Embarrassingly, the Appeal celebrated a birthday this month and we let it sneak up on us. It was in August 170 years ago: the first publication of a newspaper that was eventually bought out by another newspaper which eventually merged with another newspaper and morphed into the Appeal.
What can we say?
The newspaper industry has fallen off. It’s done so before and has always come back through some combination of technology and innovation and grit. How will we proceed? Not sure. And about every time we start bragging that we’re getting it right, some other menace pops up (a pandemic, for instance), so we’ll refrain for now. But we’re convinced that news reporting can still be a hot commodity.
And we would like to brag just a little about our staff. From the press crew to the mailroom gang, advertising crew and business office ... we number far, far fewer than just a few years ago. And they’re all working hard.
The newsroom now employs six of us to report, write, edit, design pages, load stuff to the web. My staff hustles like no other.
In Friday’s edition, we reported on local leaders analyzing the pandemic situation, local firefighters spreading out to fight wildfires around the region, got comments from city officials about accusations made, wrote about what was said at a women’s leadership roundtable, gave notice about a protest against the trafficking of children, recounted grants made by the water agency, wrote about a rice yield contest, a death near Camptonville, who was arrested for felonies and DUIs, a listing of events (what events there are), updated you on the latest COVID-19 information, reported on a hunger strike at the jail, brought you some of the happenings in a court case -- the first jury case since the pandemic started -- reported an arrest for vehicle theft and gun charges, updated you on the hunt for someone considered armed and dangerous, localized a feature story about sports mascots, and the latest on hometown hero Max Stassi’s big league experiences …
Other than a press release here and there, it’s all information that we procured through effort. There will always be someone wishing we’d reported on something we didn’t. But we report a lot.
We did the same amount of reporting in the Thursday paper, we’re doing it again in today’s paper. Five days a week. We’re not sending anyone to D.C. or even Sacramento for stories. We’re probably not going to be able to spring for a huge investigative piece (chipping away is our game now). But we’re local. That’s what we’re here for.
Who else is doing our volume of local news?
So where are you social media pros? Where are you video bloggers? Where are you free papers? Where are you big-town TV personalities? Where are you Facebook page moderators? Where are you, PIOs? Where are the ones that are supposed to do what we do? Where are the tons of new stories and new information they’ve gone out and procured?
I’ll hush now.
(After I thank everyone who contributes to the Appeal, consumes our products, advertises with us, sends us letters and comments on our posts, works with us, works for us. Happy 170th birthday to us all.)
Ugh: Imagine a gentleman named ... Dennis, let’s call him ... uttering these remarks:
-- So ... there’s no cure for a virus that can be killed by sanitizer?
-- When this virus pandemic is over, I still want some of you to stay away from me.
-- So ... my chance of survival is dependent on the common sense of others?
-- Even the trash goes out more often than I do.