Two weeks into theArizona Republic
's coverage of the Fiesta Bowl fiasco, John Zidich -- publisher of the daily newspaper -- finally quit his position on the bowl's five-member board of directors.
The Republic's article on Zidich's resignation says the former Fiesta Bowl secretary wanted to avoid "any question of the ongoing strong independence of our newsroom in covering these [bowl investigation] stories."
The lack of transparency from the Republic, however, carries on.
Whereas the rest of the Fiesta Bowl stories on the Republic's website carry a sidebar titled "Fiesta Bowl Under Fire," linking to the rest of the coverage, the story of Zidich's resignation conspicuously sidesteps that treatment with links to other news stories -- like Iceland's penis museum.
This is just the latest move from the Republic regarding Zidich's Fiesta Bowl role, such as burying comments on his role 1,645 words into the original 2,126-word article, and later retroactively slapping warning labels on online Fiesta Bowl articles.
Now the warning labels are gone, and Sunday's Republic article again buried comments on Zidich deep within the article, this time 1,689 words into a 2,115-word piece.
The Republic's own columnist Laurie Roberts even says Zidich's resignation is "the right move in a story that seems to have conflicts (or appearances of conflicts) all over the place."
Still, Republic senior vice president of news and audience development Randy Lovely says Zidich never influenced coverage, and his resignation "helps to clarify for readers that there is no conflict of interest, not that there ever was."
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Fiesta Bowl chairman Duane Woods released a statement thanking Zidich for his work at the bowl over six years.
"John joined the executive committee with the expressed interest of finding and fixing the bowl's problems," Woods says.
Read the Fiesta Bowl's full report here.