Now more than ever, community newspapers must work together
By Glen Miller, El Reno Tribune
Without question the holiday season has brought a wave of cooperation and sharing among residents in our state.
It is what many refer to as the “Oklahoma Standard.”
What readers have seen in recent months is that community newspapers in our state have been sharing content at a greater level due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus shutdowns hit the newspaper industry hard as print advertisers were forced to make hard decisions regarding when and where to spend money.
The trickle-down effect meant newspapers, especially those in smaller communities, were forced to do some belt-tightening when faced with smaller page counts and unfortunate staff reductions.
The situation forced newspapers to forgo the longtime competition factor in our industry and look to the greater good, which has always been serving the informational needs of our communities.
In early December, I was asked by my good friend Kyle Salomon, owner and publisher of the Jenks Tribune, to photograph the Jenks Trojans’ Class 6A-1 state championship game against Edmond Santa Fe.
While it meant a hectic day, since the game’s start time butted up close to the El Reno Main Street Christmas Parade, I agreed to shoot the game.
Later in the month, there were front page stories in the El Reno Tribune from both the Yukon Review and Yukon Progress. This was a first in my 26 years here and I do admit it was odd to see such cooperation considering all three newspapers compete against each other in various ways.
The sharing spirit has also jumped off the front pages and into the sports sections. For more than a year now the El Reno Tribune has been sharing sports stories with the Yukon Review on certain El Reno High School items and sports involving Redlands Community College.
Since the pandemic started, we have been asked and have provided both football and basketball photographs to the Piedmont Gazette. The Daily Ardmoreite published our story and photos from the Indians’ win over the Tigers in football.
It is the spirit of sharing, if everyone in our industry is willing to jump on board, that will carry community newspapers past the pitfalls of this pandemic.
Does it mean that the competitive nature among newspapers is gone? From this keyboard I can type without hesitation, no, not on your life.
It just means that our industry needs to work a little smarter as well as harder while sailing over the tsunami caused by COVID-19.