A CASE FOR LOCAL OWNERSHIP OF MEDIA
The St. Louis Times, decidedly the cleanest and newsiest afternoon daily published in St. Louis, reflects an interest and influence in local life and affairs conspicuously absent in its afternoon English contemporaries, and the reason is apparent.
The Times is the property of St. Louis citizens, men whose interests are inseparably connected with the progress and advancement of this city and whose lives are part and parcel of the commercial and social life of this locality. For that reason, their publication reflects St. Louis in every paragraph, and its time, talent and influence are used to promote welfare and prosperity in its chosen field.
The Times is alone in this respect and there are other reasons separate and apart from its genuine worth and merit which make its patronage an act of patriotism upon the part of those who have an abiding interest in this city. Dividends upon its stock are earned, made and spent here instead of New York, France and Ohio as is the case with two other afternoon dailies. Taxes paid in France do not educate children in St. Louis any more than do those paid in Ohio; and a paper whose policies are dictated by men who are far removed from the local sphere and under the influence of distant and possibly adverse conditions can not be a safe criterion of conditions purely local, nor reflect the sentiment of people with whom the promoters are strangers. The Times carries its deposits in St. Louis banking institutions, transacts its business affairs through local channels and its proprietors are taxed to maintain those institutions which are designed for the protection and advancement of the public at large.
It is well enough to look for the legend “Made in St. Louis” on your breakfast food and shoes, and this policy adhered to can but work to the ultimate advantage of the community practicing it; but “Where do you spend the money you make in St. Louis?” is of more importance when we consider that every dollar taken from the local circulation necessitates a dollar’s worth of idle labor. It is right wholly within the consumer to refuse to spend his earnings in practically a foreign market and “Where do you pay your taxes?” is just as legitimate as “Where do you manufacture what you sell us?” If the policy of restricting consumption to articles of home manufacture is sound – and it is advocated by the Post-Dispatch and every other paper in this city – and extension of that policy can not be wrong in principle or application, and the wage earner should see that the money he spends is not placed beyond his reach a second time.
Those are reasons why the St. Louis Times is destined to lead every daily paper published in St. Louis, and those who have an abiding interest in the city and her people should look for the boy with the “Times” on his sack when they want an afternoon paper, and patronize the merchant who carries an ad in its columns. That is your privilege, and you won’t exceed your rights if you tell him why you practice it.
(From Truth ca 1896)