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Journalism: The collection and editing of news for presentation through the media. – Merriam Webster Dictionary


The second biggest story of the month – after Donald Trump’s election victory – was how the news media so badly missed the story of his broad-based appeal.

Did news organizations rely too much on pollsters, who also failed to predict his win, or was it a case of the media not being able to see beyond its own biases?

As a retired newspaperman, I have a different question: Where do we go from here? In this day of what I’ll call cafeteria news – choosing the news that fits your views – where is a citizen to get the straight scoop without the opinion mixed in?

In an earlier time of Walter Cronkite and strong daily newspapers, consumers were better off. It wasn’t that biases didn’t exist, but the media – TV and print – for the most part kept them in check.

No longer. Today, I have to listen to three or four broadcast outlets to obtain most sides of the story, or read online a handful of print products to achieve the same goal.

It’s work. Who has time to do this? And if you are under 40, you likely are getting your “news” from your smart phone, which will be thin on local or community news (thank goodness for weekly newspapers).

In a word, the state of journalism is “sad,” even in South Dakota, where the state’s daily newspapers have formed a group so they can cost-share the expense of hiring a reporter or two for in-depth reporting.


Yes. The daily newspapers, including the ones in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, sadly have lost subscribers in droves. The newspaper in the state’s largest city now has a daily paid circulation of about 27,000, or half of what it was when the city was much smaller. The late and legendary Editor Fred Christopherson must be spinning.

The newspaper recently cut back its newsroom – again – and its general decline is reflected in dailies around the state. In a noteworthy cost-cutting move, the Aberdeen and Watertown newspapers, now owned by the same company, share a publisher.

Part of this can be attributed to the onslaught of the digital age. The Internet, with all its attributes and warts, seems to have insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives. However, newspaper ownership must bear a good share of the burden for the decline because of shortsighted, foolish, and in some instances greedy business decisions.

That said, where can we get the news of the day in one stop, complete and unvarnished?


Nov. 30, 2016