Indy Digest: May 9, 2022

Journalism and the state of the newspaper industry have been on my mind a lot lately.

Yeah, yeah: As you’d expect, journalism is usually on my mind; I am a publisher and editor of a newspaper, after all. But it’s still more on my mind, thanks to various events.

Going in one direction is the Washington City Paper. The DC-based publication has long been one of the best in the country and just released its latest print edition. From now on, the City Paper, with a reduced staff, of course, will be online only.

Going in another direction is the Reno News & Review. Since January 31, it has become the sister publication of the Independent, that is to say, I have acquired it. A weekly in one form or another since 1993, the RN&R published its so far final print edition on March 19, 2020. At that time, all staff were laid off; When the pandemic swept away most of the paper’s advertising and distribution locations, the former owners decided it was time to shut down, at least temporarily. The journal soon returned, in a limited way, as an online-only publication, and RN&R has more or less limped off since, but still produces good work here and there, saved by the Herculean efforts of the editor. Frank X. Mullen. , a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Since I took over, Frank and I have fleshed out the content. And over Memorial Day weekend, RN&R will be back in print, as a monthly, with a June edition.

It would be a gross understatement to say that reprinting RN&R has been a challenge. For one thing, the last commercial printer in northern Nevada closed its doors a few months ago. We received printing offers from all over Northern California before choosing a printer in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, this printer is 433 miles from our distribution space in Northern Nevada, and we have to pay to truck it that distance, at a time when gas prices are over $5 a gallon. It will cost almost twice as much to print and transport the June 2022 edition of RN&R than to print a March 2020 edition

When I watch newspapers like the Washington City Paper end print editions, I wonder if we’re crazy trying to get RN&R back in print. It makes me wonder if it might be better if the Independent were online only.

But then I think of all the people who don’t have reliable broadband. And I think of all the people who prefer printed information to digital information, whether by habit, preference or technology.

And then I think of the response we’ve had in Reno since we announced the return of the print edition of RN&R. It was loud and unanimously joyful. Many Northern Nevadans are thrilled to have their alternative newspaper back in physical form.

How will all of this turn out? I have no idea. It depends on the level of advertiser and reader support we get.

The moral of this rambling story: support the local media. If you own a business, advertise. If you are a reader who can afford it, subscribe or become a supporter. If you’re a reader who can’t afford it, talk about the good work these newspapers are doing.

To all of you who support the Independent: Thank you. For those of you who don’t… well, what are you waiting for? We really need it. We don’t want to go the way of the Washington City Paper or the Reno News & Review from before June. Producing and distributing quality local news is difficult and expensive…and those of us who have journalism on our minds constantly need your help to keep doing what we do.

—Jimmy Boegle