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WVXU Launching Series Examining Trust In Local Government

Jim Nolan
Support for this project comes from The Murray & Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation

Two weeks before the May 4 mayoral primary, WVXU begins examining Cincinnati political corruption in a series called "Trust In Local Government – WVXU's Public Integrity Project."

Longtime politics writer Howard Wilkinson starts the series Monday, April 19, with a look at when Cincinnati was ruled by corrupt political bosses and how it led to the adoption of the council-manager form of government in the 1920s.

On Monday at noon, Cincinnati Edition host Michael Monks interviews council members Christopher Smitherman and Betsy Sunderman about their charter amendments to enforce ethical standards and bring more transparency to City Hall. In the past year, federal prosecutors have filed bribery-related charges against three Cincinnati City Council members: P.G. Sittenfeld, Tamaya Dennard and Jeff Pastor.

Monks interviews Mayor John Cranley on Cincinnati Edition at noon Wednesday, April 21. The week of April 26, Monks will interview all candidates for mayor in advance of the May primary.

Cincinnati Public Radio recently received a grant from the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation to fund the "Trust In Local Government Series" looking at ethics in government.

"We were already doing a lot of this reporting, but this lets us do more," says Maryanne Zeleznik, Cincinnati Public Radio vice president of news and Morning Edition host.

The Seasongood Foundation, a legacy of Charter Committee leader Murray Seasongood, provides funding for a WVXU manager to coordinate the Public Integrity Project (former Cincinnati Edition producer Pete Rightmire), a freelance photographer to illustrate website stories, and marketing and promotion.

The series will feature stories by Wilkinson, government reporter Becca Costello (hired in January) and other reporters.

During "Open Government Week" May 17-20, Cincinnati Edition will focus on different aspects of restoring trust in local government.

"Cincinnati Edition is always interested in these topics," Zeleznik says. "Our commitment is to do this all the way through the November election." 

WVXU plans features, interviews and candidate profiles by reporters and the Cincinnati Edition team leading up the general election Nov. 2.

John Kiesewetter's reporting is independent. Cincinnati Public Radio only edits his articles for style and grammar. 

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.