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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


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The inside scoop on the Chronicle

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist.............................March 16, 2018

You could say it came from the horse’s mouth or, in this case, from the mouth of the new general manager of the Daily Chronicle.

Eric Olson, recently promoted to the top job at the newspaper after more than five years as editor and having served as the group editor of the company’s three daily suburban newspapers, spoke March 8 to the organizing Oak Crest Area Rotary Club, sharing some insights about his newspaper and the media in general.

He told those in attendance considering service club membership that it is a good move, since he’s president of the DeKalb Rotary, the oldest chapter in DeKalb County, founded in 1921.

Olson appreciated a comment from the audience about how rare it is these days to see an editor promoted to running the newspaper. He said in most cases, it is someone from advertising or the business side. This hasn’t happened at the Chronicle since 1968, when the longtime owners and editors Bob Greenaway and the Raymond brothers sold the paper.

Chronicle general manger Eric Olson speaks to the newly-formed satellite Rotary Club of the Sycamore/Oak Crest Area. (Schrader photo)

Olson spoke about the print media’s future.
“The newspaper is not going away; we are not going to stop gathering news,” he said. “But we face new challenges. For a long time, newspapers were financed by advertising (80 percent) and subscriptions (20 percent). But a lot has changed since the advent of the internet, and people can access news through social media like Facebook and Twitter. So newspapers are going online and will have to start charging readers, even though at first many offered their content free.”

He explained why the community papers such as the Chronicle are needed.

“When you read the newspaper, you feel like you have an edge, because you are more informed, so when you have a conversation with other people you have the facts,” Olson said. “You can also get some good advice, clip a coupon or see an ad that can save you money.

“Our No. 1 goal is to serve our readers. If there’s a steady drumbeat from the community on an issue through letters to the editor, our stories, and editorials, you can see change happen. That’s what is rewarding about working in community journalism.”

Asked about political endorsements, he said that the Chronicle has had a policy of not endorsing in local races, but that might change.

“The argument for editorial endorsements in local elections is that no one is better attuned to the candidates’ backgrounds and where they stand on the issues,” Olson said.

He said that the problem with local elections is the small turnout.

“That is too bad, because that is where most of the decisions are made that impact your pocketbook,” Olson said. “Elected school board members make financial decisions that represent 70 percent of your tax bill.”

I want to add that this columnist looked at the sample ballots printed in the paper last week and noticed that a number of people running have no competition, so the candidates don’t have to reveal their goals and explain what they will do if elected. They just continue doing what they want with no accountability to the electorate.

It seems that only when a controversy occurs or an officeholder is exposed in the newspaper for making some bad decisions does someone else run against the incumbent. Often you have to wait two or four years until the next election.

So we get what we deserve if no one cares enough to file for office, speak up at meetings or take our public officials to task for behaving in a manner we wouldn’t condone in our own families or workplace.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115