My Thoughts on the Tippecanoe Gazette Ceasing Publication

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Yesterday, the publisher for the Tippecanoe Gazette, Dale Grimm notified the public that the 12/5/2018 edition of the paper would be their last. Employees were informed of this on Monday, just two days prior to the public announcement.

As some of you, but not most of you know, it was TippNews Daily that was created in 2007 as a direct result of the announcement of the last publish date for the Independent Voice. At that time, there were several serious economic development changes happening in town, a political race, an accident with injuries and the death of a beloved resident that left residents totally uninformed, and in the dark as there was no “local news source” to cover these happenings.

I think we’ve all gotten accustomed to the Dayton media outlets ignoring the happenings in our hamlet. Unless it’s a BIG STORY with drugs, violence or intrigue, it won’t be considered newsworthy.

So, in 2007 I made the strategic decision to support the community’s thirst for local news with a digital news outlet. Primarily, because it’s something that I know, and printing and layout are things I have no business knowing about. So, off to the citizen journalism road we went. I collected up a series of amazing writers (many of them published authors and acclaimed photographers now…) and got to the work of the people, for the people.

Then in 2008/2009 if memory serves, Mike Jackson and Tara Dixon Engel got together to publish a “real paper” again. The idea was to service the needs of the public that still cherished the physical news being delivered to their doorstep, getting ink all over their fingers and clothes, and then had an item of utility that could be tossed into the bottom of the bird-cage when completely read.

Mike and Tara really did step up the news game in Tipp, so much so that I decided to “kindly step aside” and not sell ads on TippNews Daily anymore. It was my small tip of the hat to the weekly challenges and tribulations that occur in the newspaper and news industry.

Consider waking up in the morning where your business is to be super inquisitive (nosey), deliver perfect grammar/spelling at all times, exhibit skills in graphic design, layout and photography, the “patience of Job” when it comes to working with squirrely printers that are willing to provide short-run news-printing, deal with the costs of ink, paper and postage going up and up, as well as the lack of consideration from both those wanting you to publish “their news” as well as from those that choose to read the news you put effort into writing and publishing.

News publishers regularly are chastised by the public for not getting it right (aka, writing the news as they see it), not delivering it right, or over-covering/ under-covering the news. In 11 years of publishing, I can only recall 2-3 times when someone thanked me for publishing an article about something.

That brings me back to Dale Grimm. This is a guy I’ve seen hauling papers in and out of buildings in the pouring rain, snow and sleet. Walking the paper-routes like he was 14 again because his teenage delivery boy/girl was sick or out of town for a week. And then the level of hustle this guy had with the newspaper. I can’t tell you how many occasions I’d be out at an event and this guy was pressing copies of the paper into people’s hands or trying to sell ads in an age when newspapers are all but a forgotten media type.

Currently (and even going back 15 years or more) there is no money in printing news. Businesses are barely able to break even in this endeavor. Cost cutting in an age of digital news means papers can only afford to print articles written not by journalists, but rather by barely literate folks that are totally OK with getting paid $10 bucks an article. I had to laugh when Tipp’s former AD told me that I “made a mint” on publishing sports scores and that I needed to pay him to get those scores in TippNews Daily. At the time, I think I had $40/mos in revenue for our fledgling online news site so I had to take a hard pass on his “offer”.

Today, I’d like to tip my hat to guys like Dale Grimm, Mike Jackson, Tara Dixon Engel, Carla Ungrecht, Matt Black, John Kessler and Matt Bayman who all traversed the uneven and thankless roads of publishing print news for Tipp Citians.

What’s to come of Local News in Tipp City? Well, I can commit that just as TippNews Daily was there 12 years ago, that we will be here for another 12 if our community is willing to have us. 😊

One thing that TippNews Daily CAN’T do is be the “publisher of record” of all City notices. This is something has yet to be dealt with by the ORC, where only “paper” publications “count” when it comes to providing “due notice” of things. Eventually that will change, but for now, the City of Tipp City is going to have to start paying a mint to publish their “due notice” using other, vastly more expensive ways.

This is officially the 11,657th article published since 2007 by unpaid, citizen journalists. Articles that meet our publishing criteria are received and published at no cost and are added to articles published across the rest of our syndicated network of news sites. My marketing company will continue to bear the expenses involved in hosting and keeping Tipp City news online and available 24x7x365.

Sort of like “old-timey” news, our online site has categories like “Local News” and “National News” and if what you send us is your opinion rather than facts, it goes into the “Opinion” category. Pretty simple.

It’s a sad day to lose the Tippecanoe Gazette, for sure. But… I honestly would never wish that work (or that meager paycheck) on my worst enemy. Thank you, Dale, for your love and support of our community. Please enjoy this blessed holiday without a crazy deadline or delivery.

Mike McDermott