Editor’s Note: The keywords that come to mind when it comes to local media are survival and isolation. The number of local media continues to increase, but if you look inside, it is festering. The profit structure that hangs on local governments, and because of that, the role of monitoring power is absent, and it goes even further to collusion.The damage of the vicious cycle goes back to the local people. The community function of local residents does not work, and the realization of regional diversity is also impossible. If local media cannot prove the reason for their existence, they are dead.There is a domestic success model, but for decades, the local media has not been able to find a breakthrough to the extent that survival is a hot topic. In the United States, the local media is also disorganized in the name of ‘news desertification’. The common keyword of the media that survived the crisis is solidarity with the local people. In the end, it leads to the question of how to implement sustainable journalism with local residents.Media Today visited the U.S. to ask questions and get answers. Even if it is not a clear solution, I hope it will be of great help to the struggling local media.In the era of ‘legacy media crisis’, the uselessness of ‘newspapers’ at the forefront of legacy is being discussed like an established theory. The amount of newspapers delivered to each home every morning has drastically decreased. Newspaper sales figures that say single newspapers print more than 1 million copies have also become unreliable. This is why the sarcasm of “Who reads the newspaper these days” doesn’t sound light. Of course, citizens in the downtown area are not hit hard by the ‘newspaper useless theory’. Articles can be easily found through smartphones and PCs , and if necessary, newspapers can be found in government offices, companies, and libraries. Newspaper deliveries have declined, but newspapers can still be purchased at newsstands downtown.
However, the local situation is different. Population aging is more serious as you go further into the region, which means that access to digital information is impossible. The only means for local seniors to communicate instead of newspapers are TV and radio. Those who will be hit the hardest by the crisis of newspapers are local residents. Residents of Del Rio, Valverde County, Texas, USA have experienced a crisis of ‘missing newspapers’. Del Rio News Herald , a local newspaper with a history of more than 100 years, went out of business in 2020, leaving it without a newspaper. In the United States, where the Internet penetration rate is lower than in Korea and the land is wide, the disappearance of local newspapers can lead to community collapse.
In order to save the community, there is a person who took off his feet and founded a local newspaper. Air Force ex-Joel LangtonJoel Langton ) is the publisher and editor-in-chief of 830TIMES. After hearing the news of the newspaper’s closure, he converted the website he was running into a newspaper, hired employees, and started writing articles. It was a struggle to save the local newspaper and the village. Media Today met with Joel Langton at the home of publisher Joel Langton in Del Rio on June 11 and asked him about the meaning and role of local newspapers. He explained that the local newspaper is the community’s eyes and everything. Below is a Q&A with publisher Joel Langton.
– Before the 830 Times was founded, a website was created to deliver local information. Why did you create the website?
“Because I felt the Del Rio community was not getting enough information. The goal was to present everything that was going on in Valverde County. After the Del Rio News Herald was closed, it turned 830 Times into a newspaper. It was difficult, but great. People joined. It was a stroke of luck. We are
currently producing a newspaper for Del Rio, but we plan to expand the scope in the future. Del Rio has been given the gift of being a local newspaper. But other regions? Next to Del Rio Residents of the border town of Eagle Pass even requested that they ‘need a local newspaper.’ All residents deserve access to a real ‘local newspaper’ without prejudice.”
– Worked in the Air Force before joining the 830 Times. Did the experience at that time help you start a newspaper company?
“When acquaintances send their children to the military, they advise, ‘The military will give them something better.’ It means that the experience in the military is a great help. I was the same. I learned how to write well by writing 4 or 5 articles a week. The work I do now can be said to have started in the Air Force, and being an Air Force graduate gives people confidence. The Air Force is the biggest employer in Southwest Texas. A large air base fuels the local economy, and respect for the military.
Above all, local newspapers are the responsibility of citizens. We fulfill jury duty, voting duty, etc. to guarantee our rights. I am not talking grandiosely about running a local newspaper for civic responsibility. But when the opportunity to run a local newspaper came, I considered it a blessing. It didn’t start with someone holding a gun and threatening. I liked it myself, so I started it voluntarily.”
– 830 Times is based in a small community. Paper advertisements are also relevant to the local community. They are all close, but it seems difficult to write articles critical of advertisers.
“If an advertiser holds a big event in the area, they can cover it, because it is information in the community. Also, the advertiser makes it possible to produce a newspaper. But what if the advertiser has a problem? .If the advertiser was drunk driving, I would go to the coverage like everyone else.
Establishing a relationship with an advertiser is difficult. In the past, there was a tragic incident in which two residents died. The person involved in the incident was a close friend of mine. I treat him like a brother. “I love you, but I had to report the incident. Because of this, his wife doesn’t talk to me anymore. This reality is very painful. From her point of view, she may think that I’m reporting and reporting too much. But what can I do? Heart It hurts, but our people have a right to information, and we have to do everything we can for them.”
– When it comes to news production, where do you put the center of gravity between print and online?
“For the future, we need to take care of both print and online. However, we need to consider the characteristics of the community. do.
Another important thing is how to produce good news. Residents do not get information as quickly as they would like. We want to hire more reporters to collect all the information in the community, but there are practical limitations. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to deliver the most important information.”
-Facebook followers exceed 18,000. By simple calculation, it amounts to half of the total population of Del Rio. what’s the trick
“There are a lot of people who want to hear news from Del Rio. Not all followers are Del Rio residents. If you look at the comments, there are a lot of comments saying, ‘This is news from hometown’. Everyone wants to communicate with their hometown. It is believed to have lived in Del Rio. 830 Times is Del Rio’s love room.
Usually, we share articles on Facebook, but we also broadcast local events on video. Last week, we did a live broadcast of the opening ceremony of a local event. It was a short broadcast of about 5 minutes. , 15,000 people watched. When more than 10,000 Haitian refugees gathered in Del Rio County, we visited the site and broadcast the video. At that time, more than 1 million people watched our video. It is difficult to make money through Facebook, but The important thing is that I’m telling people the news about Del Rio.”
– In the 830 Times, there is no story about American politics and economy in general. There are only articles related to the community.
“Why do we have to cover national news. Such articles are CNNYou can look it up in the big press. A local newspaper is enough to deal with only local news. Of course, when a national incident has affected the local community, the 830 Times has to step in. I wrote an article when about 10,000 refugees gathered in Valverde County. But other cases don’t need to focus. The biggest role of a local newspaper is to properly convey local news. While reading the newspaper, you should be able to grasp at a glance what the city council was doing and what happened in the region.”
– What kind of article gets the most views?
“It says that a local resident was sentenced to 70 years in prison for murder. The second is a senior engineer coaching a local football team. The heartbreaking thing is that crime-related articles are recording a lot of views. Actually, I hate writing articles like this. Why don’t stories about local sports or students attract people’s attention? Perhaps other local newspapers in Korea are in the same situation. It is true that crime-related information is important. There is also an obligation to communicate all information transparently. However, this information also fuels hysteria among residents.”
830 Times business model is advertising-oriented. Do you see it as a sustainable model?
“We are trying to place more than 50% of the total pages with advertisements. Since it is not a subscription-based newspaper, we are concentrating on advertising sales. So far, we have been able to operate. Of course, there are times when printing costs are not enough. 830 Times’ business model is It’s not perfect, so we have to come up with several models. That’s why we recently hired an accountant. It will gradually work.”
– What is the percentage of revenue from print and online websites?
“Print ads generate much more revenue. That’s why you need to pay attention to print ads. But we won’t stop there. We are also expanding our online business model. It may be important. Journalists, staff, and staff depend on the 830 Times to support their families. They feel a sense of responsibility.”
– Local governments in Korea run many advertisements in the local media through government advertisements. There is also a support law for local newspapers. What do you think of the government’s support system for local media?
“If the government supports local media so much, how can the stories be biased? It’s similar in the US. Some US local media don’t even write articles about advertisers. If they say they will remove advertisements because of the article, it is unavoidable. It is their right. The only thing to consider is removing prejudice from the article.
There is a dilemma of making money for a good article. The key is to create a trustworthy community. Sustainable operation is possible if an advertising model is built around a trustworthy community. Of course, anyone can make a mistake, and because of that mistake, you can lose an advertiser. However, efforts to deliver correct information should be centered on that. Local newspaper workers should look back on themselves. Articles should be produced based on fairness and correctness.”
– There is also a problem with the quality of articles. In Korea, criticism comes that many media outlets write or copy press releases without verification. “There
is such a media in the US as well. . If a state legislator gives a press release, it is distributed as it is. And put your own byline in the press release. Do you write the press release as it is and put your name on it? That’s stealing and plagiarism. Some journalists do that, but we don’t. The press release is published as it is and marked as a press release.”
– What role does the local newspaper play in the local community?
“It’s about disseminating information and maximizing the integrity of political leaders. Our reporters attend the Del Rio City Council, take notes and write articles about the statements and decisions. If the reporters don’t watch the council, the council members will do their own thing. Journalists are the people’s representatives,” he said. , It’s snow. You have to keep this in mind.”
– What is the ultimate goal of 830 Times?
“It’s up-to-date information about the community. Every Wednesday there’s a newspaper, and if it’s not distributed on time, you get a barrage of phone calls. It means residents are hungry for information. Knowing what’s going on in your neighborhood makes you a better citizen.” It can be.
I want to create a sustainable management model. I need a profit maximization strategy. If I can’t make money, I can’t pay my employees. We’re also planning to put advertisements in the newsletter. Through this, residents can be more I hope to provide you with good information.”
830 Times is different from other regional newspapers in Korea. Central political news and national events are nowhere to be found. It’s only news about the Del Rio area. The scope of coverage was limited to the region, but the content of the article was filled with content for residents. News from the city council, as well as sympathy for the school’s sports team, become a major gathering. Below are the main articles of 830 Times selected by Media Today.1. Haitian refugee issues, from a local perspectiveThe city of Valverde County del Rio, which shares the border with Mexico, is exposed to issues related to immigration. In particular, the city of Del Rio, where 830 Times is located, faces Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, with a population of 210,000, with a bridge. It can be said that it is a city where immigrant and refugee incidents have become commonplace. In September 2021, 15,000 Haitian refugees gathered at the border. Domestic media also reported <8,000 Haitian migrants on the US Texas border &
#39 ;refugee camp&
#39 ; Formation> (Yonhap News), <US, after whipping, border iron wall with hundreds of vehicles… “Stop Haitian refugees”> (JoongAng Ilbo) covered this news with great importance. These were quoted from major US media reports.On September 19, 2021, 830 Times delivered news about refugees from Haiti through an article titled <Under the Bridge, the Sea of Humanity>. Major US media outlets commented on the government’s refugee policy, but 830 Times focused on Haitian refugees themselves. I paid attention to why refugees came to Texas and how they are living. Below is an excerpt from an 830 Times article.”A Haitian woman on a two-month journey told a reporter that it took her a week to get from the interior of Mexico to the Texas border. She said there was no more security in Haiti안전놀이터. People were dying, they were being murdered. She said I am afraid to walk the streets of Haiti.”2. Local sports news covered as important newsIn the United States, sports are a daily occurrence. Everyone is paying attention to the results of the school baseball and futsal teams. It is a window to learn about children’s school life and is also a local event. People are interested in every move, such as who was appointed as the coach of the sports team and the results of friendly matches. The situation is different from Korea, which only cares about the results of major competitions of elite student athletes.830 Times put the sports section second when it comes to arranging article categories on its homepage. The first is a section where you can see ‘Full Articles’. This is proof that residents show extraordinary interest in sports. Local sports news often appears on the front page. The 830 Times published on the 26th of last month, on the front page of the article <Muniz Dreams of a Boxing Success Story>, which tells the story of Carlos Muniz Jr., a 15-year-old boy who finished second in the US Boxing Junior Olympics. It’s not just about reporting the competition. It showed how Muniz lived in the community and what impact his achievements had on the community. 3. The opening of a new830 Times store serving as a local love room is an important piece of information for the local community.
#39 ;S COFFEE Opens on South Main Street> details the news of a new coffee shop opening in the area. The opening ceremony was attended by the president of Momos Coffee, his family, a city council member, and a representative from the Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve been trying to revitalize downtown for quite some time. Momos Coffee is a business started by two young women, twins, so I want to support it and support a locally owned small business,” Calderon said at the opening ceremony for Momos Coffee.In Korea, newspaper obituaries are reserved for influential figures, but in Del Rio, they are used as a communication channel for local residents. It doesn’t matter what position the deceased person held or how famous he was. 830 Times depicts the lives of deceased residents and the trajectory of their lives in three dimensions. On March 10 of this year, Mr. Dan Mura passed away. He served in World War II and managed a ranch in Texas after the war. 830 Times tells the story of Dan Moora’s life, including how he met his wife, who he was close to, and where he traveled.U.S. Regional Press Planning and Reporting Team Yoon Soo-hyun, Yun Yu-kyung, Park Jae-ryeong
<This project was supported by the Press Promotion Fund, which was created with government advertising fees.>
Interpreter = Park Ji – hwan ( The University of Texas at Austin the master’s course )
<US News Visiting the Desertification Site> project will be published over 6 weeks.① Real-life regional media crisis and news desertification② Wisconsin residents who are far from local newspapers amid news desertification③ How to overcome desertification in Valverde, Texas, which has been discontinued for 130 years④ How Wisconsin local media responds to news desertification⑤ Local media crisis ‘Community impact’ responding to expansion⑥ How to overcome the extinction of US regional media