Beacon Benchmark: What is this place?

Note: Beacon Benchmark columns are a way for the B Square Beacon’s writer to give readers some regular behind-the-scenes insight into this website, which aims to serve some of the news and information needs of Bloomington, Indiana.  

On Sunday morning, my wife and I ate breakfast at the Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue. It is a weekly habit.

The server concluded the order-taking ritual with a friendly, “Thanks, ya’ll.”

Hearing that version of the second-person plural pronoun reminded me of a Blaze Foley lyric from a tune called Clay Pigeons: “Tryin’ to hide my sorrow from the people I meet/ And get along with it all/ Go down where the people say ‘Y’all'” Continue reading “Beacon Benchmark: What is this place?”

How Bloomington “Citizen Sovereigns” can rescue local media

When I moved to Bloomington late last year, I was glad to find the place still had a daily newspaper. Some towns – like Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I made my home for 22 years – haven’t been as lucky.

Cropped Front Page Herald Times New Owner
The front page of the Herald-Times on Jan. 29, 2019.

Granted, I’ve heard that the Bloomington Herald-Times is a shadow of its former self. It has suffered through several rounds of downsizing tied to financial challenges that are ubiquitous in the newspaper industry. And the owners weren’t local, though Schurz Communications at least was headquartered in Indiana, not on the coasts.

Then in January, Schurz announced plans to sell all its newspaper holdings to GateHouse Media, a New York-based conglomerate. More layoffs quickly followed. The H-T lost two people, one of them long-time photographer Jeremy Hogan. This came on top of an earlier round of layoffs last August, which were likely a prelude to the acquisition. 

It’s worth looking at the implications of these changes, putting them in a broader context.

Beyond that, we need to do more than just snipe at decisions that people in the news industry make. It’s far more productive to explore what we can do as citizens to take control of our local news coverage, enhancing what’s already here and ensuring its future stability.

But first, what are we up against? Continue reading “How Bloomington “Citizen Sovereigns” can rescue local media”