The city of Cincinnati and a coalition of local religious and nonprofit leaders led by Citizens for Community Values (CCV) have settled a federal lawsuit filed last year by CityBeat after the groups and law enforcement leaders had publicly asked the paper to stop publishing adult-oriented classified ads. "After a long year of fighting for our First Amendment right to publish CityBeat without government interference, I'm pleased and gratified to wrap up the legal proceedings on such a positive note," co-publisher and editor John Fox writes. While he admits that fighting the suit was "distracting at times," Fox says there was a principle to uphold. "I remain convinced that standing up to the CCV coalition's threats and intimidation was the right thing to do," he writes. "After all, the only reason bullies do what they do is because they think they can get away with it."

Continue ReadingCoalition Settles Suit With Cincinnati CityBeat

The entire staff of CiN Weekly, the free weekly published by Gannett property The Enquirer, was let go yesterday. "Over the last few days, they've been re-stickering the outdoor plastic boxes with Metromix labels," Cincinnati CityBeat editor and co-publisher John Fox tells Editor & Publisher. Gannett has made similar moves with faux-alts in Nashville and Indianapolis. On Twitter, Enquirer editor Tom Callinan confirms the change: "CiN in print and online will continue with Metromix as dominant brand," he writes. "That does not lessen the sadness of layoffs."

Continue ReadingGannett Folds Faux-Alt Into Metromix Brand in Cincy

Four AAN members took home a total of 17 awards in the 31st Annual Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards competition, hosted by the Press Club of Cleveland. The Other Paper was named "Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Ohio: Alternatives," with Cincinnati CityBeat taking second in that category. CityBeat also took home four additional awards, including first-place wins for Multiple Illustrations/One Story, Reviews/Criticism, and Single Illustration. Cleveland's Scene took home five total awards as well, including first-place finishes in the Best Section and Community/Local Coverage categories. The now-shuttered Cleveland Free Times won four awards, including firsts in Covers and Features. And in addition to its first place win mentioned above, The Other Paper was given two other awards.

Continue ReadingFour Ohio Alts Recognized in Statewide Awards

CityBeat has filed a federal lawsuit against a number of local government officials and a coalition of local religious and nonprofit leaders led by Citizens for Community Values (CCV) who last month publicly asked the paper to stop publishing adult-oriented classified ads. The suit charges the coalition with violating the paper's First Amendment rights, conspiracy to violate its First Amendment rights and tortious interference with its business relationships. "When government officials use their position of authority to threaten a media organization with implied legal action unless a certain demand is met, that's wrong. And when CCV, ministers and nonprofit leaders conspire with government officials to threaten the media, they're wrong, too," writes CityBeat co-publisher and editor John Fox. "We've decided the only way to prevent permanent damage to our business is to ask a federal judge to intercede on our behalf and protect our right to exist."

Continue ReadingCincinnati CityBeat Files Federal Suit Against Coalition Group

Citizens for Community Values, a group that "promotes moral values," is leading a coalition that yesterday held a news conference to publicly ask the paper to stop publishing adult-oriented classified ads, CityBeat reports. The group's letter is signed by various local sheriffs, county attorneys, pastors and others. "I do find it interesting that this organization wouldn't choose to reach out to us and to communicate to us in advance versus going about it in a public way, which strikes me as somewhat self-serving," general manager and co-publisher Dan Bockrath tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We cooperate with authorities in every instance when they're investigating one of our advertisers." CityBeat also released a statement to the press, which notes that "just about every public official" in this coalition has been the subject of negative stories in CityBeat, and that Citizens for Community Values has worked to get distribution points to drop the paper. "We make decisions about our business every day and on our own terms," the statement reads. "We won't be bullied or intimidated by any outside force that thinks they can make those decisions for us."

Continue ReadingCoalition Group Asks Cincinnati CityBeat to Halt Adult Ads

Yesterday, Judge David Stockdale sentenced News Editor Greg Flannery and three other defendants to one day in jail. The defendants also received six months probation and were ordered to pay court costs and perform 20 hours of community service, Flannery writes on the CityBeat blog. The sentences were suspended pending appeal. The defendants were arrested last September when they conducted a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's office to protest the Iraq War.

Continue ReadingCincinnati CityBeat Editor Found Guilty of Criminal Trespassing