Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Statesman's Own Perry White

My hometown paper is, was and always will be The Austin American-Statesman.  Its called The Statesman in town, and, aside from the masthead, rarely will you hear anyone call it by its full name.  I grew up reading The Statesman, and to the annoyance of some roommates, even during college I often had a subscription.  And when I didn't, I picked it up off the rack at the grocery or corner store. 

Trends change.  These days I only get the weekend/ holiday edition.  Facts are facts.  I read my news online.  Heck, I read the above the fold stories on my BlackBerry walking in from the parking garage some days.  But I do read The almost every day.  And they've gotten very good at social media and finding you where you are already, be it email, Twitter, etc...

Certainly Austin is not alone in civic pride, or finding success for news outlets that have realized that the changes in news delivery due to the power of the internet mean a local focus can be quite powerful.  The past few years The Statesman has really embraced those ideals.  But I only thought about that as a consumer of news.  I never thought about who was making those decisions, or what was happening in the newsroom.

It seems that a lot of that effort has been thanks to Michael Vivio, the publisher who has been at the helm of The Statesman the past few years.  I suggest reading Vivio's good-bye column at  Well, Vivio now has a fan for life.  In his column, he says:
A lesson learned: Countless times during the last two and a half years, I have reminded our people that Superman was a reporter as a way to focus thought on the value of our mission. It may seem like a trivial comparison, but the point I try to make is that the same motivation that powered Superman — the pursuit of truth, justice and the American way — is the very reason why we must find a way to survive in this changing media world. It motivated us to succeed because what we do matters.
During my tenure, we exposed corruption, sought truth from politicians and protected the public from faulty products. Along the way, we hopefully entertained people and made them think.
I am proud that the employees of this newspaper stayed focused on that mission during my tenure. And I know they will not lose that focus when I am gone.
 A regular Perry White, this guy.  Only, you know, without reporters turning in stories about how a magical artifact turned them into a 50-story Turtle Man.


Paul Toohey said...

My beef with The Statesman? Their RSS feed was full of Aggie Football stories, but nothing about UT, this was their "news" feed to mind you, not their sports feed.

Do have to give credit to their twitter person for repaying to my tweet about it, even if they didn't do anything to get it rectified.

The League said...

I say this with all sincerity: I really hope the tweakiness of the RSS feed vis-a-vis TAMU football isn't how you're judging an entire news organization.

Paul Toohey said...

Not exactly. I mostly just removed them from my RSS feeds because I was tired about getting multiple articles about Aggie football every day (which I probably would have been OK with if there was ANY articles about the home team).

Not to mention, John Kelso is maybe the most annoying thing ever.

The League said...

I actually find the vitriol around Kelso far more amusing than Kelso himself.