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Don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is the end of this site. But it’s not the end of the blog, or of blogging for WFPL. Far from it.

Our political editor, Phillip M. Bailey has a new blog, Noise & Notes. Go read it.

I won’t be posting to The Edit anymore, but I will be writing news stories and web posts on WFPL.org. The posts from this blog have been feeding to WFPL.org for several weeks and appearing alongside our traditional news stories, so I’ll repeat my suggestion that you update your bookmarks, RSS reader, favorites or handwritten list of websites you visit. The rest of the WFPL news staff will be writing posts for WFPL.org, too.

Also, we’re a radio station. You can hear Phillip, Rick Howlett, me and the rest of the newsroom on 89.3 FM.

I’ve enjoyed writing The Edit for these two years. I came to WFPL from the web, and it’s an important part of where we’re headed. Thanks for reading…and don’t stop.

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Louisville is the subject of the latest “36 Hours In...” feature in the New York Times. After getting the requisite “Louisville has more than the Kentucky Derby” line out of the way, writer Michael Washburn goes on to praise various parks, museums and restaurants across the city. He even mentions the developed half of Whiskey Row. The harshest criticism is reserved for 4th Street Live, which he calls overwrought, underthought and “frat-tastic.” You can read the full story here.

Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal arguing that NPR is not liberally biased, no matter what James O’Keefe’s and his copy of Final Cut say. Aside from pointing out questionable edits in O’Keefe’s video, Inskeep cites the diversity of the public radio audience as proof that the low end of the dial isn’t a bastion of liberal propaganda.

I’ve met an incredible variety of listeners in my travels. The audience includes students, peace activists, and American soldiers I met in Iraq. They’re among many people in the military who rely on NPR’s international coverage. When I was NPR’s Pentagon correspondent, I discovered that it’s a prize beat, because on every base you meet people who already know who you are. Many other Americans are listening in places like Indiana, my home state, or Kentucky, where I first worked in public radio. Not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do. Many NPR stations have added news staff as local newspapers have declined.

Members of Congress listen too: A few months ago I was interviewing a Republican lawmaker who quoted an NPR story he’d heard that morning. And there are people like the woman I met at a Sarah Palin debate party in 2008, in rural western Virginia. She said she listened during long drives required by her job with a railroad. The same programs she hears in Virginia have also reached an audience abroad. In Egypt last week, a young man told me he so admires the quirky reporting of my colleague Robert Krulwich that he plans to translate it into Arabic.

On a related note, On the Media has accepted Ira Glass’s challenge to prove whether public radio is, in fact, biased. Last week’s show was largely dedicated to this topic. It ended with co-host Bob Garfield interviewing O’Keefe for twelve contentious minutes.

The Society of Professional Journalists has given the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services the runner-up spot in the annual Black Hole Awards.

The mocking award goes to agencies that lack transparency and are given out during the SPJ’s “Sunshine Week.” The state of Utah took the top prize this year, but the Cabinet for Health and Family Services was close behind.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has embarked on a campaign of obfuscation aimed at preventing the public from learning the details about the death of a toddler under the cabinet’s supervision.

[edit]

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has a blanket policy of refusing to disclose all information in child abuse and neglect cases. The cabinet’s bias in favor of confidentiality seems to be driven more by the culture of the agency, “which seeks to avoid public scrutiny,” than by the law, a judge said.

 

Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will now appear regularly on Fox News. The Democrat and the cable news network announced today that Bayh will give comments and political analysis on various Fox programs.

Bayh cited dissatisfaction with congress and excessively partisan politics as reasons for his retirement last year.

Bayh’s move to Fox comes weeks after he decided to stay in Washington D.C. and work as an advisor on banking and energy issues for the McGuire Woods law firm. The jobs are not mutually exclusive.

Portions of the James O’Keefe-produced video that showed an NPR executive making disparaging remarks about conservatives were taken out of context. That’s the conclusion of at least two sources–NPR and the Glenn Beck-owned The Blaze.

Andrew Sullivan reported on the misquoting, and said this:

Despite the fact that O’Keefe is a known liar, and that his past video stings have been edited in misleading ways, much of the mainstream media ran with his latest. Will those outlets now inform their viewers and readers about the deceptions uncovered by The Blaze?

Mitch Albom raised similar questions in the Detroit Free Press, calling O’Keefe’s videos Punk’d-style journalism. He then says that anyone hoping to prove bias in NPR reporting should do a real study, not hide a camera.

Ira Glass of This American Life made a similar challenge over the weekend. He asked Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone of On the Media to find bias in NPR’s reporting. He says they won’t. Glass’s challenge came during a larger conversation on why no one has come forward with documented evidence of subjective news. A fundraising executive may share private opinions over lunch, but Glass insists that doesn’t affect the newsrooms at all.

For the second day in a row, Fund for the Arts CEO Allan Cowen has been featured in the pages of the Courier-Journal. On Thursday, it was a story about a threatening voicemail he left an unsatisfied arts group leader. Today it’s 396 words in the editorial section about that voicemail, and Cowen’s actions as a whole.

The paper praises Cowen’s creativity and strong faith in the arts. But then…

Among his flaws are a Brobdingnagian ego and a temper — perhaps effective for impresarios in the days of Flo Ziegfeld and Billy Rose, but woefully inappropriate in the 21st Century world in which Mr. Cowen operates.

That flaring ego was on full display — and preserved for all to hear — when he left a voice-mail message for the head of a local arts group who had co-written a letter toBusiness First, suggesting that while support of the Fund is vital many visual and cultural groups receive little or no funding. Shannon Westerman, who heads the Louisville Visual Art Association, was told by Mr. Cowen that he had gone “way out of line” and should be discharged. He threatened to talk to Mr. Westerman’s board chair, Benton Keith, to achieve the ouster. And he finished up: “Good luck in your future career.”

Well, for starters, Miss Manners would have been shocked and so are we. Verbal threats have no place in civilized situations; leaving them on a voice mail isn’t just uncouth, it’s downright stupid.

Elizabeth Kramer, who broke the story about the voicemail, will be on State of Affairs today. She’ll discuss her story in the show’s second segment, which begins at about 1:25.

Reporter Phillip M. Bailey has joined WFPL News as Political Editor. He begins work at WFPL on March 16.

Bailey is most recently a reporter for LEO Weekly, where he has established a reputation as an exceptional government, political and investigative journalist.

“We wanted someone with the tenacity to cover stories that often develop slowly, and the ability to interpret complicated and arcane issues in a way our audience can understand,” said Todd Mundt, Vice President and Chief Content Officer. “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Phillip to the team.”

Bailey joins WFPL News with editorial responsibility for the station’s political reporting, including local government as well as state and regional politics. He’ll soon launch a new politics blog at WFPL.org. Says Bailey, “I’m very excited about joining WFPL News and am thrilled at the opportunity to head up its political coverage. I want WFPL to be an indispensable news service.”

His hiring is part of LPM’s first phase of rebuilding its newsroom. “Our community needs more and better quality local news, and Louisville Public Media has made local news coverage the centerpiece of its strategic plan,” explains Donovan Reynolds, President of Louisville Public Media. “Bailey’s decision to join WFPL News represents the latest of several steps to deepen and strengthen local news coverage in Metro Louisville.”

Welcome, Phillip!

The Courier-Journal newspaper has laid off 11 employees in the circulation, advertising, finance, production and advertising departments.

The announcement comes amid employee furloughs and it follows a mixed earnings report from parent company Gannett. In a story on the Courier website, president and publisher Arnold Garson blamed the cuts on the poor economy. A call to his office placed at 4:55 pm on Friday has not been returned.

Update:

Garson has replied to WFPL with the following statement:

“The Courier-Journal laid off 11 employees on Friday. The employees worked in 5 departments; none of them worked in news.

A lot of good things are happening at The Courier-Journal and in the newspaper industry, and we are optimistic about the future. But the economy remains fragile and it’s necessary for us to continue implementing efficiencies that make good business sense.”

After years of sharing a website, the Jeffersonville Evening News and the New Albany Tribune are merging.

“With the consolidation of the two award-winning newspapers, residents of Clark and Floyd counties will continue to receive the same quality local news and information that they have received in the past, but the News and Tribune will also give readers more regional coverage of Southern Indiana,” said Evening News publisher Bill Hanson in a story posted on the papers’ site.

WFPL is pursuing more on this story.

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