Community Impact is a monthly paper out of Texas, and they say print’s their model and they’re sticking to it. While many newspapers are shifting focus from print editions to online platforms, Community Impact intends to keep it old school. At first glance, it sounds like brand suicide: how can a monthly print paper keep up with the demands of an ever expanding, give-it-to-me-now digital audience? But John Garrett, founder of Community Impact, says focusing on the print model gives the publication the space to build a quality product, complete with fact checking and even grammar police, areas that are woefully neglected by some online publications. And hey, Community Impact is getting delivered to 1.7 million homes every month, so maybe they’re onto something.
Three weeks ago Americans became unequivocally aware of the dramatic divide between the way we think things are, and they way things actually are. The blame, from outset, has landed squarely on the media. It’s true, journalists and news outlets are responsible for keeping the public informed. But we missed a huge swath of the nation, those areas considered rural, when we covered the election, so now what?There’s a gap, it’s clear, but the solution isn’t. To start, we can support the already operating rural news orgs through collaboration, and we can start to reconfigure our thinking around news coverage. Clearly, small doesn’t mean insignificant, and this lesson was long overdue.
Crisis of Desire
It’s not news, nor is it surprising, that people want to lay blame in the wake of the confounding election results. We should have been able to anticipate this, right? Everyone wants to blame the media and examine lack of coverage, media bias, siloed information, and so on and so on. But it’s also a super dangerous time to be a reporter. So what’s going on? We demand to be informed, but journalists are routinely suppressed and censored, and the frequency of violent physical attacks on journalists is straight up alarming. Do we want the news or don’t we? What we do know is that the next four years will be a challenging time for journalists, given the vehemently anti-media sentiments of our new president, and we can expect that our collective crisis of desire will deepen as press access becomes more narrow and coverage becomes more imperative. Another thing we know? We’ve got to press on.
We’re a divided nation right now, that much is obvious. But one thing we can agree on? We love the Donald on Twitter. His reactive, bombastic, stream-of-concious-ey Twitter presence kindles sensation on both sides and we either love to love him, or love to hate him. But here’s the thing: we, and those among us who represent the media, too, are all responsible for letting Trump’s over-the-top tweets dictate the news. We’re so busy fact checking his latest hyperbolic social media comment that we miss the real news. It might be time to recalibrate the gravity we place on off-handed social media blathering (which, heretofore, hasn’t been a problem in the Oval Office, but it’s a new day!) and attempt to focus on actual news. (We know, though. It’s hard. We’re tweeting about it right now.)
This also happened: Jill Stein collected enough money to call for a Wisconsin recount, and the Clinton camp is backing it. Stein says it’s not about changing the results, but rather taking the system to task. Of course, the recount ruffled Trump’s feathers, and the boss-elect tweeted (ugh, Twitter does it again, but it’s so good!) a baseless voter-fraud conspiracy, claiming that millions of people voted illegally. We’re not sure how he thought that would undermine the recount effort, but hey, logic has nothing to do with it, right?