Good morning, Netizens...
Last Friday a band of close friends who helped formulate and build Community Comment met at our traditional meeting place to discuss the future of Community Comment in the face of the continuing downsizing of the Spokesman-Review. This was a closed Gathering, limited to our founding members and a few close personal friends. Due to time constraints on each of our schedules, we had a business agenda relating to how we see the Blog evolving over time, and how best to serve the community in which we live and work.
During the last few weeks and months, we have seen many talented, skilled journalists and friends leave the Spokesman-Review in harsh economic times, thus creating a vacuum in their wake, because for the foreseeable future, their jobs will not and cannot be filled. The economy is in the tank, and the Spokesman-Review, despite what many people might think, is simply mirroring the same economic hardships that have been witnessed at other major newspapers across the country. Some of the best, most-talented writers in journalism have already lost their jobs, and the steep cuts in personnel nationwide may not be over yet.
We at Community Comment, have always enjoyed a unique and challenging position with respect to the Spokesman-Review, in that we serve as a volunteer group of individuals, some whom have past involvement in journalism. We are the only group of its kind who proudly serve the Spokesman-Review online, and although unpaid, we have always attempted to remain loyal to those who lend us the resources we use every day. That is fairness, in our opinions. That does not mean we always agree with the opinions of the Editorial Board, but our dissent should always be a respectful disagreement upon the principles and precepts of professional journalism and adherent to the principles of good taste.
It has become painfully apparent to us that with a sharply-decreasing number of reporters and journalists to cover the often-complex stories of our time, particularly at the Spokane-centric level, one of the challenges we at Community Comment envision is that we must help, in some small way, to fill the gaps. Over the next few weeks and months, we will begin exploring several new pathways we discussed. Some of these are:
Attempt to cover City Council and other public meetings in-depth
Increase the number of locally-shot photographs or other digital media
Integrate and collaborate better with the remaining staff and Editors of the Spokesman-Review.
Community Comment was, at its inception, a work-in-progress, and for the most part, remains that way even today.