First Person: Why I Still Work in the Newspaper Industry

by on September 16th, 2014
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When people hear that I still work in the newspaper industry, they look at me funny. Without their ever asking I know they are wondering why someone with an MBA in marketing as well as a degree in journalism is hanging on to a dying industry. The answer is that I love my job.

I live in a very small community. I point that out because if I lived in a large town or a city, I would most likely have left the industry years ago. Locally, I wear several employment hats. Not only do I write for the paper but I also use my marketing degree to help keep the paper going.

I help with marketing for strangely unselfish reasons. Living in a small town if a lot like having a really large extended family; you tend to care about what happens to those around because you know them and are close to them. Everyone I work with is a friend. Not the nodding acquaintance type friend but the type who visit you in the hospital because they are worried about you type. Most of them do not have a fallback career. If the paper folds they will lose their only source of income.

I also help because I very strongly believe that we need local newspapers. Small towns are often overlooked when larger newspapers write their articles. These larger papers tend to focus on their own immediate area. Small towns need a voice as well. The closest large newspaper generally has a daily headline about either some big political issue or a crime. My local paper has at times had headlines about the man who grew a giant sunflower or the woman who found her 4th great grandmothers diary in the attic. I like stories like that and they help foster a stronger bond in our community.

I write for the paper because I love to write and, to be perfectly honest, I’m nosey. I like to know what’s going on and I’d prefer to know about it first. Writing for the paper gives me the ability to do both.

I also like a challenge. Writing for the local paper gives me the challenge of reporting the story but also when I have to report on negative things that have taken place, such as a crime, I can also do so with as much compassion as possible. In a larger area the focus is on the story at all costs. Locally it’s on getting and reporting the story but never forgetting the human element. We don’t hurt people when it can be avoided. That’s a standing policy at the paper.

The newspaper print industry is in trouble. The desire and ability to have instant access to the news has driven a number of papers out of business. I firmly believe however that small local papers can survive by offering news that isn’t time sensitive and is more human in its focus.

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