From Neil Best's Desk: Access to Local News
As a society, we have greater access to more news than ever. It comes to us through the internet, around-the-clock. One might say the news is everywhere.
At the same time, there is a new phrase which has entered our vocabulary. News deserts. Increasingly large swaths of our communities are more and more devoid of the public service journalism many of us grew up with.
Most of the public service journalism I refer to came from local newspapers, which were built on the model of advertising creating revenues which created reporting staffs to tell the stories of individual communities. But as advertising revenues have shifted to the internet the impact on the newspaper industry has been stark.
It is estimated the total U.S. daily newspaper circulation (both print and digital) in 2017 was down 11% for weekdays and 10% for Sunday. In 2004 there were 71,640 newsroom employees in newspapers, in 2017 that number had dropped to 39,210. That trend line is continuing in 2019.
In contrast, KUNC has grown the staffing of our newsroom from one and half positions in 2001 to today, where 17 journalists work daily to be a valued resource, reporting on the issues and telling the stories of northern Colorado.
The contraction in newspaper staffs is deeply disturbing to us at KUNC. Our goal during these challenging times is to develop a greater understanding of the communities we serve. To find new pathways to collaboration that will mean KUNC can and will be there with public service journalism that is impactful and tells the stories that need to be told. To assist in ensuring northern Colorado doesn’t become a news desert.
Thank you for the vital role you play in ensuring your station, KUNC, has the resources to serve the community,
President & CEO