Tulsa Today is the oldest independent online local news service in the world (est.1996) and we are now considering expansion or sale of our name and domain.
Further back in 1985 we first formed to fight abuse of public power under the name “Committee for Clear Communications” which supported publishing of the “Independent Student News” and other print media. That Committee is now being reconstituted to provide advice and chart a future for Tulsa Today that you, individual readers, are invited to join.
Expansion or sale?
The common culture has splintered by generations and interests. Americans no longer communicate in the same ways, know or believe the same things, or even utilize the First Amendment for fear of offending political correctness – a tyranny foul in self-imposition. We have forgotten the foundations of culture necessary for a free people to rule themselves. We accept obvious lies without challenge and worship fame over wisdom – a superficial substitute promoted by fools counting quantity over quality.
To better reach Tulsa (which we define as the region of economic interest extending throughout Northeast Oklahoma) on issues of substance, we must engage each generation within their multiple circles of interest – where and how they communicate. To expand as we have come to believe necessary, requires capital. We don’t have the money – thus, the consideration of sale. There may be a fit within a traditional media group for Tulsa Today or someone may have the capital to add staff, expand the product in video and work social media as growing opportunity requires.
By the numbers, 25 million pages have been read and Tulsa Today currently hosts between 20 – 30 thousand readers each month. Not bad for an area of around 800,000 people. While consistently Conservative, our standard has been to provide a platform for diversity of opinion, in-depth analysis, and news missed by other media. I’ve won two national awards as a First Amendment Publisher (they didn’t know I was a Conservative at the time), but more important is what we have done together.
Tulsa Today has advocated for and against various tax packages depending on their nature and seen our judgment confirmed more often than not. Together with our readers, we have encouraged good people to win public office and guided the elected corrupt to prison. Some stories have legs and gain pervasive community readership, but all begin with a blank page as a writer takes the time to organize facts and what is written doesn’t matter if individuals don’t read and pass it along.
Some call us a blog – usually as an insult, but ok, fine. In the spirit of full disclosure, this site has never generated sufficient advertising revenue to support the effort. Tulsa Today has relied primarily on my income from other sources (fully disclosed if relevant) as a writer, communication and public information specialist. We have paid creative talent for their work, welcomed diverse opinions and published both sides of many disputes – which, in considered opinion, make this a news service.
Tulsa has talent, but why pay them?
There are Conservative writers, editors, photographers, and broadcast talent available to build this platform. Many of those over the years from Oral Roberts and Tulsa universities contributed here because they love the city and the craft. But everyone tires, at some point, of working for free. Without sufficient advertising or donations from readers, Tulsa Today’s pay scale was low. How long would you labor with little reward? Can you feed your family on fame?
Government is not one thing. It is a collection of distinctive power fiefdoms each with multiple layers of labor, management, union and elected official interests. Consider the old bureaucrat’s joke; “elected officials come and go, but bureaucrats run the show.” Community advocates and citizen journalists don’t have an elected salary or term so how many meetings would you cover for your fellow citizens? Would you speak for unpopular issues and endure hateful rebuttal for a just cause … for how long?
Who knows who cares?
On Tuesday July 24 a public meeting in Tulsa discussed “form-based” zoning code. At issue is the change from “use-based” code. In a larger context, it can be argued that usage within a particular neighborhood is appropriate for the city to regulate, but the specific look (or form) of a building should be the choice of the owner of the property. Any restriction that demands compliance and increases costs is a “taking of value” by force of regulation. The latest change in planning policy first discussed at that meeting notes official plans will no longer be optional, but mandatory within the selected district. Wow, just when you thought it was a free country.
There was no media coverage of the meeting. In an exclusive interview with Tulsa Today Monday morning, Dawn Warrick, Director of Planning and Economic Development (salary $122,481 yr.) said sixty people attended (bet that counted her staff of twelve) and officials did not survey the group to find if more or less were supportive of the change or not. Today, Wednesday August 1st, at 1pm that change could begin to become law at a regular meeting of the Tulsa Planning Commission.
That full interview should be posted soon as a separate story, but consider:
• Did you know about this meeting?
• Did you know about the new code in Tulsa?
• If you did, are you ok with neighborhood groups and bureaucrats telling you what can or cannot be done with your personal real property?
• Do you think many regular citizens are available to attend the meeting at 1:00 pm?
• If you are not ok with command and control, are you willing to act before it hits your home or business or does it matter only when the bulldozer is headed up your driveway?
For decades I have covered the most boring meetings in the world. Specifically, school board meetings where officials fail to use Roberts Rules of Order to call for the question. I attended a domestic violence taskforce because some members feared others would meet until no one cared. I recorded and reported the proceedings for months and a better city policy is now in force, but it was not income earning effort.
There are Trust Fund Babies in Tulsa, but I have no such deep pockets, the Small Business Administration doesn’t finance journalism and wealthy folk mostly fund Leftist Loons (see This Land Press for detail) – which work much better for their cocktail party friends.
I may accept a position with other media or in private industry. Those employments are not advanced by ownership of media (if perceived as competition) and contentious critics with scandalous slanders are shocking to those not engaged in public debate. I’ve gotten used to it and agree as Ted Nugent recently said, “If idiots are not attacking you – you might be one.” But after decades, I would rather work for someone else.
For Tulsa Today, I have maintained an office in the heart of downtown these past dozen years because I really hate the “blogger in mom’s basement” slam other media often utter in condescending tone. (A video of the office will be posted soon in another story.) We were here before downtown was cool and helped drive crack dealers off the streets. I’ve lived in the core of the city, but now I want just a bit of private green space in my daily life.
So what will you do?
The Committee for Clear Communications raised money and contributed time and talents to the long effort, but they never wanted to be in the spotlight. Thanksgiving Weekend 1985 – while camping at Keystone Lake – I agreed to be the front man, but I will no longer preform that function. I have been a daily reporter for the now-departed afternoon paper and hosted a radio talk show for a year. I enjoyed radio because of the direct interaction with the listener, but I may soon have a local television show.
I will still be working to better the community. In some ways, I may be more impactful if I cease to own a public media. I will be outspoken on issues of public concern. I will write. I am a Conservative Commentator, long active in civic and political groups, but I plan more organizing of individuals than public debates – as plans stand.
I am writing a book and, with employment and family obligations, that is enough. (Even Paul Revere eventually got off the horse.) If someone on the Committee will accept the responsibility of publisher, I will help them, but the capital question remains and even with capital, I will not be available here full-time. With capital; a publisher and staff can be hired and critics shouldn’t over enthuse because the next generation of leadership for Tulsa Today might be even stronger in battle for Faith, Family and Freedom.
The Committee is being called for their opinions and, as a group, to decide by the end of August what should be done with this name and domain. In short; if you have ever written, worked, contributed, commented, or read Tulsa Today, you are a member of the Committee for Clear Communications and we ask you to check in.
You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 918.592.6397 for more detail. We will gather your opinions, directions and preferences for participation in the future of Tulsa. I will personally meet with you or groups of you and answer any question posed on media or public policy in Tulsa.
There is a role for Tulsa Today, but the Committee will decide. Further, while international readers are welcome (if you want to buy locally we can help you), the point has always been local communications – using the Web to connect neighbors.
To see the best of what coherent Conservative Journalism can do, click here for The Blaze. To see the best of what should be done on television, click here for GBTV. If you attended “Restoring Love” in Dallas last weekend I would like to interview you on your perspectives of that event.
Both mentioned media properties are owned by Glenn Beck which I greatly admire, but like so many, his success is focused nationally. It is an old saying that “all politics are local,” but if that little line is true – I ask how much more then is all media local. To reboot honest non-Marxist media, in my opinion, we must build local media nationwide. Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Michael Savage are great at what they do, but none focus local.
There are now some things I no longer wish to publish, but rather to communicate directly with like-minded people. I agree with Beck that we must activate to earn a more effective, principled and honorable government – from the ground up. I have some ideas on that subject that I am looking to launch.
Tulsa Today will continue regular publishing until the end of August and there are several feature stories to finish and post. Together readers and staff have proven here that Internet publishing is not a computer thing, but a communications thing and continuing to evolve. What Tulsa Today becomes is up to you. When the afternoon daily paper departed: Tulsans had no chance to help save it. This is your chance to own a local media in large or small part.
In short, we get the local media we deserve directly or indirectly by our support of advertising, subscription or donation so what will you support? Shall we talk more? Will you act today for Tulsa? As for me, I am leaving the future of Tulsa Today to Divine Providence and you.
Call or write or use the contact form at the top of each page now for more detail or to schedule a meeting during August. I hope to talk with you soon.