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Jon’s PostLife Crisis: What Happens to Lincoln Nebraska When The Newspaper Dies?

Will you subscribe or not? Did you believe Uncle Walt all the time? Is media biased?

Walter Cronkite On ‘The Morning Show’ Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images


Dr Mark Coddington, a journalism professor at Washington and Lee University talks about whether there is real bias in media. We discuss whether there’s more bias now than there’s ever been. What will happen to mid-size cities like Lincoln, Nebraska when their newspapers die?

On the Transcripts:

The transcript has been run through a site that does it’s stuff automatically. It’s unbelievably difficult to do that with real accuracy. The transcript has been heavily edited. Even then it’s rough. Listen to the podcast, please.


Jon Johnston

0:12 Welcome to what we’re calling Jon’s post life crisis this week, because we haven’t really settled them a name yet. We are joined by Dr. Mark Coddington, who is a professor at Washington and Lee University. He is a professor of journalism. Welcome Mark. Talk about yourself.

Mark Coddington 0:40

Thanks, Jon. And I like the name. I don’t know if this is the first episode with that with that name, but I like Postlife Crisis. I teach journalism at Washington Lee University, which is a small liberal arts college in rural Virginia. And I am of interest to your audience. I’m a Nebraskan. I am a former newspaper reporter. I was a reporter at the Grand Island independent for four years. Back in the late 2000s. I then went and got a PhD at the University of Texas. I know, I know, I know. I have never in my life flashed the hook of horns, I have resisted. When Nebraska played Texas and volleyball, I went to the game with my wife in Nebraska gear. So I represented I stood strong, I still root for the Texas like journalism school, but not not the athletic program. So I just need to establish that to maintain credibility with your audience. So, so yeah, I was there for my Masters and PhD. And while I was there, I wrote a column every week for the Nieman journalism lab, which is a website kind of about the future of news and technology run by Harvard. So I wrote a column for them kind of about the latest in what people are talking about in the future of news. So I have a little bit of newspaper background, local news, in Grand Island, Nebraska, and also have been thinking about kind of tech and where news is headed for a while as well.Jon Johnston 2:18

You have bonafides. Thank you Yes. That’s that’s what we call that right? You know, I one of my favorite movies Brother Where Out Thou, you got the bonafides. Mark Coddington 2:29

and got the bonafide especially like I said, for a Nebraska oriented audience. You know, I think I think that’s important. If I as soon as I bring in University of Texas, I can hear I can hear the skepticism now. But I want to assure the show them I am a I’m a through and through Nebraska. And it says so on my Twitter profile

Jon Johnston 2:48 Okay, number one. How do we know each other? Because you know, my memory is messed up. Why do we know each other?

Mark Coddington 3:06 I probably only have a little bit more knowledge than you. I don’t really know.

Jon Johnston 3:12 I have excuses. Mark?

Mark Coddington 3:19 So I’ve read CornNation for a long time. And at some point early on, we started emailing each other. And basically anytime you had a question about like, what’s really going on with newspapers, I know you’re studying this stuff, aren’t you? I would try to answer it. I also, back when I think you did some editing work for like the Huskers yearbook, like with Maple Street press back in like 2011, or something like that. It was right after I had moved to Austin, it was right when Nebraska join the Big Ten. And you had me write an essay for you. about like, what the Big Ten means. And this is what life in the Big Ten is all about. So little things here. And there. We just emailed each other randomly throughout the years.

Jon Johnston 4:12 For people that don’t know, I edited a yearbook for a few years for a company called Maple Street press. And just when we were getting going, they went bankrupt. It was a depressing. I’m not going to go into but they went bankrupt. I really liked doing it because it held me to a really high standard. You know, we had to put out a yearbook that was well done. It had to be edited. It had to be not our goofy stuff the way was put on CornNation. And they paid me for it. And that’s the part that I was really upset about. But, Mark, we’re here today. Should I call you Dr. Mark? Or no? No. I can go with first name. Okay, Mark, we’re here today, because this still bothers me about what’s happening with journalism, what’s happening with newspapers. And I’m going to ask you this question. We’re going to start with this.

Is there more bias in media coverage now than there’s ever been in the past? Or do we romanticize the past with regards to journalism in the way that we do everything else?

Mark Coddington 5:34 Yeah. Well, the answer, anytime you ask an academic anything is basically going to be kind of yes and no. And I think that’s kind of the answer here. I think there’s a lot of factors at play here. enough that I actually teach a whole class on media bias. Even though I don’t really like the topic, I started my class telling my students that media bias is a subject that talking about it actively makes you dumber about the media, but we’re going to spend a whole class talking about it anyway. Mostly because I think it’s a great entry point, to really interesting conversations that hopefully do make us smarter. So one, one factor going on, is it when you when you talk about like people being stalled? What in your sense that you sort of anecdotally, what do you think people are in a stall just for? What do they What do you or other people think of or talk about, when you think of like the good old days?

Jon Johnston 6:38 The one that always comes up with with me is Walter Cronkite, the Voice of America, I don’t remember what he was called. Walter Cronkite was a very liberal person. He was a progressive. And when you go back and look what he did with the Vietnam War, I mean, he tanked the Vietnam War all by himself, he really did. You know, we could go into this for a long time.

Mark Coddington 7:06 Right. Well, and and I’m glad you you’ve already kind of made a couple of my first point for me, which is, Walter Cronkite is the name that comes up more often than any other that like uncle Walter was in your living room. And he, understood and you trusted him, and you felt like he was kind of a neutral arbiter. And the the story about him in the Vietnam War is classic, where he went, and then he came back, and and really, you know, really issued a pretty damning indictment of the US is war effort. And this was in I forget, like, 67, 68 and

Jon Johnston 7:42

was 69. Because the Tet offensive.

Mark Coddington 7:45 Okay, 69 You’re right. And I believe and then it was Nixon, who would have been at the time in the early 69 said, I can’t no Tet Offensive was early 68. I think it was maybe LBJ, who’s supposedly said if I’ve lost Cronkite I’ve lost Middle America. And this notion, and but I could be I could be off. So this notion that like Middle America just kind of understood and respected and trusted Walter Cronkite and identified with him and I think you’ve identified, like one potential problem with this nostalgia is that we don’t we remember him as being a lot more neutral and a lot more uniformly trusted as than he actually was.

Walter Cronkite was getting blasted as a liberal all the way through like the Nixon administration. And and it was it was fairly similar to what we hear today being talked about with the liberal media, maybe the volume now has been turned up to 11. So he wasn’t quite as universally trusted, as we remember. But we think of Walter Cronkite, when we think of the past and when we think of the present media environment. Overwhelmingly, people are thinking of cable news. Pew actually did a really interesting survey about four or five years ago, I wish they were like repeated every few years, where they asked people when you when you are thinking of the news media, what are you thinking of? And the overwhelmingly most popular answer was cable news. And I repeat this every time I teach my class, my media bias class with my students, what are you thinking of with your when you think of cable news, or when you think of the news media, and this past year, 14 out of the 15 students in the class, were thinking of cable news.

So our image when we talk about the news media, we could be talking about virtually anything, but most people have in their head, this idea of cable news. By cable news, I’m thinking of not NBC, ABC, or CBS thinking of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC or the big three. There’s also Fox Business and Bloomberg and CNBC. And, you know, I guess there’s one American news network now. But the big three there that we’re thinking of are CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. And, and of course, we think of the news media as being more biased now than it was back then, because we’re thinking of cable news. Cable news was a thing that didn’t even exist in the days of Walter Cronkite. And of course, it is, is more biased it is it is literally like, you know, and depends on the network, but 70-80% of it is just people spouting opinions, that’s the biases is their product, that it’s opinion, that’s what they do. So I think some of it is just kind of a a little bit of slippage in the term that we use, we’re not necessarily comparing apples to oranges. And like, when we think of the media being biased, we’re thinking of cable news. And like, cable news, not really as an enterprise, super interested in, like, avoiding opinion at all costs, like literally their businesses opinion.

Jon Johnston 11:13 People screaming at each other. When I turn on Fox News, or CNN, all I see is people yelling at each other.

Mark Coddington 11:22 That seems like an accurate representation.

Jon Johnston 11:25 I don’t watch it, I literally do not watch any news on TV.

Mark Coddington 11:31 And I try to avoid it for generally that reason that it’s pretty low information content, it’s kind of the information equivalent of peeps. It’s just, it’s just a terrible thing with your diet. So I will say after having, you know, kind of gone in, in that direction, I will say that yes, part of it is that we have seen from study after study, if you take a long view, like a half a century view, we have seen news coverage. And this is especially focusing on motors, more of this research, it’s focusing on, like print newspapers, and now online, we’ve seen that articles in newspapers have steadily gotten much longer. And they’ve included much more analytical or interpretive language, if you compare the news article from the 50s to one today, or 10 years ago, it wouldn’t even feel like the same genre, like the same type of product. It has changed so dramatically, and a lot of that has gone from journalists, basically beautifully recounting whatever the officials in power did the previous day. You know, whatever they said in their speeches and their addresses, and these sorts of things to a lot more of explaining, okay, what does this all mean?

Why, what’s going on here?

And that’s where we perceive bias. And it makes sense, because we’re asking your journalists to make a lot more judgments. So in that sense, like, if we read, if we read newspapers back in the 40s, or 50s, something like this, we would see it and we’d say, yeah, this is pretty bare bones, just facts. The problem is, and this is a point that a lot of this point is, you know, made really well and really thoroughly in a book that came out last year, called On Press by Matthew Pressman, just to cite my sources. He basically says, the problem is all those old articles, and that old style of journalism, it was terrible. It really didn’t hold people in power to account. It didn’t perform that kind of watchdog function very well, that we expect journalism to perform, it was really difficult to understand because they didn’t analyze stuff for us. They didn’t tell us what stuff meant. They just told us here and official said this, and another official said this, and they kind of almost relied on the audience to sort of connect the dots, which we can we, you know, we’ve got jobs and lives, we can’t right now.

Jon Johnston 14:04 Yeah. Okay.

Mark Coddington 14:06 So he basically says, like, news has changed, and and it has involved the introduction of a particular kind of bias. And, and he says, like, ultimately, in, at least on the whole, that’s been for the better. So, obviously, people’s mileage mileage may vary on whether they think it’s for the better. But I so I do think there’s that that’s worth acknowledging that the news has gotten more analytical and more interpretive, which I personally like. But also, once that becomes more a part of the news that, you know, that inevitably involves reporters opinions, it getting into the news. I also think the idea that news was ever unbiased is kind of a it’s a false notion that there really is no such thing as.

Jon Johnston 15:01 Let me let me give you another example. The Spanish American War? Yeah, Randolph Hearst said, You send us the pictures, and we’ll write the articles. It’s the famous statement, William Randolph Hearst, trying to remember what the details were.

Mark Coddington 15:24 It was like “You supply the pictures and we will supply the war.” The idea that we could just kind of create, we can just kind of create the war, we’ll tell America what it needs to be told, you know? Yeah.

Jon Johnston 15:37 So it’s kind of it’s a lie that the news, the I don’t want to say journalism is never been bias. But there’s always been kind of a, there’s been a capitalistic thrust behind it all the time, throughout our entire history, the entire history of journalism.

Mark Coddington 15:57 Right. You know, what’s interesting, and is some of this, I think has become a little bit more well known in the past few years. But in the early days of our country, the news media was far more partisan than it is now. Far more, it was not just like, biased, Independent News article or, you know, organizations like we might have now there was not, you know, it wasn’t as though like, Thomas Jefferson’s newspaper was like a fox news. And Alexander Hamilton’s or John Adams, it was like an MSNBC, these, the the prominent news organizations were literally bankrolled by the parties, they were like party newsletters. And, and they did the party’s bidding, which is a totally different level, and a totally different model than the United States has now.

So, and those were, like the fledgling days of our democracy up until things started to shift and about the 1830. So we have been, we have been way, way more bias in this, I mean, and they, they would, I mean, they were like out of control, they were accusing each other, you know, you’d have newspaper editors, accusing candidates of like having STDs and illegitimate children. And I mean, it’s just crazy stuff. There’s a great book on this, forgetting the author for the moment, but it’s called the infamous scribblers. It’s a really fun book focusing on like, the 1790s. And just crazy stuff that these newspapers would publish. And so that’s, that’s kind of where where we came from. And it really wasn’t until the late 1800s, that this idea that like journalism should be objective should just stick to telling people the facts should not, you know, insert their opinions, etc, etc, that didn’t really start to fully crystallized as a philosophy until, like, 1880s 1890s or so. And in a lot of people’s minds, that all then like fell apart, say, like, depends on people’s narratives, maybe the 60s, the 70s. So that means we only have in the, you know, all coming up on 250 I guess 230 some year history of our country, we only have like, a 70 or so year window, when our sort of idealistic notion of objectivity even really kind of existed and dominated in the news media.

And we feel like this was handed down by like George Washington on stone tablets, you know, along you know, along with whatever the Bill of Rights or something like this. But but it’s only really a kind of a little parenthesis in which this model really rules. I think that that at least, I think changes our perspective as to like how absolutely fundamental to like the American way this way of seeing journalism is.

Jon Johnston 18:54 So you got What about 1910 1912? I read that Nieman lab, okay, this this, this is a concern to me. I I spent seven years in Nebraska getting a four-year art degree.

Mark Coddington 19:12 Okay, a lot of people was seven years, Jon.

Jon Johnston 19:17 Yeah, good. Good for them. I was not a good student. I have minors in like math and physics. And I think computer science. I went to all the round, but I never took a journalism course and I kind of wish I would. That’ll come up later. I’m going to ask you, I know your time is limited. You have other things to do and your professor and an important guy. I want to ask you this.

Okay, we’re seeing newspapers die all over the place. And especially rural newspapers. One hometown newspapers was the Youngstown Vindicator. Did you see that news? Yes, just went out of business. And Youngstown, Ohio is not a small town. And it’s the home of Bo Pelini. So Bo Pelini isn’t going to get coverage anymore. But I mean, when you think of the Omaha paper, our Omaha World Herald had layoffs recently, and they were taken over by Lee, if I remember right, Lee enterprises.Mark Coddington 20:36

Yeah, management until they’re still own. That’s right. They’re still owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. But they basically contracted out all their papers with Lee Enterprises to to run them and Lee Enterprises has owned the Lincoln journal star for a long time.Jon Johnston 20:53

What’s going to happen to America? Right? I mean, I’m not worried. Everybody New York Times Washington Post right? LA Times. Chicago Tribune. Star Tribune are being in minute Minneapolis. All these the metros have their papers, and they’re probably going to live. Omaha, Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, a Grand Island, Nebraska, Columbus, Nebraska, North Platte, Nebraska. What’s going to happen to these places when their newspapers die?Mark Coddington 21:35

I’m not really optimistic. I don’t know that anybody who really studies this area, like for a living is optimistic. At this point. I, I wish I had a lot of reassuring words for you, but does feel a little bit doom and gloom. Right now, I think you’re absolutely right, that the rich in journalism are getting richer, The New York Times is doing just fine. Donald Trump says it’s failing, but it’s actually in the best financial health it’s been in a certainly so large part of that would be large part of that would be because Donald Trump is true, although the trend, the trend reporting, that’s true, he has not he is not hurt the New York Times business, although the trends were pointing upward for them, even before he, you know, really became a phenomenon. Those papers are going to be fine. And I also think, for the most part, the very small newspapers are going to be fine, like very, very small, as long as the communities that they’re in themselves don’t die. So like I’m in a town. I Live in Lexington, Virginia, which is a town of like 7000. We have a little weekly newspaper, and that newspaper, doesn’t care about the internet, doesn’t barely puts anything on the internet. And it’s doing just fine. Because if you want to know stuff going on in town, it’s still just kind of the only real central kind of, you know, gathering place Central way to know, and I think many of those, like your newspapers, in Aurora, and Wayne, and Alliance or something like that, you know, and the real little ones I think are going to be okay, as long as their communities aren’t just completely shedding population, things like that.

But the mid the mid sized papers, like your Youngstown’s, and your Lincoln’s and your Grand Island, those are the ones that I and other scholars are really the most worried about. Because they are I mean, we the story of how they’ve run into, you know, newspapers have sort of run into trouble, everybody knows pretty well. And everybody, it’s one of those kind of, at least on a basic level, people just kind of intuitively understand why the value proposition for newspapers just isn’t as great as it was 20 years ago.Jon Johnston 24:15

So what is going to happen that if that’s when the other questions, right, if or when did newspapers lose their value?Mark Coddington 24:25

Well, I mean, the easy answer is the internet, of course, made available a lot of information for free that they provided, you know, that they bundled together as a paid product. So the classic example, of course, is Craigslist, just eating, you know, completely eating alive newspaper classifieds. It just did exactly what they did only, you know, better and more easily searchable, and free, boom, there go newspaper, classifieds. You know, you think about like sports coverage of the local teams, you have places like CornNation, and it’s for runners, you know, and the rivals and scout etc, and college football, other organizations and other sports, able to basically offer a, you know, quality coverage that in many ways, especially if you’re recruiting Nick is more in depth than what newspapers offer, and they can do it for free, although the college recruiting sites they charge. So it’s a lot of the a lot of the value that newspapers had was in being able to bring together all this different information, you have to you have the comics, for, you know, for the kids, you have like lifestyle and living and you had TV listings back when that really mattered. You had you know, the stocks, and you have the sports scores, and all that stuff delivered in one bundle to your doorstep.

And as soon as the internet came and basically just unbundled that stuff, and you didn’t need it all together in one package, each person could just get what they needed from their little corner of the internet, the main value proposition was in that stuff all being brought together in one package, and then suddenly, that will that one package together became a lot, a lot less interesting and a lot less valuable. And so now the value proposition has to be in the importance of local news and information, which I think newspapers are realizing people were never actually as interested in. As, as they had said, or as they had thought, right. You know, the people just don’t

Jon Johnston 26:33 like the Vindicator. I read the articles about the people that don’t aren’t, don’t aren’t aware of this. Youngstown, Ohio, they had a local newspaper called the Vindicator and after, what, 150 years, it’s it’s closing business is bankrupt, that they’re going out of business.

They have this town meeting, and one of the guys stood up and said, Well, yeah, but how many of you were subscribers? And I’m sure that that answer wasn’t… not a lot of people raised their hands. This is important to me, I feel otherwise I wouldn’t have had you on this podcast, I would have said, Hey, how you doing? Mark? You got a birthday or something? Whatever. You know what I mean. But I think this is very important. It’s important to me, because I, you know, I think journalism is interesting. And if you don’t have people watching stuff, like journalism, journalists do, what the hell’s going to happen? Mark Coddington 27:45

I absolutely agree. I mean, I think in in those, certainly those communities have lost a newspaper. And Youngstown is now the largest American city without a daily newspaper, or consistently publishing newspaper, there have been others whose newspapers went less than daily in the print edition, but they’re still, you know, publishing constantly online. This will be the first one without a kind of major consistently publishing newspaper. And I think in those cities, but to a lesser degree everywhere, I think this is kind of potentially a heyday for petty corruption in in local government, and local business, etc. Because there’s just there always should be. And I remember, this was something that was, you know, taught to me and journalism school, and it really is true. But every time a public official does something that they think is this, okay, this might be a little bit sketchy. There should be a watcher, there should be a watcher in the rearview mirror, like you should have to check your rearview mirror before you before you do something like this, you should have to know there could be somebody watching this is this is sort of under somebody purview, whether or not they catch me, I don’t know. But I have to at least take that into account. And I think you’re more and more getting into a realm in which there just isn’t anybody in the rearview mirror anymore, you’re there just alone on a highway doing 90. And, and I just think we’re going to see a lot more of that kind of, like I said, petty corruption, that local newspapers have been their bread and butter trying to dig this up. And we’re just not even going to know about it.

And so that’s, that’s the kind of thing that I think the this sort of crisis in journalism means. In the long run, I think there’s, there’s some stuff to talk about with, you know, kind of community center belonging, where you have this, you know, a newspaper, or a major news organization helping kind of define for a community, these are the issues that we’re talking about and sort of serving as a public forum. I think that function has really declined and diminished. And I think there’s something more when that goes away. But that can be potentially replaced. But literally people with their butts in the seats at city council meetings and school board meetings, who are kind of have a real nose for what is not right, and a way to kind of find out about it and communicated to people in an understandable and sensible way. Like that can’t just be replaced. That is really valuable. And that’s going away.

Jon Johnston 30:30

Wow. So it’s kind of scary. Here’s that. Okay. We probably should wrap it up in the next few minutes. But I’m going to ask you, if newspapers continue to go way? What’s going to fill this void?

Mark Coddington 30:50 Um, I don’t know. I think they’re there are a number of really interesting experiments trying. So Youngstown is already showing signs of you know, people are descending on it. With these little experiments. I just saw yesterday, there’s a Google funded to kind of local news initiative that they have been kind of ramping up and getting started. I’m not really sure what all they’re going to entail. But they announced yesterday that they’re gonna, they’re going to choose Youngstown as their pilot project. And they’re going to put reporters there. And I again, Google’s a little funny. This is Google doing their like penance. exactly what it is.

They’ve had newspapers railing at them for 15 years, and like, you have you’ve crippled us, like, give something back. And Google is like, okay, fine, we’ll toss you a few million dollars, you know, blah, blah, blah. And and, you know, it may not, you know, it may not be commensurate with the damage that Google has done. But it’s, it’s better than nothing, you know? Jon Johnston 31:58

What is that Sylvester Stallone movie where he shows up in the future, and all the restaurants are Taco Bell?

Mark Coddington 32:08 And all the news organizations are Google? Yeah,

Jon Johnston 32:11

it’s kind of like that, isn’t it?

Mark Coddington 32:14 Well, you think about it. I mean, they’ve got all the money. It’s Google and Facebook right now are pouring money into local news initiatives. And everybody is kind of like, Oh, that’s wonderful. I mean, you know,

Jon Johnston 32:26

It’s terrifying.

Mark Coddington 32:28 so I’m not I’m not terrified. Because right now they’re independently run. And then of course, they’re independently run until they’re not, but right, tell somebody that until they get big for it. But I would much rather have this than nothing, I would also much rather have an actual local newspaper that is healthy and thriving than any of this. But so there they’ve got, they’ve got an experiment running.

I just saw pro publica, which is the massive national nonprofit news organization. They’re running some sort of little they’re planting a reporter in, in Youngstown to basically make it that person’s job to try to do the sort of watchdog reporting that the that the local news, you know, newspaper had been doing. I think there’s a really interesting experiment called Report for America. That’s a nonprofit. It’s like foundation funded, funded by all these, you know, donors, and various, you know, giant foundations. They’re taking young journalists who maybe have a couple of years of experience and planting them in like rural, underserved towns and cities to basically go, you know, dig in and a particular area. So like one of their pilot projects was in Kentucky, looking at like, coal mining, industry and environmental issues, and the kind of things that just the local newspaper doesn’t really have the resources to do. And that one, they’ve sort of declared their pilot a success, and they’re expanding. And I think he could see little things like that, that are, some kind of postal post apocalyptic little shoots that are that are promising. Are they going to replace the newspapers in their power in their heyday? No, not even close. And, and again, I’m still pessimistic on the whole, but I think there are little signs of positivity here and there, even if, as you said, we have reason to be skeptical of Google’s motives and funding all this.

Jon Johnston 34:27

Or Facebook, or Facebook. Yeah. How many my god Mark Zuckerberg looks like, it looks like… I’m in tech. Right? Yeah. In my life. And I watched Mark Zuckerberg, and I look at him and I go, Oh, my God, you stumbled into this, you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re the worst. frickin person in tech ever, to stand in front of massive amounts of technology and try to control it. I mean, Bill Gates was better than he is and Bill Gates was a monster. He destroyed companies all over the place. Bill Gates has been like Jimmy Carter, a crappy president, but after he was a president, a really good guy. Bill Gates, running a company, massively destructive of other tech companies. But afterwards, he’s done amazing things for humanity. Nothing to do with what we’re talking about. I just went on a rant. I’m sorry.

Mark Coddington 35:30 That’s all right. It’s your podcast, you can do it.

Jon Johnston 35:33

Don’t encourage me, Mark. Okay, is there we have I have other things I want to talk about, but I think that’s a good start. Mark Coddington 35:50

you know, I would kind of leave it with an encouragement to listeners that like, if this is something that you care about, you care about the future of kind of news and information and, you know, watchdog for your town, and your community, pay for your local paper, a local news organization. And, you know, subscribe to it digitally on, you know, in print, something like that. Now, I will say they’re not charities, so they, they have to, like do something to earn your dollar. A lot of times they’re just they’re not very good anymore, because they’ve been gutted. You know, they’ve laid off so many people because they’re owned by some hedge fund somewhere. But it’s not going to get better if the people with the community don’t put money behind it. Like you said, with that Youngstown meeting, like how many of you were subscribers, if you care about it, you show by putting your money where your mouth is?

Right. And, and again, it’s it’s hard to do, it’s hard to advocate because I, you know, I see local newspapers, and there’s, and here is no good information here. And so I you know, I’m not going to, you know, lecture you to subscribe to a newspaper that’s not very good. That’s just simply terrible. But if you’re on the fence, and you haven’t really thought about it, you feel like, yeah, it’d be really terrible if my newspaper went away. Well, you can do something about it if it’s something you really value.

Jon Johnston 37:20 Well, I live in Chaska the home of Luke Roskam, who is our third baseman and catcher and first baseman - he played everywhere on the baseball team. It’s also the home of the Ryder Cup a couple years ago. And it’s I apparently right now in the home of the Women’s LPGA. I don’t follow golf. But I was happy to know that when I picked up my local newspaper this morning, because we get it every week on Thursdays, that they’re going to rebuild the pavilion down by my lake that was burned down by an arsonist. So that’s important to me. That’s actually local news that I want to know. How am I going to find that out without my local newspaper? I don’t know. I don’t subscribe to it. It comes free. They just deliver it. I don’t know how this works. Is that socialism? I don’t know. That’s a rhetorical question. We don’t have to go into that.

Anyway. I think we’re done. Mark. Are we for this episode? I guess.

Mark Coddington 38:47 Pleasure. Jon. Has it been good?

Jon Johnston 38:49 Yes. This is good. You’ll come back?

Mark Coddington 38:54 Yeah, sure. Whenever whenever you want to talk about talk about stuff.

Jon Johnston 39:00 There’s a whole election coming up. And I’m sure it’s going to kill most of America.

Mark Coddington 39:06 Well, we’ll see. I mean, I if it ends up the all the CornNation commenters end up just yelling at me for like, 200 comments on the podcast? I don’t know. So it’s good. Because that makes it sound like I’m threatening them. Like, don’t don’t write me and comments on me about me or won’t come back.

Jon Johnston 39:25 But I

Mark Coddington 39:27

People have strong, strong feelings about this. Did you know Did you know that Jon?

Jon Johnston 39:34

I never heard that before. Yeah. All right. Thank you, Mark for Dr. Mark, for letting me take some of your time. This has been the John’s Postlife Crisis podcast. Thank you for listening.

Have a nice day. Goodbye.Transcribed by