Hug a reporter today

The newspaper business is taking a beating these days. Check out the latest news on the once-symbiotic relationship between the Associated Press and its member papers.

In our own backyard of St. Louis, we’re seeing tighter budgets and declining readership lead to eliminated positions, emergency re-assignments and desperate editing. Some of us at Standing have had the honor of working with long-time reporters at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for years, sometimes decades. We’re saying goodbye to old friends.

As I discussed with a local media acquaintance recently, the corporate communicator depends on strong media relationships. We apply their insights to infuse new information into our key messages. We challenge one another on transparency, balance and accuracy. We share information on common community issues.

Recent cutbacks have ripple effects. Not only are relationships broken, but the depth and efficiency of coverage declines as people are shuffled among skeleton crews. This impacts consumers, too. We get bits and pieces of stories, or half-hearted articles that don’t have the benefit of a longtime beat reporter.

Internationally, we’re seeing cries for more in-depth reporting… dubbed “slow journalism” or “contemplative journalism” by Newsweek‘s Stryker McGuire. Today he heralds the strength of printed media. (I know this will get some of you riled up!)

“Though coverage of world affairs can now be found in abundance online, such information will pass by the casual reader, says McGuire. “There’s a really important difference between making an effort to get stories online and having a newspaper that you get every morning of your life, that lands on your doorstep and you open it up and are exposed to things that you would not even know to look for.”

I would guess that McGuire’s perspective offers a glimmer of hope for struggling journalists who are dedicated to their craft. For all of you reporters and editors out there–print, online and otherwise… please know that I personally and professionally value your role in creating quality journalism that helps to educate and inspire each of us. I’d hug you if I could!

Written by Standing Partnership

  • Pat Simpson

    Group hug, Christi! I, too, reach for my morning Post-Dispatch (almost) before I roll out of bed in the morning. What disturbs me is the way substance has been watered down and replaced with a push to the Web site for more details. There is nothing better than that first cup of coffee and a fresh, unread newspaper at 5:30 am!