Some may not be aware, but Facebook is now promoting a grant program aimed at fostering local journalism in communities. This is only ironic because Facebook and other social media platforms have actually played a big role in the decline of local media. Essentially, the populace has been getting its news for free through their screens. The hang up is that, the news they were consuming for free was produced at a cost. So, when you have to cut costs, you end up cutting something from your newsroom – ultimately people. Then, years down the road to combat the spread of fake news, Facebook says it wants to emphasize small, trusted journalistic outlets, but can't find any.
Shocker, I know.
Essentially, I've compared it to when soft drink companies buy up water sources in Africa so they can sell bottled water to the native population. Thankfully, your local water source for consumable news – the DCN if that wasn't clear – is still here. It's still trusted. It's still quality. And it is yours for the reading. Take advantage of it.
In this case, the issue of Facebook funded/Facebook trained journalism is wider than just Dickinson County. This is a industry-wide topic. As such, I was inspired to use the process of creating the cartoon in Photoshop to my advantage. The DCN's trademark lighthouse (an homage to the days of the Spirit Lake Beacon) was created as its own layer. For those of you unfamiliar, Photoshop software functions on layers, which you can think of like the transparency sheets for an overhead projector. Since the logo was isolated to a single layer, it takes very little effort to swap it for another logo, say those of the DCN's sister papers – the Spencer Daily Reporter and the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune. In fact, if need be, the cartoon could be made to match the front page of any paper.
Spencer Daily Reporter (left) Storm Lake Pilot Tribune (right)
If you can catch it fast enough, you'll see I built the Facebook logo from scratch rather than copying it. In fact, you'll see at the end of the process animation below that I realized it wasn't quite right and I adjusted the top of the letter. As I learned with a previous cartoon, it's much more effective to scribble in a few legible words on the piles of paper to establish the scene. The speech bubbles can be adjusted and moved to point in an ideal position when switching logos as well, which was necessary in both the Spencer Daily Reporter's case and the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune's. Otherwise, both logos would have looked as if they were jammed in a space where they didn't belong. In Storm Lake's case, I found the juxtaposition particularly interesting, since their logo contains an actual figure – whom some of us refer to as the Old Sea Dog. At any rate, should this cartoon reach farther into the family of papers under the Rust Communications label, I will add their version above as well.
Thanks for reading.