Wick Communications

The long view of journalism

In journalism on May 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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One of the many good things about living in a community with many, shall we say, “experienced” residents, is that you can call on them for their expertise. Sometimes that guy you see at the library has lived quite a life.

Such was the case when Green Valley News Editor Dan Shearer found four distinguished and retired journalists in his community. Because Dan is Dan, he wanted to hear their war stories. Richard Homan, Marge Hanley, Mike Moore and Cal Lambert (no relation) sat down for an extended interview that the Green Valley News ran in Q&A format.

While the foursome is relatively pessimistic about the long-term prognosis for the ailing patient that is the nation’s print newspaper industry, all four former reporters see the value in newspapers generally and community papers specifically.

“It doesn’t pay for a metro daily to cover Green Valley, for instance; most of their circulation base has no interest in Green Valley,” said Moore, who had worked for the Kansas City Star and Chicago Tribune and was once the editor of the Society of Professional Journalists’ magazine, Quill. “But the people of Green Valley (one hopes) do have an interest in Green Valley and will therefore support a newspaper that offers local news.”

What can be done to ensure that news organizations prosper in an uncertain future? The four experienced journalists say to rely on creative and skilled reporters, to embrace a digital future and to focus on what is right in front of us. All of them think local journalism is where it’s at. Read it for yourself. …

Moore provides the kicker for the piece. He notes that journalism isn’t just a job: “I’ve always regarded journalism as a mission as well as a business. I know newspapers can continue only if they make a profit, and that’s getting terribly difficult. But in the pursuit of staying in business, I hope the sense of ‘mission’ remains. If that sense of mission is lost, all is lost.”

As long as I’m touting interesting looks at our journalism brethren, take a look at Lance Nixon’s long takeout on the occasion of the retirement of AP newsman Chet Brokaw.

Clay

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