It’s obvious that McClatchy is planning to regionalize its news coverage. In other words, one major paper in an area with several regionally zoned editions.
In this case most of the advertising would be generated out of Tacoma with regional advertisers getting a break by advertising in all of the McClatchy papers.
News operations would be coordinated out of Tacoma, but McClatchy would keep a small contingent of writers and reporters in Olympia, to cover state government. Most sports coverage will come out of Tacoma, as most of it does now. More and more stories about the Mariners or the Seahawks carry a Tacoma byline.
The future of The Olympian as much as it is, has already been written. It will become a zoned edition of The (Tacoma) News Tribune. It may carry an Olympian banner, but the paper will be a Tacoma product.
Change always impacts our lives. Change in the newspaper arena has also changed how local residents get their news. We depend on The Olympian for our local news. We read the paper for its obituaries, for its birth announcements and for its list of those filing for divorce. We read about those who have been picked up by the law for various offenses and we read about how they came out in court. The Olympian is our public bulletin board.
The newspaper is trying to continue in that vein by putting more effort and time into its on line publication which started in 1998. It means that more and more stories will be previewed on line and may or may not make the printed pages.
But, what bothers me more than anything else is the fact that we’ve come to rely on our local newspaper for complete coverage of events in Thurston County. The lack of revenue means cutbacks and cutbacks mean less and less people covering our community.
McClatchy has already regionalizing news in the Carolinas by combining the sports and news bureaus at Raleigh and Charlotte.