The Walmart-ing of Community News is why locally owned community newspapers are struggling.

The scene is repeated frequently across America. A new Walmart store opens in the community and a giveaway is held designed to bring kids into the store. For the sake of conversation, let’s say it’s a bicycle. The Walmart store manager calls the local community newspaper stating that their store is raffling off a bicycle to be given to a local kid. Not wanting to miss a news story, because kids are a great pull, the local reporter, at the expense of the locally-owned news outlet, covers the raffle and all the smiling faces at the ribbon cutting and it makes great press. Huzzah! Brand new store!

Great expanded offerings inside, local investment! Hooray! The headline and story is splashed on the front pages of the local paper and everyone’s happy, right? Everyone but the ad rep for the local paper, who gets ghosted when it comes time for the paid ads to support the local reporting. It’s the Walmart model, and it’s specifically designed to shut out the locally-owned newspaper.

Locally-owned, operated, and staffed news organizations such as The Northeast News, Kansas City Hispanic News and the Martin City Telegraph are vital to the communities they serve. Their ownership and their staff are embedded in the community they report on daily. They understand the needs of their communities like only a local can and report on and advocate for those communities.

The sad fact of the matter is this: Locally owned community news outlets across the country are in real trouble, many in danger of closing after a lifetime of community news reporting. Case in point, last month, after an over 55-year run, The Jackson County Advocate closed its doors leaving Grandview/South Kansas City without a local news source. No more local school board reporting, no more coverage of the Boy Scout chili dinner whose proceeds send kids to Scout Camp. In short, the organization that took on the task and shouldered the burden of reporting on and advocating for their community is gone. Period.

The Northeast News is no exception. Lagging ad revenue brought on by the pandemic combined with the recent loss of three key accounts have put this community news source that has served the Historic Northeast community for over 90 years in jeopardy of closing its doors forever. Most recently, the Avenue’s newest grocery outlet pulled their ads (see above Walmart model) from our pages, electing to advertise with the New York City hedge-fund owned Kansas City Star’s mail program through Associated Wholesale Grocers. Quick question for those keeping score at home: When was the last time you saw The Star cover any kind of local news in Historic Northeast other than when people get killed? Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Here’s the bottom line. Community journalism needs the support of advertisers as part of maintaining a vibrant and well-informed community. It’s not like the head News Dog is getting rich – quite the contrary on a weekly draw of around $400. Additionally, if we shutter this operation, that’s five of your neighbors that are now jobless. Trust this Dog when I tell you we ain’t in this for the money. It’s our commitment to our community and our passion for bringing award winning news, produced by your neighbors, that have kept this publication in the game.

We hope you agree. If you’re a business and would like our community news organization to help you spread your wings, please contact our marketing representative. You’ll be helping a small business, but moreover, you’ll be helping to guarantee your community continues to receive locally produced, award winning news that directly impacts our neighborhood. Our community will be a better place for it.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • A lifeline for community news

    April 7th, 2021

    What was born in a “spit-balling” session during our weekly staff meeting discussing how to drastically increase revenue lost when […]

    Inching toward local control

    January 13th, 2021

    On December 17, just prior to the City Council’s holiday recess, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas filed a resolution with […]

    “Gifts” from King Frank and the Legislators

    December 9th, 2020

    Yep, you read that right, the Christmas display sponsored by the Jackson County Parks Department down at Longview Lake was […]

    Where the sun don’t shine

    November 11th, 2020

    This community-minded NewsDog is hoppin’ mad and no, it has nothing to do with the results of last week’s Presidential […]

    Missing In Action

    October 14th, 2020

    Oh-where-oh-where has Jean Peters-Baker gone, oh-where-oh-where can she be? Where’s Waldo? This civics minded News Dog would certainly like to […]

    Braggin Rights!

    October 7th, 2020

    Once again we here at the House of News have been honored by our peers in journalism for our editorial […]

    Voter Registration Deadline for the November Election is October 7

    September 30th, 2020

    State representative Ingrid BurnettGuest columnist This is the last week to register to vote in the General Election on November […]

    Follow the process

    September 23rd, 2020

    Diane EustonGuest Columnist I’m an historian who focuses on Kansas City’s unique and fascinating past who was one of the […]

  • Time for action

    September 2nd, 2020

    We’re done. This News Dog is sick of the ongoing lawlessness and criminal actions of the vagrants who continue to […]

    Rearranging the deck chairs

    August 26th, 2020

    If you’ve driven by the intersection of I-435 and Winner Road/US 24/Independence Avenue over the last few years you’re more […]

    City council gone rogue

    August 12th, 2020

    If ever there was a reason for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department to remain under state control, your gone-rogue, […]

    And the cop hate continues

    June 30th, 2020

    This community-minded News Dog normally likes to steer clear of neighborhood politics and operations. As a former neighborhood association president, […]

    A Department Gutted

    June 10th, 2020

    Last Thursday, in a carefully orchestrated and timed bit of political theater, the Jackson County prosecutor and the Kansas City […]

    Another Blue Ribbon Commission

    May 27th, 2020

    Last Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced the formation of another blue ribbon commission deployed to “study” the upward […]

    When you’re on your own, we are there with you.

    March 31st, 2020

    This week, the Dog is yielding space for a much more important message from The Missouri Press Association and the […]

    Support community journalism

    March 25th, 2020

    Over the last few weeks, this community-minded Newsdog has seen an outpouring of support on social media for local businesses […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.