Ken Lanci isn’t done. The vanquished challenger from Cleveland’s mayoral race is trying to launch a statewide newspaper named after himself.
The Lanci Tribune, which began life as a campaign screed wrapped around the cover of Scene, posted ads for freelance journalists in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo on CareerBuilder yesterday. “The focus will be on what the government is or is not doing and the impact it has on the people as well as business,” the ad says.
Lanci’s been thinking about this move since August, when Plain Dealer reporters greeted his candidacy with less respect than he felt it deserved.
“There’s a piece of me thinking about starting my own newspaper,” Lanci told me then, after complaining that PD reporter Leila Atassi had painted him as irresponsible in this story. “And the whole editorial mission is, give the facts. Do not editorialize [in] your stories. Do not print out of context. If you make a statement, what somebody said, you say all of it. That would be the standard. Anybody violates it, they’re out of here.”
Lanci’s resentment of the local press has hardened since.
“Shame on ALL of YOU! Call and Post, Plain Dealer, and Crain’s Cleveland Business, for Not Caring About the Children and the Residents of Cleveland,” read the lead headline on the second edition of the Lanci Tribune (which I saw, gathering dust, at various bars and diners around town after the election). The papers had endorsed incumbent Frank Jackson, and Lanci was mad. On election night, Lanci barred the press from his party, except for one WTAM reporter.
Remember the saying, “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one”? Well, Lanci owns one. His company Consolidated Graphics Group gives him the tools, and his millions gives him the means. Now all he needs are some professional writers with “3-5 years experience writing for a newspaper or magazine” to give his self-titled paper a little polish.
But prospective applicants might want to ask, what’s the mission? Not to editorialize? Or to settle some scores for the boss?
Update, 12/11: The five ads have all disappeared from CareerBuilder, reports Nick Castele of WCPN, though they're still echoing on various sites for freelance writers. Cold feet?