Projo/Belo Lobbies for Tax Credits, Fails to Disclose $13M Deal
Friday, December 13, 2013
Now, The Providence Journal's $13 million project is poised to receive up to 25% of the project cost in historic tax credits - supported by the taxpayers of Rhode Island. The application is one of the finalists and top state officials say the next steps are mostly ministerial.
"The Providence Journal should have said -- repeatedly -- that it was in line to profit from the re-institution of this tax credit. Failing to do so is a tremendous breech of the public's trust," said Professor Michael Scully of Roger Williams University.
The historic tax credit program had been cancelled years earlier due to abuse and its adverse impact to the state's budget. The Providence Journal editorials called for action and passage of the historic tax credit legislation to help revive the economy.
Editorials Urge Passage, Fail to Disclose
In one editorial entitled, "Revive the Historic Tax Credits," the Providence Journal Editors wrote, "We think she’s (Sen. Paiva Weed) right. If Rhode Island seeks a relatively cheap, easy, swift and proven way to boost its economy, the program should be renewed in some form."
Beyond the editorials there were a dozen articles written by reporters Katherine Gregg, Randy Edgars and Paul Grimaldi - all citing the positive impact of the tax credit program. None of the news articles or the editorials disclosed that Dallas-based A.H. Belo/Providence Journal would seek millions from taxpayers.
"Without knowing the specifics of the Providence Journal situation, I can't comment on the particulars. But in general, a news organization should be careful to disclose whenever it has an interest in any issue that it is reporting or commenting on. That's a matter of basic journalistic ethics," said Dan Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Northeastern University.
As Ian Donnis of WRNI was first to report, Belo/Providence Journal are poised to sell their building on Fountain Street and then lease back a portion of the building. The Providence Journal/Belo's motivation for the sale of the building is more clear with the unveiling in this article of the millions in state backed tax credits that could flow to the new owner.
Moreover, A.H. Belo has been prepping the Providence Journal for sale for the past year. In the past 12 months, the Dallas-company has realized staff reductions of greater than 50 news positions through two rounds of layoffs and buyouts.
The Dallas media company announced in early December that the Providence Journal is for sale.
Efforts by GoLocal to reach publisher Howard Sutton have been unsuccessful. In addition, questions poised to Ed Achorn, editor of the editorial page were not answered.
Rhode Island’s Changing Media Landscape
Radio, print, television and digital- the faces in Rhode Islands's media has changed drastically over the past months... Let's take a look at some of the biggest moves:
After a seven year stint reporting for the Providence Journal's state house bureau, Phil Marcelo left the paper to take a reporting gig with the Boston office of the Associated Press.
Hailing from Long Island, New York, Marcelo came to ProJo in 2006, and covered everything from regional news, to Providence City Hall and the Statehouse. Marcelo's departure was first reported by WRNI's Ian Donnis.
Formerly a nightly news reporter for WJAR, Tremmel was fired from the "Team You Trust" after two clips, one of her performing on-air handstands, and the other offering tips on what to do during a bear attack, went viral.
The video became an internet sensation, but long-time Channel 10 newsman Jim Taricani called Tremmel’s antics “a smudge on our station's reputation.”
A long-time staple of Channel 10’s news team, Taricani announced plans to retire after over three decades with the station.
Taricani has won 5 regional Emmy awards, an Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism and a Prestigious Yankee Quill Award from the New England Newspaper Association.
He was convicted to six months in prison in 2004 for refusing to reveal a source, and is the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame.
Ron St. Pierre
- NEW: A.H. Belo Announces Providence Journal for Sale
- Starkman: Memo to Belo - Now, Sell the Projo
- ProJo’s Texas Chief Plays Lame Blame Game
- NEW: ProJo’s Parent Company - Dallas-based A.H. Belo Announces 2nd Quarter
- Providence Journal’s Parent Company A.H. Belo Suffers More Losses
- RI Media - LIN Up, Belo Down, Phoenix Laysoffs Five, GoLocal Up 500%
- Chafee’s Ownership in the ProJo - Should They Disclose?
- Projo Going to Paywall - Here is a Peek
- Projo Parent Company Loses $6.7M in First Quarter
- Projo Schools Writer Paid by State Education Funds
- Projo to Use Democratic Consultant for Polling
- Projo’s Sister Paper is Going to a Pay Model for Online, When is Providence?
- Projo Goes PayWall - Are You Ready to Pay More than $200 Per Year?
- Starkman: For the ProJo, a Time of Great Promise and Greater Peril
- ProJo Loses Sales and Circulation
- Will You Trust Projo/ WPRI Polls if Conducted by a Democratic Consultant?