Ashlanders Paul Steinle and Sara Brown are on a literary pilgrimage to answer the question Who Needs Newspapers? They have journalistic backgrounds—Sara was vice president of human resources at The Columbian in Vancouver, Washington and manager of organization development at the Los Angeles Times and Paul was the president of UPI and the Financial News Network and a TV news director at KING-TV in Seattle. With an RV, video cameras, a fedora and dog, they are traveling to all 50 states to interview newspaper professionals.
They are asking publishers, editors and reporters how they are doing, how they are changing and why they are committed to staying in the news business . Some, like the publisher of the 118-year old family-run Baltimore Afro-American, see it as crucial to maintain a perspective of advocacy that would be otherwise lost. Other papers are finding new ways to preserve local investigative reporting and their watchdog role on multiple platforms and with less staffing. Some are experimenting with hyper-local, interactive, coverage and citizen journalists,. Steinle and Brown are helping to educate us about what really happens in the news business and perhaps dispelling the notion that news is free. After all, you get what you pay for, as my grandmother used to say.
And I have to admit, I’m fascinated by the names of some the newspapers. Many are called the something-of-other News, of course, but there are also The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , The Day in New London, Connecticut, The Delaware State News, The St. Petersburg Times, The Rome News-Tribune , The Illinois Northwest Herald , The Kentucky Mountain Eagle (a must read report), The Portland Press Herald, The Afro-American, The Boston Globe, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, The Columbia Missourian (show me), The Concord Monitor , The Record, The Fayetteville Observer , The Sequoyah County Times ,The Providence Journal, The Post & Courier , The Bristol Herald-Courier , The Dominion Post , The Wisconsin State Journal, and The Burlington Free Press.
What do those names tell you?