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Dallas PBS station to acquire Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Sep 28, 2022.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    From Poynter:

    The Denton Record-Chronicle announced Tuesday that it is being acquired by KERA public media in Dallas, 40 miles to its south. The tentative deal resembles a much bigger one from earlier this year when WBEZ in Chicago acquired the Chicago Sun-Times, turning the Sun-Times into a nonprofit in the process.

    Publisher and owner Bill Patterson said the transaction should ensure the Record-Chronicle’s future, reducing operating expenses as functions are absorbed by KERA. “This arrangement gives us the opportunity and the ability to preserve local journalism for the people of Denton County,” Patterson said. The Record-Chronicle has simultaneously been winding down its print product in favor of a digital report.​

    Another newspaper flips to nonprofit - Poynter
    garrow likes this.
  2. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Let a thousand more of these deals bloom.
  3. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    I am glad to see this.

    But it says a lot about the newspaper industry that the paper went non-profit. Denton County had a 2021 population of 941,000. In 2010 the population was 665,000. Back in the day a newspaper in a large, rapidly growing suburban county sucha s Denton would have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The real estate sections would have looked like telephone books. Now, they have to give the operation away.
    britwrit, garrow, SFIND and 1 other person like this.
  4. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Well-Known Member

    Help me out here; I have no background in newspapers.

    It seems to me that most if not all PBS stations would dry up and blow away if their government supplied funds were cut off or seriously curtailed. To me, that makes a PBS station beholden to the government to a large degree.

    Now, with this deal, an entity that is beholden to the government will also own a newspaper...

    And that is a good idea that should be spread around?
  5. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    A very quick internet search indicates that PBS receives about 445 million a year in federal funding, which is less than 20% of their total budget. There are conservatives who argue that PBS funding should be eliminated. Why should all taxpayers provide support for an outlet only a few watch, when the aforementioned taxpayers have to pay for their channels wither through subscription or by having to endure ads? The also think the same arguments holds true for publically owned newspapers. Why should everyone pay for something only a few use?
    SFIND likes this.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    If only PBS stations would ask people to donate.
    garrow, maumann, swingline and 6 others like this.
  7. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Well-Known Member

    Obviously, I was not clear in my original comment here. My lack of understanding here has nothing to do with political philosophy or political leanings.

    The Federal government pays a significant portion of the PBS "operating costs" since PBS is a non-profit. That makes it an "influential voice" if it chooses to be one.

    Perhaps State and local governments also chip in a few bucks making those entities - - sometimes in step with the Feds and sometimes not - - voices in the choir.

    By now, Americans have probably learned to live with PBS as an entity that gets taxpayer money and donations along with "partnerships" with corporations and other non-profits. But the influence of significant donors is something that ought not be denied.

    Owning or running a newspaper allows the owner/operator to make decisions on "what news fits" and therefore "what news makes it into print". In addition, the owner/operator pretty much decides the editorial thrust for the publication. So, why is it a good idea to have the Feds - - and possibly State and local pols - - in a position to exert that sort of influence?

    I do not think this is a harbinger of the fall of democracy. I am just not sure this is a good path to follow.
  8. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Eh, it's a problem without a perfect solution, throughout the history of journalism. For a time in the early 20th Century, before TV and radio, you could probably finance a paper with a robust range of advertisers that didn't make you reliant on any one revenue stream or vulnerable to one advertiser taking their ball and going home. If you're talking about any other time, you were probably shit out of luck. The initial colonial newspapers were put out there by political parties, straight up, or supported by wealthy citizens. In modern times, one chain owns 1,000+ newspapers and has plummeting revenues, and would probably take just about any bag of money offered; another prominent paper is owned by Jeff Bezos.
  9. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    PBS and NPR have been producing news for half a century.

    Any hint of the kind of government interference you're suggesting in that time? Or at the BBC?

    Historically it's much more likely that a local newspaper publisher is going to interfere with news coverage of crooked car dealers and corrupt politicians than anything else.
  10. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    You’ve also got several newspapers out there receiving sizable support from Microsoft in its efforts to support public journalism. Is that the best way to pay for impartial news gathering? No, but newspapers will take it.
    maumann and sgreenwell like this.
  11. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Every single commercial TV and radio station gets to use the public airwaves virtually free of charge. So government subsidizing the media is hardly new.
    maumann, SFIND and sgreenwell like this.
  12. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    You can't gauge the Record-Chronicle's success by the county's population. The most populous southern half of the county (Lewisville and Carrollton, and portions of Frisco and Plano) are suburban Dallas and outside of the DRC coverage area. They cover the city of Denton, Lake Dallas, Argyle, Krum, Ponder, and more rural areas to the north like Sanger, Aubrey and Pilot Point.
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