As part of the survey, the journalists were also asked to provide one word that best described the current state of their industry. Not surprising, 72 percent offered negative words, while only 9 percent used positive words like “important.” Another 17 percent offered neutral words such as “changing,” “competitive,” or “busy.”
Among the negative words, synonyms for chaos and struggle, including “dying” and “declining,” were most often used. Some used negative words such “biased” or “partisan,” and another common choice were words like “stressful” and “difficult.”
My takeaway is that we all know our industry remains in transition, but if we can figure out a business model, we have a dedicated staff who will work hard to bring you the news.
Editorial board news
If you read our editorial page, and I hope you do, you’ve seen the box that explains editorials reflect the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s Editorial Board. That board has consisted of three of the Campbell family owners of the business, including Publisher Ben Campbell, plus me and Editorial Page Editor Greg Jayne.
Greg writes most of the editorials, and I edit them, but board members offer feedback and suggest ideas. During the upcoming election season, the board will invite candidates in major races to meet with us, and we’ll issue a series of candidate endorsements.
To help us with this process, and to recognize some amazing talent in our newsroom, we’ve added Colleen Keller to the editorial board. Colleen has for many years been our assistant news editor, where a typical day for her involves editing copy, writing headlines and choosing wire stories for publication. For several years, she’s also contributed editorials, particularly when Greg is on vacation. In each of the past two years, she’s won first-place awards for editorial writing and commentary in the Society of Professional Journalists’ five-state regional contest.
She brings to the board the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Clark County and has deep ties here, but also of someone who has lived in other places. And if I am not mistaken, she will be the only member of the editorial board who has raised cattle.
She’ll keep her current job as a member of the newsroom and copy desk management teams. If Pew surveys journalists again next year, she’ll probably be one of the people who describes her job as “busy.”