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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Daily Chronicle editor discusses the 'news information' business

By Barry Schrader.................................February 2, 2010

The Daily Chronicle’s editor visited the Oak Crest retirement center last week to meet some of his subscribers and explain a bit about the newspaper business.
Editor Jason Schaumburg, who arrived at his job in DeKalb on Nov. 9, started with a brief history of Shaw Newspapers, which now owns the Daily Chronicle, The Midweek and the Valley Free Press, all in DeKalb County.
Benjamin F. Shaw started the 158 years of his family’s newspaper holdings in 1851 when he became owner and editor of the Dixon Telegraph and Herald. In the early 1940s, the Shaws purchased two papers in Iowa, plus the Woodstock Sentinel and McHenry Plaindealer. Other papers were added in the ensuing

Daily Chronicle editor Jason Schaumburg appears at the Oak Crest retirement center. (Barry Schrader Photo)

decades, and their McHenry, Woodstock, Harvard, Marengo and Free Press Newspapers were merged into the daily Northwest Herald, their flagship paper today. More papers in northern Illinois were added over the years, with the latest purchase in 2007 being the DeKalb County papers.
Schaumburg also shared the story of his path in newspapering, graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1997, then joining the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake in the sports department. He decided to try journalism out west in 1999, taking a sports page designer position with a paper near Phoenix. But that lasted only eight months, and he found himself back at the Herald, this time as assistant sports editor, moving up to sports editor in 2001. He eventually moved into news management and decided to come to DeKalb late last year, where he would oversee the entire editorial department. He also announced that City Editor Kate Schott was just promoted to News Editor and will run the newsroom in his absence. She now has responsibility for assigning the staff of four reporters and two photographers in coordinating coverage of the county.
Talking about their online efforts, Schaumburg said the Associated Press Sports Editors organization has ranked the Daily Chronicle’s HuskieWire.com one of the top 10 sports Web sites in the country for sites with fewer than 1 million unique visitors.
Asked about his philosophy of choosing stories for the front page each day, he said he selects four of the most significant stories, three of them local and one from the wire services, but says it must have a local tie in or be of such significance that it attracts local interest.
Responding to another question about their use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which permits the public to seek information from government agencies even when they try to withhold the information, the editor said they use it as often as needed and pointed to one recent example where they filed a FOIA request with the City of DeKalb, which had denied them the names of aldermanic candidates after one had been chosen to fill a vacancy on the council. At times, the paper might even resort to legal action when it seems the effort is worth it, he pointed out.
Schaumburg explained that since he did not arrive until the middle of the primary election campaign the paper would not be endorsing candidates in the primaries, but they are taking positions on ballot measures in some instances.
He also discussed the fact that it is not just the newspaper business anymore but the “news information business,” an evolving industry now because of the rapidly changing technology.
“There is such a big divide between readers’ habits, depending what age you are,” he said, so to prosper, the print media must change with the times.

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

barry815sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115