#64: How to Save Local Journalism

Local journalism is struggling to survive, including our own newspaper, The Olympian. This was true before the pandemic, and has intensified in the crisis. Yet communities rely on local reporting to stay abreast of issues, keep government accountable, and share the good news taking place with the people around them. To get some outside perspective, we interviewed Kristen Hare of the Poynter Institute and Tampa Bay Times, a journalist who covers journalism across the nation, to get some insight. How can we save local journalism in Olympia? Here are a few pointers from Poynter.

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One Reply to “#64: How to Save Local Journalism”

  1. Jeffrey Showman

    Rather than making decisions about how to best serve news to the community, McClatchy – the corporate owners of the Olympian – made decisions exclusively to save money.

    A month after we re-subscribed, they shut down their Tacoma printing plant, throwing hundreds of press operators out of a job. Because printing the paper was outsourced to Vancouver, the longer delivery time meant that the news deadline fell way earlier. As a result, there was no “news”, in the meaning of something fresh. No sports scores, everything was stale.

    Before that, the McClatchy chain decided to treat its Olympia subscribers – the citizens in the Washington State capitol – as a second-class citizens for its Sunday newspaper. A traditional Sunday paper has many sections reflecting the fullness of our lives: not just political news and sports, but also business news, gardening, food, books, films, travel, the gamut of peoples’ interests. While Tacoma subscribers still got a Sunday paper with these features, Olympia subscribers got three pitiful sections, one page – ONE PAGE.

    We are long-time news supporters. I was editor of both my high school and college newspapers, and wrote a couple of free-lance articles for Seattle weeklies. My wife’s father was a life-long pressman. We wanted to support our local newspaper, but ultimately let our subscription go because it was just too worthless.

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