Talking journalism on ‘Dig Deep’

Dutton Peabody (Edmond O’Brien), editor of the “Shinbone Star” in the John Wayne/Jimmy Stewart western “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962). I reference Mr. Peabody in a recent episode of “Dig Deep.”

Last week Northern Community Radio broadcast another series of episodes of “Dig Deep,” a podcast exploring contemporary issues from unique points of view. The show features Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns, a conservative, and yours truly, a known liberal. We attempt to collaborate on solutions and sticking points in current political issues, rather than just argue them.

The most recent topic was journalism. We had initially selected this topic to dive into the concept of “fake news,” both the actual fake news generated by foreign powers, political groups and marketing firms, but also the strategic use of the term “fake news” to discredit actual news. In the end, however, we mostly steered clear of this topic, instead focusing on local news and the way that it has changed in the past 40 years.

We spend a lot of time on the history of Northern Minnesota newspapers. Newspapers and radio stations once played a vibrant role in a small town. All of that changed, however, after the spread of corporate consolidation of ownership.

We also opine about the future. The failure of old models will lead to opportunities for new journalists. Another generation of content producers and consumers may create new trends.

I have some unique perspective on this, having been a small town Iron Range daily newspaper editor some time ago. And I cut my teeth in high school working part time for a commercial radio station. I’m not yet 40 but have witnessed tremendous changes in a media industry that now leaves me frustrated.

Anyway, you’ll want to check out the episodes: (Part 1: “History“) (Part 2: “Local Effects of Media Consolidation“) (Part 3: “What Sources Do You Trust“). You can also download or subscribe to the podcasts at iTunes.

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