Interesting surprise in today’s Star-Telegram –- a laudable and long overdue response (a half-page, color doubletruck on 12A and 13A) to the widespread misperception and speculation out there regarding the daily’s financial health and impending fate.
The house ad, signed by Publisher Gary Wortel who’s looking down-home comfortable without a tie and posed on a stool, takes on “half-truths and undocumented claims (that) have been circulating about our industry … we want you to know the real story.”
The ad meets that aim but in polite capsules that provide a few key statistics about readership, reach, ad impact and some other data that point to a newspaper that’s robust and powerful, not breathing its last breath by any means, as so many rumors claim.
But the best thing about the ad –- and why I rejoiced when I saw it –- is simply that the ad’s there and the Star-Telegram’s fighting back. The entire newspaper industry needs to follow the Star-Telegram’s lead in that respect. I’ve lamented for years the industry’s failure to use its resources (like the S-T’s house ad) to counter the dreadful effects of talkshow attacks, the credibility meltdown and other challenges. In the midst of such deadly pounding, the news industry has seemed to yawn while airing its dirty laundry as a sign of righteousness and honesty, stopping short, however, of pouring the power of its purpose, practices and justifications into the public mind. At least the S-T’s ad was aimed in that direction.
I hope the S-T’s Sunday house ad is the first in a weekly series that will offer more detailed looks at the topics it tackled. Summarized in breakout heads, the topics were: Market’s major information source; Best local reach of any media; Multimedia company with diverse product mix; Multi-platform delivery of information; Enduring community commitment.
Each topic was dealt with but in generalizations sprinkled with some stats, which certainly were welcome but far from satisfying. Made me want to know more, and I hope many other readers’ reaction was similar.
So tell us more, Star-Telegram. Help us appreciate you, help us understand journalism and your professional journalists who carry heavy loads to make it happen. Show us stuff like your staff and commitment and how they’re driving the S-T in its mission to earn the people’s trust daily and why that’s urgently needed. Don’t hold back. Give us more fight. And more ammo against misperceptions.
And if anyone's reading this, please weigh in. What's your perception of the state of the S-T? What more would you like to know about its operations? What would you like to hear from and about the staffers who work hard to give this six-county area a respectable, credible daily newspaper?