Of course, scale is relative. Not long after our panel, the Morning News ditched its paywall model in favor of a free basic site and an optional “premium digital service”; CJR’s Ryan Chittum, who doesn’t hold high hopes for the new venture, sees in the episode the Morning News’ failure to stick to the trail blazed by The New York Times. And on the very day of our discussion, the Morning News announced that it’s venturing into native advertising—new (and controversial) terrain earlier staked out by major digital brands like Gawker and BuzzFeed.
Healthy competition among the media is essential to aggressive journalism; great scoops and great stories come as often from a desire to beat the other guy as an aspiration to serve the public. But there’s also a real sense among journalists, at this tumultuous time, that we’re all in this together. The time is right for the Texas press to up its game—not just by sharing stories, but by actively collaborating in ways that amplify a collective voice in Texas and across the nation, while sharing best practices that make for a healthy press protecting a vital democracy. These are big ideas, certainly. But hey, this is Texas. Everything is big.
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