Opinion |

What’s it going to be?

A chamber cheerleader. A News-Leader knockoff. Liberal pablum. Conservative dreck. The usual suspects. Stuffy. Boring.

The Springfield Daily Citizen launches with more than a few people wondering what to expect. And why it exists.

The “why” is easy.

Local news, done well, is hard to find. Solid, thoughtful reporting is scarce. I know it’s true because I’ve been a part of the business, more on than off, since the 1980s. You know it’s true because you’ve read, watched, listened. And grumbled.

Enter the Springfield Daily Citizen — a serious, nonprofit news operation. The publisher is a lawyer and former mayor; the chief executive officer is a one-time News-Leader honcho; the staff includes several known scribes. The business plan seems sound. The offices are at Missouri State University. In theory, there’s no way it can fail. Nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can, because the sharp upsides are on double-edged blades, wielded by wary news consumers. Plenty of them bent my big ears as the DC prepped to go live.

Partnering with MSU? A little sus. Are they gonna cover things that are really important? I highly doubt it.

They’re wondering what to expect. So am I.

I’m giving it a chance. You should, too.

I’ve been a journalist in the Ozarks since 1984. In order: radio, newspaper, magazine, television. Stirred pots, won awards, moved meters, blah blah.

All in service to journalism, an honorable trade. Done well, it focuses on essential issues that affect the community. It brings clarity to complex problems and helps people understand the world around them.

It keeps eyeballs on local government, asks questions to people in power, and does it without flinching. Watchdog. Grrr.

It serves the public interest.

Journalism is in peril. Blame your villain — corporate consolidation, hedge-fund owners, biased reporters — and let’s have that talk another day. The right here, right now reality is that local news is in decline and it must be revitalized unless you want a future community so disengaged it exists in name only. If that’s your jam then you’re fine, just fine.

I believe most of you want something better.

Something with meaning, and not just to the local intelligentsia. Springfield exists north of Chestnut Not-An-Expressway.

Something compelling. Give people stories to remember.

Something unexpected. News doesn’t have to be a snoozefest. 

Can the Springfield Daily Citizen make those somethings come to life? From this perch it looks like the best shot so far. So let’s take it. We deserve a local daily must-read.

Ron Davis

Ron Davis is a writer and raconteur who lives in Springfield. When he’s not typing he’s usually listening to music and reading about ways to keep cats off the keyboard. Follow him on Twitter @thisisrondavis and on Instagram @rondavis or email him at: rondavis@me.com More by Ron Davis