Ginnie Graham: Tulsa World's best-kept secret? It's our newspaper
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2/27/13 at 8:58 AM
For two days, my co-workers and I have been answering calls from relatives and friends wanting to know the "real story" behind the purchase of the Tulsa World by Warren Buffett's BH Media Group.
Here's a little secret: Everything you read in the paper is everything we know.
We live by an ethos of openness and being watchdogs for the greater good.
That doesn't change when the news is about us.
It won't change under new ownership.
Into trusting hands: It was clear during the announcement Monday that this was the most difficult decision facing the Lorton family, who have operated the Tulsa World for more than 100 years.
They were honest about their reasons for selling.
Simply, they are "moving on," and they believe that Buffett's company offers resources to ensure the vitality of the Tulsa World.
That's not rhetoric.
Buffett is one of the richest and most respected businessmen in the world with a philanthropic dedication to helping people in need.
The Lorton family isn't going to place the Tulsa World, which has been their child for generations, into the hands of just anyone.
The family has supported Tulsa by providing quality journalism. We have to trust this is for the best.
Good enough to buy: This sale does not mean the end or irrelevancy of newspapers.
To the contrary.
This means the Tulsa World has performed journalistically and financially well enough to attract buyers.
The Tulsa World has a made a profit every year under Lorton family ownership. Every year, journalism awards ranging from investigative work to food writing are awarded to our staff.
Multiple surveys indicate that our stories reach more people in the Tulsa metro and northeastern Oklahoma areas than literally any other news source.
Our newsroom is bigger and contains more experienced journalists than those locally in television, radio or weekly papers.
Here's a challenge.
Read the Tulsa World every day for a week and compare it to your nightly broadcast news.
You'll be surprised how much is not making the airwaves and how much is simply repeated from the morning's paper.
Of cows and milk: It's insulting that a growing number of people believe that access to our work should be free.
A national survey reports that a significant amount of people think the death of their local newspaper won't make an impact on their ability to get news.
Research from the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Projects, part of the Pew Research Center, shows that news might come in different digital and print platforms, but newspapers provide the vast amount of what is consumed.
"Data show that newspapers play a much bigger role in people's lives than many may realize," the report states.
Tulsa World reporters sit through endless meetings and pore over documents involving school boards, city councils, county commissions, legislative panels, nonprofit organizations, businesses, athletic teams and leagues and entertainment venues.
We have photographers documenting our history, city-desk editors helping shape stories, copy editors checking our work, and designers pulling it all together. That's just in our newsroom.
There is an end to the Internet's Wild West of free local news. That won't change under new ownership.
Giving it our best: The Tulsa World staff gave the Lorton family a standing ovation Monday after the announcement about the sale.
Mergers and acquisitions might be the norm in other businesses, but they're not for Tulsa's daily newspaper.
Our newspaper has come to represent who we are as a community. We're woven into the state's history.
We will miss seeing our owners, Robert E. "Bob" Lorton and Robert E. "Bobby" Lorton III, walk through the newsroom.
They have always been approachable, engaged and interested in what we're working on. They are truly nice people.
They have earned the respect of our staff and our city through a century of dedicated news coverage and community involvement.
They deserve our sincere thanks and well-wishes.
Our newsroom is optimistic, going forward with the same energy and loyalty to journalism standards we always have.
That is what the Lorton family would expect of us.
Original Print Headline: What's our best-kept secret? The newspaper