The News Making The News

            “Gannett moving Advocate printing to Columbus, eliminating 74 jobs”, Feb. 27, 2014, The Newark Advocate, written by Staff reports. (any relation to Staph infection?) The headline seems to say it all. The very paper that advocates resuscitating downtown Newark with businesses and development lays off a large number of employees, and shutters its own plant. Not a good sign. Analysis anticipates the “to be expected” snide remarks and cynicism regarding Gannett’s “purely for profit” business move and sure enough, the first online commentaries are in that direction. Of course, in their criticisms no one will consider the public/private partnerships funded specifically to rectify this, like the Chamber of Commerce’s Grow Licking County or the Newark Development Partners Community Development Corporation. As Nerk Aggrivate would put it, they’ve already gotten their money. (and received their accolades in The Newark Advocate as well!) Why not just give the Wolfe’s the rest and subscribe to The Dispatch as well? Analysis finds it not to be so clear cut and straight forward.

 

            More sad (and troubling) was the article’s inclusion of ““The Advocate is very much focused on driving its long-term, successful transformation,” said Executive Editor Michael Shearer. “We are committed to pursuing great journalism, effectively serving our advertisers and working for the greater good of our communities while at the same time positioning ourselves for an increasingly digital and mobile world. We remain deeply committed to serving the vital Newark community.”” Indeed, this was the only quoted (interviewee) statement, a mini “non-editorial” editorial by the newspaper’s, well, editor. It was sad (and troubling) because it was such remarkably wonderful “corporate speak”. Here’s a guy who has been actively advocating for improvements or causes beneficial to the community, who chooses to say that what he signs off on everyday “is very much focused on driving its long-term, successful transformation.” Into what? A frog, a prince, or maybe even Lady Gaga? His official editorials are written to make it sound like he is one of us, passionately engaged in what concerns us (excellent journalistic approach to writing, following in the footsteps of the greats), and yet this mini, “non-editorial”, editorial can only express a non-specific, specifically “corporate speak” agenda (“We are committed to pursuing great journalism, effectively serving our advertisers and working for the greater good of our communities while at the same time positioning ourselves for an increasingly digital and mobile world. We remain deeply committed to serving the vital Newark community.”) Is this how one speaks to one’s neighbors, those with whom one has shared conversations over the back fence? Is this what commitment looks like in our economy obsessed culture?

 

            As mentioned previously, it is not so clear cut and straight forward. If the cynics prevail, and we become informed through the big city Dispatch or national USA Today, then what becomes of our local? What identifies and defines our neighbors? We will be uninformed, and unfamiliar, with our neighbors and our neighborhood. The unfamiliar part is the more disturbing. Both culturally and politically we may find ourselves identifying with the likes of a Howard Dean or a Grover Norquist – some outside, well-funded power broker utilizing our allegiance, our “Likes” to further their own agendas (with no regard for any local concern, let alone involvement). Or we may become completely isolated by having no connection or interaction with the greater good, totally engrossed in our own personal everyday struggle to survive – regressing into a third world outlook, mentality and identity. No, there’s value in having local reporters, educated journalists capable of bridging the neighborhood with the global. Newark Ohio News Analysis originated almost exactly a year ago precisely because there is such a lack of insight, conversation and sharing of the local, by the local, for the local. (!) If the cynics have their way, and The Newark Advocate goes the way of its printing presses, we will have even less.

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