WyoFile: Changes in the newspaper business make for strange bedfellows

by Kerry Drake

When I got my first job as a reporter, I knew I was not entering a career field that would make me wealthy. Even in 1976 it was hard to stretch $100 a month very far.

But like my fellow journalists I was confident that I could count on always having a job. Conventional wisdom held that local newspapers were so indispensable to our society — so critical to keeping the community informed, engaged and self-aware — that they were like the Treasury Bills of employers.

We had the first part right, and still do. But with the benefit of hindsight everyone can see the flaw in our logic: community value and financial stability are not the same thing. Too often they’re not even related. And, of course, the newspaper industry has been going downhill in a hurry for several years. The existence of a website called “Newspaper Death Watch” is not a good omen.


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