Off The Press

March 17, 2009

By Greg Farrar

Greg farrar Press Photographer

Greg farrar Press Photographer

Your role is vital in a newspaper’s mission

And now, this word about newspaper competition.

If you are reading this in print, thank you! It means I am already preaching to the choir, because you believe that a newspaper is a valuable source of community information.

The fact is, we have to admit that there are two weekly newspapers in town now.

We are the one with the big broadsheet pages. We are the one with 110 years worth of archives at our office. We are the one whose staff has a longer institutional memory of your schools and your city. We are the one with the tall, gangly photographer.

I guess I have one complaint. Why and how are some people confusing us? Being the photographer, I received a phone call just last week from a woman who was very irate that a photo “in the paper” of her was online, and she wanted a little more privacy. The conversation became more puzzling, because I couldn’t find the photo on my hard drive or in our pages, and the caller didn’t have a paper in front of her. Eventually, she realized Issaquah has two newspapers and her picture was in the other paper.

Everyone here gets an occasional crossover call. So, just to be clear, I work for The Issaquah Press. You are reading The Issaquah Press right now. We don’t have the same owner. We don’t share stories and photos. We try to beat each other to stories and get you the best information first.

I think we do it better, of course!

It’s a sad day in Seattle, because the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is no longer in print as of today. Think about that. Two years ago, you had a choice of three daily newspapers on the Eastside, competing, finding and publishing information for you. Today, there is just one daily newspaper. Why is that?

In response, I have a story from an assignment last week. Several people and I were chatting, and they were complimenting The Press. The conversation got around to the P-I. How sad, it’s a great paper, too, they said. I raised my hand, and said, “Raise your hand if you subscribed to the P-I.” Embarrassed, no other hands went up.

These are tough times for newspapers. How can you help? Buy a voluntary subscription. Read a copy every week. Log on to our Web site. Patronize our advertisers and let them know you are. Call us with story ideas. Keep sending letters to our editor. Newspapers, citizenry and democracy thrive by interacting.

With your indulgence, let me conclude with condolences and best wishes to my personal friends, the photographers at the P-I, some of whom I’ve known for 30 years.

For Scott Eklund, Paul Joseph Brown, Mike Urban, Joshua Trujillo, Gilbert Arias, Dan DeLong, Andy Rogers, Meryl Schenker, Mike Kane, Karen Ducey, Jim Bryant, my dearest friend Grant Haller and in memory of the late Phil Webber, good luck and enjoy better things ahead.

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