Well here it is, early August and we’re staring down the end of summer. It’s been a weird one, but most of us are still alive, right? So everything’s OK, yeah?
Sure, sure, things are all good. I mean, yeah, local businesses are suffering, crashing and burning all over the nation, but that’s the price you pay for thrilling headlines, right?
I mean, the newspaper industry is just loving this economic crisis, you know? You do know that, right? This is our idea of fun, apparently.
At least, that seems to be the going theory — that “the media” is somehow reveling in this unprecedented national health crisis. That the mainstream — oh, excuse me “lamestream” — media is super excited to see our communities financially suffer.
Let’s discuss that, shall we? For those of you who are unaware, our basic business model is this — local businesses pay us for advertising space in the paper. That’s pretty much it.
There’s different prices for different sizes, different rates based on how many weeks the ad runs, if it goes in a special section, and so on.
We also make a little bit of money from subscriptions and newspaper sales at locations around the county, resulting in many shiny quarters in the bank.
And that’s it. That’s where our money comes from. So, yeah, when our local businesses are shut down entirely or operating under restrictions and can’t make the money they usually do, that affects us.
But hey, it’s all part of the plan, right? No seriously, we’re “in” on it. The vaccine that’s going to be announced on Nov. 4? Yep, totally real. Oh, and about that microchip … don’t worry, you’ll hardly feel it.
Or more likely, COVID-19 cases and deaths will just take a nosedive around then and just cease to exist. After the election of course.
Yep, we are totally loving watching our community go down in flames, risking our own financial ruin and closure. It’s fine.
And let’s not forget the emotional and mental damage this whole mess is doing to our friends, families and communities. The hurt being dealt to our fellow human beings that we absolutely don’t care about and only want to exploit for clicks.
Remember, we have no concern for your children or even our own. Their future pales in comparison to our part in the effort to utterly ruin this state and nation.
Because The Depression just looked so darn fun, we thought — and by “we” I do mean the international, all-powerful cabal of journalists manipulating things behind the scenes in case that was unclear — we thought, hey, let’s do that again.
I’m going to shift gears now and tell you something very important. Really, listen up. If you’ve read this far, and if you have any inkling of who I am as a person, I hope like hell you realize I’m being sarcastic. Seriously, if you don’t realize that … well, that’s worrisome, to say the least.
I don’t know where people have gotten the idea that reporters are part of some vast conspiracy to burn the world down. I really don’t get it.
Exactly what are we supposed to get out of the financial ruin of the very businesses and people we rely on to stay in business ourselves? How does that even work?
A lot of people seem to think newspapers and other news outlets have millions in the bank. Well I’m here to tell you that’s not the case, especially for small, community newspapers like us.
Yes, we keep the lights on. My paycheck has never bounced. We still print a newspaper every week and deliver it, neither of which is cheap.
But seriously, if the economy, as a whole or even just here in Valencia County, tanks, what then? Do people think there’s some newspaper version of a sugar daddy waiting in the wings? I assure you there isn’t.
There’s this idea that the media is bought and paid for by wealthy influencers. I mean, maybe some publications are. I can’t say that’s 100 percent false, but I can definitely say that’s not the case here and in many other communities. I mean, have you seen what I drive?
So please, let go of the idea that we’re enjoying any of this. I’m so very tired of writing about the pandemic and its fallout. Everything is now tied to it, influenced by it, changed by it and I’m sick of it — and truly over it.
We take no joy in watching the world come apart, in seeing people struggle more than they should. Because ultimately, we are you, and we hurt, too.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.