Vital role of newspaper remains the same even as business changes
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