Recent 60 minutes broadcast hits home as we celebrate one year of focusing on local news
By Andrew Harris
Today marks the first full year of this local news outlet. When we began, the site was a glorified blog, scrambling to fill the vacuum created by the a sudden end of Wellsville Regional News, and the Wellsville Daily Reporter proper. We had no credentials or ambitions other than to keep some form of local information source alive.
In that year a lot has happened. Our readership has grown from 1200 site visits per day to a current daily average of more than 18,000 readers. The editor of the Wellsville Regional News, Michael T. Baldwin, is now a regular contributor. John Anderson, the last editor of the Wellsville Daily Reporter, is now a managing editor of the “Sun.”
The most recent broadcast of the longstanding “60 Minutes,” was perfect timing for this anniversary. This episode was about local news, or should I say the death of local news. This deep look at how technology and market forces have defaced the daily newspaper speaks directly to the core mission of the Wellsville Sun.
Our readers have been sending emails and even sending us financial contributions via our Paypal after watching this disturbing look into the state of local news. The report laid bare a truth that everyone seems agree with: The slow death of the local news has put our communities adrift and even created a threat to our democratic systems. This is exactly why we are working to turn the “Sun” into a viable local news operation.
As the local newspapers like the Wellsville Daily and the Evening Tribune began to financially faulter, the market reacted. Capitalism acts as a scavenger when appropriate and mega-corporations, hedge funds, and internet media companies have gorged themselves on the carcass until only bones remain. If you’ve seen the old Daily Reporter building lately, it is a skeleton of what some remember. The demise has been gradual, blunting the impact of the death. A long bout of cancer instead of a sudden massive heart attack.
The vultures are done picking the carcass clean and emerging operations like the “Sun” have the job of the fostering a renewal of local news. We have been working at that job for exactly 1 year in Wellsville and have seen some amazing results using the “bones” of the old news model.
John Anderson has lived through the entire cancer-like decline of local news all over the nation. He has lived the life of a assistant sports reporter, he’s worked the daily news beat as a small town newspaper reporter-then-editor, the managing editor of several consolidated news outlets, and then as a regional managing editor for a corporate news conglomerate.
Today Anderson is heading up a reaction to his experiences, a return to focusing on local community news. In his short time with the “Sun,” Anderson has been able to recapture some of what has been gone for over a decade. In-depth local political coverage that has held local elected officials accountable and informed the community on important subtext that was previously missing. Thanks to John’s work(and love of sports,) the “Sun” has a sports team!! Local athletes are again in the news everyday with images from professional sports photographers that really make kids shine.
Celebrating the achievements of students, athletes, teachers, and schools is again paramount in Wellsville. Anderson has also used his experience and storytelling skills to bring communities closer together. From the news about the local hardware store opening or the tribute to a well-known member of the community who died tragically: This local reporting keeps us better connected and informed about the events which have the most impact on our daily lives.
Community news is essential for acknowledging the up and coming generations abilities and successes. This isn’t just community news, it is community building, and that is the core of the mission. The “Sun” has a goal of rebuilding something better than before, more efficient than the old Daily Reporter office, and a superior investment for advertisers.
While this site is funded by limited advertising dollars, we encourage the community to chip in regularly as well. Our goal is to keep using the bones of the past to rebuild the future. The “Sun,” wants to, step by step, put the local news back in the hands of the community. Email us with your news, ideas for stories, write a “Letter to the Editor!” Contact us if a important issue isn’t getting the proper attention. It is easy, [email protected]
Do you have a business that benefits from brand advertising? You can help rebuild local news and attract new customers by sponsoring this site. Contact us today for details and our brand new media kit. The Wellsville Sun reaches over 100,000 per week, the vast majority from Allegany County.
Do you believe in the power of local news? You can contribute to the effort anytime, via Paypal or ask us how to make a contribution. To be clear, the “Sun” is not a non-profit operation, contributions are not tax-exempt.
May this be the first year of many and may the “Sun” shine brighter each day on our community.
Read the the whole 60 minutes report here: