The Union’s “flagship” sister paper, the Vail Daily, on Thursday combined the roles of editor and publisher to cut costs.
It comes after the Swift-owned Nevada Appeal and The Union also combined the two roles – traditionally separate. In olden times, the editor managed newsgathering and the publisher ran the business side of the operations.
This “Chinese Wall” was there for good reason: to generate revenue but not compromise news coverage, such as putting “advertorials” on the news pages. As I’ve blogged before, such advertorials are on the rise.
Times are tough for newspapers. As reported, the Vail Daily is facing stiff competition from the guy who sold the paper to them and now has started his own free daily, The Vail Mountaineer.
The background on the latest chapter is here.
“He complements his obvious talent as a writer and editor with excellent instincts as a salesman and business manager,” the statement read about the combined roles in Vail.
My graduate journalism professors at Northwestern University, among others, would have a cow.
The Vail Daily’s previous publisher went on to the Colorado Springs paper, where they still have a publisher *and* and editor.
As in Vail and Carson City, The Union also has combined the roles of editor and publisher. The paper’s publisher/editor lately has been a vocal advocate of re-opening the Idaho-Maryland mine, a controversial issue. Some of the sentiment has bled onto the news pages, some residents have observed.
I like our local publisher on a personal level, but it’s time to draw a line in the sand. Readers aren’t stupid. You just undermine your credibility (and readership).
The papers here, in Vail and Carson City are owned by Swift Communications of Reno, a family owned local business. What would the founders think?
In fairness, I see similar “blurring of lines” problems at KNCO (which doesn’t even disclose its full ownership and should) and yubanet.com, which has an obvious “pro-left” bent. Most of our bloggers are idealogues.
I think we can do better. We have a lot of smart people around here, who deserve more from their local media.
At the bare minimum, let’s hope the economy recovers soon.