Vi­tal role of news­pa­per re­mains the same even as busi­ness changes

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS -

When you grow up in the news­pa­per busi­ness it’s hard to rec­on­cile the fact that we are now reach­ing more peo­ple than ever be­fore yet our rev­enues con­tinue to de­cline.

I was stunned seven years ago when The Ok­la­homan was sold to Colorado busi­ness­man Philip Anschutz. I was stunned again last month when GateHouse Me­dia bought us. One con­stant through all of this has been a staff of Ok­la­homans ded­i­cated to the mis­sion of bring­ing you strong, fair and bal­anced jour­nal­ism. For those of you who have be­lieved in us and sup­ported us, thank you.

The strength and qual­ity of jour­nal­ism is di­rectly com­men­su­rate to the level of sup­port it gets from its com­mu­nity. We need your con­tin­ued sup­port. I have long said that for jour­nal­ism to sur­vive, ci­ti­zens will have to pay for it.

I some­times won­der if peo­ple un­der­stand the ser­vice we pro­vide. In speak­ing to groups, I of­ten ask in­di­vid­u­als to take on a task. “Could you go to all the meet­ings at City Hall and mon­i­tor how our tax dol­lars are be­ing spent? How about the Capi­tol? Will you at­tend hear­ings and meet­ings to let your friends and neigh­bors know how elected of­fi­cials are im­pact­ing their lives? While you are at it, could you at­tend all the Thun­der games? OSU? OU? Fri­day night lights?”

I’ve never had any tak­ers. It’s time-con­sum­ing to cover the news; to mon­i­tor the work­ings of gov­ern­ment, is­sue warn­ings when needed, cover dis­as­ters, in­form read­ers of new laws and so much more. An in­formed cit­i­zenry is the be­drock of our democ­racy. We take that task to heart ev­ery day when we work to keep you in the know.

We’ve also been by the side of Ok­la­homa busi­nesses to help them grow. Some of those busi­nesses were built on the shoul­ders of The Ok­la­homan.

Though chal­leng­ing, I be­lieve our fu­ture is bright. GateHouse Me­dia is just that, a me­dia com­pany. Their sole fo­cus is to help their news­pa­pers re­main strong, help them grow. You will see changes com­ing to our printed news­pa­per. Sec­tions will be con­sol­i­dated. And at the same time, our dig­i­tal of­fer­ings will grow larger.

With GateHouse comes ef­fi­cien­cies and scale we just didn’t have as a stand­alone news or­ga­ni­za­tion.

I am also cre­at­ing a board of am­bas­sadors. We will have a di­verse group of res­i­dents who will meet quar­terly and bring new voices to our ed­i­to­rial pages. The tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tive voice of The Ok­la­homan will stay in­tact, but you will see a broad ar­ray of con­tri­bu­tions from the larger group of am­bas­sadors.

I am hope­ful we can bring civil dis­course to a truly di­vided so­ci­ety. We will of­fer var­ied opin­ions with re­spect and ci­vil­ity.

Some changes you will like; oth­ers you won’t.

But at day’s end, it is up to the peo­ple of the greater metropoli­tan area of Ok­la­homa City to de­cide: Do we want a daily news­pa­per? Do we need strong jour­nal­ism for the health of our democ­racy? Could we con­sider our­selves a ma­jor league city with­out one?

We are here for our com­mu­nity and we are count­ing on our com­mu­nity for sup­port.

Kelly Dyer Fry

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