There’s talk in Arcadia about this newspaper. Talk being social media, where complainers flock like birds. The talk in this case is about our newspaper’s coverage of local sports. About how the newspaper is cheating kids by limiting stories printed about them. The information on this scandal derives from one source, and then ripples out on a small wave of distortions that would be funny … if it wasn’t.
As the editor, facts should be shared. First, it is true that our newspaper has a tighter budget for freelancers, the writers such as Carol Mahler, Jimmy Peters, Sue Hoffman, Steve Knapp and Luke Wilson. These and others are amazing people doing something more for love than money. Though that helps, for sure. But it is a fact that as American newspapers vanish, survivors watch their pennies. And without sacrificing storytelling.
I had an interesting talk with Luke Wilson, this paper’s great columnist/cartoonist for 30 or so years. Luke shared that our newspaper not that long ago had sales staff, editors, writers, a publisher, typesetters, design and layout staff. A bunch of people.
Today, three of us run the show … with the help of sacrificing freelancers, wonderful men and women with powerful storytelling skills and deep curiosity. And that doesn’t include the dozen or so club members, churches, schools, columnists and others supplying their stuff. Jamie Pipher, Adrian Cline, Sheriff Potter and Nadia Daughtrey come to mind.
But because of such things as social media’s townsquare, constant news and that we don’t read like we had, newspapers insanely close. You don’t need the numbers. This is why it’s so nice for large companies such as our new parent, Adams Publishing Group, to keep community journalism going, to publish print products or on the web. Even then complaints about paywalls, which pay for what is read, flourish. Everyone wants free stuff, I guess. But business survivors watch budgets, work to give the best product for the dollars they’ve been allotted, no different in our home ... or we lose that too. You just wish the federal government worked like this.
So what’s the point? When I see a social media post to boycott the Arcadian or the parent Sun newspaper in Port Charlotte, it can make you nuts. Never complain, never explain, it’s what Henry Ford Junior once said. Which is easy with millions in your socks or under the mattress.
But know that quality is our goal, always. Modern life is what it is. Will we ask coaches, parents or you to shoot us event photos or to report in? Absolutely. This is a community. A small one. We should have one another’s backs, not placing knives in them.
Craig Garrett is editor of the Arcadian