Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End Of An Era?

Budget cuts have arrived that severely curtail the neighborhood correspondent program at the Spokesman-Review. Back when the Voices editions first started a little over a year ago, we had one staff reporter, Paula Davenport. All the rest of the coverage was from correspondents, such as myself and many others. With the massive lay off of many staff reporters last Summer, we correspondents had an even larger part to play.

Since then, most of the reporters were re-hired. As it applies to the Prairie voice, my edition, we now have two full time reporters working where one was originally. Several budget cuts have occurred at the Spokesman-Review, with the last one, last week, being the most severe affecting us correspondents. The budget was cut in half. So far, I have survived, but the Bayview News will only be seen twice a month, instead of every week.

I may be able to write an occasional feature or news story, but our little area will languish, as might Athol and Farragut State Park, my beat for the last year and a half. How this will affect area advertising, I have no idea. Somehow, with advertising in the Handle Extra and also the Prairie Voice growing fast, the news content is shrinking. This doesn't make sense to me, but it apparently does to the money managers.

I have been accepted as an occasional contributor for the River Journal, published by Trish Gannon of Clark Fork. They recently changed from a weekly newspaper, to a monthly magazine format. This will enable them to enlarge the coverage area from an exclusively Bonner County paper, to a regional magazine. I hope I can contribute my share.

I will continue with my relationship with the Spokesman-Review as long as they have a use for me, but it would appear the end is near. On the other hand, maybe other writing opportunities will come along to fill the gap. I'm having far too much fun to quit now, and the feedback I get is by far, on the positive side.

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