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Newspapers were once the leaders in covering business news in their communities. The daily Columbus Dispatch just abdicated that title to Columbus Business First, a weekly. Both have active websites.

The Dispatch announced a few months that it no longer would have a free-standing business section on Mondays. Last week its editor-apologist Alan Miller announced it would no longer have a free-standing section on Tuesday through Saturday. Can the elimination of the Sunday business section be far behind?

Why? The obvious reasons appear to be that readership of business news in the Dispatch is on freefall and that advertising in the business section is disappearing rapidly. That is too bad because at one time the Dispatch had top-notch business reporters though I noticed recently that the paper was running more press releases from major Columbus companies under business reporters' bylines.

Columbus Business Firstcould be trumpeting this development in its news columns, but that would be obviously self-serving. Better to cite yours truly, the author of the Columbus Media Insider column in theColumbus Free Press, but it won't happen.

Why? A couple of years ago, I contacted a Columbus Business First editor and suggested that something I had written might be of interest to his readers. Sorry, he said, but we do not quote other publications.

DispatchSports Section Pigeon-Holes Columbus Clippers

The sweetest major Columbus sports experience is the Columbus Clippers.

The Cleveland Indians' top-ranked minor league affiliate plays its games in downtown's Huntington Park.

Parking is cheap and easy, tickets inexpensive, concessions affordable (especially on dime-a-dog nights), the place is clean and the crowd is relaxed and friendly. No damaged human merchandise wielding beer bottles ever. It is family entertainment at its best.

The Clippers feature talented baseball players on the cusp of making the big league, including some shuttled back and forth with the Indians and some on injury recovery assignments.

They could put 10,000 in the place with standing room only. The games are on radio and pay TV.

Tens of thousands of central Ohioans are fans of the Clippers, but you would not know that by the scant coverage in what is left of the Dispatch sports section, which, by the way, remains a free-standing section seven days a week, but do not expect that too much longer if the Dispatch continues its boneheaded minimal coverage of the Clippers and as it substitutes feature stories for all sports' game coverage because of its way too early deadline.

Typically, the Dispatch brackets its "coverage" of the Clippers in a tiny shaded box (3 columns wide and 3 inches high) labeled "Clippers At A Glance." Blink and you miss it. The box tells the score of the game two days ago (because the Dispatch deadline is so early now) and offers 50 words of highlights followed by 30 words of other Clippers news.

It leaves me to wonder if the Dispatch is unhappy with the Clippers management for not advertising much in the newspaper or some other slight and is punishing the management with minimal coverage.

Hey Mr. Sports Editor, you are cheaping out on your core readers and sending them elsewhere. Such as to the Clippers' web page Columbus Clippers | where up to date news and game coverage can always be found. And guess what? The typical baseball fans is more likely to be the higher income and higher educated folks most likely to read newspapers. You are offending your core readers.

Meanwhile, major league teams like OSU football and basketball, the Blue Jackets and the Crew get voluminous coverage with pictures and the Indians, Reds, Browns and Bengals get articles with headlines and occasional pictures, not a little shaded box like the Clippers.

The Clippers may be a minor league baseball team, but they are a major sports attraction with a large fan base in Columbus and central Ohio. The Dispatch slights the Clippers at its peril.

Ryan, Sykes New Sheriffs Among Ohio Democrats

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and State Rep. Emilia Sykes are the new sheriffs in town of the Ohio Democratic Party and may well lead the party to statewide victories in 2022.

I watched them both speak last week at a Delaware County Democratic Party fund-raiser and they blew the roof off the place.

Shirt-sleeved Ryan had the crowd roaring its approval with his exhortation of working folks.

The Youngstown congressman has the charisma it takes to bring the undecided into the Democratic tent as he remains unchallenged for the Senatorial nomination.

Sykes, who is term-limited as Ohio House Minority Leader, showed her chops for statewide consideration in 2022.

The 35-year-old from Akron possesses charisma in her own right and seems destined to break the "Black Ceiling" that has prevented Black Democrats from winning state administrative offices in Ohio.

I have been pitching Sykes for secretary of state or treasurer in my monthly Campaign 2022 Scorecards, She earned a promotion to governor in this month's picks. Sykes is head and shoulders above the current combatants for the gubernatorial nomination, Nan Whaley and John Cranley. I moved them to state auditor and attorney general, respectively. (See below.).

August's Campaign 2022 Scorecard

I remain enthusiastic about Tim Ryan for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022. Similarly, I am equally fired up about State Rep. Emilia Sykes as the Democratic nominee for governor. Dr. Amy Acton remains my choice for lieutenant governor. Two women to run the state! Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has becomes my first choice for attorney general. I am all about rewarding initiative so I am backing Forest Hills Councilwoman Chelsea Clark, who recently announced for secretary of state. I still like Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley for auditor and former U.S. Rep. Zack Space seems best for treasurer. Three men, four women, and two racial minorities. Looking more like Ohio every day.

By the way, my first Campaign 2022 Scorecard in November, 2020, had Acton for lieutenant governor and Sykes for treasurer. Ryan, Cranley, Clark, Whaley and Space were omitted. Things change.


--  I recently reviewed and commented on Dennis Kucinich's new book, The Division of Light and Power. It has been picked up by at least one Cleveland area website and drawn a few comments. Check it out at The Division of Light and Power, By Dennis J. Kucinich | Kucinich's attempt to regain his old job, Mayor of Cleveland, 44 years after he was first elected, will be a major national news story this year.

-- The penchant of political reporters to cover donations and campaign finance instead of public opinion remains a sore point with me. To write that Mike DeWine has raised lots of money for his 2022 re-election bid is to state the obvious. DeWine is a multi-millionaire and put $3 million of his own money into his race in 2018 when he thought it was going to be close. Unless he runs against another multimillionaire, he will always outspend his opponent. Similarly, Republicans in Ohio have 10 times more money on ice than Democrats. Political reporters should be out talking to voters and conducting public opinion polls to report what voters are thinking. If newspapers and TV stations are too cheap to pay for a poll, find a university or foundation to foot the bill. It is too easy for reporters to cover the money and too hard for them to cover the people, I guess.

-- Ohio's legislative delegations have been out of whack, too Republican and too right wing for decades because Republicans controlled and rigged the mapping process. Ohio voters passed two Constitutional amendments last decade to improve the process, yet Republicans still dominate the districting panels for the Ohio legislature and Congress. The best hope for a positive outcome and the return of more balanced politically and more moderate representatives is for Ohio voters of all stripes to insist that fair districts are drawn and hold the Republicans accountable at the polls in 2022 if they try to shove another GOP gerrymander down our throats. My best hope is that the process winds up being decided by the Ohio Supreme Court, which has become more moderate, and thanks to former Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper features 3 Democrats out of 7 members.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,  

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