Small-Town News and “The Value of Accuracy”

Over at The Atlantic, David Beard writes about The Libraries Bringing Small-Town News Back to Life. The story’s not, to my mind, a recommendation that Whitewater’s library should publish a news site – Whitewater has digital and print publications in town and nearby. The story’s interesting for how important accuracy is to news publishing: When […]

Print Retreats to Print

Local print publications are struggling, and so they’ve decided to retreat to print publishing. See Twilight (Part 1 of a Series). At the Gazette, they’ve established a high paywall (after one three articles viewed per month), and as for ambitions for Walworth County, one need only consider what happened to that publisher’s At the […]

Care at the Point of Injury

A post from early December – ‘Don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel great!’ – outlined the problem of boosterism & babbittry: it urges people to look away from real injuries and to gaze instead on delightful distractions. First the problem summarized, then the better, ethical response – The problem: A doctor […]

Twilight (Part 1 of a Series)

One reads that the Janesville Gazette is activating a full-site paywall (three free articles a month, day pass for a dollar, Facebook comment authorization, etc.). The stated reason is that the Gazette needs money (“Digital advertising and marketing don’t generate enough revenue to cover the expenses of our local journalism”). A few observations: 1. Private […]

‘Backed themselves into this corner’

There are local versions of the problem Fox News now faces as a flack for Trump. First, the Fox situation, then the local equivalent — Nationally, the Daily Beast website writes of remarks from a former Fox News contributor & panelist: [Andy] Levy, who served for 10 years as “ombudsman” and nightly panelist on Fox […]

A Telling Comparison

People in small towns, nearly everywhere in this country, have access to national programming & news on television and online. As easily as one could subscribe online to something like the Janesville Gazette, one could subscribe to the Chicago Tribune or Washington Post. Imagine, then, a choice between editorials in the Gazette and the Post […]

Construction Updates

How much time should a school district spend describing the stages of an ongoing construction project? My answer would be that very little time should be spent on the subject, with a summary of perhaps a minute or two, a more-detailed written description for reference and transparency, and brief time for pertinent questions. That’s all. […]

Appeasement or Atrophy

I wrote last week about local newspaper demographics, positing that “local readership of these publications [Gazette, Daily Union] is probably similar to that of Fox News. Nationally, newspaper readership skews to older Americans: half of newspaper readers in 2015 were over 65 years old. For Fox News, it’s a similar, if even older, demographic: half of Fox […]

Local Newspaper Demographics

One of the interesting – but hard to answer – questions about local news is the composition of its readership. Of local news publications, this question implicates professional publications like the Daily Union and Gazette (and even a longtime politician’s website like the Banner). One could guess – but only guess – that local readership […]

‘So soft I want to put them in a pillowcase’

Dave Weigel (@daveweigel), on Twitter, describes nicely the kind of questions that Trump gets from Fox & Friends: “The questions from the Fox and Friends exclusive with Trump are so soft I want to put them in a pillowcase.” I’ve added Weigel’s transcription of questions, below. Residents of Whitewater would be familiar with a local […]

Media Dependency

Concerning national publications, Eliana Johnson describes How Trump Blew Up the Conservative Media. Her observation on this point has local relevancy (both about and apart from Trump). Here’s Johnson’s key observation: “For the 89 percent of Republican voters who cast ballots for Trump, their backing represented a departure from many of the principles that have […]

Gazette Editorial Begs Paul Ryan: Call Me Maybe?

  There’s an editorial at the Janesville Gazette, hometown of Paul Ryan, complaining that Ryan won’t hold a town hall:   Paul Ryan, your constituents have waited long enough. It’s time for a town hall, even if it’s only the telephone kind. Something. Anything to show your constituents that you—not only your staff—are hearing their […]

Margaret Sullivan on Great Local Reporting

Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media columnist observes that Great local reporting stands between you and wrongdoing. (Sullivan was formerly The New York Times public editor, and the chief editor of her hometown paper, The Buffalo News.) Sullivan explains what great local reporting means: “In only 15 years, American newspaper companies slashed their workforces by […]