Kevin Slimp: So who’s next? St. Paul or Saratoga Springs?

by Kevin Slimp, stateofnewspapers.com

I had planned to spend time with my son this evening, but somewhere between Dan Rather’s live announcement titled, “How Wall Street is Killing Newspapers,” and late-breaking news concerning the staff rebellion at The Denver Post, my plans went out the window. That’s okay, Zach gets a kick out of watching me playing the “watchdog” role.

The news out of Denver wasn’t totally surprising to me. As far back as 2010, I was predicting that the big newspaper groups were going to begin falling like dominoes sometime around 2019 or 2020. Let’s face it, even with tax laws that favor corporations who choose strip entities to the bone, while carving hefty profits in the meantime, there had to come a day when someone said, “Enough.”

I have great respect for the staff of The Denver Post. When people are pushed so far into a corner that there is no room to breath, they have a choice: accept death or fight.

Our friends in Denver are fighting.

Sure, it would be easy for me to sit back in my comfy chair in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1337 miles from the closest Barolo Grill, and cheer my comrades at The Post.  But what you probably don’t know is that I took a similar stand recently, accepting great financial risks, so I could write these words you are reading right now.

Like my new friends in Denver, I said, “Enough.”

But this isn’t about me. The brave editors, reporters, designers, ad reps and route carriers in Denver are taking up this fight for me today.

They are also facing this fight head-on for you.

Whether you are an editor, publisher, designer, reporter, ad rep, or reader of a newspaper, this fight is for you. Even if you’re not a newspaper reader, this fight is for you.

Mark my words (and I’m not pretending to be the first to write them): When newspapers are gone, your freedom goes with it.

Why are so many university presidents happy to close school newspapers? Why are politicians so quick to accuse newspapers of spreading “fake news” that doesn’t suit their purposes? Why do venture capitalists buy newspapers simply to strip them of all worth, then pass the blame by saying, “I tried, but print is dead.”

Mark my words: Denver won’t be the end of this story. California newspapers, so dominated by Digital First, probably won’t make the first move. My guess is that someone will eventually take a stand in St. Paul, Minnesota, Saratoga Springs, New York, or Boulder, Colorado in support of their colleagues in Denver.

If they do, you don’t need to remind me that I predicted correctly. I’d prefer you join the fight.

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