Curly Tales of the CIty


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O Readers, Where Art Thou?

Cincinnati's daily newspapers recently reported less-than-rosy numbers to Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), the standard by which dailies track and compare their readership. After circulation gains in recent years, The Cincinnati Enquirer saw big drops in circulation between March 2000 and March 2001: 3.7 percent on Monday-Thursday, 8.9 percent on Friday, 10 percent on Saturday and 1.8 percent on Sunday.

ABC's March Publishers Statements show The Enquirer's Monday-Thursday circulation is now 189,883, compared to its recent high of 197,119 last year. Sunday circulation is now 314,465, compared to its recent high of 354,279 in 1995. The Sunday numbers fell for the third year in a row.

Meanwhile, The Cincinnati Post continues inching toward oblivion. Its Monday-Friday circulation dropped 10.2 percent to 53,049 — half of what it was in 1990. Saturday circulation dropped 10.3 percent to 74,911.

But don't cry too much for our daily newspaper brethren (at least not the big guys in the corner offices). The Enquirer squeezed out operating profit margins of 38.7, 39.4, 33.1 and 38.1 percent respectively from 1994 to 1997 — a period of flat to declining circulation.

The numbers are courtesy of an investigative series by Nashville Scene, that city's alternative newsweekly, which got its hands on confidential Gannett Co. reports on the profitability of The Enquirer and its sister U.S. newspapers.

The Enquirer long was rumored to be the most profitable paper in Gannett's stable, and these numbers seem to support the idea: Even though our hometown paper ranked just 17th in operating profit margin in 1997, every Gannett paper ahead of it was a small-town daily (Green Bay, Wisc.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Salem, Ore; etc.). Gannett's other big-city dailies — Louisville, Nashville, Des Moines and Detroit — finished far down in the rankings.

Do the math, and in sheer dollar terms The Enquirer would seem to be Gannett's top cash cow. We're No. 1!

In the Wrong Hands, Pepperoni Is Dangerous

What can be political about pizza? It's the dough, of course. Pete Grady, associated with the Ohio Valley Independent Media Center, was surprised to see a certain vendor at the Gay Pride Festival in Northside a few weeks ago. "Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that Domino's Pizza had a booth at the Gay Pride Festival?" Grady asks.

Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino's, has donated much of his wealth to such conservative causes as Operation Rescue.

Dr. Jonathan Tobias and photographer Thomas Condon, defendants in the morgue photos case, are still trying to get hold of a formal legal opinion that Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen wants to keep secret. In a hearing June 22, attorney Marc Mezibov asked for a court order compelling Allen to surrender his November 1999 correspondence with Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott.

Mezibov believes Allen gave a formal legal opinion allowing production of a videotape in the morgue under certain conditions. Mezibov says Allen told Parrott, "As long as the deceased are not identifiable, it's not necessary to obtain permission from the decedents' families." By that reasoning, Mezibov argues, Tobias and Condon, who face multiple felony charges related to Condon's photos, did nothing wrong.

The legal opinion doesn't include photographing corpses with props, as Condon did, so it's irrelevant to the case, according to Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Longano. The prosecutor's office claims the document is privileged communication between an attorney and his client. Mezibov, however, contends the legal opinion is public record. Judge Norbert Nadel will decide.

Here's a reason for Cincinnati to repeal Issue 3, the city charter amendment legalizing discrimination against homosexuals. Gays and lesbians are good for the economy, according to the Brookings Institution's new study, "Technology and Tolerance: The Importance of Diversity to High-Technology Growth."

Tracking the top 50 urban centers in the country, the study finds, "The leading indicator of a metropolitan area's high-technology success is a large gay population." Cincinnati ranked 38th in terms of gay population and 46th for high-tech growth.

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