Many of you know that I was sports editor for the Malden, Missouri Delta News-Citizen for about ten years. The last three years I wrote the column, “A Different Drummer” which was the predecessor of this blog. I chose to leave the newspaper earlier this year for personal reasons.
Several of my former readers predicted that the paper would have to shut down without me to report local sports or to allow the paper to publish my column. I really appreciated what they said, understanding that they were friends trying to make me feel good, or fans who genuinely liked my work…or both.
A few weeks ago the Delta News-Citizen announced that it would be combining with the Dunklin Democrat, a sister paper which is published about 40 miles away. While Malden is at the top of Dunklin County, Kennett, where the main office will be, is close to the southern edge.
Recently I had heard a rumor that the Delta News would be shutting down at the end of 2017. When I worked there I saw some indications that the paper was on a downhill slide but kept my fingers crossed. You never know.
Some have assumed that I would be happy that my former employer is basically shutting down.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. I wish them no ill-will. In fact, I hope they succeed.
You see, I love this area. I was born and raised in Malden. I left to serve my country as a Marine and again to attend the University of Missouri at Columbia. There I met my wife and we started our family, then we moved to Malden where all six of our sons grew up.
Residents of an area need to know what is happening. Sure, sure, you can get news on the TV. Unfortunately, television news programs cover a large area, and have roughly 30-60 minutes to dispense that info. All the news they report must fit into that time slot. I watch it many days because I have that time free for the most part. I can definitively say that I usually hear nothing about my local area beyond a general weather report.
Also, for the most part, the pertinent area news they do cover is presented in generalities. They just don’t have time to present all the details that interested people want.
Voting information? Who is running? What do they stand for or against? What issues are up for a vote? What are proposed new laws intended to do? Again, television news can only present generalities about SOME of the issues voters might be interested in. Few can be covered in detail.
In our area it used to be said that, if your kid did something good it would be in the Delta News, but they had to commit a crime to be on one of the area television news programs.
Radio news has the advantage of being something you can listen to in the car, but the absence of pictures or video limits the information they can share.
You might argue that the news can be gleaned from the internet. Yes, that could be a good format if someone can find a way to justify the time and effort it takes to produce it…and to do so profitably.
Not to mention the difficulty of taking a readable-sized screen into many people’s favorite reading room…la toilette, or out on the porch with a cup of coffee.
As reported in the Delta News-Citizen, it will combine with the Dunklin Democrat which has long served Kennett, Missouri and vicinity. Ostensibly my hometown area will receive even better coverage in the newly formed Delta Dunklin Democrat.
Whereas the Delta News has been a weekly paper, the new paper will go to press three times per week – Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, which should give readers information on a more opportune schedule than now.
In the article, Dunklin Democrat Regional Manager Mike Smith explained, “By merging the two publications, readers in Malden will be able to receive more local news in a more timely manner. We are excited about this merger, and feel like the residents of Malden will see an increase in local news as a result.” Smith also assured area readers that they will continue to receive the content they were accustomed to in the Delta News-Citizen. In addition, they will gain access to several columns that are mainstays of the Dunklin Democrat.
I hope area news fans will give the new Delta Dunklin Democrat a chance. Obviously it will be more expensive since it will be a thrice-weekly paper rather than a weekly. But I say, give the “new” paper a chance to rise or fall on its own merits
Give it a chance, even if “A Different Drummer” won’t be in it. Don’t worry though; you’ll still be able to find me here.
As print news ceases production all across the country, I see more and more reports predicting the demise of the newspaper. Some even claim that newspapers are no longer relevant and just haven’t realized they’ve already died. They could be right.
Maybe I’m just an old guy longing for the good ole days, but I will mourn the old hometown newspaper.
I’m rooting for the Delta Dunklin Democrat.
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