Editors Note

A free press isn't free

This past week I had the opportunity to hang out with an old friend and colleague from my days in Seattle who now works for The Seattle Times after a long tenure with the Associated Press. I loved catching up with her on her family life, but work was part of the talk too. I was overjoyed when she told me that subscriptions are increasing at an unusual rate.

The last few times I've been on a local radio show, I've been asked how I deal with Trump's subterfuge. I usually answer with the same message, particularly calling out the importance of community organizing and staying focused. And when it comes to the press, how do you deal with the way Trump is trampling the press?

Obviously, Trump's attacks of the press need to be fought all the way, but ever since the country's economic recession, newspapers and other media outlets, have had a hard time. Much of it related to the economy, as well as finally getting this new digital age we call home. However, it's meant some changes and those changes haven't always been supported by readers and thus advertisers. I know we've felt it at the Tucson Weekly, and I know our local daily has felt it too. If the advertiser dollars (and subscribers) remained, I'd like to think our area media would be stronger.

Before Trump, news folks have been at the bottom for years. When something fails, it's the first blamed, and this comes from the right and the left. During the election, coverage from the Washington Post was brilliant, but even lefty family complained, as if vogue.

A friend of mine at the Arizona Daily Star remarked over drinks recently that maybe a media literacy campaign is in order. Maybe she's right. An attorney, who helps reporters all over the state, reminded us on his Facebook that it's a good time to remind people that the press is the only profession mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Essentially governing requires a free press, and that free press needs public support. For some outlets, like us, it's advertising. For the Star, it's also subscriptions. For the Tucson Sentinel, donations.

I get paid this week. Part of my check is going to go to subscriptions at the Post and the Star. And a bit will go to the Sentinel and my co-worker Jim Nintzel's show that airs on KXCI, Zona Politics. Starting next month, the Weekly and our sister papers are going to start a campaign to thank our advertisers and readers.

Subscribe to your local paper. Support advertisers. In this age, it's one way to say you believe in a free press.

— Mari Herreras


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