Where the reporters have gone

When I left the News & Record last December, we had fewer reporters than anytime since at least the 1970s. Maybe earlier than that.

Madison Taylor, editor of the Times-News in Burlington, accurately describes what has happened to reporters in his post, “Where have the reporters gone.”

You could see it Tuesday at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office when a press conference scheduled a day in advance to discuss new evidence in a cold case drew one print reporter — us. Only one TV station sent one of its reporters. The rest simply sent videographers who would supply B-roll for a quick voiceover taken from a press release. Not very long ago the Times-News would’ve been joined at such a press conference by the Greensboro News and Record the Durham Herald and possibly the Raleigh News and Observer. And every TV station would have a camera crew and a reporter. Might’ve even done a live satellite feed on site in Graham.

I, too, mourn the loss of reporters covering a community. Still, these days, the value of reporters from Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh covering a news conference in Burlington is dubious. As a Greensboro resident and News & Record reader, I don’t feel any loss not reading about that new evidence in my paper.

But I understand his point. The more reporters covering a community, the better. Yet, I must sadly note that, despite the decline in reporting strength, the collective news media has enough reporters to staff the Edwards trial as the jury deliberates. I don’t know how many reporters and photojournalists are twiddling their thumbs waiting. I am sure, though, that many of their readers and viewers would just as soon see their talents used in some other enterprising way.

(Photo credit: Charlotte Huffman, NBC-17)


Madison Taylor, blogging editor

I live in Winston-Salem. I have the Winston-Salem Journal delivered every morning.  But I don’t feel like I know anyone there.  The paper doesn’t have a “voice”,  at least not one that I can hear.  The closest thing to its voice is the editor’s column in the op-ed section.

In fairness to the Journal I think that the “voice” issue is the same for the vast majority of newspapers.  But unfortunately for the Journal they happen to be juxtaposed with the Greensboro News & Record. The N&R is making national (maybe even international) headlines, at least in the publishing sector and the nascent blogosphere, because it is embracing the newest in publishing paradigms: the blog….

Anyway, it would probably pain the editor at the Journal (I have no idea what his/her name is) to know that I feel like I’m on a first name basis with the editor of the Greensboro News & Record (Hi John!).  If I happen across a hot story or issue, who do you think I’m going to ping with it?

Jon Lowder wrote that on his blog in January 2005. We had never met, but he felt he knew me because he read my blog, and I his.

For me, now, that role is filled by Madison Taylor, editor of the Times-News in Burlington. I don’t get that paper, and have never met Taylor. But I read his blog and am a friend of his on Facebook. He writes about the paper, about visiting politicos, about Times-News alums, and about issues in Alamance County and N.C. I feel like I know him and feel affiliated with the paper. He does a tremendous job demystifying the paper and connecting with people. Plus, he’s engaging and funny — perfect for social media.

North Carolina has a number of blogging editors, but too many of them post infrequently or only promote the paper. If you have favorite editors in the state who blog or are on Facebook or Twitter, let me know. I’d like to follow them.