The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

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Local efforts make a difference

The Reporter's Notebook


Last updated 3/25/2020 at 9:31am

I just read a story that some 1,400 communities lost their newspapers in the last year. That’s to say nothing of papers publishing less frequently.

These communities will feel the loss.

People get their news now from a lot of sources like cable news and social media sources.

The Star newspaper has been lucky so far in that a steady stream of readers choose to come by the office each Wednesday so they don’t have to wait for delivery.

That’s a prime example of a good readership base.

Newspapers use revenue from display, classified ads and circulation as their financial base.

This area has a weak advertising base because we have so few retail stores. It hasn’t always been this way.

My wife and I landed here the first time in 1953, and were here through most of 1955. There were a couple dozen stores here then, and fewer people felt the need to drive to Spokane and elsewhere to shop.

Not so today.

People here have present owner Scott Hunter for maintaining a vital newspaper property, and have him to thank.

He thrives on delivering a local news product.

He is everywhere, chasing fire engines any time of the day or night and writes a fair share of the news himself.

He has very strict standards for written news and sometimes has to labor through someone else’s material to make it more readable or accurate. He is a walking journal of local information, and as far as that goes, information on a national or international scale.

He reads books.

You could easily count on one hand the number of actual vacations he has taken in the past 25 years or so.

When he does, technology becomes the tool for him to do his part in publishing that given week.

The advertising base is slim here, and that probably won’t change until something happens to force growth in the area.

In another matter, it has been good to see a lot of activity at the Banks Lake Golf Course.

Port District officials face another year of giving their time, without pay, to keeping the course open.

It appeared last year that the course might be sold and lift the burden of a handful of people who give their time so others can play.

Chief among those is Port District 7 president Jim Keene. In recent years, he has given probably thousands of hours to the course.

It probably is not the way he had planned his retirement from being a school superintendent, with some of those years here.

Keene and other port district commissioners took the course over and pumped a lot of port money into the course before getting the operation in the black. The last two or three years the course has shown a profit, however slight.

So golfers, once again, I am reminding you, that you have a few people to thank for those happy hours out on the course.


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