RPD: Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick

10th in a 2022 Series*

UPDATE: The local newspaper story now will air this Sunday. Yesterday’s (Jan. 23) time slot was overrun by the NFL playoff game on CBS. Be careful with that “next” reference.

You would think by now the national media would realize a headline like “The fading future of local newspapers” is a cliche. A very worn one at that. But persists they must. I guess the 2022 angle is the battle between newspaper chain Lee Enterprises and vulture hedge fund Alden Global Capital. That juicy story — about good vs. evil, now a court fight — gives CBS’ “60 Minutes” something to chew on as it dissects how the pursuit of profits is extinguishing the soul of communities — local newspapers. All we have to go on about Sunday’s show is this “60 Minutes” promo. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. But let’s face it: Focusing on the challenges of local newspapers is so old news. Heck, it dates back to the 1920s by some historians’ accounts. Instead, putting a spotlight on local news operations overcoming the odds is a much better story. It’s inspirational. It’s forward-looking. Even better are the newspaper successes, celebrated by their trade associations, that continue despite unfair advantages afforded high tech giants masquerading as community connectors when they’re really money-sucking, outside publishers without any accountability for the destruction they commit. Cue up the ticking stopwatch.

Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project (Disclosure: I retired as publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which is now owned by Lee.)

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222 (Note: no zeros). Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

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