As I wrote my monthly report for April on World-Herald newsroom successes, we announced our digital subscription flash sale. Candidly, I'm stunned by the value.
Through Sunday, for just one thin dollar you can ensure access for six months to the more-than 200 local items we post every week on Omaha.com. That’s $1 for half a year — insanely inexpensive.
Drawn from that monthly report, here are a few of the things a digital subscription would have included in April alone:
• Public safety reporter Alia Conley found that the Omaha Police Department had not submitted domestic violence reports to the state for five years — a violation of Nebraska law. Digging further into the data, Conley found that 73 law enforcement agencies in 58 counties failed to report domestic assaults or arrests in at least one year from 2014-19. The story prompted an apology and vow to comply from the Omaha police chief. Other agencies said they’d never been notified by the state, which through the years has levied no fines under the law.
• Reporter Nancy Gaarder had a double watchdog scoop on the troubled AltEn ethanol plant near Mead. First, she found that the plant operators got $210,000 in federal COVID relief money despite state environmental regulators scrutinizing the plant. “We did not research potential regulatory issues” in distributing the money, state officials told her. Then Gaarder found that AltEn hadn’t paid its county property taxes since 2014, running up a $518,000 bill.
• Continuing his pandemic-long data analysis of COVID cases, Henry Cordes found that the virus has virtually disappeared from Nebraska’s long-term care facilities, enabling residents to take some outings for the first time in months. Artist Matt Haney, whose work regularly enlivens our printed product, produced a dramatic graphic to illustrate Henry’s points.
• The World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star have led Nebraska media in objecting to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ three-page application for credentials to his limited-attendance briefings. This was sparked by Ricketts denying access to a North Omaha website focused on inner-city issues, a subject on which The World-Herald and Journal Star, the state’s two largest papers, jointly editorialized. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press weighed in last week with a letter to the governor. We consider this an important First Amendment issue that can have lasting implications for 21st century media and, thus, all Nebraskans.
• Metro reporters blanketed issues facing Omaha as residents choose a mayor and City Council members, along with profiles on each candidate in the general election. We continued to track progress in vaccinations against COVID-19, breaking the news that the city’s mask ordinance will expire late this month.
• Our sports and visual journalists flooded the zone not only with Husker spring football coverage, but NCAA volleyball tournament photos and stories, with Omaha as the “bubble” host for the entire tournament.
• We wrote about an Omaha woman becoming the nation’s oldest person, about a local Holocaust survivor who learned details about his youth, about a shortage of restaurant workers as dining cranks up again and about the city’s most diverse police recruit class ever.