As I leave, I remember why I do this
by Chuck Anderson
Jul 17, 2009 | 2618 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’ll be moving to Oregon in a few days after a few years at the editorial helm of the Press-Banner. I’m going from one local weekly paper to another, the Wallowa County Chieftain in Enterprise, in the far northeastern corner of the state.

Wallowa County, where cattle outnumber humans and Republicans outnumber Democrats, is a little different from our twin valleys.

But the game called community journalism is the same. Wallowa County depends on the Chieftain, the county’s only newspaper other than a daily published in a neighboring county.

In my office here, every day we receive volumes of news releases about events and subjects outside our area. We toss them in the recycling bin. My mantra ever since I first sat in the editor’s chair has been “All local, all the time.”

That’s why, as I recently told Tom Honig, former editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, most weekly papers will survive the turmoil that has gripped our larger daily brethren: Because the weeklies publish news overlooked by the dailies, TV and the Internet.

As a result, while you can stop reading the Chronicle and get your fix of national and international news on the Internet and TV, it’s rare that any local news on our pages makes CNN.

You might find it on Yahoo! News, Google News or others of the so-called news “aggregators.” That’s only because they prowl weeklies’ Web sites, swiping what we’ve devoted time and resources to reporting. Without newspapers and AP and Reuters news services, pickings on Google News would be slim indeed.

When you read or hear about the “downfall of the newspaper industry,” remember that they aren’t considering the nation’s thousands of community weeklies. Sure, even small weeklies have felt the pinch of the recession and responded accordingly. A few have even closed.

But competition from TV and the Internet has never been much of a concern for the weeklies. As I told my new staff in Enterprise, community news presented on newsprint isn’t about to die.

Chuck Anderson relinquishes the Press-Banner editor’s chair to Peter Burke on Monday, July 20. After that, contact him at 1chuckanderson@gmail.com.
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