The Plight of a Local Newspaper

Like many regional newspapers, the dominant local newspaper in our area, The Durango Herald, struggles to maintain basic journalistic standards and still make a profit. It doesn’t help that political polarization in our area is probably as extreme as it is anywhere in the country. In our Congressional District race, the Democrats are running a moderately progressive candidate with strong experience as a county commissioner and state legislator. The Republicans are running a restaurant and bar owner, whose main publicity photo shows her wearing a sidearm and posed in front of a cluster of members of “Bikers for Trump.” Two motorcycles embellish the scene. The contrast with the Democratic candidate is stark.

     My observation of the Durango Herald is that they have tried to hew a non-controversial editorial policy, steering away from highly charged issues. I suspect that they are afraid of alienating a large number of subscribers if they express a clear-cut political preference. For the Herald, as for similarly situated newspapers, a fateful moment approaches. By late October, they will have to take clear-cut positions. They will have to earn the scorn of a large number of subscribers.