Morning Journal- Lorain- Going going oops!

January 19, 2014 at 1:44 pm 16 comments

Out of time and no  light at the end of the "tower" Photo Lorain 365

Out of time and no light at the end of the “tower”
Photo Lorain 365

It is true! I have had an on again, off again, on again and now luke warm relationship with what used to be the “local newspaper” for Lorain – The Morning Journal . In fact, thanks to the now deceased editor, John Cole
I had a one woman boycott and before him under the publisher Kevin Haezebroeck of

” the “never argue with someone who buys his ink by the barrel full threat”

fame, I wrote the column:

Who is Watching the Watcher found here
Who is Watching the Watcher

……Who? I ask, stands up to the publications and say “NO! We will not be bullied”. Members of John Q. Public who quiver with fear at the thought of their company, political ambitions or organization being on the receiving end of a “nasty editorial”. Yes, it seems our local media has us by the throat, they will be fair and balanced when it suits them, they will as a recent quote in an editorial stated, “we will be watching”. The question begs to be asked, “Who then watches the watchers?” …..

Years came and went, another publisher (Jeff Sudbrook) and another editor ( Tom Skoch) took the helm – fences mended between them and I. BUT the bricks and mortar of this publication at 1657 Broadway also changed- slowly the creeping disease of “web publications” and lack of print sales , bankruptcies, reorganizations took its toll,

The acquisition may foreshadow additional moves by Alden, which is interested in two strategies to add value to its investments: (a) it wants its newspaper holdings to aggressively develop digital capabilities and revenues, and (b) it wants to see consolidation (mergers) among newspaper groups”

as well as downsizing, hiring of interns to “report” ( who had no clue as to this city and her “history – let alone the who is who ) did their time before moving on, moving the printing presses moved out of the building, leaving behind but an echo of the newspaper that was Lorain .

The building and the offices have become quiet and as sad as the aging newspapers stacked up along the walls in the last editor’s office. The smell of slow rot permeates the air. The parking lot now, with just a scattering of vehicles, gives one pause as to who will be the last to “turn off the lights” as far as Lorain is concerned.

The Morning Journal has revamped its website to fulfill the directive “to aggressively develop digital capabilities and revenues“- it is in my humble opinion ( remembering I am a potential customer) atrocious, hard to navigate, and definitely not user-friendly and has very little Lorain news- probably because the demographics in this city do not lend themselves to people’s “purchasing power” therefore the covering of more affluent communities.

Oh yes! I know about websites and “hits and page views” and I know that clicking here and there and everywhere when trying to find the “news” sends electronic calculations as to page views / hits and visitors and the numbers game to tell advertisers of your successful website. ” no matter the continent or country.

the more images used in a page, the higher the hit count – so while hits may be a good indication of poor page design, they won’t tell you much about traffic. Hits are often knowingly quoted by website owners in order to impress potential customers, most of whom are likely to think hits equals visitors – wrong!An example: If we have a site averaging 500 ‘unique visits’ a day and each visitor views four pages which each consists of seven images and one HTML file (representing eight hits) you will have a site ‘claiming’ 112,000 Hits a week!

500 visitors x 4 page views x 8 files (hits) x 7 days = 112000 HITS

Armed with these facts you will, we hope, be able to make a more informed judgement about the services on offer and the claims made by potential suppliers

A page view is where the page itself is viewed by a visitor – this is the most important statistic to take note of when managing a website.

A hit refers to a ‘document hit’ – you get a ‘hit’ whenever a document in your website is loaded. This includes pages, but also any images and external files within those pages.

If a page on your site has two images on it, you’ll get 1 page view but 3 hits.

So unlike page views, hits are really meaningless and should be ignored for most purposes.

It is a numbers game and the “punter” ( we the people) are the numbers in the game. Newspapers/ media are dependent upon advertising for their bread and butter. It costs money to report the news and people will pay one way or another to access the media.

The MJ’s competition Chronicle Telegram requires click on answers to questions by Google to read on their website. of course we may not be “truthful” when answering those questions 😉 You don’t get the editorials or the letters to the editor on the Chronicle website but you can access the main news with an answer to some “marketing questions”.

However, I have to say the Chronicle Telegram , has stepped up to the plate with their reporting and have in my opinion overtaken the Morning Journal in their “local news coverage”. Just as well as the Morning Journal Newspaper ( print edition) has become as thin as a street walkers foot wear .

I don’t have to buy it , I don’t even go to their frustrating website that often. So I was taken aback the other day when I was clicking around trying to find a specific article ( which I never did find) when this pops up.
MJ 5 articles
I immediately left the page with a “you got to be kidding”giggle at the screen.


Then came the phone call Friday evening. A pleasant young man introduced himself as being with the Morning Journal. Since the turnover of “reporters”for the Morning Journal is quite frequent lately and I have been known to “give background information” etc. on certain articles they are trying to write, I waited to see what the chap wanted.

What he wanted was

” The publisher of the Morning Journal has invited you to read the Morning Journal- since we have expanded into Cuyahoga , Youngstown and Toledo we..

I stopped him right there- you see I started to laugh realizing it was not a personal invitation from the “publisher” – Oh! he said –

did I lose my voice or are you just having a good day.

I said

No! the print edition is not even thick enough for me to buy it to light my wood burning fire , most of the news is a day late and behind the Chronicle Telegram’s- more or less regurgitated after the fact- and sorry but your website sucks and if I wanted news from Toledo I would go the Toledo Blade website .
The poor chap, he was at a loss for words- then recovering slightly informed me “

Yes! we are working on the website and going to the Toldeo Blade site won’t give you the whole of the news-

I started to feel sorry for him , obviously he was not a reporter but a telemarketer trying to get me to subscribe. So needing a bit of fun- after all HE CALLED ME AND INTRUDED ON ‘MY’ FRIDAY EVENING- I said:

Who is the publisher for the Morning Journal that wants to invite me ?

Telly the Telemarketer said:

Tom Skoch

Tom Skoch

The publisher is Jeff Sudbrook and the editor is Tom Skoch and they do a wonderful job

– Once again I set the poor chaps ears ringing with a loud guffaw –

I am sorry Tom Skoch has not been the editor for the past 6 months or so-

Tom Skoch retiring as editor of The Morning Journal on June 21

Well I am not sure that is true- I will have to check with my supervisor

– said a shocked Telly the Telemarketer

Oh it is true

says I –

maybe you should check with the Chronicle

– he didn’t find that as amusing as I did -so I said

call Rick Payerchin at the Morning journal Lorain beat – tell him you spoke with Loraine Ritchey – and told her the news that Tom Skoch is the editor and what a wonderful job he is doing

with that he said

” Thank you for supporting the Morning Journal”

Oh dear if I wasn’t laughing so hard I would have cried. How the 4th estate in Lorain has fallen………..

What a way to run a newspaper…………..

4th Estate:
“In current use the term is applied to the press, with the earliest use in this sense described by Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship: “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they



Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, media, Morning Journal Lorain, notorious opponents of exactitude, personal opinion. Tags: , , , , , .

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley  |  January 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting message, thanks for the education and background. Well said and well done. The sad part of it all is the deception that corporate publications will stoop to, for the almighty dollar from your table.

    It is a sad day for Lorain and the MJ., but let’s face the facts, their not the only publication going through the pains of the Internet blitzkrieg. Your right in the fact that the MJ., would be better off promoting local news (fair and balanced), with links to outside areas.

    Granted sometimes what happens else-wheres will ultimately have an effect on us here. Yet truly, I agree the news here is far more important to local residents then what Cleveland or Toledo are doing.

    There is a lot happening right here and I am thankful for my police and fire scanner and for folks like yourself and Lorain 365 for what is happening locally. I will say for sure, I will be subscribing to your blog and checking in from time to time. So please, keep up the good work Ms. Ritchey…

    Sincerely, IHS and yours,
    Bp Andrew Manley
    Lorain Resident

  • 2. Mark Teleha  |  January 20, 2014 at 12:07 am

    The mj is a joke. The print edition isn’t worth the money, and the website isn’t worth the 99 cents. Too many dang full-screen ads and other BS. There are editions of the print that seem to be mainly car ads. If reading the Chronicle costs me answering a few survey questions, so be it. But for all the typos in the mj, and the crappy layout, it’s ridiculous.

  • 3. aka mozart  |  January 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    lol…I just love how he talks about tom Skoch…and how you had to tell you he was long gone…lol “just read the chronicle” what a hoot………..

    but at the same time it saddens me that our local paper has become nothing more than the lining on the bottom of a bird cage. I value Payerchin as I believe he tries to get a good story out…but to really catch the readers attention..he has to roll up the sleeves and pants and get in the slop of things…which he probably is not free to do.

    the website is not even worth commenting on at this point…ugh.
    well…well said Loraine. 🙂

  • 4. aka mozart  |  January 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    you had to tell him…yikes!

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Unfortunately, the reporters ( good , bad and indifferent) are being hamstrung by corporate- they have to follow their employers directives and corporate is all about the bottom line, their policy is set – the way the website is built is to show the most hits. views and that is the numbers they feed to advertisers- the MJ isn’t alone in that. Also the reporters are following the plug in format of reporting the news for the most part- and yes the demographics of income in Lorain also dictates the content of who gets what ads – remember Renee post on this

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  January 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I guess I don’t understand how much advertising a paper has to take in to stay healthy. Page after page of full color auto ads etc. Seems like all the big grocers are taking out large color ads, paid classified ads and legal ads (foreclosures are almost their own section). And most important obits for the over the hill gang. I guess its a great sports section and community announcements and oh yah fizzle, plop some news from somewhere..Personally I don’t miss Tom’s view from right field,

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    it depends on the “deal” the print media gives to advertisers, the packages.

    It “used” to be that the more subscribers you could show the more you could charge for the ads. Which is why publications would pad the amount for instance in an annual report a certain publication had a circulation ( actual figures of 37 thousand ( on a Sunday the biggest run of the week) however their banner said 64 thousand and that is because it printed a give away version to pad circulation figures … all down to numbers game .

    I was told by someone who should know…. the mj brought in more revenue from their website in the last few months than the print edition ( which is what corporate is angling for) are they basing the advertising rates and promos on the “hits ” and now ( see above) you all should know how that works 🙂

    Of course no one wants to deny the media their bread and butter … it is the nature of the beast – heck even the town crier in colonial days got paid by someone…. 🙂 however in increasing their “demographics” they are leaving the Lorain market a little thread bare and that is their call – if they want to survive by regionalizing that is their call….. but if they want me( who is interested in “local coverage” …… national and international news is at my fingertips …… to buy the paper or to pay 99 cents to read what I want locally then they have to make it worth my while to purchase or click. Corporate is not doing that locally with the mj. And if you have a telemarketer call me on a Friday evening they had better know their “product” 🙂

  • 8. Renee Dore  |  January 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I just read the comments today and have to admit-they have gotten better with including most add inserts in our Morning Journal on Sunday-the entire year they have kept up-we also get the Chronicle and Sunday Plain Dealer and can see the difference. About the only thing missing is the Macy’s add/coupons that are in the Chronicle. It would be great to see a larger & more indepth paper with more local ( not Cuyahoga county) stories. I don’t get too thrilled reading about happenings in Bay Village, Westlake and North Olmsted, and that is what is often filling the front page. I’d like to see editorials reflecting our city-not the world. I can read those ideas all over the place.

  • […] see I am not alone in my worries about the quality of the Morning Journal there were “issues” even back […]

  • 10. kevin haezebroeck  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I stumbled across your blog and was glad to read how important the Morning Journal still is to you. I no longer work for that company. I can say it is true that in general reporting has suffered, especially in the print products. Accuracy and truth are still keys to credibility with readers. In that spirit I wanted to point out that you had incorrectly quoted me. What I would have said was it was not smart to fight with people who “buy paper by the ton and ink by the barrel”.

  • 11. thatwoman  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Are you sure that is what you said 😉 you know you were pretty angry 😉 hmmmm interesting you must have used that line on more than one occasion apparently – I hope the recipients remember you with the same degree of fondness that I do ……but for the sake of transparency and rebuttal I have approved your comment… so the correction is there for the www.

  • 12. Rich Robbin  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I remember when reporters would call one of us to say they were doing an article on Charleston Village. Then, ending the conversation with….”Now, I don’t live in ?lorain so, exactly where IS Charleston Village.”

  • 13. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    THAT still happens and then once they learn and you regurgitate the the “history ” and the who what where and when they have done their internship ( especially at the MJ) and a new bunch toddle into the playpen……. 🙂

  • […] here but once deceived numbers wise – twice shy– and the numbers game ( )- how is one hit turned into 10 ? How many boards have I been involved with whose budgets are […]

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