Some predictions are easy


Last January, I wrote “My top five predictions for 2023” in the editorial, based on what I had been seeing and expected to continue. They were all “no-brainers,” such as “The pace of business and life will continue to be swift and incessant” and “Trust will continue to be crucial to the health of news media.”

Many of our articles in 2023 were great examples of my prediction, “Entrepreneurs and disaffected workers will continue to plug the holes in the news dike.” In that editorial, I used Hell Gate of NYC as an example of this prediction. Since then, stories like the one about 9 Millones and The Coronado News, both in our June 2023 issue, add to the examples. Stories about citizen journalism and journalism furthered by retirees, dubbed “The Experience Corps,” are more representations of this trend.

We’ve also written about the intersection of academia and local journalism with stories about the HBCU Student Reporting Network and News Desert U. However, our company profile on The Hutchinson Tribune took this prediction to a whole new level for me.

In late October 2023, Joey Young, majority owner of Kansas Publishing Ventures, emailed Mike and me with the subject line, "Meet the 16-year-old filling a news desert gap." That email and his subsequent email introduction led us to Michael Glenn, a high school student in Hutchinson, Kansas — a town of about 40,000 people in the middle of the country. While staying current with news to prepare for his debate team activities, Michael noticed that his local newspaper was declining in local content — the result of layoffs and exodus from the local newsroom that left primarily regional and national coverage, which has become increasingly prevalent today.

Most teenagers wouldn't have noticed; if they did, it would have been fleeting. Most people of any age would have possibly given notice but then moved on because, after all, what can one person do? Michael Glenn isn't "most," so he talked to people he believed could guide him to change the situation — Gina Long, a friend he had met in a philosophy book club at a local bookstore, and Joey Young, a newspaper publisher in nearby south-central Kansas.

It would be easy to say, “and the rest is history.” However, we all know that much more has gone into Glenn and Long's efforts to start and build the Hutchinson Tribune. Owning and running a local news publication is an overwhelming appointment for anyone of any age, let alone a 16-year-old who is also balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities and teenage social life. However, Glenn has hit the ground running and amazed all who come into his orbit. You can experience him yourself in our E&P Reports segment featuring him.

One person CAN make a difference, and Michael Glenn proves that. And we found out about this story because Joey Young thought it was worth telling our industry. Thanks, Joey, and thank you to all of you who reached out to tell us your stories. We can only serve this industry with your help.

We at E&P wish each of you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2024 full of wonderful stories for all.

Robin Blinder is E&P's editor-in-chief. She has been with E&P for four years. She can be reached at robin@editorandpublisher.com.


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