Dennis Ryerson responded to the letter Melyssa wrote to the Indy Star regarding biased reporting by the Indy Star of last week's activist event at the democratic fundraiser which targeted only minority business owners. Minorities, upset with the representation they receive by council democrats, attended the activist event but were not quoted by the Indy Star. The event was scheduled to bring attention to the city's lack of accountablity regarding minority business contract awards.
Here is his letter:
A couple of points, Melyssa:
1) No, we absolutely don't have the administration clear stories before we print them. Indeed, the administration views us as the opposition this fall because they don't think the Republican or Libertarian candidates present a threat. An independent observer, reading our news coverage and editorials, I'm sure would conclude that we are in no way in the pocket of the City/County building.
2) The Star is doing better than most newspapers in terms of circulation. And Gannett's stock is doing better than all all other newspaper companies. Newspapers still make a lot of money, but because of advertising consolidation and Internet competition, not as much as before, which of course makes Wall Street unhappy. Our websites are doing better than most newspapers our size. We are one of the top 20 news sites getting Google referrals, which is pretty good considering The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the networks, and other much larger news organizations generate a lot of traffic. 3) Having said all of that, we are far from perfect and need to improve every day. As to your identification, when was your legal case with the city closed?
Here is Melyssa's response:
Thank you for contacting me, Mr. Ryerson. I will publish your response to me on the HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAXATION blog so that our readers can hear your side of the Star's position.
As far as circulation and stock of Gannett, I am only citing what I read. I know newspapers around the country struggle as more and more people get their news on line. I know you have to get smarter and better every day if you want to stay alive. And I also know advertisers demand bang for their buck. I sell advertising for a living.
To answer your question my legal case was finally closed last month and the Star reported on it, albeit not indepth. The city's dismissal offer was withdrawn after I circulated a recorded call in which Kobi Wright (city's corporate counsel) attempted to intimidate me by falsely telling me it is illegal to record calls. Why is it that our tax dollar paid corporate counsel does not know state law? Judge Keele made the city file its original dismissal offer at a subsequent hearing. It was the judge who suggested dismissal in the first place....but only after 20+ months of litigation on the taxpayer dime.. I believe that the judge did not want that flimsy lawsuit in his court any longer.
I also further angered Kobi Wright when I confronted him at public tax forum about the fact that the city did nothing about my complaint (and witness affidavit) that I was called a "bull dyke" by IFD Chief Greeson while in uniform at a CCC meeting because I asked him if he would give up his seat to the taxpayers who were locked out and forced to wait in the heat. It was the very next day that the city's offer to dismiss was pulled from the table. My lawyer got a call from city zoning attorney, Teri Kendrick, who said her bosses made her pull the offer.(I attached a copy of the witness affidavit and Kobi Wright's phone call so you can see hard documentation).
You should know that while the mayor has libeled me many times by stating on the indygov site that I owned illegal adult businesses, the city attorney admitted at the Dec 1 2005 press conference that neither of my businesses were considered adult only when asked by the media (who I tipped off). I was used to divert attention away from the city council business back in December 2005.
Last Sunday's Star article brought up my former career of two years ago. The reporter did not contact the activists for a quote to get an understanding as to why we were at the democratic fundraiser taking photos. We were there because the fundraiser only targeted minority business owners and attempted to incite fear in their businesses if they didn't keep Monroe Gray in office.
We were also there because the mayor's office will not give access to the MBE contract numbers for 2005 and 2006. The mayor stated publicly that minority contracts made up 22% of city contracts, yet African American lawyer and tax activist Darla Williams found only 1 to 2% of the city's budget in 2004 was given to MBE's. African American activists (including democrats) who are outraged over what the current administration is doing in regard to the minority community, were with us. Why was my former career as a dominatrix more relevant in the Star's coverage than the reason we were there? Too bad your readers did not get the benefit of knowing the full story. If you want to cover this story indepth, I am happy to get you together with the people who are researching what is going on with the city's MBE contracts. There is indeed a story there.
Thanks for your attention to this matter. Truth, accountablity, and integrity in reporting are important.
Melyssa Donaghy, volunteer
HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAXATION
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Posted by M Theory at Tuesday, October 09, 2007