A Few Words from Jim – January 2023
Happy New Year.
It’s only the middle of January and so much sad business news has happened already this year, it is overwhelming.
I’m wired to be a positive person. I like to see and report positive things.
But as the deluge of negative press releases and sad news rolled in during the first week of the new year, it made me pause.
Someone sent me an email calling the rapid set of news a “dumpster fire”.
A restaurant closed down.
The Jacksonville Inn was loved and ran by its founders for over 50 years. When they wanted to retire they sold it. It’s what you do. One year later it closed its doors. Wow. How does that happen?
The newspaper shut down.
Medford is the hub of Southern Oregon and there are over 250,000 people living here. The Mail Tribune has been around in one form or another since the 1800’s. Local news is important. But the internet changed everything. A few months ago they announced they would be digital only and retire the people that worked the presses. And now, it’s gone. How does that happen?
The managing director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival left amidst a reorganization. He just took the reins a couple of years ago.
The festival’s business model hasn’t been able to recover from the impact of the pandemic and it looks like it’s in real trouble. More trouble than any of us knew or thought. When leadership leaves a ship as it’s taking on water, no one is held accountable to guide its recovery and focused on getting it back on a new sustainable path? How does that happen?
It’s going to be an interesting year.
The zombie mode that the PPP and EIDL loans created to save companies from the pandemic will now start to show the delayed effect of death. Business owners looking to retire will sell their businesses to smart business people with money and ideas to grow the business they just bought, but will they have the entrepreneurial spirit required to work for free during hard times or is it just cheaper to shut it down.
Large art organizations that bolstered the local economy with tourism before the pandemic, failed to realize that everything is going to be different and change is hard but necessary to survive. There is no going back to how it used to be.
Other sources of local news exist and more will pop up to fill the void. I got involved with the journal when I realized how much local business news wasn’t being reported. I helped fill that void that was created a couple of years ago. It’s what happens.
Like I said, I’m an optimist. It may be a dumpster fire right now, but if you don’t get too close you can use the heat it throws off to stay warm and survive until spring.
There are other local news sources –
The Daily Courier – Serving Grants Pass – http://www.thedailycourier.com/
Ashland.News – Community News for Ashland – Online only – https://ashland.news/
iJPR – News for the State of Jefferson – https://www.ijpr.org/
Community News serving Ashland, Talent, Medford, Grants Pass – https://www.sneakpre.com/
Medford Alert – A Social Network, Breaking News Alert Service – https://medfordalert.com/
All the local TV and radio stations have news as well.
I’m going to list the Rogue Valley Messenger https://www.roguevalleymessenger.com/ but I think they went out of business based on an article I read in the mail tribune on Nov. 08, 2022. https://www.roguevalleymessenger.com/
Do you know of more?
Nonprofits like The Fund for Oregon Rural Journalism are out there trying to preserve the small news outlets that particularly serve rural areas. https://forjournalism.org/#:~:text=The%20nonprofit%20offers%20rural%20news,through%20technology%2C%20technique%20and%20philanthropy.