Shopping Local and Your Local News Coverage

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By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

I like to do all my grocery shopping in locally-owned stores. There are a few good reasons for that.

  • It keeps my money local.
  • I’m much more prone to have a good conversation at the checkout counter.

Automating checkout lines at big chain grocery stores is convenient, and I like those too. But most people have probably experienced needing to wait for a single person running six or more checkouts. They come to visit, but it’s rare that they ever say “hi.”

Recently, I was shopping at Overland Foods in LaPorte.

As I was at the checkout line, the friendly cashier asked me a question. He recognized me and wondered if I was the Publisher of North Forty News. I told him, “Yes.”

The cashier continued by asking another question. I have heard this a lot lately. “Why is it that the big corporate-owned news organizations don’t cover a lot of local stories anymore?”

My simple answer was “distant ownership.”

Your distantly-owned news organization will automate its content for many of the same reasons a chain grocery store will invest in automating a checkout line. First and foremost, cost.

When a news organization evaluates its budget, leadership must decide if they can invest in paying local Journalists or cutting back by using other resources.

The big corporate-owned dailies have gone through drastic budget reductions over the years. With actual numbers, it’s easier to give statistics, but it’s safe to assume that news budgets are continuously significantly reduced because of reduced revenue. When reading local news, do you ever wonder why you see story after story from the “wire” or afar?

Often this is a local editor’s choice to include possible stories of significance. Still, it is also a decision to fill space they usually would have filled with locally written content.

In our case, our content is almost entirely local. We have a shoestring budget for hiring local Journalists. Most of our money goes toward your newspaper’s paper, printing, and delivery.

But I have found local authors and organizations. I have scraped together a little money to hire local writers.

Over the past six years, I have refined it. But this budget is far from where I would like it to be. Hiring more people takes resources.
I am seeking more resources for North Forty News.

When I find them, I am reinvesting back into the business. This strategy builds the company and makes the content better.

While doing that, I’m also trying to diversify the company’s revenue with other products and services that benefit the community.

So, the best thing we can all do to improve local news is to invest locally, just like I do when I shop at a local grocery store.

In our case, that may be:

  • Advertising on our cost-efficient mediums (online or print)
  • subscribing
  • donating a few dollars
  • buying products from our marketplace

However you support North Forty News or another news organization, I appreciate every one of our readers, advertisements, donations, and subscriptions. And I’m looking forward to the day when we can look back and say, “Remember when we all built that together?”

Your support helps us provide coverage of Northern Colorado communities.

Support North Forty News in the following ways:

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