The Future Of The Daily Pilot
THE FUTURE OF LOCAL PRINT MEDIA
Among the many issues Tom Johnson - former publisher of the Daily Pilot and host of the "Sunday Brunch with Tom Johnson and Lynn Selich" program on radio station KOCI FM - discussed with me on Sunday was the future of the print media and, specifically, the future of the Daily Pilot in light of the turmoil swirling around the attempt by the Daily Pilot's parent, Tribune Publishing, to acquire Freedom Communications - parent of the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press Enterprise - out of bankruptcy.
WE NEED THE DAILY PILOT
During our conversation I told Johnson that I felt the Daily Pilot - our newspaper of record for more than a century - needs to find a way to survive. Although no longer "daily", it provides an irreplaceable unbiased small-town feel in the delivery of local news - the stuff we really care about.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Then, very late Sunday night, Kevin Roderick - who publishes the LA Observed blog - published an outstanding summary of the events of last week regarding the Tribune/Freedom Communications debacle, HERE. His piece provides several views of the issue and is a must-read for those interested in this situation.
A PAY WALL?
Also, Johnson mentioned the rumor that the Daily Pilot will soon have a pay wall. I've heard that rumor and had it verified by those who should know and it appears to be true. In my opinion, that would be catastrophic for that newspaper! The Register tried it and failed miserably. I fear a pay wall for non-subscribers - we subscribers would be exempt from it from what I hear - would do significant damage to the Pilot page views, those magic numbers that attract advertisers.
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER - YET
I, personally, WANT the Daily Pilot to survive and thrive. Although others have tried, so far nobody has found a way to provide local coverage better.
A "COMPETING BLOG"?
In a segue, Johnson asked about the impact of what he called a "competing blog" in town - which he described as having been generated to offset this blog. It turns out he was really talking about the Costa Mesa Public Square Facebook page - not a blog, and far from it. We briefly discussed that page - how it evolved from Bruce Krochman's original idea nearly two years ago for an open, carefully moderated site for the discussion of important issues - into a closed society where only those blessed may even view the content being discussed. We discussed the fact that the operators of the blog not only toss folks who offer opposing viewpoints, but seek them out on other sites and expel them from the CMPS for comments made elsewhere.
HYPED BY OFFICIALS
We also discussed how elected and appointed city officials use the site as their own little venue for spreading their philosophy among the true believers who inhabit the site, and how they openly tout it from the dais of their respective meeting venues as "the place" to discuss issues - even though it's NOT an open site. The hypocrisy is palpable!
NOT COMPETITION, JUST PROPAGANDA
The CMPS is not "competition" for this blog and can't even be considered as such until it's open to EVERYONE, just as we are here. Yes, to post a comment here you must register, but nobody is banned or blocked. And, in fact, since I cross-post every blog entry on my Facebook page, anybody can post comments there, too. When those officials tell the populace that the CMPS is The Place To Go, they forget to mention that it's only open for true believers, or those willing to sit quietly in the corner and not make waves.
THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY
Anyhow, thanks again to Tom Johnson for the opportunity to chat with him on these and other issues. If I can figure a way to embed the recording of the program I'll do so. Unfortunately, it appears that no podcast link is available. I'll try to figure it out...