After announcing that the Gannett system of newspapers (parent company to the state’s largest daily, the Argus Leader) has gobbled up two more of the state’s daily newspapers – the Watertown Public Opinion and the Aberdeen American News – the Argus recently put out a plea for the public to feed them information.
No other news organization in South Dakota has our level of reach, or the ability to let government officials know we’re paying attention, and we’re not afraid to raise the difficult questions taxpayers are asking.
That’s why we’re launching a new reader-driven initiative: 100 Eyes on South Dakota, based in our namesake and the philosophy of the 100-eyed Greek giant, the Argus – keeping watch from all directions.
Humble enough to own any mistake, we can’t look into every problem. But we can be direct about our efforts to hold public officials accountable and speak truth to power, with your help.
(You know a news organization is humble when they have a reporter put it in writing.)
So, the Argus Leader has gotten bigger and parent company Gannett owns over 25% of the daily newspapers in the state. Of the 11 daily newspapers in South Dakota, they control 3, including the one with the largest circulation by far.
This comes after one of reporter purges in the last few years where yet again a few more reporters were sent away via downsizing, buyouts, and early retirement, and now this news organization – boasting about the new and increased level of reach and the amount of influence they have to drive public policy – is begging to be fed news stories? (Which they aren’t paying anyone for.)
If the Argus is that concerned about the extent of their reach, and letting government officials know they’re paying attention, I might offer a suggestion.
Instead of putting out editorials begging for news stories for free, they could always go out and hire some reporters.
Just a thought.