Deadline Now: Kurt Franck and Dave Murray

Deadline Now: Kurt Franck and Dave Murray

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Blade's Executive Editor/Vice President Kurt Franck and Managing Editor Dave Murray join host Jack Lessenberry for an all-new "Deadline Now" and a lively conversation about how The Blade covers events, people and politics in the region.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"

There’s no denying that the newspaper industry is in upheaval. But in fact, there’s never been a time when newspapers weren’t changing. Thirty years ago, when most daily papers started using color photography, an old editor of The Blade told me he thought it was just a temporary fad. Well, he was wrong. 

Newsroom technology always has been evolving, and will continue to do so. There’s two mistakes all of us can make about change. One mistake is to resist change or fail to cope with it.

Young readers are going to read The Blade on their smart phones, not on paper made out of dead trees. Newspapers can accept that and find the best way to embrace it, or end up going the way of the passenger pigeon. 

But it’s also a mistake to think new technology will always completely take the place of the old. Back in 1981, Ted Turner predicted that, thanks to TV, the last newspaper would go out of business within ten years.

Well, we should be thankful he was wrong. Today, even if you prefer your news online, or ‘on phone,’ the odds are whatever you are watching or viewing was created by a newspaper reporter.

Newspapers are still by far the biggest creators of what the industry calls content, and normal humans call “stories.”
Stories and pictures and just plain news. You can go online from anywhere and get lots of Jennifer Aniston or Barack Obama news.  But what’s really going in in education in Rossford? Does Maumee or Sylvania have too much long-term debt?

These are questions only newspapers cover, and covering  them is essential for democracy. Newspapers’ main problem now is economic; largely thanks to the Internet, they’ve lost much of the advertising that sustained them for 200 years.

They are struggling to find a way to still remain profitable. But what we don’t realize is that without newspapers, we’d literally have a hard time keeping democracy alive, especially on the state and local level. Democracy really does die behind closed doors.

By and large, newspaper reporters are the ones who let the sunshine in. No other industry has been willing to commit the intensely labor-intensive resources needed to wade through contracts and records and legislative reports.

Newspapers helped expose Richard Nixon and Tom Noe and  too many bad laws and bad legislators to count. But they also teach, inform. educate and even inspire.

Let’s hope that in a hundred years, Toledoans are still served by a newspaper that gives them useful, essential and entertaining information. No matter how they read it.