By Scott Carlson
In the late 1880s, American novelist Mark Twain allegedly said, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Today, the same thing may be said about America’s newspaper industry. While the newspaper industry is under intense pressure from other media and a significant number of papers have folded shop in the past decade, it’s a great exaggeration to say newspapers are dying or that no one reads them anymore.
Some of these same spurious thoughts were running through my mind as I was preparing to participate last month on a virtual panel with two other local journalists (Tesha Christensen of the Midway Monitor and Kelly Smith of the Star Tribune) for the Como Community Council’s Sunday speakers series. Our panel discussion was titled “Old Media Navigate a New Era.”
Some pundits tend to characterize newspapers as “old media” that aren’t keeping up with the times or readers’ preferences. But the real truth is that newspapers are more relevant than ever with scores of them having adapted to the times by running impressive websites and investing in digital communication.
In her slide presentation during our panel discussion, Tesha noted that people of all ages continue to read newspapers, both in print and online. For example, people in Generation Z (those people born between 1996 and 2006) are more likely to read print only rather than digital only, according to data from Vividata. And “cross-platform reading is consistent across all generations.”
Meanwhile, it is undeniably important that newspapers as providers of straight news and information are playing a major role today in our democracy, especially in an era of increasing political turmoil.
However, despite all of the challenges of the difficult past year, the Bugle is enjoying strong community support. That is something to celebrate as we near the time of our annual board meeting, which will be held virtually at 7 p.m. on June 22.
We will tell you more, at our annual meeting, about the strategic planning we have undertaken in the past several months and where we see the Bugle heading in the near- and longer-term future.
Farewell to three board members
As we near the end of our 2020-2021 fiscal year this month, we give a hearty “Thanks” to some folks whose terms are expiring on our board of directors.
Our three outgoing directors are chairperson Gabrielle Lawrence, past chairperson Liz Danielson and board member Merry Rendahl. Each woman has made significant contributions to the board, bringing thoughtful and energetic leadership to our volunteer group.
I am especially thankful to Liz, who was on the board hiring committee that three years ago brought me on board at the Bugle.
We will miss Gabrielle, Liz and Merry at our monthly board meetings. But some new folks will be joining our board in July for our 2021-2022 fiscal year. We will tell you about them in our July issue of the Bugle.