Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guardhouse at old Fort Lewis 1916, post in 1881

Old Fort Lewis. Overhead view of the guardhouse and corrals to the East was taken in 1916. Photo courtesy of Fort Lewis College, Center of Southwest Studies.

Fort Lewis military post, September 1881.
Guide to photos was produced by Todd Ellison, Certified Archivist, Center of Southwest Studies (December 2004).

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ames businesses

Ames mining community
Joseph Collier, photographer.
Summary: A large group of men stands on the sidewalk in front of a group of businesses in Ames, a mining community near the Ophir Loop in San Miguel County, Colorado. A billiard hall is in the left foreground with a false front. The Ames Hotel and Baumbauch's Drive-In Livery Feed and Sale Stable are in the left midground. Several horses are in front of the livery. A wagon is in the right midground in front of a clothing store. A wine and liquor store is in the right foreground.
Date [between 1875 and 1900?]
Notes: "363. Ames" handwritten on image in Collier collection of Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

Ames, near Ophir, Colorado

Joseph Collier, photographer.
Summary: Pack burros are gathered in front of the Sample Room and the Cabinet Saloon in Ames, a mining community near the Ophir Loop in San Miguel County, Colorado. Two men on horseback lead the group of burros. Men and a woman stand on the sidewalk in front of the businesses; a woman stands in a second-story window. A team of horses pulls a wagon with two men sitting on the buckboard; a ridge of mountains is in the distance.
Date [between 1875 and 1900?]
Notes: "362. Ames" handwritten on image in Collier collection of Western History Department, Denver Public Library.; Negative has number "1" stenciled in lower corner.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Train on trestle above Ophir

Title: Rocky Mountain Railroad Club excursion train on high trestle above Ophir (Colo.)
Date: May 29, 1949
Photographer: R. H. Kindig
Notes: Mile Post 043.00 (approximately). Behind Rio Grande Southern Engine #74 traveling 5 MPH with 5 cars.
Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College.

Dolores County Court House in Rico

Title: Dolores County organized March 14, 1881
Creator: William G. Harber
Summary: View of Dolores County Court House in Rico, Dolores County, Colorado; shows brick and stone building with arched entry and tower, dormers, and incised letters: "Court House."
Date : [between 1910 and 1920?]
Notes: Formerly F31100.; Title and: "(Colo. State Session laws 1881, p92)" penciled on back of photoprint.
Physical Description 1 copy photonegative ; 10 x 13 cm. (4 x 5 in.); 1 photoprint ; 12 x 12 cm. (4 1/2 x 4 3/4 in.) on sheet 18 x 13 cm. (7 x 5 in.)
Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

Mining in the San Juan Mountains

Walker Art Studio, Montrose, Colorado.
Title: Group of mine workers outside
Date/circa: 1900/1930
Photographer: Byers Photo (Montrose, Colo.)
Subjects: Miners--Colorado--San Juan Mountains; San Juan
Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Campfire program in 1920s

Mesa Verde Campfire Program in the 1920s
Mesa Verde National Park Collection
Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) Division of Information Technologies

Trained archaeologist Nusbaum

Superintendent Jesse Nusbaum, trained archaeologist appointed in 1921,
with his wife on the rim of the Mesa.
Mesa Verde National Park Collection
Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) Division of Information Technologies

Artifacts lying about

Director of Mesa Verde Jesse Fewkes,
with Native American Artifacts Lying About.
Mesa Verde National Park Collection
Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) Division of Information Technologies

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Local, local, local... it is all that matters anymore.

I remember the days of deadlines, but it has been a while.
With the advent of the 24-hour news cycle, deadlines, in their original form, went the way of the Dodo bird.
In my long news career, having worked on weeklies, dailies, monthly magazines, annual reports and consistently and constantly breaking online presences, I also remember when it made a difference.
With the blurring of the lines in modern media, changing economic and social conditions, and consumers that are always on, it no longer does.
That does not mean that the cycle is gone; it is just different.
One of my favorite all-time news references is “The Country Newspaper,” by Millard VanMarter Atwood, a Cornell University professor who first published “the little green book” in 1923.
“This little volume is an attempt to show the importance of the country weekly in the life of the small town and the rural community. It is hoped also that it will give residents of smaller places an insight into the problems with which the country editor is confronted in these days of changing economic and social conditions,” writes Atwood.
Accordingly, he notes that the writer “believes that the changes affecting the country newspaper which have been taking place in the East are prophetic of what may be expected, in time, throughout the whole country.”
Like Atwood, and W.P. Kirkwood, agricultural editor of the University of Minnesota, whom he quotes extensively, the emphasis lies on community service.
As observed more than 90 years ago, I think the local paper (he called it the country weekly) faces a future of growth and greatly increased usefulness.
That is based that on “the idea of community service clarifies the whole problem of policies and expediencies, for it gives the concrete aim to all editorial activities.”
What he meant by that was “purpose.”
“The community service, the community building, then as a master motive, establishes the country-weekly publisher securely in his position of leadership. It assures added community prosperity, and local development of the finer satisfactions of life in which he must share; and no agency can take this from him – neither the city daily, coming in from a distance and concerned with the larger affairs of a larger community, nor the school, nor the church, nor any other.”
Today, metro dailies have suffered recently from their addiction to much broader audiences. National news products like Newsweek can’t find a way to make it work. Even the internet needs to focus. Local, local, local.
But how does it affect the cycle.  It is still a cycle, but no longer does it climb down from last page to the printer on Monday night, into a reconstructive Tuesday, followed by lets-get-something done Wednesday, ad-close and dummy Thursday, and Friday’s last chance to comment and file a story, finally spiraling out of control into a catch up weekend.
It is a convergence product we are offering, however, instead of only a weekly print edition. Up-to-date postings on our site. Referring pieces on Facebook and Twitter, maybe Pinterest, and Reddit, throw in a few other places for good measure, and now you have our reach. Our readers are the key. They don't care anything about deadlines. The want it now, or forget it.
We still have to get everything done. But now, it is always due.
But they also want it summarized, and archived, third-party verified, and a hard copy provided. They would like the news this way and that.
Terrible accident in town today, get it on the site right away. Public official resigns in disgrace, you must anticipate that sort of thing. Fire breaks out in the forest, how quickly can you have photos up?
With a certain irony, that is easier. Because the focus whips back around to local, local, local. 
That is all that really matters anymore.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rico State Bank

Mines and mining men of Colorado, by John G. Canfield (Denver, Colo., 1893), digitized from original of the published volume in the Mining records and printed materials collection at the Delaney Southwest Research Library in the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College: call number oversize TN24.C6 C3 .

Sunday, February 3, 2013

From Dec. 2007 issue of Newspapers & Technology

‘Still eating’ good advice for newspapers confronting challenges
By Rob Carrigan

His answer was always the same: “Still eating.”
Rain or shine, good times or bad, my grandfather always answered that way when anybody asked him, “How is it going?” or “How are you?” or “How do you do?”
He had other little endearing comments and sayings of course (for example, calling black table pepper the Sioux word for fly poop).
But “Still eating,” was his trademark and it reflected his hardscrabble existence as a homestead rancher on the Western Slope of Colorado.
After years in the community newspaper business, I have adopted a similar stance. Today, circulation is harder to keep up. Advertising is more difficult to find, and it often has to be shared with others. Nobody respects us. And the margins seem thinner than the air at 14,000 feet.
Still, it is a fun business. Something new every day, plenty of interaction in the thick of things and a newspaper knows what’s going on around town. These all are definite benefits. However, we need to turn a profit — or do we?

Another view
Maybe not. Consider media critic Mark Glaser of MediaShift, who makes a case for citizen ownership of the Los Angeles Times.
“Already, a handful of newspapers have survived and thrived owned by charitable trusts as non-profits. These include the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times (owned by the Poynter Institute) and the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H. (owned by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications).
“They’re not setting the business world on fire, but that’s not the point. The idea is for the newspaper to make enough money to continue serving the public, without the pressures of more, more, more profits from Wall Street,” writes Glaser.
As readers take greater control in other ways like helping to create transparent and inclusive newsrooms and becoming more interested in the news gathering process as citizen journalists, it is only a wee leap to run the business-side of things, he contends.
At a smaller scale, it might even be more conceivable.

Serving a need
Jordan Moss, editor of the non-profit Norwood News in the Bronx, N.Y., says non-profit newspapers can be powerful tools that unite communities and shed light on issues overlooked by the mainstream press.
“As media companies continue to merge and grow, the news gets further and further away from ordinary people’s lives and concerns,” wrote Moss in 2002. “Neighborhoods without their own newspapers have little access to local news and information. At a time when urban issues have faded from state and national political agendas, the absence of a widely read record of the issues confronting urban communities is even more serious.”
Personally, I have competed against strong not-for-profit papers and it is an interesting exercise.
Volunteer workforces, inexpensive advertising and far-reaching circulation efforts that were never designed to make money can be tough competition in comparison to charging ad rates that need to keep up with industry norms.
In many cases, these “philanthropic” papers appear because a need exists and the private sector is not paying close enough attention or providing an adequate outlet.

Stymied by MSM
In short, organizers created the papers because they felt roadblocked by traditional media.
Market forces were ignored. The readers, or advertisers, or others, asked for something and when they didn’t get it, somebody figured out a way. Thus, non-profit becomes a viable option.
Maybe the non-profit model is not that far-fetched.
After all, circulation might not be as challenging to maintain. Advertising support might be less difficult to find. If our focus was “philanthropic,” readers could find it in their hearts to respect us. And we wouldn’t have to worry about thinner margins.
We would likely have to slim down a bit.
But as my grandfather was prone to say, we would be “Still eating.”

Rob Carrigan is in the sales and business development group of weekly newspaper publisher Colorado Publishing Co., a Dolan Media Co. unit based in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at

Ancestral Puebloan ruins

Title: Ancestral Puebloan ruins
Date/circa: 1900/1930
Photographer: Walker Art Studio (Montrose, Colo.)
Subjects: Archaeological sites--Cortez--Colorado--Photographs: Cortez (Colo.)
Notes: View of stone walls of partially excavated kiva surrounded by stone rubble and dirt. The deflector on the kiva floor is still intact near the fresh air vent of the kiva. In the background, two large buildings and Sleeping Ute Mountain can be seen. Two numbers written on sleeve 1434 -A and (more recently) 458. Also written on sleeve is "Cortez Tolteck Ruins Kiva". Two negatives are housed in the same sleeve. Negative#: 2475
Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Mancos Valley by W.H. Jackson

Mancos Valley at Wetherill's
Title-Alternative, W. H. Jackson sample album. Colorado Book III ; no. 104
William Henry Jackson, photographer.
Summary: View of Mancos Valley with pole fence, wood bridge, road and frame buildings, Montezuma County, Colorado. Date [between 1882 and 1900?]
Notes: Attribution to Jackson based on inclusion in bound W. H. Jackson sample album.; Condition: discolored.; Hand-lettered title reproduced in print.; Label on front of photoprint reads: "Out."; Mounted on verso of album page: WHJ-600.; Number: "3831" hand lettered on negative and reproduced in print.; Words: "see # 96" penciled on mount.;
Is Part Of W. H. Jackson sample album. Colorado Book III. History Colorado.

From Sept. 2005 edition of Newspapers & Technology

by Rob Carrigan

Adding dollars by adding technology

“One has to look out for engineers - they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb.”
-Marcol Pagnol, 1949

When Connie Reinert read a recent column of mine about the Colorado Press Association using Color Max technology to convert ink-on-paper copies to searchable PDFs (see Newspapers & Technology, June 2005), she called to my attention to a software feature that many small newspapers should consider.
“Were you aware that you can archive these as searchable PDF files simply by using Adobe Acrobat?” wrote Reinert, who is general manager of Livewire Printing Co. and publisher of the Jackson County (Minn.) Pilot.
To create its PDFs, the CPA takes hard-copy newspapers, shoots a picture of each page, and converts it to digital form via an OCR engine.
But Reinert advocates creating the searchability before that is even necessary. “Acrobat comes with a program called Catalog,” she said in an e-mail. “This tool allows you to build searchable catalogs of your pages.”
In Jackson County, Reinert’s staffers electronically bind pages each week as searchable PDFs. 
“These can be kept by the week, by the month, by the year, etc. etc. This is the easiest and most inexpensive way to create searchable PDF pages.”
Of course, there are different kinds of PDFs. Do you save them for distribution for the Web, CD, or PDA; for low- or high-resolution printing? Reinert suggests using them in the same format as the workflow.
“Around here, most newspapers send their pages to a central plant as PDFs. So the pages are ready for cataloging,” she said. “I’m big on encouraging papers to start making their own electronic catalogs. It is a simple thing, but like many simple things at weeklies, difficult to get around to.”
In an article she wrote for the Minnesota Newspapers Association describing the archiving technique, Reinert said, “Include your newspaper pages every week, and in a short time you will have a searchable bound volume on your desktop. These searchable catalogs can be used by your staff or made available for sale to the public via your Web site.”
Reinert says her company also uses the Catalog feature for commercial printing. “When doing a large parts catalog for one customer, we up-sold the PDF’d version of the same catalog and indexed it. We then burned several copies on CD for their use. This was a great value-added service to offer.”
Switching gears just a bit, I also recently ran into a relatively low-tech way to add dollars in order to keep the newspaper wolves at bay.

New revenue stream
While vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I came upon a gift store that also housed the Custer County Chronicle.
Upon further investigation, I noticed the relatively modern newspaper equipment, bound volumes, and other publishing evidence in the very back end of the building.
When the gentleman answering a gift customer’s questions at the register counter was free, I asked him about the newspaper business in the back.
“Yes, most of the other papers in the area are owned by a large chain, but we have two weeklies and do a lot of guides and publications centered on tourism,” answered Charley Najacht, president of Southern Hills Publishing Inc. While looking though one of the publications, I noticed that he was also president of the local chamber of commerce - in his spare time.

Rob Carrigan specializes in prepress systems for weekly newspapers. He is the publisher of the Ute Pass Courier in Woodland Park, the Gold Rush in Cripple Creek and the Extra in Teller County, all ASP Westward LP weeklies in Colorado. He can be reached by e-mail at 

Friday, February 1, 2013

From March 2001 edition of Newspapers & Technology

Mountain-based newspapers face unique challenges

Rob Carrigan specializes in prepress systems for weekly newspapers.

In an effort to put information together on the technology challenges of operating in the mountains, I went through my e-mail contacts and asked for tips, tricks and any interesting stories about the subject. Following are some of the more colorful responses I received.
“All the time we owned newspapers in Alaska, not once did we have to use sled dogs to get copy to the printer. Hard to believe, isn’t it?” wrote Mike Lindsey of Media Consultants Inc. Lindsey is my former employer and one-time owner of papers in Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho and Arizona. “We had one of the most modern newspapers in the state — all state-of-the-art, Macintosh-driven, Photoshop, etc. We even had the capability to modem our paper to the printer.
“Alaska is an extremely progressive state, and we found our employees very capable and willing to learn new technology. Several of our longtime employees were natives and our best workers. Our biggest problem was with employees — people from the lower 48 (states) who wanted an Alaska experience, but headed home after the first cold and dark winter. Some employees were late in the winter because frequently a moose would be in their driveway, and they couldn’t get to their car. And in the summer and during hunting season, we had a high degree of absenteeism — when the salmon are running, workers want to fish, and during the fall, workers want to hunt. It made for a very flexible staff,” Lindsey said. “Sorry, I can’t help you with the equipment. We did send our photographers out on float planes, dogsleds and snow machines to get stories. Advertising reps hit the streets pretty much as all reps do.”
Suzy Meyer, the editor and general manager at the Cortez (Colo.) Journal, had this warning for me:
“Our hillbilly tip is to never discard old technology, because one never knows when the new technology will fail. We still have Linotypes stashed away. Yes, we’d have to pull a page proof, shoot it and go to plate, but hey, we could get words on a page,” she said.
Also responding from the other end of the Centennial state was Robin Kepple, editor of the Bailey and Fairplay Flume.
“We serve all of Park County, which is difficult because the county is quite large,” Kepple said. “It is about 90 miles from my office to the town of Guffey, Colo. Fortunately, I have a good correspondent in that town. Our county seat, where many of our stories take place, is 40 miles away in Fairplay. I keep a reporter there full time.
“Digital cameras, laptop computers and e-mail have been a godsend for us with such a long distance between towns. However, we only have a 56k modem and no high-speed Internet access. It sometimes takes 30 minutes to download digital images from e-mail, but that is still faster than driving to other towns, picking up film, driving back and processing film,” he stated.
“The slow Internet speed also causes frustration when we are trying to send our pages to the print shop in Salida, Colo., about 100 miles away. We send the files as PDFs in order to work with their new imagesetter. Occasionally, we have technical problems that cause us a lot of grief; however, as any good newspaper staff should, we persevere and still manage to get the paper out.”
Robert Gibson, interactive media manager at, the Web site for the Billings (Mont.) Gazette, noted the following phenomenon:
“In eastern Montana, people are sparse with dozens of miles between houses and ranches. Those ranches, however, are small businesses that need accountants and [others] to operate. Ranchers, farmers and their accountants have found that keeping records on a computer is far easier than in a shoebox,” Gibson explained. “As a result, and contrary to conventional wisdom, farms and ranches are well-wired with nearly twice the computer penetration as in town. And once they discover computers and the Internet, they discover e-mail, real-time commodity futures, real-time weather and entertainment in places where TV cable does not exist.
“The telephone co-op in eastern Montana discovered the same phenomenon and made itself an Internet service provider. A call to the server is local from any place on the co-op phone network, so there is no long distance charge for dial-up Internet service, even though the nearest server may be five counties away,” Gibson said.
“Simply recognizing that unlikely agricultural demographic’s potential prompted us to do some soft marketing to them and target them with some daily breaking news copy. Today they are a significant, fast-growing part of our online audience.”
And back in Colorado, near my boyhood stomping grounds, David Mullings, the publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer, The Ridgway Sun, The Silverton Standard and The Miner offers the following anecdotes:
“Because of an uncooperative printer who was extraordinarily proud of his work (read: charging double), we used to print the Ridgway and Ouray newspapers in Denver — yes, 300 miles, each way, every week. We did this by flying our flats from Montrose, Colo., on a commuter flight [every Wednesday at 1 p.m.].
“The folks at Intermountain Color picked them up at the airport, which when DIA was built, meant going halfway to Kansas. They printed Wednesday evening and shipped it on a Denver Post truck at midnight. We picked up papers in Montrose at 8 a.m. on Thursday. I got to watching the snowfall levels on Vail Pass pretty closely and had to rummage around some trucking warehouses a couple of times to find that week’s news,” he writes.
The papers are now printed at the Montrose Daily Press. Mullings also deals with problems only a few miles away, but on the other side of the world.
“I took over the Silverton Standard and The Miner last June. It’s two mountain passes to our printer, the Durango Herald, and we take the paper on a Zip disc in digital form.
“My idea: Send it down over the phone lines. But then how to get it back? The rails of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad run right by the Herald loading dock, and they run three trains in the summer. [My idea was to] send the paper down via a 21st century vehicle, and get it back with one from the 19th century. I never put the brainstorm into action because of slow phone lines in Silverton, and we’re switching Silverton to print in Montrose in 2001.
“The Silverton paper, right now, goes over three of the meanest (mountain) passes in America to get from our printer in Durango to our mailroom in Ouray. That stretch of Highway 550 is the most avalanche-prone in the country, and we’ll no doubt have some fun this winter. We are letting the Lake City paper be the guinea pig with the Montrose Daily Press in transmitting PDF files via phone line, but plan to ship all three that way,” Mullings said.

Rob Carrigan specializes in prepress systems for weekly newspapers. He is the publisher of the Ute Pass Courier in Woodland Park, the Gold Rush in Cripple Creek, and the Pikes Peak Journal in Manitou Springs, all Westward Communications Inc. weeklies in Colorado. He can be reached via e-mail at

From June 2008 edition of Newspapers & Technology

Helping newspapers find their souls

By Rob Carrigan

“Teach me, like you, to drink creation whole. And casting out, myself, become a soul.” — Richard Wilbur, 1961.

I think the biggest threat to the newspaper industry today resides in the possibility that, in many communities, the local paper is in grave danger of losing its soul.
As we have standardized process, and streamlined technique, and adopted best practices, we have somehow lost sight of what it means to be a unique voice helping communities to become individual, exceptional, distinctive and one of a kind.
And that is part of our job.

  For local newspapers, it is crucial that they encourage their communities’ rare elements to survive and to help the matchless aspects of their neighborhoods to thrive and prosper.
None of us really wants to live in the town down the road.
None of us wants to pick up a paper in that distant town and say to himself, “This is exactly the same paper I read this morning in my own town.”
 We can’t afford to become fast food. Even the idea of a concept restaurant is out. We won’t survive — long term — in any other role other than as an individual provider with a strong menu of local color and flavor.
We need to produce an extraordinary, singular experience as we serve our readers, sources, advertisers and ourselves.
If we are not able to create such an experience, we are doomed. Readers and others will find it elsewhere, the Internet being only one option.
Yet how do we offer such a singular experience? How do we continue to nurture that soul? How do we build on years of doing just that?
I think the answer might be found in the same manner as the local, and not chain-owned, restaurant. Soul comes from the people who work there and the community itself.
It lives in the kitchen, with a chef that won’t compromise on ingredients. It comes from the wait staff that cares about how customers are treated, or even the dishwasher who takes pride in how even the mundane tasks are performed.
Soul also survives and grows in the customers — the regular who eats there every night and the “special occasion” diner that could think of no other place as appropriate for such a celebration.
It is in the music that is played, and the sights, and sounds and smells. There is soul in the beer that is served, and in the tall, cool glass in which it magically appears.

Keeping it intact
That soul is, of course, in the capable hands of the responsible owner who knows and worries that all of it — everything — can disappear if careful attention is not paid.
For newspapers, the first step in keeping their souls intact is to recognize they’re in danger of losing them. Then reach for that individual experience with local texture, color and flavor.
As novelist, poet and short-story writer Charles Bukowski once observed, “If you are losing your soul and know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”
Now is the time to try to save what we can.

Rob Carrigan is in the sales and business development group of weekly newspaper publisher Colorado Publishing Co., a Dolan Media Co. unit based in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at

From September 2006 editon of Newspapers & Technology

Watching your garden,
and newspaper, grow

Managing newspapers is like managing a garden.
You really can’t make things grow; you can only try to establish and maintain conditions that help the various plants take off and hopefully produce.
You need to watch where you position specific varieties in your preplanning or the pumpkins will cross with the squash, and the corn will block the sun that the beans need.
Likewise, with a newspaper, you don’t want your TMC shopper choking the main news product to death.
Not too long ago, a publisher could simply scratch a shallow hole in the dirt, drop some seed money into it, make sure it received plenty of water and maybe spread a little manure over it now and then.

With a little hard work and luck, that same publisher would be able to reap a substantial harvest. Today, with all the new fertilizers and other technology flying around, making the right choices to grow a newspaper is that much more complicated.

Free versus paid
Take, for example, the “free versus paid” discussion, which is somewhat akin to “volunteer” seeding versus planting.
Because of churn ratios and other factors relating to the cost of circulation sales, some metro dailies are now paying more to maintain paid circulation than it would cost them to give everyone in a market a free paper. And they are losing the war as paid circulation continues to lose ground.
At the same time, readers, and more importantly, advertisers, are becoming less impressed with paid circulation, especially when some of the best things in life now are free.
In the words of Craig McMullin, executive director for the Association of Free Community Papers, “Give people something they need free and create an audience and the advertisers will pay the freight.”
But that is not the complete answer for newspapers.
Our competitors have also figured that out. The business models of Craigslist, Google and to some extent, eBay, all are based on the same principle.

Redefining roles
Additionally, even as newspapers redefine their marketing, the role of journalism itself is being recrafted.
Dan Gillmor’s recent book, “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People,” explores that possibility.
“Technology has given us the communications toolkit that allows anyone to become a journalist at little cost... Nothing like this has ever been remotely possible before.” Gillmor wrote.
To Gillmor, news is no longer a lecture in which the media tells you what the news is. Instead, it’s a conversation, with blurred lines between producers and consumers of that news.

Embracing change
Gillmor’s suggestion: Media needs to embrace those changes by encouraging readers to become a big part of the process. Facilitate event blogs that let readers contribute and become a part of the coverage, he says. Ask for and post readers’ information, pictures and audio so they become extensions of limited staffs and resources.
Today, a person with a cell phone or other digital device might be able to produce the photos or audio clips nearly as easy as the major players in the news business.
The bright spot? The news industry’s traditional weeding function will help it survive.
After all, with all the citizen reporting and info gathering taking place in the democratization of the news, it’s more necessary than ever for a good editor to take the hoe to those pesky mistakes, misinformation, hoaxes, spin doctoring and other weeds that can render the garden plot useless.

Rob Carrigan specializes in prepress systems for weekly newspapers. He is the publisher of the Ute Pass Courier in Woodland Park, the Gold Rush in Cripple Creek and the Extra in Teller County, all ASP Westward LP weeklies in Colorado. He can be reached by e-mail at


From October 2007 edition of Newspapers & Technology

The newspaper’s most important 
‘job to be done’
By Rob Carrigan

It has been roughly one year since the American Press Institute introduced us to the idea that consumers don’t buy products. Instead, they hire them to get key jobs done in their lives.
The concept, “Jobs to Be Done,” arose from the API’s Newspaper Next project.
Newspaper execs alternately embraced the idea, puzzled over it, and in a few cases, outright rejected it.
Depending on whom you talk to, the printed newspaper is either a dying breed or in the throes of being reinvented into a yet-to-be-determined entity.  

Yet according to the World Association of Newspapers, global newspaper circulation is up nearly 10 percent since 2002, although the group is careful to note that the North American marketplace is not participating in that growth.
As Gregg Bergan, a columnist for the Denver Business Journal noted recently, “predicting the future of newspaper readership is possibly as confounding as Yogi Berra’s puzzling statement, ‘Nobody goes there anymore; it is too crowded.’”

Good idea
But the idea of readers hiring us to get a job done is a good one. Community newspapers should be reflective of 

the community they are in. If a paper manages to do that — and in a way that is better than anything else
available — it will survive.
Bill Haupt, president of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, brought that point home several years ago.
“… A hometown or community newspaper will always be here to hold a mirror to the community. That means the good, the bad and the ugly, generally in that order. A good community newspaper reflects the essence of a community. An outstanding community challenges it to be better,” wrote Haupt.
It is as Walter Williams, the first dean of the school of journalism at the University of Missouri, articulated before 

his death in 1935.
“I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to th
e Internet during the day, and view cable news in the evening. Ease of use, convenience, timeliness, relevance and, of course, quality of
content serve as drivers in the selection process. 
In short, those readers migrate to the source that best gets the job done.
Granted, consumer choice 75 years ago was far more limited, but to quote Walter Williams again: “I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of all readers; that a single standard 

of helpful truth and cleanliness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of public service.”
If we can somehow keep that in mind, no matter if our story-telling platform is the traditional newspaper, a blog, podcast or something that hasn’t even been developed yet, we will survive and prosper. We will continue to be 

hired. And in keeping all that in mind, I guess we have identified our primary “Job to Be Done.”

Rob Carrigan is in the sales and business development group of weekly newspaper publisher 

Colorado Publishing Co., a Dolan Media Co. unit based in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at



From March 2004 edition of Newspapers & Technology

Avoiding sink-or-swim

Training is among the most neglected management functions at small papers today.
Instruction at many of those papers consists of a combination of Baptism by fire, sink-or-swim and the school of hard knocks.  Many publishers seem to agree with author Paul Dickson, who said, “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”
Well, most newspaper people are not pigs and training efforts pay off in the long run. The Virginia Press Association, in fact, recently published a top 10 list on why training is more important now, than ever.
Denise Williams, director of professional development for VPA, said the list was culled from a variety of sources and considers the obvious benefits, such as boosting morale, emphasizing priorities, developing teamwork and bringing in or saving money.
The No. 1 reason? “Training helps maintain and improve quality and productivity,” Williams said. “From the copy desk to the classified sales desk, newspapers are asking members to do more with less. 
“Without improved training, that’s almost a guarantee of declining quality. Readers notice declining quality and that leads to declining circulation. And that leads to declining revenue.”
Take advantage of programs
Williams suggests that all newspapers should take advantage of training programs offered by press associations and other trade groups. But they also shouldn’t forget individual expertise.
“One of the things you can do is bring back a staff member that has gone on to bigger and better things - achieved some measure of success in their career - for instruction and inspiration,” she said.
Mining experts among your own staff might also be an option.
“For example, if you have an ad designer in your group with exceptional skills, perhaps he or she can conduct a half-day, in-house seminar for other papers in other locations,” Williams said.
Another possibility might be enlisting nearby experts among consistent press contest winners in your area. Critiques by recognized and respected masters of the craft can be fun and useful.
Eye partnerships
Kevin Slimp, director of the Institute of Newspaper Technology ( at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said newspapers can also create partnerships that might include area J-schools, newspapers and the local press association.
“In Tennessee, we’ve set up partnerships with many of the schools of journalism across the state. Basically, they provide space (sometimes labs, most of the time auditoriums) and we provide the training.”
Slimp said the joint effort would train some 500 Tennessee newspaper staffers within the next year.
In addition, Slimp has created a traveling lab that consists of laptop Macintosh and PC units that can be used to teach “just about anything we want to teach in a lab environment,” he said.
The computers and software are funded by the Tennessee Press Association Foundation, the same group that originally funded the Institute of Newspaper Technology. Each year, the Foundation updates the traveling lab with additional computers - assuring that all computers are relatively new and can be distributed on a three-year rotation.
But Slimp’s major program is the Institute itself, which draws newspaper designers and publishers from throughout the United States and Canada for intensive training over several days.
Software companies that underwrite much of the cost sponsor the program, which Slimp described as “pretty much self-supporting.” The Tennessee Press Service, meanwhile, funds Slimp’s salary.
Best things free
And some of the best things in life are free. Industry Web portals and other “free” resources can be tapped for superior training curriculum. Examples include The Freedom Forum’s “Best Practices” books on news organization leadership and newspaper journalism, The Readership Institute’s Galleries, American Press Institute’s Journalist Toolbox, and Poynteronline ( Trade publications and companion sites are also obvious and inexpensive training assets.
Still, you’ll have to make sure your staffers understand the benefits of such extensive resources. It may, for example, be necessary to make assignments that introduce them to the concept.
And if none of these suggestions work, you can always go back to Baptism by fire, sink-or-swim, or the school of hard knocks.
Rob Carrigan specializes in prepress systems for weekly newspapers. He is the publisher of the Ute Pass Courier in Woodland Park, the Gold Rush in Cripple Creek and the Extra in Teller County, all ASP Westward LP weeklies in Colorado. He can be reached by e-mail at or