Thursday, January 27, 2011

Killing us softly

Years ago, when my husband and I heard a rumor about The Daily Herald looking to buy the weekly newspapers in north Utah County, we laughed.
"How silly," we thought. That could never happen.
But it did and soon after the monumental purchase, my husband was pulled over to the Provo main office to be a duty editor.
From there, it was a short trip to managing the five remaining weeklies to being let go in a reduction of force.
He didn't get a goodbye party or a gold watch. In fact, he barely got out with a few files and bits of memorabilia. The Daily Herald didn't want his departure tied to the shutdown of the papers a few months later.
Now they're axing the south county papers, including the Springville Herald which has been the baby of the Conover family for decades. The family is losing a loved one and the town is losing an important outlet.
The Daily Herald management is explaining that for the preservation of their core project, the decision is a necessary one.
Perhaps at this point, it is.
But when the process started with Pulitzer, the directive was "don't kill the weeklies." They didn't. But they did pull back on financial resources and cut back on support. The correspondent budget was slashed and the editors tried to push the freelancers to do lots more for lots less.
Then Lee Enterprises took over and things got even worse. The recession was here and Lee was losing money in every direction, so again, budgets were cut to make up the deficit.
I'm sure today the situation is dire. It's a tough go everywhere for newspapers — just ask those of us not working at The Deseret News right now.
But the loss of weekly newspapers in these little cities in incalculable. No one cares about the local issues and goings-on as much as an editor and writers who live in the place. No one else will respond to the readers and subscribers with as much passion.
My heart goes out to the Conovers and their family and to the Spanish Fork, Springville and Nebo Reporter communities.
Their presses have been stopped.


  1. AMEN! Perhaps the bloggers will see the gap and take over. That why I started mine at

  2. Sharon, when I heard from Cal Walker and Jason Flinders that the despicable Daily Herald had shut down the south county weeklies, I was not surprised. I warned Marc two years ago that the Herald would do that. He assured me that Rona Raife would never do such a thing. saying that she and the other Herald bosses had learned from their predecessors' mistakes that put North County Newspapers under. Rona Raife and her lieutenants have clearly forgotten the lessons from that fiasco.