Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sunday Paper

I did something this morning that I haven't done in a long time: purchased & read the Sunday Enquirer.


Not only has it been raised a quarter (to $1.75), but it's 3/4 of it's original size (dimensionally), seemingly holding half of the content that it once had (stories & ads alike), and missing a lot of the familiar names (staff cut, as reported recently) - a shell of it's former glory (if you ever wanted to call it that); resolute in it's hollow destiny it seems, as seen with its sister, The Post, and nationally.

The Cincinnati Enquirer Building (1915). 

Blame what you will on it's demise - the coverage, content, writing, management, etc. - but peer-to-peer information sharing is full upon us, which is seemingly just as powerful and believable and true "journalistic" reporting. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the web in general, support this new mobile lifestyle and moment-by-moment reporting of everything and anything happening in each of our lives, and the result: Everyone is an exhibitionist, and anything can become popular culture in the blink of an eye... except newspapers.How can one wait for day-late inked stories on cellulose to arrive doorstep and still be relevant? Moreover, how can the makers of these assets expect one to pay for it?

The freedom that the internet provides is individual selectivity - control over our own interests, what we want to see and when we want to see it - not to be confined by the platter or time slot served to us by big media.

That being said, the drive to gain readership online has driven a raging popularity contest. This, to me, is a concern: The traditional news sources of yesterday are feeding into pop-culture mentality more than expounding upon intellectual pursuits. Not a big deal for those who wish to research on their own, but a problem for those who take front page reporting of the big networks seriously anymore - because it seems that objectivity is dead.

So, not only have I stopped buying the paper, but I've stopped reading it online as well. And the other big names aren't any better - for instance, have you gone to lately? I sometimes confuse it with The Onion - it's amazing what they'll put on the headline, front page, "live developing story", and latest news, not to mention the sub headings. I may just be jaded right now, because it's not all bad, but overall it's just not good.

Maybe these trivialities of everyday existence have always been expounded upon, and I just haven't paid attention. Or maybe this is the down side of the internet - free, anytime information means no-holds-barred on content, editing, recycling, and updating. I suppose when printed media was all we had, the presentation had to be more selective, more informational, more resolute, because of it's slow, static, finite nature.

Anyway, I predict that printed media still viable will go the route of "papers" like Citybeat or Cin Weekly - driven solely by adverts and/or donations, and free to the public. And yet, this too will one day be antiquated (if it already isn't). Maybe Google had it right from the get go - all free, all the time, with ads dominating the particular item's viability... and only digital.

OK, that was a bit of a tangent.

The original reason for writing today was to share this article from today's Enquirer about WKRC (Channel 12) opening up their broadcast archives to the public. If you're interested in the history of the city, this is a great way to catch up on it. One of my personal favorites there is what the Enquirer showcased: Weatherman Ira Joe presenting his backward-writing skills in the 80s (Note: Partial fondness here derived from his residence down the street from mine when I was a kid).

Ira Joe Fisher (1980s). 

• Visit the WKRC-TV Video Vault.

• Additionally, the other local stations have released a bit of their past.
Some notables are:
- Channel 9's history and Uncle Al collection.
- Channel 5's history, Ruth Lyons collection and Paul Dixon Show.
- CET's Broadcast Pioneers and CUT's "Died Young" documentary.

Update (5/29/9): This article discusses the issue of new media further, and references Cincinnati in the process.

Update (10/10/9): Check out this progressive stance on the future of news, from 1981...

Story source: boing boing.
Video source: earhweek.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The City to Scale: Cincinnati Modeled

Another interesting link sent to my inbox the other day sparked some thoughts about our local attempts at miniature reconstruction, segueing into part two of this series - the city, virtuallly.

"Virtual reality" tends to infer environments/experiences created digitally, but I think recreated tactile environments could fit that same bill - if not only for the unique storylines inferred while viewing (
sans cord). Thus, this article is a short visual essay of the hand-built odes to Cincinnati.

Of course, CMC History Museum's great mockup of old Cincinnati is the grandaddy.

This project is easily on par with the models referenced in the WIRED article
, for among other things, its non-linear layout, dedication to different decades, specific locations, detailed presentation, and interactivity. The following images represent those involved with the project's model development (making-of info at each of their sites):

Source: Dunham Studios.

Cincinnati in Motion
is a masterpiece, but there are smaller projects definitely deserving recognition for their painstakingly accurate three-dimensional portrayals, such as:

...and the many other balsa & styrofoam models inferring better days that have floated in and out of our collective consciousness.  For instance, the Riverfront, then and "now":

 Plans for the Riverfront [1970].
Source: See postscript.

 Plans for the Riverfront [1982].
(Via Hurley's "Cincinnati: The Queen City").

 Casual Plan for the Riverfront [1980s].
Source: The Cincinnati Kid @

 Planning for The Banks [recent].
Source: See postscript.

Planning for The Banks [recent].
See postscript. 

And finally, of course, we can't forget about the most notorious transportation proposal which was actually considered by our regional transportation initiative (OKI), the Skyloop - a monorail-like personal rapid transit system:

Built by Roger Broering. Presented by Forward Quest.

Other additions here could be the many architectural models that have preceded our city's skyline (or attempts at it), such the original plans for the Millworks development in Oakley (seen in an earlier post, Procrastinators Synonymous).

One could argue that the models at the end (those of architects/planners) don't really fit this bill of creating model city landscapes for entertainment purposes, though, they're presented here for their general dedication and mastery in recreating to scale.  Obviously, these types of models are used as presentations of what a structure or locale might look like if actually reproduced full-scale (the opposite process intended by this article section), which leads to the content of the soon-to-be-published Part 3 of this article:
The illustrated far-fetchedness and incredible conceptual artwork of Unbuilt Cincinnati.

• Images with correct source information have been appropriately cited, but I'm still lacking that info on several (though, I'm sure a few of them came from various users at UrbanOhio). I usually won't post something without remembering where it came from, but in this instance, they went up anyway because they've been shuttered for so long that I can't even begin to trace my footsteps to their origin. If anyone wants to claim them, please do so - I'll gladly reference you, or take the images down if requested.

Note: This site is never malicious in the posting of copyrighted material - nothing here is used for financial gain except for that which I have personally created.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brunhoff's Modernity

Just found these while trolling aimlessly through another's visual archives, and they're darn unique ... especially for postcards. I can't stop staring at the first one. So good...

View back of card here.

View back of card here.

• Read about Brunhoff and his contributions to our city here, and an interesting article on his packaging designs here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rename Cincinnati's Newest "Neighborhood"

Hopping onto "The Banks" renaming-bandwagon, I just thought I'd move this little tidbit along to those of you haven't heard (source: The Banks Blog & Business Courier):

I like that they've already narrowed it down to four options, on top of the fact they're hinting that the associations with the current name reside in the mud. Here are the four choices:

Parkside • Riverfront District • Park District • The Banks

My selection: It was a good idea to leave the current name in there, because along with being the current crowd favorite, it also saves on rebranding everything. Parkside and Park District sound too Buckhead-ish to me, and honestly, any neighborhood with the word "park" in it should reside near one of the city's storied parks (i.e. Eden). Our city's park system has a rich history, and the most notable ones lie inland - I just can't make the connection with riverfront. Thus, I picked Riverfront District. It's not flashy, and doesn't have that staccato ring to it like The Banks, but it does remind me of the Riverfront Stadium glory days, while being helpfully obvious to out-of-towners, newbloods, and the like. I do like the The Banks, and honestly, I wouldn't mind if they kept it, but a new name with the new steel going in makes a lot of sense.

The current results of the poll are here.

• NOTE: I'm not digging Sawyer Point or Friendship Park by any means, nor the planned Riverfront Park, because I think they're all great & necessary additions to downtown, but they didn't build the city's rich heritage, they've only followed in their footsteps. Personally, I've supported and followed almost all of the city parks, and encourage their continual beautification and growth, but as far as the renaming of the new district on the river is concerned, I associate "banks" and "riverfront" with it much more than "park". Read about the Cincinnati Parks history here.

Update (3/6/9): A funny writeup over at The Banks Blog on rejected name suggestions, and many other discussions on this topic floating around, like at Quim's and Pepper's blog.

Around Town

Here are a couple of recently-written, local articles that are just outstanding (in my opinion) - check 'em out:

History: Queen City Discovery recently posted a great writeup on local, shuttered theaters. At first when seeing the headline, I thought it might be revisiting Allen J. Singer's content in Stepping Out in Cincinnati, but no - not right off the bat. After reliving some of memories of non-stadium-style seating, you're hit with a firsthand account of an OTR relic that shouldn't be missed - read it here.

QCD's excellent research and on-site reporting of the usually-forgotten local, built environment has made it top-fare in my blogroll. Here and here are a couple of my other favorites that demand attention.

Preservation: In related news, Kevin LeMaster (of the inveritable Building Cincinnati blog, who also writes for Soapbox Cincinnati), recently posted a great writeup on the Emery too - view it here - but, the focus for this post is on Soapbox in general. I've overlooked the site for far too long, but after seeing the recent posts by Kevin, and this incredible post by Casey Coston, no more.

Art: I haven't seen a lot of Brett Harper's work, but what I have seen, I really, really like - he is, of course, the son of Charley and Edie. A recent Fabulous Frames & Art post on Brett's work here.

There are a ton of other great daily posts and blurbs by other local sites (listed in the sidebar). Note: This post was developed in the tradition of Visualingual's interesting, weekly Elsewhere posts.