By Thomas Palmer, 1812Blockhouse Publisher
Today marks the beginning of a new regular column here at 1812Blockhouse.
Every so often – how often is not yet set – I will be sharing information and perhaps some commentary about media goings-on in Richland County. We have said this before, because it is very true – as a county, this community has more variety in news sources than most other places nationwide. That’s something which sets this place apart and makes it worth talking about.
As is the case for a few dozen other individuals, I am involved in the reporting, collection, and distribution of information that Richland Countians can use, every single day. Yes, it can be frustrating when one observes the amount of wasted resources that occurs with so many people telling the same stories. Yes, it’s occasionally stressful. At all times, however, there’s an overpowering sense that what we do here at 1812Blockhouse – telling the community’s stories, whether written by ourselves or by others – is important.
The bottom line, as always, is to have fun in the process. So here goes…
We’ve expanded a bit
As you may have heard or read, we started a new website this month in the city of Galion, just a few miles to the west. Actually, if this post was being written prior to 1845, it would have been part of Richland County, not Crawford.
1831Galion operates very much 1812Blockhouse; the main differences being that the new site does not cover local government, nor does it have, at this point, an equivalent to “Richland Tweets.” You can find 1831Galion at 1831galion.com, or @1831Galion on Facebook. Twitter, and Instagram.
Scores of newsroom reductions nationwide may not have had much local impact
We haven’t heard of any local cutbacks in light of Gannett’s recently announced set of staff reductions which impacted many parts of the country. The number of layoffs equaled 3% of the chain’s total workforce, or approximately 400 employees.
In Ohio, the reductions impacted Gannett’s print/online operations in Chillicothe, Columbus, Cambridge, Kent/Ravenna, and New Philadelphia. For the other Ohio sites, there has been an apparent decrease in coverage (for the Distatch’s “This Week” publications, for instance) and an increase in the number of posts now soldily behind a paywall (payment required for access).
If you are not aware, Gannett, the county’s largest media chain, owns and publishes the Mansfield News Journal and the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum.
Richland Source makes a couple of site changes
Our friends at Richland Source have recently undertaken a couple of changes to their site and how it operates. First, it is now possible to post obituaries directly, rather than completely relying on a funeral home or a paid advertisement in a print publication. Second, visitors to Richland Source are now often greeted by one of two “pop-up” notices requesting an email address, saying either “Enter your email to continue reading for free. Get free access to our site + join thousands of others who read our newsletters” or asking for a membership donation.
Quizzically, despite the language it is actually possible to easily click out of these advertisements and access all posts without registering – at least for now.
Publisher on the road
Speaking of Richland Source, Publisher Jay Allred is currently on a jaunt to the west. According to social media posts, on Saturday Allred represented the Lede AI project which is used to automatically publish dozens if not hundreds of high school sports scores each week (learn more about Lede AI here; we’ll have more to share about them in a future post) at the Online News Association Conference in Los Angeles. The conference included a session concentrating on “Automating Local News” that featured three executives from… small world… Gannett.