Concerns rise that ‘big media’ problems affect local media too

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Trust in “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio” in polls taken by the Gallup Organization was at 32 percent last year, the lowest ever – and was significantly lower than the 40 percent recorded in 2015. Rural newspapers have often presumed that such trends don’t affect them, because they’re in closer touch with smaller communities, where readers know the people at the paper. That is not as safe an assumption as it once was, based on some events, trends and issues we’ve reported lately in The Rural Blog.

For example, a Feb. 5-6 Emerson College poll of registered voters, weighted to reflect turnout in the 2016 election, found them evenly divided about the Trump administration’s truthfulness, but by 53 to 39 percent, they considered the news media untruthful.

The Pew Research Center found in early 2016 that there was little difference in the trust of local and national news outlets. About 22 percent of Americans said they trust local news outlets a lot, and 18 percent said that of national news sources. Recently, rural and community journalists have voiced concern that the attacks on “big media” are hurting “little media,” too.

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Requiem for a Ranger

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he does himself.” — Josh Billings

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Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK — I was going through some old papers last weekend when I came across something that figuratively knocked the wind out of me. Almost exactly 11 years ago this week, I lost a dear friend and memories of him flooded across my mind like a ship’s deck awash in an intemperate sea.

There’s a picture on my wall of my grandson when he was 10 or so, sitting on my deck, and behind him in the chair, head resting on his shoulder, is the great big, beautiful, stupid old Golden Retriever that dwarfed him both in that photo and in real life.

I felt anew the not properly describable ache that we humans associate with loss and the sometimes stereo system of my mind chose to play perhaps the best lyric from “Mr. Bojangles” that was appropriately perfect: “…his dog up and died. Yeah, up and died. After 20 years he still grieves.”

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Calculating your best revenue area for new subscribers

By Lewis Floyd

Floyd, Lewis
Lewis Floyd

There was a time we went after circulation at “damn the expense – full subscriptions ahead.” The understanding was the cost of delivery was offset by ad revenue. Then advertisers decided that “all circulation was not equal.” As more advertisers came to this conclusion, ads or inserts declined as they were specified for areas the advertiser believed worked best for them.

As revenue declined, expenses were cut. In some cases publications pulled out of areas not generating ad revenue; in other cases subscribers quit from a lack of advertising or due to things they liked being removed from the publication.

In response to these declines, publications cut more expenses, increased subscription rates, and the circle began again with more cutbacks from advertisers. This is a cycle we must stop to survive, so how do we go about it?

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‘Fake news’ rally cry arrives in Mississippi

By Charlie Mitchell

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Charlie Mitchell

OXFORD — State Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) has his toga in a knot because a Delta newspaper publisher offered his opinion — opinion — that Gipson, who chairs House Judiciary B, went too far in mixing religion and public policy.

On a Facebook page (Mississippi Responsible Journalism Initiative) he launched earlier this month, Gipson says the column by Ray Mosby of Rolling Fork’s Deer Creek Pilot, pushed him into action. Gipson said he will spearhead a quest enlisting citizens to expose journalists who fail to verify facts before publishing.

Last week, Gipson said 28,000 people, similarly fed up, had signed on. (Note: This figure is being repeated without verification.)

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President’s Column: Roast a big success; attention turns to convention

By Don Norman

Norman, Don
MPA President Don Norman

STARKVILLE — The year started off for our Association with another successful roast to benefit the MPA Education Foundation and Mid-Winter Conference with terrific sessions on sales techniques and revenue growth.

Roasting Clarion-Ledger cartoonist Marshall Ramsey was a blast for those of us in the audience and a dream come true for some of the politicians on the panel. Gov. Phil Bryant, in particular, seemed to really enjoy the chance to turn the tables on the honoree.

Marshall, as expected, took it like a champ and gave as good as he got. He’s been a fixture on the panel for many years, and it was fun to see him in the spotlight. A couple of the roasters showed off some of their own artwork in an attempt to prove what Marshall does is actually pretty easy. But we know better.

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With media, President Trump has his cake and eats it, too

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

President Trump wants to have it both ways, and, for now at least, it looks like he’s getting what he wants.

He excoriates the media as an “enemy” of the people, but gorges on it – even the purveyors of what he maintains as “fake news.” He clearly subscribes to the line of thought that any kind of publicity is good publicity.

What else could be behind the melodramatic move barring The New York Times, CNN, and Politico from a Feb. 24 briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer?

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Media errs by making itself the story

By Charlie Mitchell
Syndicated Columnist

mitchell-charlieBig mistake.

To use an overused word, “Yuuge.”

The Trump administration has suckered the media into allowing itself to become the story.

Big mistake.

Every president, every congressman, every Mississippi official, every mayor, every town councilman and more than a few litter commissioners have lamented not getting a fair shake in the press — some more often than others. The well-tested response by journalists has been to admit errors when made, then refocus on the issue at hand, which is never the press. Never.

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