Post-Record is moving, not disappearing

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

As we prepare to move out of the Post-Record’s offices in downtown Camas, there is one thing that has become very apparent: we are moving, but we aren’t really going anywhere.

Although the physical Post-Record offices will now be located inside our parent company at the Columbian in downtown Vancouver, the soul of this newspaper will remain very much intact.

Post-Record journalists will still be roaming Camas and Washougal, digging for unique stories that haven’t been covered anywhere else, trying to shed light on issues that impact the community and doing our best to give voices to the voiceless. Our advertising reps will still be looking for business partners that understand the value of quality journalism.

We will still work hard every day to produce the highest quality newspaper possible — the Post-Record took home a first-place award in the “General Excellence” category at the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Contest and we fully intend to defend our title in 2019.

In every discussion we’ve had regarding the move from to Vancouver, the topic of the Post-Record’s legacy in Camas and Washougal has been front and center.

To highlight the newspaper’s history and show the types of stories and issues the Post-Record has been covering for more than 111 years, we will run a new feature, “Post-Record Through the Years,” in our Community section whenever space allows. (See the first “Post-Record Through the Years” on page B4.)

There are, of course, many things we will miss after we move to Vancouver. We have local folks — and two amazing great pyrenees pups — who visit us regularly and we will miss chatting with them. I for one will miss being able to rush to Hana for my “usual” (chicken yakisoba with kimchi) on hectic deadline days.

But this is a remote world, and the editorial staff at the Post-Record is more than capable of working on the fly. Wayne Havrelly, our sports reporter, has more than 30 years worth of television news reporting experience, so you know he doesn’t mind reporting on the go. Our newest reporter, Doug Flanagan, also comes with two decades of newspaper reporting expertise. Doug took the news in stride, immediately eyeballing a room in his new Camas home to set up a remote office. In my 25 years as a newspaper reporter and editor I have always disliked being chained to a desk and prefer working wherever I can find a good wifi connection — whether that be from the scene of a breaking news story or from a sunny spot outside a local cafe.

Instead of feeling sad that the newspaper won’t have a Camas office anymore, let’s rejoice in the fact that Camas-Washougal still has a community newspaper.

After all, there are thousands of towns in the United States (U.S.) that are not so fortunate.

According to a 2018 report from the University of North Carolina, at least 200 counties in the U.S. have no local newspaper and many others have “ghost newspapers” that operate without journalists, simply publishing advertisements, event listings and press releases with no real news coverage. That same report shows rural areas in this country often have no local news coverage at all — no newspaper, television station or digital startup — and no journalists paying attention to their city councils, county commissions, school boards or police departments.

In 2017, there were 39,210 journalists working for newspapers in the U.S. — a 45 percent decrease from the roughly 71,000 journalists working at newspapers in 2008. That means there is only one newspaper journalist for every 8,345 Americans. No wonder so many communities have “ghost” news coverage.

And if you’re thinking, “I can just get my news somewhere else,” think again. There are differences between newspaper, online and television journalism.

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center report, television news “was less likely to do a straight news account of an event and only 28 percent of stories were framed that way.” What’s more, the report showed many online and television news stories originated from journalism first published in local newspapers.

We believe community newspapers are the best resources for providing context and analysis for the types of “hot button” issues that can easily divide a community. Our mission at the Post-Record is to provide the Camas-Washougal community with hyperlocal news our readers can’t easily find anywhere else and to give our readers the type of journalism that helps them better understand the world around them.

We hope you will support us in this mission. Support local journalism today by subscribing to the Post-Record. For $65 a year (less than 18 cents a day) you can have the newspaper delivered to your door every week. For more information, call 360-694-2312.

~ Kelly Moyer, managing editor