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Newspapers Are Working – So Subscribe

Solon Economist – 2016

Despite significant decreases in staff and other expenses, many newspapers crank out stories relevant to our daily lives.

For example, Jason Clayworth and Brianne Pfannenstiel published a full-page article about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell’s tenure at Younkers in the Gannett newspapers on Monday. I don’t know how many people will read the article but the fact newspapers crank out copy for Iowans addicted to politics says something positive about the fourth estate, even if having to re-litigate the quotes attributable to the Iowa GOP is somewhat annoying.

Also on Monday, the Cedar Rapids Gazette had front page, above the fold coverage of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney’s completion of a 99-county tour of Iowa. Delaney won’t likely be our next president but having the field to himself gives him name recognition he won’t be able to get once more Democrats jump into the presidential race.

I’m told newspapers run non-political stories as well.

Blog for Iowa encourages people who read newspaper coverage on line to subscribe. Without paid readership advertisers won’t buy ads. Without revenue, newspapers will cease to exist. If newspapers cease to exist… well that would be a much different bag of cats. In fact, I predict cats and dogs is all you will read about. While personal, funny, sad, and sometimes delightful, a story about pets is not news.

There may be no saving larger newspapers. As we’ve seen in our county, large news organizations are consolidating, and local coverage has been stripped from daily ink. Instead of getting the Iowa City Press Citizen, most people here read the Cedar Rapids Gazette because of its breadth and depth of coverage. There isn’t even a Sunday edition of the Press Citizen here, and the opinion page runs only a couple of times a week. Team Gannett produces valuable coverage, but it is not local. It is not enough.

Small, local papers with subscriptions of a thousand readers are doing well in Iowa, so if your community has one, spend the nominal annual fee and subscribe. It’s a great place to start and coverage of city council, school board and community activities is second to none. Even though your large local paper may be on the decline, subscribe. I prefer digital so I don’t have to recycle the newsprint. But either way would be better than the alternative.

Thomas Jefferson is reputed to have said, “Were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Just imagine what our lives would be like with government but no newspapers. Subscribe.

~ First posted at Blog for Iowa