You could say it came from the horses mouth or, in
this case, from the mouth of the new general manager of the Daily
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 companys 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 hes 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 hasnt 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 medias future.
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
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 theres
a steady drumbeat from the community on an issue through letters
to the editor, our stories, and editorials, you can see change
happen. Thats what is rewarding about working in community
Asked about political endorsements, he said that the Chronicle
has had a policy of not endorsing in local races, but that might
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
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 dont
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 wouldnt condone in
our own families or workplace.