Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

May 6, 2013

Tidbits: The value of a community newspaper

CROSSVILLE — I'll be the first to agree the life of a reporter isn't glamorous, especially when you work at a small town newspaper. There's deadline pressure and there's the local government meetings that seem to last eons. Your social life has to be scheduled around local festivals and events and, again, more meetings. You can be called out in the middle of the night in the freezing rain to go to a crime scene or a house fire or a wreck. You'll see the best and worst of our community, and that can take a toll.

And, because this is still a small town and I'm going to run into readers as I go about my daily business, the fact that you can't please all of the people all of the time can get...uncomfortable. Sometimes people, especially those close to a story, don't agree with an outsider's — that's me and my fellow reporters — take on a meeting or event.

I've had my integrity questioned while enjoying my dinner or shopping for groceries. I've even had a few folks question my parentage outside of the 9 to 5 environment.

And when I mess up, the whole county is going to see it. Talk about pressure.

But I've never considered my job to be "bad." In fact, most days, I truly love what I do. It's interesting work and no two days are ever the same, and I believe there is real value to providing the community with in-depth coverage of what's happening right here.

Imagine my surprise, then, to find newspaper reporter ranked at the very bottom of the 2013 Career Cast jobs survey. That's right, my profession is considered a worse job than lumberjack with its low pay, remote working locations and hazardous working conditions, and enlisted military personnel with its high stress and the fact you will likely be shot at or put into life-or-death situations.

Generally, no one shoots at me as I go about my duties. Occasionally I'll be subjected to veiled or not-so-veiled critiques of my work, but I rarely feel harassed.

The low ranking comes from the stress of regular deadlines and the increasing pressure to be the first with a story. Pay for newspaper reporters has historically been on the low end of professional salaries. I can't really complain about that. I knew it going in. My professors in college asked for a show of hands of those in an intro to communications course that were "taking the vow of poverty" and training to join the print journalism profession.

But the continued stories of the demise of newspapers took a toll on people's outlook for the profession. Some are still saying that print will be dead within a decade, or at the very least, my lifetime.

The perceived decline of print journalism came at the worst possible time, the economic collapse of 2008. On top of increasing competition from the Internet, advertisers were also cutting back on their advertising budgets. That led to a belt-tightening across the industry and multi-tasking newsrooms had fewer bodies to share the work load in many cases.

But print is not dead — not by a long-shot.

Look at Warren Buffett, who has become a newspaper magnate. In 15 months, his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway acquired 28 daily newspapers for $344 million. This is not a man known for making unwise investment decisions. Why would he want to join what many have said is a sinking ship?

"Newspapers continue to reign supreme, however, in the delivery of local news," Buffett said. "If you want to know what's going on in your town — whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football — there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job."

In my opinion, community journalism is the best form of journalism. Why? Because it's the news that matters the most to you.

Sure, those knuckleheads in Washington can make a mess of things, but decisions made by your local school board will have a greater impact on your child's education than an edict from on high.

If you want to know who scored the winning touchdown in the elementary football championship, you're not going to turn to the large metropolitan papers that serve the region and you're not going to turn on CNN. You're going to look to the Crossville Chronicle.

For more than 100 years, the Chronicle has been serving the community, providing in-depth coverage of our local governments, our courts and our schools. We also offer an opportunity for our many volunteer and civic organizations to share their good work with the community, to celebrate the successes of our children and to share the pride we all have in our business community.

That's why the Chronicle is still viable and still growing in this community. While many newspapers have seen their circulation rolls decimated, the Chronicle is fortunate to have not only maintained our readership, but gained. Why? Because the Chronicle's a great deal.

In addition to the news that you won't find anywhere else, the Chronicle also offers great values for shoppers, with regular coupon inserts, information on weekly sales for those planning their shopping lists, special events, entertainment opportunities and buyers looking to connect with sellers, both businesses and in our classifieds, which are conveniently offered online.

That's a lot of value for 50 cents an issue.

That value is why I'm comfortable saying Crossville will be served by a thriving newspaper presence for years to come. Sure, we will have to adapt and change with the environment, but the local news you crave will be here.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice