Too tough to tell what future holds | Our Corner

Once again The Courier-Herald is off the press and the sky still appears to be propped up and in place, although I haven’t checked in the last 15 minutes. One moment, please…. OK, the sky is still up and I am still down – I will keep writing. I have been thinking a great deal recently about the multiple roles a newspaper plays in a community (My single-cell of gray goo needed a few extra injections of out-of-date buttermilk to keep up with this thinking stuff).

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Once again The Courier-Herald is off the press and the sky still appears to be propped up and in place, although I haven’t checked in the last 15 minutes. One moment, please….

OK, the sky is still up and I am still down – I will keep writing.

I have been thinking a great deal recently about the multiple roles a newspaper plays in a community (My single-cell of gray goo needed a few extra injections of out-of-date buttermilk to keep up with this thinking stuff).

All newspapers work and write in a community. The community may be a small town, a region, a county or a country. The process is similar in all, but the palette is different.

A newspaper is a different kind of chicken. It is a business with First Amendment protection. Although like any constitutional right, it comes with limitations and, most importantly, responsibilities.

Most businesses are concerned with keeping the doors on the hinges and selling widgets smothered in cheese.

The intriguing part of a newspaper is the number of balls that must be kept in the air simultaneously to keep the presses running.

I have read a pile of articles from around the country about the future of newspapers. Most are either misinformed or in service of great and glorious Wizard of I Am.

I learned long ago to never predict the future. I can barely predict where I will be in the next seven minutes, or remember where I am supposed to be in the next seven minutes.

The writing goddesses Sarah and Becky are constantly telling me where I should be and pointing out I am not there… wherever there is. Nothing like youth and a functional brain complete with memory. I must have had that once.

Most of the articles I come across concerning newspapers are authored by someone who is not producing a paper.

Here is a secret: No one has a clue what’s ahead – including those attractive guys with beer cans strapped to their heads calling for the apocalypse.  I have been looking over The Courier-Herald editions from the early 1900s. One thing stood out to me. Papers change and adapt to time and place.

In the 1920s, The Courier-Herald printed everything from local to national and international news. Beside a story about the president might be a piece about the spirited rummy game at Mrs. Morticia Whedudle’s house. I will not be covering rummy games anytime soon.

I am working on a bringing in a mystery columnist raised on the Plateau who is conversant with moo cows and milking. (There is a scurrilous rumor started by an anonymous source named S.G. with apparent hair that she is a secret vegan. I will be investigating this in a future column.)

In my estimation the essential ingredient for a newspaper is finding the right slurry of news, community, sports and fun. I believe writers who are interested in the subject will produce better stories – stories readers want to read.

Of course, newspapers have two avenues today – the print publication and the web.

That is broad and colorful palette.

Editor’s Note:

Seattle Opera’s presentation of Handel’s “Semele” is excellent. It is an opera the young will enjoy. It is not just for boring buttermilk-drinkers like me.

 

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