Community journalism, why it matters

Last week, McClatchy, the company that owns the Kansas City Star, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transferring control of the city’s major daily newspaper to the hands of a New York-based hedge fund.

Every reporting news source indicated that daily operations at the paper would not be affected. That said, savvy journalism and business people already know that the brand ambassadors from 17th & McGee have already paid their advertisers a visit, reassuring them that everything would be fine. 

The final scenes of the 1977 cult film classic Animal House come to mind when an ROTC cadet, played by Kevin Bacon, gets stampeded by panicked parade goers fleeing the pandemonium created by the rogue fraternity Delta House. All is well, remain calm.

Well, all is most definitely not well at The Star and last week’s filing isn’t good news for local newsreaders much less the overarching effect it will have on local news coverage.

Hedge fund managers, on the other hand, are rarely, if ever, concerned with the day-to-day operations of the companies, in this case, news organizations in their portfolio. 

Chatham Asset Management, the hedge fund that now controls The Star, also has a controlling stake in the National Enquirer. We won’t pursue the guilt by association but it bears mentioning here.

Additionally, Chatham has a reputation in the industry for gutting newsrooms and closing poorly performing properties in its portfolio in order to bolster returns for its shareholders. 

Sadly, McClatchy has now become a profit-loss widget beholden to shareholders and the fund manager instead of a news organization beholden to its readers and the journalist’s creed of ethics.

Despite claims to the contrary, the move will directly impact The Star’s ability to continue operations.

Today, however, we’re not here to dance on the grave of The Star, we’re here to reinforce the importance of locally-owned, community journalism. 

Community journalism outlets such as The Jackson County Advocate, The Kansas City Call, Kansas City Hispanic News, and this community news outlet continue to provide the local news content that the major daily often ignores.

Locally-owned, community news organizations are embedded in the communities they serve. 

The Northeast News is no different with the majority of our news staff living in the Historic Northeast community. That’s something we’re incredibly proud of.  

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt spoke at last year’s Missouri Press Association convention and specifically noted that community newspapers were “in the sweet spot of news organizations.” 

We here at the House of News are proud to offer news and information on all our media platforms to the Historic Northeast community. 

From neighborhood association meetings to new policing techniques that improve safety to our community or chamber of commerce business news, it all adds up to quality content created in and delivered to our community.

While last week’s events directly impact the news landscape in Kansas City, locally-owned community journalism outlets continue to quietly chug along, delivering award-winning content to readers. 

If you believe in quality, locally-owned community news outlets, then support those organizations with your subscription or advertising dollars. In doing so, you’re not buying a new vacation home for the owner, you’re supporting a managing editor’s ability to provide for her family and a circulation worker’s ability to stay in quality housing. 

You’re also supporting a community news organization that actually cares for the community they serve.

Support community journalism, support the Northeast News. 

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