We recently picked up a paper copy of the Enquirer, something we rarely do, and were shocked at how skinny it was. Pages of a paper are a direct reflection of purchases by advertisers, and by the size, it was apparent to us that the Enquirer is simply deteriorating in the income side. This has to affect coverage painfully.
This observation colors our thoughts on the departure from the paper of political reporter Howard Wilkinson and editorial page editor Ray Cooklis.
Let's address Cooklis first. By all accounts, he was a serious editorial page writer with conservative values, but like the two or three before him really has had his wings clipped by Maggie Buchanan, whose bizarre ed page policy has colored her tenure at the paper. Regardless of the reason (Cooklis' fault or under Buchanan's thumb), the ed page was pathetic during his tenure as editor.
The paper would write maybe one ed a week, or maybe it is one per month, essentially abandoning its role as "conscience of the community." Exhibit A of this failure, is their completely ignoring the Schmidt ethics scandal, that made national headlines but couldn't be condemned, much less mentioned, by the Grand Lady.
Then, of course, with the Schmidt primary endorsement, the paper marginalized and excused her behavior, without even the slightest attempt to understand or explain her mis-deeds.
So, Cooklis will not be missed any more than the three or four revolving door ed page editors that preceded him. We expect nothing good from that page while Maggie Buchanan remains in charge.
On to Howard Wilkinson. A crotchety old fellow, he had a liberal streak that manifested itself over the years, but seemed to write competent and balanced pieces regularly. He assisted in the coverage of the burgeoning Schmidt ethics scandal, and was somewhat knowledgeable about it.
The Metro page missed entirely the earthquake whose epicenter was Cincinnati, Ohio with the 6-point crushing defeat of Jean Schmidt in March by Lt. Col. Dr. Brad Wenstrup. The paper did not write even one real story about the contest in the last 60 days of the race. In fairness (i) skinny paper and (ii) they had a presidential primary to cover, but still....
Ultimately, the proof's in the puddin' with both of these guys. They both missed the biggest political story to hit Cincinnati in a decade. But, both are respected.