Coralee and I purchased The Chronicle three years ago for two main reasons: we thought that with hard work, we could turn it into a profitable business, and because a local paper is critical to keep a community together.
One day I was a small business owner and local elected official, and the next, I became a newspaper publisher. I left the Chehalis City Council when we bought The Chronicle. I’m still learning this role. One area I have more to learn is the intersection between being a publisher and my being a Republican. I am and always will be a free-market Republican.
The challenge for a publisher is to keep my opinions on the editorial page. I work to give the journalists in the newsroom freedom to follow their leads and go where the facts take them and not dictate coverage based on my opinions.
Now, here’s a truth bomb for you: No elected official in the history of America, including yours truly during my council days, has ever been 100% thrilled with what a newspaper writes about them.
It’s just one of those universal facts of life. In our little community, I’m bombarded daily by Republicans convinced that The Chronicle is secretly a Democratic fan club. At the same time, Democrats swear up and down that we’re nothing more than a Republican propaganda machine.
If both sides are throwing a fit, it’s safe to say we’re probably hitting the mark. Just to clear things up, The Chronicle newsroom isn’t in the business of endorsing parties or any particular elected official. They don’t aim to bring anyone down, either. They work hard for balance.
Our dedication lies in delivering reliable and well-founded reporting on what our journalists believe to be newsworthy. If our journalists were expected to act on ulterior motives, or any partisan flavor, we’d lose our high-quality newsroom employees in no time.
When political folks give me a ring to vent their frustration about coverage, here’s my go-to line: “Thank you kindly for sharing your opinions with me. As the publisher, I’m the official referee for this paper, ensuring fair coverage.”
Local newspapers are just begging to be complained about. Nonetheless, most folks appreciate having a local paper to keep them in the loop. The paper shares real, impactful information, whether as mundane as which roads are under construction or as vital as wildfire-related evacuation notices.
Despite my ongoing education in the ways of being a newspaper publisher, our paper is doing pretty well. Did you know The Chronicle attracts more monthly online readers than some of those bigger metro papers? And hey, our advertising revenue is on the rise, too. Why, you ask? People want to read the news we publish. It is relevant and realistic.
Our focus is hyper-local. The war in Ukraine is a hot topic, but you won’t find it plastered across our pages. Stories where local families and businesses have been impacted by the war? We’ve got those. We tell your stories: good or bad ones, difficult or light-hearted, controversial or plain.
Here, you get the lowdown on local sports teams, schools and plenty of heartwarming stories about families, civic groups, businesses, and all the happenings in our lovely local government. We also get our fair share of national trends and stories playing out right here in our backyard.
The numbers don’t lie.
I have a passion for quality journalism. Over the past few decades, news reporting has shifted more and more into a political circus. It’s a never-ending spin cycle of Left versus Right. That’s not our style at The Chronicle. We’re thriving because people are starving for authentic reporting. We are thriving because we hire people who choose to see the nuance beyond party lines.
Readers want to know what happened, not what to think about what happened. Our reporters and editors are working their tails off to deliver the facts. They strive to present both sides of a story, giving each one a fair chance to make their case.
It’s then up to you, dear reader, to weigh the evidence and form your own opinion. If I didn’t have complete faith in the integrity and hard work of our newsroom team, they wouldn’t have a spot at The Chronicle.
No newspaper, including The Chronicle, will ever achieve perfection. When people are upset about coverage, I will lend them an ear. To all the local officials, political figures, and citizens, many of whom I consider my friends, who reach out to me to air their grievances, I say this: keep those complaints coming! This is America, where we can always strive to be better. Still, I can reply with certainty, the newsroom team we’ve assembled consists of dedicated individuals of integrity.
Despite the grumbling, Coralee and I continue to enjoy our ongoing roller coaster ride in the wild world of newspaper publishing. It keeps life interesting for us, and most importantly, helps maintain an invaluable community resource.
Chad Taylor is publisher of The Chronicle and CT Publishing. He and his wife, Coralee Taylor, are the owners of The Chronicle. They can be reached at email@example.com.