Monday, December 14, 2015

Breaking News

I don't know why I was surprised. Why should I be? Amanda Yeager is leaving the Howard County Times and "Mold in Howard County" broke the story.

Last Friday, Amanda informed me she has taken a position with the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, a promotion and positive career move, one that she deserves. I would like to thank Amanda for the dedication and integrity she has shown while covering this story and wish her the very best in her new position. She will be here another week and hopes to get one more story out. We shall see if her long overdue MPIAs arrive before she leaves (lol).
Lisa Philip has been covering education for the last several months and will now take over for Amanda on the mold issue as well.
Stop. Just stop. Can we just keep one, or possibly even two, local reporters? It's the same painful story repeating itself. They're young, over-worked, and underpaid. And then they are gone. How can we possibly have continuity and real depth in Howard County news when we are completely unable to hang on to journalists?
Yes, I know that the newspaper industry isn't what it once was. That doesn't stop us from needing news coverage from real-live, professional journalists. As odd as it may sound, I feel like we, as a community, may need to step up to create a better financial model. Similar to rural or remote communities that create incentives for teachers or doctors, we need to make Howard County a place that journalists want to work, and above all, stay.
 I also feel that the Howard County Times needs to up its game. What can they do to prevent this seemingly inevitable tipping point when their employees decide it would be better to be someplace else? Are young journalists merely a dime a dozen to them? In my opinion, the people entrusted to bringing the truth to our community should be treated better than fast food workers who are easily replaced at the lowest wage the market will bear.
 I will really miss Amanda. From the outset she has treated me and what I do on the blog with respect. She has endured my numerous questions and even a few suggestions with grace. I hope her new job brings her more of what this one didn't, more of what she, as a journalist, is seeking.
 Now what will we do to break this cycle?

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