CJR’s Summer Road Trip

Summer RoadtripCJR is on the road this summer, visiting small newsrooms across America and meeting the hometown journalists who put together local news. In a series of short videos, we’ll introduce you to a handful of these papers and get a peek at the perspectives of their editors and reporters.

Posted each week through September.


The Democrat, Sedalia, MO — September 7, 2017
On the eve of their 150th anniversary, The Democrat in Sedalia, Missouri, is undergoing a lot of change. A new owner, a new publisher, a new printing schedule — down to five days per week — and a new editor, who’s only 26 years old.  |  Watch now.


The Union-Bulletin, Walla Walla, WA — August 18, 2017
The Union-Bulletin has been Walla Walla, Washington’s hometown paper for more than a century. While they’ve reached a point of stability after recent downsizing, they are uncertain about what comes next. “We’ve been stung, and I think we’re going to be stung more,” says Managing Editor Alasdair Stewart. They have some good things going for them, though: a connection to their town’s residents that larger papers could never enjoy and a keenly felt passion for the tenets of journalism. In the words of veteran reporter Terry McConn, who is retiring this month after 30 years at the U-B, “journalism is an honorable profession, and this is an honorable company to work for.”  |  Watch now.


The Pine Cone, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA — August 8, 2017
The city of Carmel-by-the-Sea is full of idiosyncrasies. You need a permit to wear high heels. There are no stop lights or street lights. And there are no house numbers. “My address is a direction,” says Mary Schley, a reporter at the local paper, the Pine Cone. “Try telling FedEx how to get there.” The paper has been a backbone of this community for the last 20 years. Editor and Publisher Paul Miller has transformed the newspaper into the “bible of the community,” according to the city’s mayor. The paper has grown since Miller took over, apart from a slight downturn during the 2008 recession. It also got national buzz following an exclusive interview with Clint Eastwood after the 2012 Republican National Convention. The paper has accomplished all this despite not having a digital presence; it only posts a PDF of the printed newspaper online.  |  Watch now.


The Mail Tribune, Medford, OR — August 2, 2017
In Medford, Oregon, the Mail Tribune is experiencing a lot of change. In the past few years, it had to pull back on coverage due to cutbacks and also adjust to new ownership. It’s moved from News Corp to a hedge fund and is now back in local hands. Like many newsrooms across the country, its staff is figuring out how to adapt to the 24/7 news environment. A redesigned print edition, video, and podcasts are all part of its plan moving forward. “We are going to transform this company so you get the news however you want it,” says Editor Cathy Noah.  |  Watch now.