Recent Articles

ZenCity translating 'Likes,' 'Shares' and 'Emojis' from web sites into 'insights' for Bettendorf officials

A week after Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher made his annual state-of-the-city speech, online surveillance firm ZenCity gave city officials its analysis headlined – "The State of the City address was well received, yet attracted low interest."

ZenCity is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to use its online algorithm to scoop up all manner of Comments, Likes, Shares, Emojis from more than 100 local web sites – mostly Facebook pages and Twitter feeds – that mention the city's name in conjunction with issues or events the city wants to track.

Lee Enterprises reports 49 percent drop in first quarter earnings; touts digital subscription growth

Despite a doubling of digital-only subscriptions to Lee Enterprise newspapers from a year ago, the company's first quarter earnings fell nearly 50 percent compared with the same period last year.

The company, owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus, earned $5.7 million (9 cents per share) for the three months ended December 29, compared with $10.7 million (19 cents per share) for the same period in 2019.

Online surveillance firm hired by City of Bettendorf dodges follow-up questions on privacy issues

The Israeli firm hired by Bettendorf to analyze all manner of information city residents post online wants your data, but prefers to avoid scrutiny of its privacy policies.

ZenCity, headquartered in Tel Aviv, is being paid $18,000 a year by the city to vacuum up posts by residents on social media like Facebook and Twitter and any and all other online sites that carry information or comments related to Bettendorf. CLICK HERE for a partial list of online sources to be scraped for community posts.

Lee Enterprises to buy Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper business; $576-million Berkshire loan to finance deal and refinance existing Lee debt

Lee Enterprises announced today (1/29) it would acquire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway newspaper group for $140 million with the help of a $576-million loan from Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper group, BH Media, operates 31 daily newspapers and their online news sites, and Lee has managed those properties since July 2018.

The Berkshire Hathaway loan will not only pay for Lee's acquisition of BH Media, but refinance Lee's existing $435 million debt and provide sufficient cash to terminate Lee's existing revolving credit line.

City administrator strikes secret deal with alderman to avoid move to cancel surveillance contract

Bettendorf's city administrator struck a secret deal with an alderman to convince him not to seek reconsideration of contract with an Israeli online surveillance firm.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, Second Ward Alderman Scott Naumann told City Administrator Decker Ploehn Monday, Dec. 16 he planned to ask the council rescind the $18,000 contract with ZenCity at the council's Dec. 17 meeting. The council had approved the agreement Dec. 4 with no discussion.

Lee Enterprises 4th quarter earnings plunge; stock sinks more than 8 percent to $1.73 per share

The stock price of Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus – fell more than 8 percent Thursday (12/12) after the Davenport-based media company reported 4th quarter net income fell 70 percent compared with the same period last year.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 29 totaled $1.35 million (1 cent per share), compared with $4.44 million (7 cents per share) in 2018. For the full fiscal year, Lee reported net income of $15.9 million, compared with $47 million in fiscal 2018.

Workers remove hundreds of animals from troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo; nearly 200 others 'missing'

Approximately 100 animals were removed Monday (12/9) from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, but workers are still searching for some 200 others that were not found during the court-ordered animal rescue operation.

The roadside zoo owned by Pamela and Thomas Sellner was found in violation of Iowa animal cruelty standards by a Delaware County District Court judge November 24 and the judge ordered removal of the 300 exotic animals from the facility. The Sellners asked the Iowa Supreme Court to stay the removal order, but the high court denied the request December 4.

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