Editorial: Under new ownership, The Record will maintain its independent voice
The Park Record, on Tuesday, shifted its allegiance to a new owner. Swift Communications of Carson City, Nevada, purchased The Park Record from Digital First Media, adding one more community newspaper to its collection of well-regarded resort-town publications.
But as The Record sets out on what is expected to be a seamless transition, it is important to acknowledge the contributions made by Digital First Media and its predecessor, MediaNews Group, to The Park Record’s current success.
For the last decade, The Park Record has operated in what many would consider a near utopian news environment complete local control over content, augmented by technical support from a nationwide network of big-city newsrooms.
As avid readers know, the newspaper business has undergone a series of tectonic shifts since the advent of the Internet. Early on, MediaNews Group founder Dean Singleton saw the need to embrace that new technology and ensure his newspapers’ content was available wherever and whenever readers wanted it. He prodded publishers and editors to explore the Internet as an opportunity rather than an impediment, even though it shook their business model to its core.
The challenges generated by web and mobile platforms were especially difficult for smaller community newspapers without the staff or budgets to establish their own IT departments, but MediaNews Group was able to provide the infrastructure and training to ensure all of its properties, including The Park Record, had top-notch websites.
That support continued through the MediaNews Group corporate merger that formed Digital First Media which led to even more online initiatives for both the advertising and editorial sides of The Park Record. The Record’s online photo galleries and mobile apps are two examples of the horsepower made possible by Digital First Media.
But, as important as the technical support has been, MediaNews Group and Digital First Media also insisted on maintaining the core mission — to provide each unique community with accurate and abundant local news. According to Singleton, the overarching goal was nothing less than defending democracy through the delivery of exceptional journalism — a drum he pounded on every time he visited a newsroom.
Swift Communications espouses the same philosophy. With newspapers in Lake Tahoe, Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge, among others, the company is no stranger to the challenges facing feisty small-town communities striving to attract global business while maintaining their strong local identities.
The Park Record is grateful to Digital First Media for its steadfast support during an extraordinarily challenging time for newspapers and excited about the future with Swift Communications. Regardless of ownership, though, this newspaper will continue to set its agenda based on the needs of the citizens of Park City and Summit County.
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“We would also agree that the way Hideout is going about its business is not creating harmony within our community,” writes Jeff Sterling in a guest editorial. “There must be a better way. Hideout, the choice is yours.”