Sunday, May 21, 2017

A thank you to Turner Report/Inside Joplin readers

The first big increase in readers to the Turner Report came six years ago following the Joplin Tornado when people in Joplin and around the world were seeking as much information as they could find about the most powerful tornado to hit the United States in six decades.

During the days and weeks following the tornado, I made every effort to post as much information from as many sources as possible about the tornado and also started publishing the obituaries of the 161 people who died.

Rebecca and Genevieve Williams of the Joplin Tornado Info website were instrumental in helping my posts reach thousands of people.

I assumed at that time that when the national interest in the tornado began to lessen that Turner Report readership would also fall.

For a brief time it did, but in 2013, the numbers went up again as I had my difficulties with the Joplin R-8 School District. Once I was fired and began talking with employees and former employees of the district, I discovered that I had only a vague idea of the extent of the problems in the district. As I began to uncover those problems, readership again grew and surprisingly, I had more readers than I did in the days after the tornado.

When C. J. Huff "retired" and the entire Board of Education from 2013 was replaced within a two-year span, I prepared for a corresponding decrease in readership.

It never happened.

What is the explanation for that?

While I cannot say for certain why readership continues to increase, I offer the following possibilities:

Area Media Difficulties

The Joplin Globe has taken a major hit with its less-than-stellar coverage of controversies in Joplin. People who relied solely on the Globe for information were not aware of the problems of the C. J. Huff Administration until a few days before his retirement was announced and even then their information was severely limited. The newspaper did no background investigation into Wallace Bajjali and frittered away what integrity it had by doing its best to sabotage any actual digging into city problems that was taking place. Cases in point were the Globe's heavy-handed coverage of the Lorraine Report, and the state audits of the City of Joplin and the Joplin R-8 School District.

Area newspapers like the Neosho Daily News, Carthage Press, and Pittsburg Morning Sun, have cut staffs, cut the number of days they publish, eliminated services they once provided, and expect readers to continue slavishly following them with the forlorn hope that at some unspecified point in the future, they will begin providing the kind of news coverage they did back in the days before GateHouse Media bought them.

The additions of Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries

In addition to the coverage that was being provided in the Turner Report, the November 2013 decision to increase coverage of the area with Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries helped turn this news operation into one that featured more well-rounded coverage of this four-county area.

The obituaries, in particular, have made an impact. Many of you have told me that you keep up with those by reading Inside Joplin Obituaries because you are no longer taking the Globe. And, of course, I print the obituaries for free, in a searchable format, something that cannot be said about the Globe or other area newspapers.

The Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs and other blogs that have been added have provided coverage of this area and have not followed the pattern established long ago by area newspapers that continue to shrink the number of pages they offer and their frequency of publication, but never stop increasing the prices they are charging.

Reader loyalty

Yesterday, slightly more than 30,000 visitors came to the Turner Report and my other blogs, with the Turner Report and Inside Joplin each drawing more than 12,000.

Most of these people are readers who have kept returning to the blogs and have helped them grow by spreading the word, by sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and by providing information that has helped my coverage.

When I make a mistake, and sadly that happens from time to time, readers have always been willing to help me, and I am not one of those who believes that you cannot ever admit that you made a mistake. I make mistakes and I correct them.

Readers have also been generous with their suggestions on how to improve the blogs and I have followed many of those and would love to follow others, but with this small of an operation it may not be possible.

Readers have also helped from time to time by taking voluntary subscriptions or sending donations to help keep the blogs operating. During a talk I gave recently to the Joplin Writers Guild, I was asked about my subscriptions.

People find it hard to believe that readers are willing to give money for information I am providing for free.

At times, I find it hard to believe.

But it is deeply appreciated and has helped me to cover some of the costs of the operation, including paying for federal court documents, FOIA and Sunshine Law requests, and simply to be able to keep this going as a full-time operation.

In exchange for these subscriptions and contributions, I promise the following:

-A continued effort to uncover news that you will not receive from any other source, including investigative reporting.

-Continued providing of free obituaries (in other words, not following the example of area newspaper companies that charge large amounts of money to grieving families), courts news, records information, and state and national political news

-Offering a voice to people who are not being listened to by other media or by elected officials and providing a voice that is willing to stand up to the other media and to those elected officials.

-Offering a continuously updated news source and following up on stories that are either forgotten quickly or never covered by other media

-Working harder to make the Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs better and increasing the amount of news that is covered.

-Acknowledging mistakes when they are made, apologizing for them, and quickly correcting them.

Thanks for your support. If you are able to subscribe or make a contribution, it will be greatly appreciated and I will work hard to deserve it. If you are unable to contribute financially, you can help the blogs continue to grow by sharing posts that capture your interest, or by providing comments and news tips, photos or videos.

Those who wish to contribute financially can do so by using the PayPal buttons below or by mailing contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801.

Subscription prices are $30 for a year (the Globe charges more than $200), $3 per month, or $1 per week.

Thanks again for your continued support. It is deeply appreciated.

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Anonymous said...

I'm a Neosho resident and I like what the Daily News has been doing. They have a new reporter who delivers some interesting stories and gives a different slant to the same old, same old. Newspapers everywhere are adapting to the information rich age and I think they will continue for a long time to come.

Anonymous said... for a copy & paste blog....riggt. I think I will just read it from other legitimate news sources rather than the guy who bashes others for a living and reposts any legitimate news.

Unknown said...

What do you call legitimate?

I hope not MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, NY Times, Washington Post or KC Star?

Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text 24/7

Unknown said...

Randy does a good journalist job, and offers another voice for the community. It sounds like he has more readers than the Joplin Globe, and edited more factually correct.
Not sure I always agree, but do respect the point of view.

Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text 24/7