Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Buggy Whips

Good News

“I have been in a number of business turnarounds in my career and I don’t see newspapers as buggy whips. . . .

“What’s at stake here is the local news. Who is going to cover the news in Medford, OR? We know someone will cover the big news, but it’s the community papers that are at risk here. In the short term, they will be OK. But the idea that they might go away is alarming, because I don’t see anything else replacing them.

“Just because digital comes around doesn’t mean the usefulness of the newspaper ends. . . . If they fail, where will people in the United States get quality information? The people in the newspaper business care about their communities and they aren’t going to concede. They are going to keep fighting. And I think that’s a good story.”
—Paul Steinle, retired newspaperman and founder,
Story from the Newsosaur, April 11, 2011

Editorial Comment: Read all about it.

BULLETIN! SALT LAKE CITY—For the second straight year and the fifth time in seven years, a Utah State University student has been named the Best PR Student in Utah following an industry-sponsored competition among college and university public relations students from across the state. URL

Coming Thursday:
RonNell Andersen Jones, a Utah State journalism alumna, comes back to campus Thursday to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture based on her experiences as a clerk to Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Blame Game: The People, The Press and The U.S. Supreme Court.” Thursday, April 14, 9-10:15 a.m. Free & the public is invited. Click here for details.

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  1. It’s not just the industry.
    Our local paper used to be The Monterey Peninsula Herald. It was a very good paper, and respected
    Then they decide to reach out further into the county and it became The Herald. But they were competing with the Salinas paper and that was a problem.
    Then the industry went south, Dean Singleton bought it, the paper got smaller in every way.
    Now it’s run by idiots. One small example. They ran a notice of a book I’d written and published on a local icon. They didn’t mention the subtitle – which contained the woman’s name – nor the fact that I was the author or publisher. It might have been sheer incompetence, or they were getting back at me for having suggested that the paper was so bad, dead fish would crawl out of it.

  2. Steinle is exactly WRONG. The basic local news can be covered -- and is being covered -- by weeklies, newspaper-like objects such as patch, and so forth. The problem is local investigative reporting -- the budgets, the frauds, the tax rates and so forth. But newspapers have become so hollowed out that THEY don't cover these things anyway. In fact, they rarely did, and when they did do so, they won Pulitzers.

    The Boston Globe did a long front-pager on property taxes a few weeks ago, wondering out loud why the property-tax bill hasn't dropped despite the drop in property values. Idiots. The tax RATE is set by dividing the part of the budget that has to be raised locally by the total assessed property value. When the assessment falls, and the budget doesn't, the tax rate goes up so that the community can meet its budget. When state or federal aid falls, the part of the budget that has to be raised locally goes up... and the tax rate goes up.

    It's basic... and uncovered even now.