Following a Tangent on Independence Day


What does the multi-billion dollar deal between [tag]Knight Ridder Inc.[/tag] and [tag]The McClatchy Co.[/tag] have to do with you? I’ll tell you about one thing. It means that the sources of the news you read from here to Denver, have shrunk even further.
Your [tag]local daily newspaper[/tag], whether it is the Vallejo Times-Herald, or the Contra Costa Times or the San Jose Mercury News, all currently owned by Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. (according to their website on this day of July 4, 2006), is really just a cover for multiple papers with shrinking local newsrooms, owned now by two instead of three large companies. Getting fatter and fatter, it’s safe to say, no matter how high tech we have become, Goliath is not equipped to keep tabs on what is unique, only to search for the lowliest common denominator.
The last time you or I travelled by car along one of the Super Highways of the United States, one stop was pretty much like another, clones of strip malls. Our newspapers have become strip malls too. The big bucks in advertising are laid down for national campaigns. If you have something unique to offer on a small scale, in a local market, your little storefront, whether it’s sharing pavement with Goliath, or sharing ad-space with Goliath, will have to be clever to survive.
Your little theatre company will not get a quality review, and you won’t be able to take out a full page, or even a quarter page ad for your run either, because your little theatre company won’t be able to afford the profit margin that the stockholders in these giant companies demand. Your book, which you published yourself because it was refused by Goliath, will not get a literary review, or be picked up by the AP Wire because of its literary merits.
In fact, if he’s paying any attention to us, Goliath is probably scratching his head and wondering what on Earth could we be up to, and how will we ever retire with any savings at all? That’s a good question.
Here’s my answer: [tag]Listen & Be Heard[/tag] is fulfilling an important role in our [tag]local economy[/tag]. When Tony and Mike and Ed and Wayne and others deliver copies of Listen & Be Heard to more than three hundred locations between Oakland and Vacaville we are making You visible. We are practically taking people by the hand and giving them a tour of what is unique, creative and interesting in Vallejo and her surrounding cities. We have made Vallejo a focal point for people who have hopped on the ferry and taken a walking tour of Vallejo’s downtown in an afternoon. (Too bad the ferry doesn’t run at night, so that people could eat, drink, attend a show and go home talking about how charming Vallejo is, and how convenient it is not to drive. What a boon that would be to our downtown. Now if a City Council member would make that a goal, I’m sure it would help those city coffers as much as those of us holding down the frontline of our urban revival.) We have provided insightful reviews of plays, exhibitions, concerts, CD’s, restaurants, spas and more, that have been freely quoted.
The strength of Goliath is also his weakness. He has gotten very fat, and slow to respond, too, with all that extra weight he’s pushing around. He’s so fat, he can’t see the little people, like busy ants below, steadily building an architectural wonder like no other in the world, with a foundation that even he can’t shake, because it is held together by lasting connections, and commitment to something more important than the current price of stocks, and in the end, more lasting.
Listen & Be Heard is not a charity. Those who benefit from reviews and articles and calendar listings in a quality media outlet, should step up to the plate and recognize that Listen & Be Heard is weekly and monthly fulfilling the promise of diversity. Put your advertising dollars where they will support your Freedom to be unique, and help you gain recognition for the Value that you have to offer. If you think you can get away with not advertising, think again. Every time a reader opens the paper, or visits this website, you will be shooting a pebble right between the eyes of Goliath.
Wishing You Peace and Poetry
Martha Mims

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