The Bump

Ski town news­pa­pers are vi­tal to the health of moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties

Powder - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - —Dave Zook

Black, white, and read all over

When I ar­rived in Lake Ta­hoe five years ago at age 30, I was seek­ing some­thing… dare I say… pro­fes­sional? I lucked out with a job at Truc­kee’s in­de­fati­ga­ble monthly news­pa­per, Moon­shine Ink, where I wrote about pow­der pur­suits and lo­cal is­sues.

I was pleas­antly sur­prised by how many lo­cals looked to us for news. Nev­er­the­less, an om­nipresent strug­gle pre­sented it­self on how to re­lay to the pub­lic—es­pe­cially the younger au­di­ence—the ev­er­green value of a news­pa­per against the quick­hit ap­peal of up­dates on a smart­phone.

Plus, the rev­enue chal­lenges out­side of that are enough to grind down even the stur­di­est pub­li­ca­tion. How to keep ad money rolling with Craigslist, Face­book, and Google? How to stay timely for a monthly pub­li­ca­tion when the in­ter­net up­dates it­self ev­ery few sec­onds?

I don’t know if we fig­ured out any end-all an­swers, but it was ob­vi­ous why our pa­per and oth­ers like it are as vi­tal as steep north-fac­ing ter­rain and latenight happy hours.

Ski town pa­pers of­fer lo­cal in­sight in a way that dis­tant web-based me­dia out­lets can’t, and I think we can all agree that Face­book just doesn’t cut it. The pa­pers and their re­porters get your town and work re­ally hard for lit­tle pay to make sure ev­ery­thing gets cov­er­age, from deep-dives into lo­cal elec­tions, to avalanche ac­ci­dents, to se­nior cit­i­zen pro­files, and ju­nior freeride comps. When a par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy event hap­pens, the lo­cal re­porters are of­ten the first ones to get the facts out na­tion­ally, via print and dig­i­tal, of­ten guid­ing the con­ver­sa­tion about the do­ings and do­ers in ski towns. All you have to do to reap their ben­e­fits is sub­scribe or grab one at the cof­fee shop.

What fol­lows is just a few ways lo­cal rags can help you learn WTF is go­ing on in your town.

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