Newspapers remain great election source for voters

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

It’s hard to get an exact number, but Josh Hawley and Claire McCaskill — along with ample “dark money” — will spend upwards of $90 million to entice your vote come Nov. 6.

Out of that massive war chest, the 232 newspapers in Missouri will get zip.

Politicians — actually their handlers — have decided that newspapers are media relics.

These senatorial wannabes invest millions upon millions in social media that ignores newspaper readers.

But here’s the irony.

In many of their media buys, they proudly tout newspaper endorsements.

When hypocritical politicians come campaigning, their first call is often to the local newspaper to assure a photographer captures their smiling mug.

Then they willingly sit down with newspaper editorial boards in hopes of favorable coverage.

Yet they spend not one cent to support the men and women who produce that local news coverage they so crave.

Newspapers remain an invaluable source of local news on which the public relies.

Granted, newspapers’ heydays are in the past. Yet we adapt and improve and innovate to match the changing media landscape.

A newspaper is a business. It takes revenue to pay the bills and to engage the technology to meet these changing needs in our communities.

In the past, I have gladly and proudly allowed politicians to use our words of endorsement to promote their candidacy in radio and television.

No more.

And when that phone rings — and it will — I will be less than anxious to spend our limited resources to advance their agenda when they treat newspapers with such little respect.

Every readership survey under the sun shows that older voters remain avid newspaper readers.

And parallel surveys show that older readers are much more prone to vote than younger voters.

You would think some hotshot political consultant would connect these dots.

It may come as a shock, but not everyone over the age of 50 is constantly tethered to Facebook or an iPhone.

Many actually still read newspapers. You’re doing it right now.

There are a few political exceptions.

Congressman Jason Smith has a four-page campaign section running in 47 newspapers in his district this week because he recognizes the value of our publications.

And Smith also knows that it takes more than a 15-second television talking points commercial to explain his governing philosophy to voters.

If newspapers would stop providing free coverage to politicians, maybe they would get the message.

Newspapers may no longer dominate the information pipeline but we ain’t dead yet!

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