasing the staff of its journalism department when Wall Street is saying newspapers are a dead industry and there's no future and soon no jobs there. It doesn't strike me as a wise choice for U.C. to expand staff for a dwindling profession. What student will enroll in a course that promises no job future?
    At 62, Callinan could just as easily take early retirement and write his memoirs. Something with the title "The Banana and Me" might sell.

  6. First lesson for Callinan: Learn the difference between "infer" and "imply."

  7. He'll be a good teacher. He can tell these young students about the ups and downs. Mostly downs in recent years. As an editor, Callinan has tried to keep his staff intact and functional while the bear has been at the door. He hasn't been a tyrant. He has no investigative team. He has demoralized journalists wh owonder when the axe is going to fall. He was not dealt a good hand in Cincinnati. He did not play the hand he was given well, either. He was just at the poker table sitting there. That does not make him a bad man or a bad editor.

  8. Let the record be clear that Tom Callinan presided over the Enquirer during the worst phase of its history. He demoted the paper's only investigative reporter to United Way duty and eliminated the position soon after his arrival. He de-emphasized the enterprise reporting mission of Ward Bushee, Rosemary Goudreau and Rick Green in favor of shallow stories that didn't require context or impact assessment. He eliminated all columns, including those of popular Laura Pulfer and Cliff Radel, only to turn around and make the loathsome Peter Bronson the lone and therefore de facto voice of the paper. He presided during the departure of some of the paper's best reporters and writers. He refused to grant the late Jim Knippenberg's wish to write the society gossip column that only he could write. He allowed reporters to be used as writers of advertorial material. He allowed subjects of profiles to read and alter stories before they were printed. He ended an internship program that had provided college students with valuable hands-on experience every year. And just when his leadership was needed most of all, he refused to stand up against the takeover of the newsroom by a publisher who sees the paper as nothing less than a tool to build partnerships with the powerful institutions it's supposed to keep a watchful eye on.

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