Letter: No one does news like a local newspaper

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Spider Johnk

The newspaper business is undergoing a years' long evolutionary process reaching critical mass in the last decade. The world has changed and the industry has shifted under our feet.

The cost of printing and distributing a paper on a daily basis is unsustainable. Those costs result in higher subscription and advertising rates. No one is happy. The costs eventually affect the reporting staff and news coverage capability.

The chase for ad dollars is hyper competitive.

One thing is a constant. No one does local news like a local newspaper. They can do the story deeper and with better visuals. (Award winning photography and reporting in this case.) What are local governments, school districts and institutions up to.

If you see a photo of Johnny or Jane making the winning bucket at the buzzer, chances are it was covered by the local newspaper. And, of course, now you can add video and sound in the online version. The local high school production of "Guys and Dolls" is opening this week. Don’t miss it.


For older folks (like me) the E-Paper on a tablet or desktop is a great substitute for ink on paper with many more benefits. Type too small? Enlarge it to your liking with an easy swipe of the fingers. Download your favorite photo or article in high resolution from today’s paper or from the archive. And I never need to take a stack of heavy papers to the recycling station.

For advertisers, the ability for customers to click on an ad and go to a related website...a big plus. As far as I know, print never offered that. Oh, wait, it was a coupon that you needed your client to cut out and bring in.

My Uncle Ralph moved away from the valley in the early 60s following the construction of the interstate system. He was a true homeboy, and I think he was homesick a lot. He subscribed to The Forum and got the local news three days late for the rest of his life. It still kept him connected.

For our fair weather friends who escape the cold every year, they are now staying current on local news as it happens and is reported. And think of the tens of thousands of relocated Fargo-Moorhead alums who can keep up on their favorite sports teams and local happenings with real time reporting and webcasts.

Lose the high cost of production and distribution and roll that savings into reporting talent and you’ll see more of your subscription dollars hit the ground effectively.

Like most folks, for me change is difficult. But I am looking forward to this next version of The Forum. I am thankful that the Marcils are willing to take another risk like they did decades ago--embracing what’s necessary to maintain and improve our local news reporting. A town like ours will have way less to brag about without a local paper reporting it.

Johnk lives in Moorhead.

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