Ohio City Argus

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 09:33.

Ohio City Near West Development Corporation is launching a new on line publication Ohio City Argus via the Observer news service (with print installments). This is a throw-back to a publication that served the City of Ohio City (yes, before it joined Cleveland after a little war). The previous Ohio City publication is described as Notes: Published on Thursday. "Whiggish in its tendencies but not very partisan."

Argus has a romantic ring to it and it no doubt harks back to the Greek classic tale of the Argonauts. ( From wikipedia: Argus in the tale of the Argonauts is a shipwright, the builder of the ship the Argo, which is named after him. The vessel was used by Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason and his compatriots called themselves Argonauts, after the ship).

How is this latest publication funded (see also Old Brooklyn News)?  Is it meant to counter the REAL recent coverage provided by Plain Press?

Where are the names of the folks behind this latest public folly?*

(*folly--my opinion)

( categories: )


Wow, nice job lmcshane, whoever you are.  The paper's not even out and you're trashing it.  Typical Cleveland mentality--are you related that Roldo guy?  And I get the impression you think that positive coverage is somehow not "real." Coverage about killings, drugs, corrupt politicians--now that's "real," right?  Amazing.  Why don't you wait until you read the thing before pronouncing it fake and folly?


You are very disrespectful... whoever you are...

That Roldo guy is Roldo Bartimole... probably the smartest and most valuable intellectual in NEO, and well deserving of your respect.

Anyone who is real and cares about NEO is very related to that "Roldo Guy". You obviously are not, making your "newspaper" initiative highly suspect.

And you would be... a PR wonk?!?

The typical Cleveland mentality would depend on where you are coming from... from you, sitting in STX, your typical Cleveland mentality apears elitist, and pretty revolting... typical of your sort (gee, is that unfair).

When you get back to real NEO, I'll introduce you to some real Clevelanders and you may decide for yourself what is their mentality... if you really care.

Sail on, fair Argonaut! I hear the wahoo are running over at the Buck Island Reef National Monument... be sure to wear your Chief Wahoo!

Disrupt IT

Do tell

What do you know about it? How is it funded? Who are the underwriters and the volunteer staff? Forgive me for being skeptical, but I have been around here a long, long time. And, why introduce a publication, on the public dime, when the near west side has been served by a publication called the Plain Press for a long, long time? And the West Side Sun? Will all CDCs now follow suit and put out their own publication? Is this part of a CDC charter? I don't have a problem with CDC newsletters.

Here's a bone for you. TWDC's newsletter is excellent and it has been excellent for some time. To my knowledge the cost is underwritten by local ads. See--it's not all about bashing.

Do Tell

I do know a lot about it.  I am the executive editor and a past board president of OCNW.  I will attempt to answer your questions in the hope it sheds some light on what we're trying to accomplish:

1.  How is it funded?  The paper is designed to be self-funding via ad sales.  The start up is being underwritten by personal donations by OCNW board member--let me repeat, *personal donations* by volunteers who already donate so much of their time to board and neighborhood events it's not even funny.  While you assumed, with no prior knowledge, that public money is being used to fund this, it's not true. 

2.  What about the other papers?  The Plain Press and Sun have their place but, frankly, differ substantially from what we're trying to do with the Argus.  We're not looking to duplicate those papers' coverage, but rather, want to highlight all the positive, interesting things that are happening in Ohio City.  Our stories will be feature in nature, not news and not investigative journalism.  Those of us who are involved in the effort are tired of all the negativity and garbage in the established media in Cleveland and decided to do something different.

3.  Who is the volunteer staff?  The staff of the Argus--who are completely unpaid--comprises veterans in journalism, business writing and marketing who are donating their time and talents to the effort because they believe in Ohio City and the neighborhood's importance to Cleveland.  Some of us live in Ohio City, others don't. 

4.  Will all CDCs now follow suit and put out their own publication? Is this part of a CDC charter?  As for the first question, I certainly hope so.  It will only add to the richness of choice for people who want to learn about the city.  Regarding the second, I think it most certainly is a part of a CDC charter.  The key word in the acronym is "Development," and a paper of this sort is a powerful tool for fostering development of the neighborhood by attracting visitors, new residents, and new businesses.  OCNW used to publish a newsletter, but it failed to live up to the standards we set for it.  The Argus is designed to be many steps above the newsletter, but still have the same basic goal:  to promote the good things that are happening in the neighborhood and encourage others to become a part of it.

As for your being skeptical, that's a Clevelander's God-given right that most people will take to their grave with them.  I've lived here a long time, too--40 years--and refuse to give in to that.  I, instead, believe there's much that people here can accomplish to make this city better. 

If you want to learn a little more about the paper, go here:  http://ohiocity.com/index.cgi?id=131&l=1&p=6413

Bernie Thiel

Excuse me, but Laura did ask for names...

If you don't know Laura, she is a real Northeast Ohio citizen journalist - not a "Shopper"... you should hope to develop good relations with her and many like her for your new venture, the Argus.

I consider myself a friend of Jim O'Brien and his Observer Newspaper initiatives, so I support all that, but you didn't answer Laura's questions, and showed you are a good dancer.

She asked for names, and you replied with categories...

1.  How is it funded?... The start up is being underwritten by personal donations by OCNW board members...

all these people?  Who? How much has been donated and how is it being spent? Perhaps there is a reason it is privately funded.

3.  Who is the volunteer staff?... veterans in journalism, business writing and marketing

... that could certainly be anyone, including some very bad people. How does the "staff" profile compare with the community profile, for race, economic status, etc.? Who determines who is staff?

Your response opens up a huge can of worms...

If this is an Observer, I assume anyone can set up an account to write on the on-line version, and there is some fair way to determine what gets in print. In which case, all the discussions about social inequity and development challenges we see on REALNEO would be welcome at the Argus, on-line and in print?!?!

If that is the case, this should add to the dialog about problems in the region... so I don't see how it can be just "to promote the good things that are happening in the neighborhood and encourage others to become a part of it."

What is the editorial policy - is it open and free to all to contribute - who decides what goes to print.

Your profession is "thought leadership marketing for professional services", and your Facebook profile indicates you are a friend of Cato, McCain and Palin.... spending the cold Cleveland winter in STX. if you are the editor of the Argus, how do readers and others know the publication is balanced, and local... is there a more liberal, grounded alter-ego to the Argus?

Are you or any businesses, professionals and consultants being compensated, other than the Observer technology folks and printers.

If the Argus is planned to be a "private" paper, we don't really have a right to know all that, nor should we care. But if it is billed as a community newspaper, everyone in the community has a right to know how it is written, and who is compensated, and it should be open to all in the community, in every way.

I'm personally fascinated, as I worked with Jim to start a newspaper in East Cleveland, but our "board" can't quite afford the toll.

Good luck with the Argus... I look forward to the best from this collaboration and know who to go to if there are any problems... and any of you should feel free to contact Jim O'Brien or Ken Warren, for that matter, with any questions... they are very open and innovative thinkers committed to local community development - visit the Lakewood Observer website here.

Disrupt IT

Observing the growth of the Observers

Heights Observer has two foundation donors and relies on ads. (Norm covered its launch here on realNEO)

Lakewood Observer relies on ads, too.

I rarely pick up the hard copy in the Heights and I am rarely in Lakewood, but I like these online papers. Some older colleagues, when I said I was learning about citizen journalism several years ago, laughed at the thought. Now they're writing for the Heights Observer. Granted many of them were regularly published in Letters to the Editor of the Sun News.

I believe that it was back in the early 1990s when Wilma Salisbury, former dance critic at the PD, who was addressing a group gathered for the Ohio Dance Festival in Columbus, said that newspapers would soon all be online - everyone looked dazed and confused. Just the other night when I saw her at the Merce Cunningham concert, she said "Yes, I read that in your blog."

More local media is a good thing.  I can barely keep up, but a local record of the goings on whether they are good or bad, effective or faulty is a good thing, in my humble opinion.

Now thatLakewood Observer co-founder, Ken Warren is retiring from the Lakewood Library, it seems that he and partner Jim O'Bryan may turn even more attention to getting the local news in even more locales. 

More local media

  Thank you Bernie Thiel.  I will suspend my skepticism about the Argus, as my friend Susan says..more local media can not be a bad thing.  But, look to the Old Brooklyn News and don't make the same mistakes. It sucks up a large portion of the CDC's income stream and staff time.  Sure, it's NICE...but it's not worth the paper it's printed on, if the CDC doesn't actually accomplish anything.

Also, OCNW, like too many CDCs in NEO, is saddled with some terrible and useless NEO folks recycled ad nauseum.  I don't need to name names.  I think everyone should know who I am referring to here.

Overall, CDCs in Cleveland do not meet measureable standards.  OCNW has done a better job than some CDCs, in terms of accountability and putting out their annual report with expenses and revenues, but frankly, I would like to see the whole framework dissolved and reinvented nationwide.  Feeding off the poverty factor for an organization's survival only leads to more poverty...CDCs have been around since the seventies and they have only mushroomed like fungus, instead of phasing themselves out, which should be the measure of their success.  

Mr. Thiel, I am glad that you care and you work to make your community a better place.  I am sorry if I personally offended you in any way.  I care, too, and I do want people looking to the city from the outside to understand that we have it GOOD in so many ways.  So, good luck to you in this enterprise (although for a lot less effort--you could publish good things in the Plain Press). And don't hate me for saying it...but recorded history is not made on ephemeral items. If you also want to see the Ohio City Argus archived in any meaningful way, you need to contact the Cleveland Public Library and make arrangements to have the library catalog your publication. The Plain Press has endured for some time and, consequently, it is archived.

Glad I could clear some

Glad I could clear some things up.  We are very mindful of the resources it takes to put something like this out, and the drain it could be on staff time and money.  That's why we agreed the only way this would work is to have it run entirely by volunteers and be self-funding.

I was not personally offended by your comments, so no worries.  I was just concerned about the facts of the matter and setting things straight.


an idea for an Argus story

an idea for an Argus story - how about explainng why OCNW sold the Chatham Rowhouse (scarce affordable housing) to St. Ignatious, knowing full well they would demolish it?

This story might give some needed background data for accurate reporting.

Taking back my compliment

  TWDC HAD a nice little, informative newsletter--now replaced by a bloated newprint format (hard to photocopy).

Horizontal Books

  I am giving the Ohio City Argus a free pass on the latest issue as it features one of my all-time favorite Clevelanders, superhero Karl Johnson.  When you least expect it, Karl will show up with a big smile to save the day!

I am also curious about this rent-to-own enterprise advertised in the publication:


I picked up the Ohio City Argus and the Plain Press at Horizontal Books.  You may have read about these enterprising CWRU students in the Plain Dealer.  I am glad that they are banking their fortunes on books.  I think that in the long run, it's a smart move.