Community Relations: Whither the News?

September 23, 2010

We had a Forum this morning, and the speakers were several editors from the Richmond Palladium-Item, Richmond’s newspaper, or perhaps after today’s forum I should say Richmond’s media group.

As part of our contribution to making Richmond, Indiana a good place to learn, work, play, and raise a family, we hold a monthly breakfast Forum.  We invite our neighbors to come for 90 minutes of food, conversation, and a presentation about some matter of interest to our local community.  About the half the speakers come from Earlham itself, and about a half are other leaders in the community.

Today’s Forum focused on where the news business is going drew a crowd that over-filled the Richmond Room.  Some of the attendees were our own students, many of them taking courses in journalism.

The focus of the conversation was on how much the business of being a newspaper has changed as on-line ‘products’ have joined a daily print newspaper.  The P-I presenters showed us all the various electronic faces our home-town newspaper: on-line editions, e-mail updates, Twitter, Facebook and much more.  They noted that advertising continues to be about 85% of their revenue, but acknowledged that advertising in an on-line environment is quite a different business from print advertising.

They also noted that the Palladium-Item, like many other newspapers (or media groups) is now much more interested in working in partnership with other organizations.  As examples they pointed to new partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce and with WCTV, our local community TV station.

At the end, Ellen and I were surprised (and honored) to learn that two new internships we have worked out as a partnership between Earlham and the Palladium would be named the Doug and Ellen Bennett Internships.

This morning's Forum

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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