Finding 2017’s silver lining

Despite difficulties in news media, CN&R marches on

While compiling our Year in Review write-ups (the top 10 stories of the year, notable stories and the “What were they thinking?” capsules), it dawned on us at the CN&R that, were this newspaper not to exist, many of the stories found here in 2017 likely would not have been told at all.

No offense to the other media outlets in town, but the CN&R is special. We dig deeper. We report on the subtleties. We are (fiercely) independent, so there’s no corporate agenda. Moreover, we believe in our mission: to better the communities we cover. Taken together, this means we increasingly tell stories that nobody else has the gumption to tell.

Indeed, we’re talking about important stories, not fluff pieces. You’ll see so for yourself when you read over our compilation, which is so in depth that, as per usual, it’s taking up the space we normally devote to news.

Thing is, it hasn’t been easy. In 2017, thanks to none other than our newly elected president, American journalists have been the target of far-right rage. Even before he was elected, Donald Trump began his attack on the media, calling us “the enemy of the state” and labeling even the most historically respected outlets peddlers of “fake news.” That’s how he’s chosen to counter the very real and unflattering news coming out of them—from his campaign’s ties to the Kremlin to the ways in which his policies will harm America’s middle class.

We at the CN&R don’t take it personally—after all, we know what we’re doing is very real—but we did have to take a hard look at ourselves and our profession and evaluate it accordingly.

What happened was a little bit magical. Rather than becoming disheartened, we found ourselves invigorated by Trump’s constant taunts. The phrase “speaking truth to power” carries more weight than ever. Because we take our role as watchdogs seriously, we even launched a recurring news feature called Eye on 45 in which we compile the often mind-blowing happenings out of the White House and Capitol Hill in an effort to keep our readers informed. At the same time, while we watched the circulation of the daily continue to slide, we kept true to our mission of providing accurate, well-rounded accounts of what’s going on in our community.

Not every newspaper has been so fortunate in these hard times. In August, the Village Voice in New York City, founded in 1955, announced it would end its print edition and go exclusively online. And just last month, the Baltimore City Paper, which celebrated its 40th anniversary—much like the CN&R—this year, shut its doors. In December, the LA Weekly was bought by a group of Orange County Republicans and the aftermath, including the firing of most of the paper’s editorial staff, has been painful to read about.

At the end of this tumultuous year, we’d like to thank our readers for continuing to pick up this newspaper and making the CN&R an anomaly in the journalism business—a paper whose readership hasn’t plummeted. We do our part to keep you engaged and, thus far, you’ve repaid us by heading to our racks week in and week out. Also, we must thank our advertisers. We maintain a strict line of separation between editorial decision-making and ad dollars, and we believe that our readers—advertisers included—appreciate that. So, thank you for your support of unbiased news coverage.

And, Happy New Year!