By Mike Weland
1, 2013, News Bonners Ferry will
celebrate its official second birthday. No party
is planned. While it’s not quite where I want it
yet, I started it because I felt that
traditional media had shifted away from proper;
that the reader, not the advertiser, deserves
Due to rising costs of ink and air, the media I
once worked for and with shifted to a place I
don’t like; a place where advertising is first
and news is second. I understand; advertising
pays the bills and is essential to a free press;
advertising support has, since the early days of
this nation, put news in the hands of readers.
But most media today seems to have forgotten why
advertising was once valuable, and instead of
doing a better job at what media should be
doing; disseminating news of importance and
interest at the local level, even local media
has gone “regional,” it’s less controversial.
In the old days, a media published news because
news was important and it meant something to
readers; advertisers needed the media; not only
because they wanted to know the news like
everyone else, but because a media that
delivered trustworthy information could deliver
their ad to a lot more people, what we in the
business call "reach."
Advertising was an investment; you bought reach,
not control of news; if something was published
that you, as a business, didn’t like, you pulled
The result has been, unfortunately, that most
media has trended away from local news toward
regional, away from serving the reader to
catering to the advertiser.
Local media now most often charges to publish or
air what local news is; an obituary, a wedding
announcement, an event put on by local talent
for local people … what was once news, the very
thing that gave benefit to readers and
advertisers, is now too often advertising
In my mind, it shouldn’t be that way.
When I launched newsbf March 1, 2011, I had no advertisers; I hadn’t proved that I
could deliver the reach to make their
advertising dollar pay. My thought was that if I
stayed true to publishing honest, timely and
accurate news, the people who matter, the
readers, would appreciate the effort, and I
would build the reach to benefit advertisers.
very much appreciate the advertisers who have
invested in my effort, but I appreciate more the
readers who now look to this journal for news,
and who trust and depend on what is published
The trust of readers, even when I err, is the
currency that this site depends on. To bring
timely and trusted news, without cost to
readers, is and will always be the purpose of
The advertisers that recognize this and invest
in the trust and reach developed will help me
keep doing better; in so doing, they will help
me gain more readers, more potential customers
who visit this site because they have an
interest in Boundary County and the people here.
As a reporter, I was chastised once because my
reportage, the veracity of which was
unquestioned, cost the media I worked for an
As publisher, my allegiance is and always will
be to the local reader, to presenting news, as
honest and accurate as I am able, free of
charge, to developing the trust that is the very
bedrock foundation of journalism.
It’s easy to write and publish news from far
away and of people you don’t know … it’s easy to
avoid controversy and appease advertisers.
News, delivered accurately and on time, can and
does matter to the people who need it; it can
make the difference between life and death. It's
not always comfortable.
am grateful to those who advertise, and who
allow me to do what I so love doing. But it’s
the readers to whom I am obligated, and to whom
I’m most grateful.
Trust is hard earned, and the most valuable
asset to which a news media should aspire. I'm
not perfect, but even when I err, that's the
goal I will not lose sight of.