December 2, 2015

Kevin Cate isn’t a journalist. He works in public relations. But yesterday, he decided he’d had enough of people bitching about journalists and journalism. He sent a message out to subscribers of his daily newsletter, which gathers Florida front pages. It reads, in part:

The print and digital editions of newspapers allow us to be briefed like kings and queens for next to nothing. Seriously, you’d have to be a billionaire to afford that on your own.

Newspapers are worth defending.

So, tomorrow, I want you to share on social media why you love and subscribe to your favorite newspapers using #LoveMyNewspaper and tagging your favorite newspapers.

Cate didn’t plan it, he said. He read something critical of journalism that made him angry and fired off his plan to Above the Fold Florida’s subscribers. It was basically a middle child moment.

Kevin Cate at the printing presses for the Tallahassee Democrat. (Photo by Matt Burke)

Kevin Cate at the printing presses for the Tallahassee Democrat. (Photo by Matt Burke)

“It’s a very easy, ill-informed thing to do to mock journalism, whether it’s in a newspaper or on TV, and I heard it one too many times yesterday and figured I would let people know and have a chance to defend the things that they love.”

And while Cate isn’t a journalist, his father is. Keith Cate is an anchor at Tampa’s WFLA. His son grew up with the news and understands the amount of work that goes into the job.

“It’s not a print or digital thing,” Kevin Cate said, “it’s people who have no understanding and therefore no respect about how hard it is to be not only a journalist but also a relevant product that is keeping government accountable and also just maintaining a pulse on the community.”

Cate didn’t really think about who would participate, he said, the whole thing started in a moment of frustration. Since launching the hashtag this morning, he has emailed his subscribers (including me) that #LoveMyNewspaper is trending in several markets, including Tampa and Tallahassee. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is also among Cate’s subscribers, and he also participated today. Journalists are tweeting their newspaper love as well.

And that doesn’t surprise Cate.

“I think that they hear the same things that I hear and probably take it even more personally than I do when people disparage the value of their work.”

Cate doesn’t plan to do anything more with the hashtag.

“Maybe we’ll do it again next year, I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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