Gannett, editor of USA Today and more than 200 newspapers, including the one I work for, just announced further cost-cutting measures.
I understand it’s a simple business equation. It’s hard to work the Gannett machine without mixed feelings. I try to stay with my feelings and understand how I feel.
I’m grateful to have a job at a local newsroom. As someone who doesn’t have a traditional journalistic background, I never thought that I would ever become a newspaper editor. My goal was to become a columnist.
But because I’ve worked across the desk, submitting comments, nurturing relationships, and caring about my community, I know I’m a better editor because of it.
I’m grateful to work with people who value my work, no matter what path I took to get here.
I don’t work for Gannett; I work for my community. I tell myself that. Yes, I get a paycheck from Gannett, but my daily mission is to raise the voices of this community with the intention of fostering the conversations that matter to my city.
Big earners at the corporate level don’t look over my shoulder. I would be shocked if Mike Reed even knew who I am.
The people I work with do this job because they love this community. They love it enough to engage with the public and get yelled at on public forums because the newspaper isn’t what it used to be.
The writers and editors here care enough to question every word written internally before it goes to print, because they know our precious resources are shrinking and we must choose wisely what we spend our time on.
Local news matters.
Our local elections are important.
Our local school districts are important.
Our health resources are important.
Our needy populations matter.
Our police reforms are important.
All the issues that each city grapples with are worthy of a team of journalists acting as the eyes and ears of this democracy. I don’t know who said it first, but I remember it now. “First they came for journalists. We don’t know what happened after that.”
We’re being eaten from the inside. Journalism is not appreciated by those who want to hold on to wealth and power. Capitalism does not bode well for journalism.
It’s a civic duty, but the government can’t have control either. Journalism has to be funded somehow, somehow by a public that appreciates what the profession offers.
We must be able to write the stories that strengthen our community while holding those in power accountable so those who govern our cities, counties, states and our country do so in the name of what the people said have that they want it.
How does the public learn without a robust journalistic infrastructure? What will they really know?
I’m afraid we’ll find out soon enough.
© 2022, Creator