Dick Kinzel reflects on 39 years at Cedar Fair

Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 3:26 PM | Contributed by Jeff

For Cedar Point, its parent firm, Cedar Fair LP, and especially for Dick Kinzel, things will change again in a very large way on Jan. 3 when the 71-year-old chief executive officer retires after 39 years with the Sandusky-based amusement park company -- 25 years as its top executive.

Read more from The Toledo Blade.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 6:42 PM

As someone at a corporate firm, I am not too concerned what ambulance chasers do with respect to the reputation of my profession. And I suspect that serious journalists are not too concerned about a fluff piece in the Blade in terms of the reputation of journalism.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 8:35 PM
Jeff's avatar

Your suspicion would be wrong. I find that my friends that I keep up with are constantly having to defend the profession, because there's so little true journalism left. I constantly find myself defending it, and I haven't done it in years.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 10:47 PM

The reporter probably asked something like what his biggest regret was, and Kinzel gave the answer he did. Could the reporter have asked specifically about GL? Sure, and we don't know for sure that he didn't. Kinzel could have declined to answer or given a crap answer. The editor could have also decided to exclude it.

In any event, I don't think the story would have read much differently even if it had been one of the country's more famous TV journalists doing the interview. When the hardest question a president has to answer is how the first pet is doing, can we expect anything different at the local level?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 10:50 PM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Isn't it at all possible that you've lost perspective on this, Jeff? I mean it's not like they overlooked reporting on a major crime or moral misjudgment he committed during his career.

The purpose of the article was to capture Dick Kinzel's reflection of his 39 years at Cedar Fair. They did that.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 11:07 PM

Your suspicion would be wrong. I find that my friends that I keep up with are constantly having to defend the profession, because there's so little true journalism left. I constantly find myself defending it, and I haven't done it in years.

Seems pretty silly and insecure to me. There are millions of journalists out there. And there are very good ones, very bad ones and everywhere in between. What anyone who can't tell or understand the difference feels about where any given journalist falls on the spectrum doesn't change where that journalist falls on that spectrum.

And that is without even getting to whether the writer of the Kenzel article is a bad journalist. As already noted, it was meant to be a fluff piece. Who cares that Geauga Lake wasn't mentioned in it? Probably only folks who dislike Kinzel, and those folks know all about what happened so what does it matter?

Last edited by GoBucks89, Tuesday, January 3, 2012 11:09 PM
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 11:14 PM
Jeff's avatar

So everyone else knows my perspective or what it should be? You can't just disagree?

If it was a fluff piece, it's part of the problem. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 11:56 PM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Oh, give me a break, Jeff. "Everyone" hasn't said squat. I questioned if you've lost your perspective on this topic. And I believe you have. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Beyond that, the disagreement appears to be that there is even a problem with the article to begin with. I see none. That is also my opinion and I'm sticking to it.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:11 AM
Jeff's avatar

Perspective has nothing to do with anything... the conversation has its context one post at a time. It really doesn't have that much to do with Kinzel or The Blade directly, and frankly I don't care if it organically changed to whatever it is I or anyone else decided to talk about.

Coming back to this after thinking a bit more about why this matters... to me or anyone...

Culturally in America, we have an angry tide that simultaneously chastises "the media," while being generally annoyed at the lack of accountability on behalf of politicians and executives of public companies. I'm not suggesting anyone here necessarily falls into either category, but I think we can agree that it's a fairly widely held situation in our culture.

One of the great rights we have in this country is freedom of the press. You can call it naive or idealist or whatever, but even as a wide-eyed college writer, you tend to take that freedom as a responsibility. History has a number of important instances where that responsibility brought about very significant action (think Watergate). The press plays an important role in our society.

I'm not suggesting that there isn't room for back page fluff, I'm saying that it's almost all back page fluff, and that sucks. That's what I find ironic about all of the bitching and moaning about accountability and "the media," because frankly we get what we tolerate when we don't demand more. We get the media, elected officials and corporations we deserve.

Suggesting that I have lost my perspective is akin to suggesting someone has lost their religion. You can't make that determination for another person.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:17 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Exactly, which is why I was questioning it and not accusing you of it. I'm not making a determination for you. I'm making my own determination based on the posts I've read and asking you if I'm right. And yes, it's a collective assessment.


You're obviously still free to see things as you see them.

Last edited by Carrie J., Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:20 AM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 3:10 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Who knew Dick Kinzel was the frontline in the war for journalistic integrity? :)

I think the story is irrelevant enough that it's incompleteness or fluff factor doesn't matter.

They could report that Dick Kinzel was a three headed alien from the Altair system that liberated dust bunnies from the oppresive rule of nazi mummies in the late 50's and my deepest response would be along the lines of, "This article seems a tad inaccurate." (you'll have to imagine my comically inquisitive face)

If I'm going to get mad about a fluff piece on the little old man who ran the amusement park for 40 years, then I'm gonna have to get made about the fluff pieces on cat show winners and surfing squirrels...and damn it, I like me some wacky animals.

Seriously though, I totally get what Jeff is saying, but I'm not sure I'd choose to make a stand (take a stand? which would be correct here?) on the Dick Kinzel story in the Toledo Blade.


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:31 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Dick Kinzel was a three headed alien from the Altair system that liberated dust bunnies from the oppresive rule of nazi mummies in the late 50's

It all makes sense now... ;)


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 10:55 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


If I'm going to get mad about a fluff piece on the little old man who ran the amusement park for 40 years

This post seems a tad inaccurate. I thought it was 39 years?

:)


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 11:00 AM
Jeff's avatar

Everyone has their causes. This just happens to be one of mine.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 3:13 PM
rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:
If it was a fluff piece, it's part of the problem. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

I'm going to have to agree on this - "fluff" pieces are empty calories and add nothing to what we might otherwise consider intelligent discourse. If I were in the media, as opposed to just being a critic (like Jay Sherman), I'd probably be more vocal.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 3:24 PM

What did you expect the article to add in terms of an intelligent discourse about Kinzel or his career?

The growth of real news didn't keep pace with the exponential growth in news coverage. Result is fluff.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 4:55 PM
Vater's avatar

Fluff articles like this one generally don't bother me in print, since I can choose whether or not to read it, and there are infinite sources on the web to go find something else more interesting. And being derived from an interview of someone of at least some significance, at least this was newsworthy to an extent.

What irritates me is crap on TV or the radio that fills time because apparently there's no real news to report. I understand even these outlets can dish out 'fluff' every once in a while, but when I hear, for example, while driving to work yesterday that (paraphrasing) "many of you are going back to work for the first time after being on vacation for a week or more...coming up after the break: how YOU feel about returning to the grind, and how to mentally prepare for the coming year"... I turn the radio off with angst.

I don't want news radio or TV to give me advice. I want them to tell me what's going on in the world.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 5:34 PM

Here's what I think about the discussion. All of you are right, sort of.

We don't know what processes or thinking went into the construction of the Toledo Blade article, what editors chose to cut, what questions reporters simply didn't consider or forgot to ask. It may be that nobody at the Blade is even aware of the depth of failure that was Geauga Lake's acquisition and subsequent demise. Beyond boards like these, who really, in the GP community is clued in to that kind of knowledge?

It's also true that fluff has been a mainstay of American journalism since Poor Richard's Almanac. Even Edward R. Murrow, the most hard-hitting of them all, had to put up with it on his show.

Jeff is right that fluff has more recently become a blight. What used to be a healthy diet of veggies, fruit and whole wheat grain-reporting has given way to the journalist equivalent of endless empty calories--tasty and filling, but utterly lacking nutrition. It's not good for our country, and it's certainly not good for the industry.

Having re-read the article, I see that the Blade reporters attempted to hybridize their story. First and foremost, it is a fluff piece celebrating an important man's retirement--which, given the length and scope of the honoree's career, I find justified. Secondly, and this is the unfortunate part, the reporters apparently tried to sprinkle some real objective journalism into the article to give it a little investigative integrity. This is bad, because it's the bastardization of fluff and real journalism that's the worst culprit.

So, to summarize, you're all right. And that's my perspective.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 6:08 PM

I find TV news to be unbearable. I haven't watched it in years. No one can turn the weather into a 24/7 news event like the Cleveland media. It can be comical to watch sometimes.

Radio news is just as bad but I can take it in limited doses while switching stations.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 7:55 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I *really* like New Day Cleveland. :-D


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 10:41 PM

I understand Jeff's concern and he makes valid points, but I think that he & I disagree on what the "news" of the story was.

To me, this was NOT a story about Kinzel's tenure at CP. If the article were the reporter's analysis of DK's tenure, Jeff would be 100% right. But, again, to me it seems to be a story about DK's analysis of his tenure. And, at that level, his answer about Disaster Transport--not GL--being his "worst moment" is newsworthy--it tells us about DK.

Now, whether the Toledo Blade (or any other news organization) should be devoting time & space to DK's analysis of his own tenure is a debatable point, and one I can see both sides of.


This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

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