Thursday, January 12, 2023

News-media roundup: Oregon paper closes; broadcasters worry about police radio encryption; others should too

UPDATE, Jan. 31: Newspapers from other Oregon towns are now in "an old-fashioned newspaper war" to serve Jackson County, reports Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times.
Jackson County is on the California border. (Google map)
The Medford Mail-Tribune, which went digital-only last fall, announced Wednesday that Friday would be its last day of publication. "The Mail Tribune’s closure will result in a dramatic loss of news coverage for the biggest population center in southern Oregon. Jackson County, where Medford is the county seat, is home to nearly 224,000," The Oregonian reports. "Travis Moore, publisher of the Daily Courier, a newspaper serving Grants Pass and the surrounding area, said Wednesday that his company would move to hire some Mail Tribune journalists and expand its coverage in nearby Jackson County."

"Police departments across the country are encrypting their radio scanner communications with an increased and frightening urgency," the Radio Television Digital News Association tells its members. "Though encryption is not a new issue, it is rapidly accelerating . . . These encryption policies look different from department to department — with some opting for a delayed release of information, others decrypting for media personnel, and many choosing to encrypt communications entirely. Was there a moment where your lack of access to radio communications led to a loss of real-time information sharing? Has your newsroom been impacted by scanner encryption? Why is it important to keep this resource available to the public, including journalists? Help us build our case by sharing your newsroom’s experience with encryption. Read more about police encryption and RTDNA's approach here."

PR for journalism: “Even if the media industry takes urgent steps like diversifying newsrooms and empowering local media, the populist media bashing won’t go away. Ignoring it is not a sustainable way forward,” Cambridge University Ph.D. student Ayala Panievsky writes for Nieman Lab. “Journalists must start campainging for journalism. . . . promote and explain journalism as a flawed-yet-necessary social institution. As media-savvy journalists should know, vague arguments about 'saving democracy' or 'checks and balances' won’t do; they’re too abstract and carry little sentimental resonance for many.”

Seek solutions: "It is not enough for stories to expose problems to societal problems; they should explore how people tackle those problems," Lauren Kessler writes for Nieman Storyboard, promoting the concept of solutions journalism, as defined by the Solutions Journalism Project: “rigorous, evidence-based reporting on the responses to social problems,” the mission of which is “to transform journalism so that all people have access to news that helps them envision and build a more equitable world.” Or, as the late Molly Ivins said, “Listen to the people who are talking about how to fix what’s wrong, not the ones who just work people into a snit over the problems. Listen to the people who have ideas about how to fix things, not the ones who just blame others.”
Constructive Institute table, adapted by The Rural Blog, shows forms of journalism and their differences.

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