Local newsrooms, the free press and the journalists who report on potholes. What our readers are most thankful for this year.

November 26, 2019
Category: Newsletters

With Tom Jones out of the office this holiday week, we’re sharing what we’re grateful for in the media world this season.

Yesterday, the Poynter staff expressed gratitude for local newsrooms that “refuse to quit,” the late Deadspin and all of the folks who can muster a little tact while they’re tweeting. Today it’s your turn. 

Your Thanksgiving gratitude list

Julie Hauserman, Tallahassee, Florida:

I am thankful for Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald for breaking the Epstein case and working as hard as she can to get justice for the victims.

I’m grateful for Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times who, for decades, has provided insightful and well-researched coverage of Florida’s one-of-a-kind environment.

I’m thankful for the national staffs of The Washington Post and The New York Times for not backing down in their coverage of corruption at the highest levels of our federal government.

John McClelland, Evanston, Illinois:

Even without the week’s depressing report on just how widespread is the loss of local news — 400 counties and counting, with no newspaper — let us be thankful for the people who are still out there trying to be watchdogs on local institutions.

After decades of enjoying our two local tabs (especially the strictly local fortnightly, not so much the corporate regional weekly) and too rarely telling a merchant we saw his ad there, we are stunned to see the strictly local one stop printing and struggle to endure online only.

Time to pay up, folks, everywhere.

Robyn Kratzer Wedelich, Hot Springs, Arkansas:

I am thankful that we still have a free press that’s dedicated to finding and publishing facts and the truth. Am very worried about the two newspaper sales. Not good.

Alan Stamm, Birmingham, Michigan:

I give thanks this Thanksgiving week, and many others, that Margaret Sullivan remains an important voice of journalistic best practices as media columnist at The Washington Post since May 2016.

Her insightful, forceful columns educate readers about the value of transparent, independent, rigorous, financially healthy local and national news coverage. They also reinforce standards for fellow professionals.

Last Tuesday, she suggested “constructive news habits” for Americans confused about conflicting claims about President Trump. Among them:

“Stop getting your news and opinions from social media. Stop watching Fox News, especially the prime-time shows, which are increasingly untethered to reality.

“If every American gave 30 minutes a day to an earnest and open-minded effort to stay on top of the news, we might actually find our way out of this crisis.”

Vanessa Czopek, Tucson, Arizona:

Everyone in the Tucson, Arizona, area should be thankful for Dave Fitzsimmons — cartoonist, columnist, humorist and community treasure who is published in the Arizona Daily Star. He’s off-kilter and never politically correct, but caring about our area.

Jeff Hausman, Tarpon Springs, Florida:

I am thankful for Tom Jones and this report; Dave Barry, who I miss reading; Dean Kovacevic, a Pittsburgh based sportswriter; and Daniel Ruth from the Tampa Bay Times, who I sometimes disagree with, but always enjoy. Wish he was writing more.

KB Forbes, Birmingham, Alabama:

As a veteran conservative Republican political flack turned advocate for the working poor, interacting with journalists has always been a blessing and a joy, especially having worked myself as a stringer reporter while in college.

Having seen a coup d’état happening with my own eyes as a child, we are truly blessed to have freedom of the press.

Yet, while there is blatant bias and sometimes discredited reporting, we can say, after all the one-up tweets, that we are blessed to have journalists who still are the unconditional defenders of truth, inherent goodness, and institutional integrity.

Shawn Healy, Chicago, Illinois:

I’m thankful for Chicago’s fantastic nonprofit newsrooms that embody the civic mission of journalism, including the Better Government Association, Chalkbeat, Chicago Reporter, City Bureau, Injustice Watch, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ.

Linda Humphers, Clearwater, Florida:

My husband and I spend five months a year on the West Coast, in Alameda, California, and seven months in Clearwater, Florida, so we are hugely grateful for the digital editions of newspapers that keep us current on the local news of both our homes.

In Florida, we faithfully read the Tampa Bay Times, especially enjoying the coverage of the local art and stage scenes and the world-class investigative coverage of those people and events that try to make our lives miserable. Thank you, TBT! In California, we read the East Bay Times, where we stay up to date on PG&E outages, fires, the housing shortage and the status of freeway potholes. We also look forward to EBT’s once-a-week edition of the Alameda Journal.

We like the San Francisco Chronicle, but that paper doesn’t include Alameda in the movie listings or weather map — ouch! We also read the digital edition of The New York Times.

Kyle Good, Garrison, New York:

I am grateful for the community members who support our local nonprofit weekly newspaper, The Highlands Current. Thanks to their support, the paper can continue to provide award-winning coverage of local issues as well as in-depth reporting on national issues as they play out in our Hudson Valley region.

Gail Sideman, Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

I’m grateful for Poynter because it promotes and provides educated and credible journalism. In an era where too many people don’t understand the role of journalism in our communities, Poynter keeps it real and teaches those coming up. Thank you to all journalists who work hard, often at risk, for sharing the world’s most important stories and keeping our democracy just.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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