Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group

Jay Seaton - The Daily Sentinel - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group

September 28, 2022 Jay Seaton Season 2 Episode 8
Jay Seaton - The Daily Sentinel - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group
Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group
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Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group
Jay Seaton - The Daily Sentinel - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group
Sep 28, 2022 Season 2 Episode 8
Jay Seaton

For our September podcast, Christi sits down with the publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Jay Seaton. It's a fascinating discussion about journalism today and the role  of the local paper.

Not a subscriber of the paper? Check them out at https://www.gjsentinel.com/.

Want a video of the interview? Hop over to our YouTube page: https://youtu.be/We_kj6P0HYk

Show Notes Transcript

For our September podcast, Christi sits down with the publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Jay Seaton. It's a fascinating discussion about journalism today and the role  of the local paper.

Not a subscriber of the paper? Check them out at https://www.gjsentinel.com/.

Want a video of the interview? Hop over to our YouTube page: https://youtu.be/We_kj6P0HYk

Speaker 1:

The Full Circle podcast, compelling interviews and incredible tales from Colorado's Western Slope, from the mountains to the desert. Christie Reese and her team here from the Movers, Shakers, and characters of the Grand Valley and surrounding mountain towns that make the Western slope the place we all love. You'll learn, you'll laugh, you'll love with the full circle. Welcome to the Full Circle podcast. I'm Christie Reese, your host, and I'm honored today to have as our guest, Jay Seton, the publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Welcome, Jay.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, Christie. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

So happy to have you here. It's been a while since we've gotten to just chat one on one,

Speaker 2:

Not outside of some other meeting.

Speaker 1:

That Right? Yes. I see you in a lot of things, but you're a very busy man.

Speaker 2:

You know, it's this job, it pulls you into all kinds of, all kinds of stuff that you wouldn't ordinarily on your own get involved with, but it's, uh, being a publisher of a, of a community newspaper is, it's a different seat. Uh, and you, and you see things that, you see things from a perspective that perhaps, uh, you wouldn't otherwise see. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>, I wanna jump into that more, but I wanna start with a little bit of your history. So you went to law school?

Speaker 2:

I did, yeah. Um,

Speaker 1:

But your family was in media, so how did you, did you think you did not wanna get into the media business?

Speaker 2:

You know, I actually wanted, I went to law school in order to get into the family company. We own small town newspapers around the Midwest. Mm-hmm.<affirmative> and law school. Turns out, it's kind of like a trade school. I mean, you, you get in, it's very competitive. You want to do well, and then you want to apply the trade, you know, So I, that's what happened. I, you know, got caught up in that race and then, you know, you apply it to the good law firms. And I went to Kansas University. And So you applied to the law firms in, uh, in Kansas City, typically, and, Yeah. Worked for a very large firm out of law school, um, that, uh, specialized in, in tobacco defense work. And then, uh, I was a glorified paralegal in that job of 700 other lawyers. And so I went to work for a smaller firm of 170 lawyers that where I could actually do what I found very interesting, which is commercial litigation. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>. And so when did you make that transition from pursuing a legal career to becoming a publisher?<laugh>,

Speaker 2:

You know, um, it really wasn't the plan. I thought I'd practice law forever, but, um, newspapers at the time were selling for extraordinary numbers, You know, 13 times ebida, and it was, we were sidelined. We were not in the any kind of position to make an acquisition. And so I was more than happy to continue to, to practice law. And then 2008 happened, and, you know, we thought it was a correction and the, uh, a lot of newspapers came up for sale, including Sentinel, which we thought was a extraordinary property, Um, and that we were able to acquire it at a number that we thought made sense. And

Speaker 1:

So you, you were involved in the family business then, even though you were practicing law on your own?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. You know, I mean, it's like on the, you know, on the board and, and, uh, shareholder and, and did some legal work for the company. Um, but frankly, uh, you know, I was, I was solely focused on, on litigation for my, for my other clients until this, until, you know, this opportunity presented itself. And then I did get interested and the family decided, you know, let's send the guy out there that doesn't know anything about newspapers,<laugh>, and see how he does. Uh, and frankly, it's been, it's a very interesting way to make a living. Um, it's not the living I was making as a lawyer, but it's really, it's not bad. And it's from, in terms of like, you know, just sort of, you know, intellectual food. It's, it's fabulous.

Speaker 1:

Amazing, amazing. So circling back to your community involvement, you're on a, a lot of boards. Um, you have been in the past and you are now, I'm not even sure which ones you're active on at the moment, but, um, how does that, how do you make time for that? I know it must be really challenging to fit all that in.

Speaker 2:

You know, I, I initially got involved in economic development here, um, partly selfishly like, Hey, you know, if we can grow the economic pie, then the, the company that we own will do better. And, um, we're, uh, you know, have, see more success and that, that part's true. But I got passionate about economic development when I saw what, how it really works. And that is, um, you know, one of the big problems in Grand Junction is it's a relatively poor community in terms of, um, uh, personal wealth. And, you know, we're about$16,000, um, below the average household income, average annual household hold income

Speaker 1:

For Colorado or for

Speaker 2:

The nation, sorry, for Colorado. Okay. And that has all kinds of trickle down, um, bad effects, right? And so all these things that we work so hard to address, like, you know, vacy, homelessness, drug abuse, um, low educational attainment, all the problems that, that we see in this community, the furthest upstream you can go as economic development, right? So if you can grow the economic pie, all of those downstream problems get easier to address. And so that's where I feel like I can, I know something about it now. I, I can, you know, push on at the newspaper. And so, and now I've gotten involved at the state level. I'm on the, the State Economic Development Commission mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And so it's, uh, what was really a, you know, sort of a dirty business motive is actually, um, I think trying to do right by, by people in the community, by helping, um, everyone get a bigger slice of the pie.

Speaker 1:

And that state Community Development Board or economic development board. How, how do you bring attention to the Western slope?

Speaker 2:

You know, it's really interesting. It's, um, commissioners from around around the state, and it's a, it's a state, you know, you, the Economic Development Commission oversees a lot of programs that are administered by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which is a, Oh, edit, Oh, edit, we call it cabinet level, um, state bureau. But it's, um, it's interesting because so many of these programs are by no, no deliberate choice or deliberate intent. They disproportionately benefit metros. Um, the, the big tool in the box is the job growth incentive tax credit. So if you create a, if you create a, you know, more than 15 jobs, you can get real tax credit mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, as a new company or a company moving to the state, um,

Speaker 1:

Much easier to do in the, in the metroplex

Speaker 2:

Area. That's exactly right. And these smaller communities can't take advantage of it. So the first, like, you know, I don't know, six, seven years, eight years that I was on the edc, not a dime of that tax credit came to anything outside of the I 25 corridor. So we, um, in that room, a number of commissioners all saw the same issue and said, you know, this is not right. We, you know, so we're trying to deploy resources to areas that really need'em. Um, and that, you know, again, nobody intended the programs to work that way. It's not like this. They set out to, to, um, you know, somehow handcuff rural. Yeah. But that's what happened. So, um, you know, there's a, there's a real effort in that room among commissioners and the staff to try to help do whatever we can do to help rural and, and some of the, um, communities in the state that, uh, don't perform economically or are in, you know, impending trouble like Craig. So, um, we also, it, you know, a couple of us here, uh, got really involved in trying to craft legislation that would move the needle on rural economic development. And so we, um, stole an idea from New York, New York's programs called Startup New York, and we, um, really strongly borrowed<laugh>, uh, the idea and, uh, created the Real Jumpstart program here and, uh, and got it passed into law in, in, I believe, 16. And it's, it's, it's been a very, very effective tool for great program for g j. Um, and it's, it's funny, it's, you know, it's kind of a favorite of the Economic Development commission, the other commissioner. They love seeing these rural, uh, companies get, um, get some sort of, you know, jump start. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Cause when you talk about that, um, 15 employees, I mean, in rural communities, if you hire one or two employees, you're pretty excited. Right.

Speaker 2:

What we've figured is that one hire in rural Colorado is equivalent of 20 on the front range. Seriously? Yeah. So, Wow. If you hire, if you've got a, you know, a new company that's moving in with 400 new jobs in Denver, that's, um, you know, that sounds like a whole lot, but it's the equivalent of, of 20 jobs here. Mm-hmm.<affirmative> a 20 job, uh, company is, is a massive company in, in Grand Junction. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Wow. Um, back to, let's get back to the Sentinel. Um, what would you say makes you the right fit to publish this paper? What makes you a good newspaper? Man?

Speaker 2:

Um, that's an interesting question. And I'm not sure I agree with the premise<laugh>, but it, you know, I think you, you do have to have, um, an understanding of the, the role of the free press in, in our system of government and take it very seriously. And I do. Um, and I think part of that comes as from a legal training, particularly around constitutional law. If you, you know, if you look at the, the way our constitution was set up, which I think is almost a perfect document, Um, you know, the framers created the, the, the three branches of government, right? The apparatus of our government. Um, and when they were finished with the first three articles, they then created a free press. The very next thing they did is create a free press immune from the power of that government. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So if you take that charge seriously, um, and I think most community, like real newspaper people do, um, then that's your guide, right? And everything's pretty simple after that, um, you know, act with integrity, um, try to understand your, your goal, which is, um, you know, you're taking vetted, reliable fact, and you're, you're putting vetted, reliable fact on top of vetted reliable fact. And what happens if you do that, um, with seriousness, is I think you get something close to the truth. I mean, I've been around long enough to know you's not, you're not gonna get it perfect. Yeah. You're not gonna get it, right. Uh, with, with without any new, you know, some sort of nuance that is, is troubling. But, um, you can get your, if your intentions are pure, you get real close. And, um, you know, if, if, if you, if you do that as your mission every day, um, and you, and you, you know, don't worry about criticism, you're going to inevitably get Absolutely. Um, and don't worry about, you know, the people with a political agenda, which, um, you know, can, people are gonna accuse us of having a political agenda. And I can tell you straight phased, I don't know the political affiliation of anyone in that newsroom. It's, it is not talked about. Um, there is an absolute, um, prohibition on that type that's great chatter inside the newsroom. There are other parts of the building where people, you know, might express it, opinion about something politic, but it not in the newsroom. So, you know, there's a, there's a discipline around it mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, and that's not from me, that is from my predecessors, from the legacy of the Sentinel. I'm just caring forward. What I feel like is, is, is, um, you know, my role painting within the lines and, and trying to produce an an interesting, reliable news product.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think you're, you're very well respected in the community, and that goes back to your community involvement and your obvious dedication to the Grand Valley. But also, uh, the readership of the Sentinel is really strong, isn't it? I mean, you, you have more readers of the newspaper than, than a lot of newspapers do in this country. That's why for capita, right?

Speaker 2:

We do, we have very good penetration in this community. That's why we wa we liked the, the, the Sentinel as a, as an acquisition property. Um, in 2009, you know, uh, newspaper circulations come down, it's come down at the Sentinel and everywhere else, not everywhere else, most community newspapers, but our, the number of people actually reading our content is up.

Speaker 1:

Isn't that amazing? Yeah,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, we

Speaker 1:

Just, it, it things cycle, right? And things have changed drastically in a number of ways, but it does still cycle.

Speaker 2:

We did something terrible as a, as an industry, um, 20 years ago. And that is, we told people that, uh, you know, actually this was led by the New York Times of all of all places. Um, they all said, you know, you newspapers should put your content on this new medium, the internet, put it out there for free, and people will see how brilliant you are, and they'll subscribe to the printed newspaper<laugh>. That was, that was the theory totally wrong. What happened is we trained people to expect valuable news, content free. Um, and we've been trying to put the toothpaste back in that tube ever since. I, uh, encourage your, uh, listeners and anyone else who, who may hear this pay for news content.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Whether it's the Sentinel or the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal, or the Denver Post, pay for it, Um, because it's mighty important.

Speaker 1:

I agree with you. And, um, why do you think the readership is higher here in Grand Junction? What is it about our community that likes the paper?

Speaker 2:

I do think, um, it is partly our geographic isolation. You know, the idea of a sentinel was a, a lone soldier on a, an outpost. And, you know, I think, you know, it was very necessary part of the community for a long, long time. And it was also very high quality newspaper. It was nurtured by good company, good men, and then good companies. We bought it from Cox Communications. They treat their properties well. It did not starve it. Um, and so it, it had continued to have, you know, um, very good content and, and, um, good customer service. Uh, and all the things that, that lead to a successful, uh, newspaper that's, that's continued. Um, you know, we've, we've got some struggles here and there with customer service through Covid that really hurt us. Um, but the larger story is still positive.

Speaker 1:

Everybody struggle with something through Covid, Right? You guys weren't immune, so to speak,<laugh>.

Speaker 2:

And it was, you know, it's a, it's just simply a workforce issue, you know? Yeah. I mean, a newspaper carrier is a pretty unique animal. I mean, that you've gotta be really industrious, hardworking to wanna get up at 2:00 AM and go deliver, you know, 300 newspapers or 500 newspapers around the community. Those people are hard. Fine. And, and the, the, this workforce pinch just, um, left led a lot of them away from, from delivering newspapers, and we've been working really hard ever since to, to get some back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You said it earlier before about layering truth upon truth, obviously. Uh, one of the buzz words of today is fake news, and there's a big distinction between social media and these free news sites, um, and a real media company. But how do you counteract that, that feeling that some people have, that everything is fake news, that nothing's real, nothing that's reported is real.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I, I really, really, uh, have a problem with that term and, and that concept. It's, um, it's really unfortunate, and it goes along with the, you know, sort of the end of the expert, right? I mean, mean anyone can have an opinion, whether you are, um, you know, you have a PhD in virology or you, you know, you're, um, you have a computer and an internet, uh, connection. You know, it's suddenly those two people are at the same level. Um, but, you know, from a, from my chair, you know, fake news was actually a thing. Um, if you can go all the way back to 2017, um, that actually had meaning, like there were people out there deliberately producing information that was intended to appear as, as fact factual information. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, but it was a hundred percent baloney. I mean, you know, the story of these Macedonian teenagers getting paid to, uh, try to, you know, make some sort of false information go viral in this country. Yeah. Uh, for the purposes of un kind of undermining institutions here, um, including the, you know, Yeah. The news media. And so now that meaning that the meaning of that term has changed so much now, it's just like, whatever you don't like, you know? Yeah. My kids are like, you know, broccoli, not tonight. That's fake news, dad. We're not having, it's, uh, it doesn't, Oh my

Speaker 1:

Gosh, that's classic<laugh>.

Speaker 2:

It, it doesn't have the same meaning, but in terms of what it means for our society in terms of like our unwillingness to accept or even be able to vet information that comes across our plate, um, you know, that's a, that's a very dangerous, dangerous development when you consider, um, you know, how many sources of news now, and you can kind of go pick your echo chamber, that, that best suits

Speaker 1:

You, best flavor that you like,

Speaker 2:

Best suits your worldview, and then everything else that doesn't square up with your narrow little, um, worldview is fake news. It's just wrong. You know, if I only watch Fox News, um, you know, CNN is, is is rank nonsense. And if I only watch cnn, Fox is crazy. That's not a healthy information ecosystem. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, at all those, those companies in particular are, when I say those companies, I mean, um, cable news Yeah. They're not into news. News is not it's

Speaker 1:

Entertainment. Right?

Speaker 2:

A hundred percent. Yeah. It's entertainment presented as news. Yep. But it's, it is actually not news at all.

Speaker 1:

So reading a newspaper at the local level, super important to get your local news, but you guys also carry a lot of national content that you get from other providers, But it's vetted.

Speaker 2:

We do. And, you know, the Associated Press, which, you know, Associated Press has taken a few on the chin over the last several years, but it's a very good news source. These are, you know, excellent, uh, journalists, but I would encourage people to, to go out and, and consume your news from some reputable source, whether that's the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, um, PBS News Hour is excellent. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, uh, you know, there's a, there's a, uh, some women took on this project of a media bias chart that laid out, um, using, trying to use really, uh, objective criteria where various media sources are in terms of, um, political bias and then reliability. And it's kind of a bell curve, right? And at the very top, or the, those news sources that I just mentioned and broadcast news, those guys do a good job too. Cbs, abc, nbc, that's legit news. Um, when you start getting into some of these talk show programs on these cable news sites, that is not reliable news. I would, I would not allow yourself to make decisions based on what you're hearing on, um, you know, one of these guys, uh,

Speaker 1:

And there's, there's so many of'em. I know there's so many. Um, how, how this technology changing in the newspaper business right now. What do you see coming up and what, what's happening right now?

Speaker 2:

Uh, you mean besides drone at news gathering<laugh>, that, that may be a thing. I, I was kidding. I think there is drone news gathering. There's some, uh, drone news gathering and some of these, um, journalism schools, but I'm not, I've not seen it deployed here. Um, you know, from a technological standpoint, what we've been able to, uh, chase is efficiency, uh, efficiencies in, in everything we do from a, I mean, if you look at what a newspaper is, it's, it's a 17th century technology. It's insane that we still do this. You know, we, here, here's, here's the, here's the business model. We're gonna go out and cut down a whole bunch of trees and we're gonna grind them into a pulp. And we're gonna, um, turn that pulp into a, into a very thin, smooth paper. And then we're gonna go out and we're gonna gather information about the community, and we're gonna print it on that paper. And then we're gonna go out and talk to businesses, and we're gonna see if they want to be associated with that content. Cuz we're gonna do a really good job with making a good, reliable content. And we're gonna put those businesses message on that, that same paper. And then we're going to, we're gonna print this out in, in like 25,000 editions, and we're gonna hand deliver it to 25,000 different households around the community. And then we're gonna do this every single day. What kind of a business plan is that? You know, Shark Tank guys would just laugh you outta the room, but in fact, that's what we do. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Um, so technologically, we've, you know, we have, um, an e edition now that is of a digital replicate of the paper mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, with an additional 20 pages of national content, sports content, business market data, and sports agat and some puzzles and games and stuff. Um, and we just tack that onto the back of the paper, the, what is the otherwise the Daily Sentinel. Um, and, and that delivery method, you know, hits your email, well, it's available at 4:00 AM every day. Hit your email about six. Um, I do think that ultimately that we will end up with something like that probably five days a week, and then two days you'll, we'll be delivering a, a printed, like what is more like a news magazine, something with more analysis, more like long form journalism. So I, we're not gonna stop printing the paper that's, that's not in the game, that's not in the foreseeable future. But I think our, our offering is gonna diversify, um, with, with that kind of a technology. In fact, there's a guy in, in, in Arkansas who is eliminated print the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. It's a giant, it's a big important newspaper in Little Rock. And, um, when you subscribe to the paper, you get an iPad.

Speaker 1:

What?

Speaker 2:

Yep. And come

Speaker 1:

On Jay.

Speaker 2:

That's it.<laugh>. And if you don't pay your Bill<laugh>, they break it.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh. That's great. Yeah. Do you think part of it is, is, um, people just love that tradition of going outside, getting their paper, opening up and sitting with it with a cup of coffee for a while?

Speaker 2:

Yes. And it's very interesting to me. You know, we look at these analytics every day, um, and see how many people are accessing the e edition. And on Mondays and Tuesdays it just spikes, it goes up. Cuz we don't have a print paper on Mondays and Tuesdays. It goes up to about 24,000 people reading that paper on those days. And then on the other five days it drops down to like 500.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

Really? Yeah. So the, everyone else just wants the printed newspaper. They know how to access it. Um,

Speaker 1:

24,000 of'em do

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Through the addition, but they go back to the printed product. I think it is. I mean, you know, it's, it, it feels, I don't know about you, but we're probably similar in age. It feels more real if it's in my hands. I don't know why.

Speaker 1:

Well, I, I haven't gone to a Kindle yet and I know lots of people love him, but I still like the feel of a book. Yeah. I really do. Um, what would you say are some of the wins that you've had at the Sentinel since you've been there?

Speaker 2:

You know, um, yeah, I, I should have done my homework before he came in here, but one of the big ones was, um, you know, we were able to determine that, uh, our school superintendent, um, had significantly blown through the, his budget. And, um, when we reported that it was, um, you know, sort of an eye open opener for the community, I think the community then understood, you know, this is not the path forward. We can't trust this administration. They turned over, we as a community turned over the superintendent. You know, that was good watchdog journalism. We were proud of that. Um, we've had a number of other similar, uh, type of reports over the course of years. You know, the county, not the current commission, but the, a previous commission, uh, had given raises in the dead of night. Um, you know, the type of thing that, uh, you know, in open transparent government just shouldn't be happening. Um, and we were able to discover that we have also, um, I think done a very good job with, uh, the, the Tina Peter's coverage. Um, a lot of that's broken through. I mean, we, we've, we get the story through court filings or through, you know, what are otherwise public developments not our own enterprise journalism mm-hmm.<affirmative>. But, um, some of it actually has been us poking through and trying to figure out, um, you know, what, what's gone on. Now, part of the reason we've been effective in, in terms of, uh, reporting that story is because we have a DA who really believes in transparency, believes in, um, his, you know, the, the interests of his office align with the interests of our office, which align with the interest of taxpayers, and that is

Speaker 1:

Transparency.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. If they tell the, if they, you know, open the kimono and we understand what's going on, we report it correctly, and now the public understands what happened, um, that serves everybody. And it's, it does not serve the wrongdoer. You know, I mean, I don't think Tina Peters has any interest in, um, in us getting that story. Right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're right. Yeah. Interesting. Um, is, do you all have a, a kind of a frontline on that because you're here and because you have access to documents that are filed, you know, in the courts before anybody else does? Or is it kind of

Speaker 2:

We we do those things. Yes. Um, we are also, we have the trust of, um, you know, the other big players in this, which are the attorney general's office and the Secretary of State's office. They know that if it comes out of the Sentinel, it's gonna be responsibly reported. And they'd rather have that than some, you know, blogger or, you know, um, perhaps not as, as tuned, uh, journalists write about it such that, um, they will sometimes even seek us out. Okay. There's a story that's about to break. Will you guys write the story? Because we know you'll get it, right? There's a, the New York Times came out, or they sent a reporter out to cover the story month and a half ago mm-hmm.<affirmative>, and he actually did break news. I mean, there was one little item that he, he beat us on, but everything else that he reported on, and he did a great job. It, it was stuff that we had reported on over the course of months, you know, so, um, you know, the New York Times is still, the gray lady, I mean, is still, um, you know, the best newspaper in this country. And he did a, a fantastic job, but just satisfying to know that when you, when you are doing the same story are, you know, are you, are you getting at class? And the answer was clearly no.

Speaker 1:

That's great. I love that. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your newspaper today?

Speaker 2:

Um, making sure that the bottom line is, is in, uh, the right color. Um, frankly, that's it. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, uh, staying in business. Yeah. Everything else is, we can do, you know, uh, we've had customer service, uh, complications, carrier complications, you know, workforce complications that we can all navigate. Uh, we can nav, I can navigate any ethical issue, any journalistic issue. The sole question is, can, can do we have a sustainable business plan? And, um, you know, the newspaper industry has lost 85% of its advertising revenue. That's, um, traditionally 80% of your revenue comes from advertising, 20% comes from subscriptions. Um, those lines have crossed at a lot of newspapers. The New York Times, for example, and the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, they're doing better than any time in their history because of, uh, digital subscriptions. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, they've lost all that advertising revenue, but they've more than made up for it with, um, digital subscriptions. We're not the New York Times. Those same rules don't apply to us. Um, but we have to be better in terms of developing and maintaining our audience and having, you know, asking people to pay for the newspaper. You know, historically, um, we could actually subsidize subscription rates with advertising revenue. It was, you know, a very democratic institution, small d so that anyone could afford the, the daily newspaper. Now we have, we have to charge what it actually costs us to, to produce the paper and, and deliver it. And that's painful for a whole lot of people that have subscribed for, you know, we have people who have subscribed for 70 years.

Speaker 1:

Right. And how much was it, you know, even 15 years ago, what was the subscription rate?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. I think our top rate 15 years ago would've been, you know, like a 165 bucks. Now we, you know, double that for a whole lot of people.

Speaker 1:

What advice do you have for people that wanna get into journalism? I mean, that's, that's a tough business. Um, you know, I was listening to, um, I love the podcast Smartless, I dunno if you ever listed that, but Anderson Cooper was on there and, and, uh, they were talking to him about visiting war zones and things like that. And, and obviously your journalists are, are not faced with those kind of things, but, um, it's a, it's a tough job, don't you think?

Speaker 2:

Um, yes, It is a tough job. It's really important. It's never gonna go away. You know, we are always going to need people who can tell our story. You know? Um, I, I've, the advice I would give is, is, um, really twofold. One, you know, be curious. Um, ask questions, you know, develop a curious mind. Go through college with the idea that you're gonna, um, you know, you're going to, uh, explore, you know, the human condition. I think if you kind of look at it from a 30,000 foot view, uh, makes you a better storyteller. The other thing I would suggest is, uh, embrace multimedia, uh, technology. Don't, um, you know, our, our newsroom, you know, I love those guys. Getting them to do something today that they didn't do yesterday is almost impossible. Uh, and so we need more journalists who can tell multimedia stories. Um, and, you know, the media that are before us today, this is what's today, you know, tomorrow and five years there will be some new technology that we've never fathom. Um, and we need to be able to tell the story on that. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, you know, I said the other day, Why, why are we not on TikTok? And they, they laughed at me. Yeah. And I was dead serious. Yeah. You know, we need to be, we need to be where the eyeballs are. We can't expect to just produce some, you know, dead tree media and expect the next generation to pick this thing up. You know, we need to hit them where they are.

Speaker 1:

I think you're right, Jay. We're doing it too, you know? Yeah, absolutely.<laugh>. Um, alright, let's talk a little bit about Jay Seton. Um, wine is a, is a passion of yours. Would you say? Colorado wine?

Speaker 2:

What are you saying? Kristen

Speaker 1:

<laugh>. How, how much do you drink everything? Just

Speaker 2:

Kidding. It, it's,

Speaker 1:

Uh, we live in a great area, right? Like, it's so up and coming. There's so many new things to try all the time. I love Colorado wine.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I, I've gotten into it and you know, this, this valley is the, the, the improvement has been vast over the last, I've been here 13 years. Um, there, there have always been some good wines here, but now there's a lot, there's a really good ecosystem of, of some fabulous wines. And I, I mean, you can spend a hundred dollars on a bottle of wine here. Um, and there're there are a couple producers here who really know what they're doing. And I think, you know, I don't want to focus on any particular winemaker, but Scott and there high really said, Look, you know, a rising tide lifts all boats, right? So they, they talk about this, um, uh, Robert Mondavi situation in Napa where he, he really wanted to help all the other winemakers produce great wine. And I'm not sure how much impact they've had on other winemakers, but it, it, it has improved, I think, as an ecosystem such that, you know, there's a, whereas, you know, 12 years ago was a couple of good wines now that you're, it's almost hard to find a, a, a wine that you're, that's not really quite good here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Well not just in the Grand Valley, but, you know, Paonia area has got some really good wineries and things too. I mean, it's ra raising the level all the way around. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And you know, it's, uh, I think some people think it's a, um, you know, just sort of a quaint like tourist draw or something that does not necessarily have to be the case. Um, this could be a, a big thriving, important industry.

Speaker 1:

Well, and with the amount of brew pubs that we're getting here in town too, I mean, we're turning into a, a place where you can come<laugh> sample a lot of really good stuff. You know, you get distilleries and wineries and brew pubs.

Speaker 2:

You, you tell me what you think about this. But, you know, this community was, went into recession in 2009 and it slid continuously until the second quarter of 17. And then it, it's, it came out and it come out pretty strong. Ever since then, I, I'm really excited about this place. I mean, all the cool, we're sitting in, you know, this very cool bonai building, um, at a, at a new development. I mean, this was like nothing but junk and uranium mill tailings and

Speaker 1:

Just a few years ago. Yeah. Not long ago at all.

Speaker 2:

And that you've got this Butterfly lake that signals transformation. I mean, I think this place is under this extraordinary moment and we're seeing it in terms of, you know, food offerings and, and brew pubs and Yeah. Wine.

Speaker 1:

Super exciting.

Speaker 2:

It. I, yeah. And you're in a, you're in the right business. Uh,

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah. I mean, we get to talk to people every day who say, I've just discovered this place and I think I wanna live here. And we say, Yeah, you should cuz it's great. And it's just getting better all the time. It's really fun. We just had a meeting with some folks here today from Flagstaff area. We were like, Yeah, better medical than we have there, and a little bit more to do and little less snow and,

Speaker 2:

And in 45 minutes you can be clipping into your skis and, you know. Yeah. Sometimes I I almost get like stressed out here because there's so much to do. Like I, I,

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I feel

Speaker 2:

Like told in all these different directions

Speaker 1:

And my dog is like, You didn't take me for enough hikes this week. I'm like, Well, I'm sorry I was doing this, this, this, this and this, you know, outside.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. It's, uh, I mean, I moved here from Kansas City. I loved Kansas City. I mean, like, if they had better weather, you'd have to build a wall around the place. Coolest people ever. Good

Speaker 1:

Food.

Speaker 2:

I could never leave this place. I mean, if the Sentinel dries out and blows away, I'll, I'll, I'll join one of these law firms. You know, it's, I'm not going anywhere.

Speaker 1:

Sentinel is gonna stay. Okay, sure of it. Sure of it. Um, what do you like to read and listen to? Do you listen to podcasts and, and what kind of, um, content, not necessarily media, but what kind of content do you consume?

Speaker 2:

Interesting question. I, um, so I, I've gotten into the Sam Harris podcast making sense. Um, Sam Harris is sort of famous, you know, neuroscientist philosopher type. He, he got into some sort of hot water with a book called The End of Faith after nine 11. And, um, he's a, it's just very interesting. He's a very interesting interviewer. And the, the, you know, he has, you know, various authors on the, on the program talking about everything from artificial intelligence to, um, you know, our Ukraine situation. It's, it, you know, one of these things. It's just, you know, I feel like it's substantive food for the brain. Um, I love that kind of stuff. I don't read enough fiction. I think I need to, I mean, I, I don't know why, if it's like, if I'm gonna read, I feel like I, I'm gonna read this biography or I'm gonna read this history or something.

Speaker 1:

Um, there's so many good business books too, but when I go to the beach, I take a fiction novel. Usually

Speaker 2:

That's the problem. Like, once I get into a fiction, it's like I just, it's like a dog that spilled over the dog food bag. I just like eat the, you know, read it and then it's God and it's, Yeah. And then I'm on the, some dry biography and I'm like, I'll read four pages and put it down. Come back to it in a week.

Speaker 1:

Um, if you remember, we had lunch a few years ago and I asked you what your favorite book was and you told me Candy Bombers. Oh yeah, yeah. Still on your favorites list.

Speaker 2:

It's, it's definitely on the list. Maybe not my favorite at the moment, but I, it was so touching. Have you read that book? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. It's, um, it makes you very, very proud to be an American. Um, and it, it, it's a reminder that, you know, sure we've got all this, we've got slavery and we've got a, you know, difficult history and um, you know, some shameful things have happened in this country over time. But man, the general trajectory of this country is heroic. Um, and this is the story of, um, the Berlin Airlift and in particular, these kids who, um, uh, you know, Berliners were, um, in this, they would stage in this one area and the pilots, American pilots would, would open the window and drop candy out for these kids. It's really the story of, of Berlin, you know, the, what it was the most modern, uh, city in the world at the time and what happened to it through that, um, through that, um, war and, and the aftermath. But the, uh, the story of, of that, you know, what we did for those people and, and their continued appreciation throughout the rest of their lives. It's just fabulous. But it's, but it's 800 pages.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh. Maybe that's why I didn't read it cuz I was like, I'm, Oh, I can't believe I didn't read it. I was looking back through my notes and I thought Jay recommended this book and I haven't read it yet.

Speaker 2:

It's, it is still, it's totally worth it. And it, it's not, I wouldn't call it a page turner, but it's, it is fascinating. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm, I'm, I'm gonna pick it up. Um, well it's been a pleasure having you here today, Jay. Anything else you'd like to share about, uh, yourself, the newspaper industry, Grand Junction before we go?

Speaker 2:

You know, no, but Christy, I really appreciate you doing this. This is a fascinating conversation and great questions. And, um, I love stuff like this cuz it makes you reflect a little bit and, um, it's easy to reflect on how much you appreciate this place, um, and the people here. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, you know, we get focused on some of the bad stuff sometimes, but man, it is, it's so far outweighed by all the good stuff.

Speaker 1:

I agree. There's so much good going on here and good people. I'm really a proud resident of this valley. Yeah, I know you are too. Certainly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, thanks again, Christie.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thanks to all of our listeners and watchers. This has been the Full Circle podcast with Jay Seton and we'll see you next time. Thanks for listening. This is Christie Reese signing out from the Full Circle podcast.