Burke commentary: Mission of Post, Shiny Sheet will not change

Journalists document change in real time. Sometimes, the change is about us.

Last week, the owners of The Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News put our newspapers up for sale.

It was a business decision, and a particularly tough one, because our owners have personal ties to Palm Beach County.

Cox Media Group, our owners since 1969, is run by the Cox family – a fourth-generation business started in 1898 when James M. Cox, future governor of Ohio, bought the Dayton Daily News.

Alex Taylor, who will become CEO of the Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises in January, is Gov. Cox’s great-grandson and a former publisher of The Palm Beach Post.

His great-uncle, James Cox Jr., bought The Post and the Daily News 48 years ago because he recognized what a terrific growth market Palm Beach County is.

It was a boom time: TV was new (WPTV-Channel 5 was just 15 years old), the Palm Beach Mall had just opened, suburbs sprawled and a 7,400-acre chunk of farmland way, way, way out west was about to become Wellington.

Cox and the journalists he hired turned The Post into a top-notch newspaper worthy of the growing county.

The next year – 1970 – The Post won a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for images of poor farmworkers in the Glades.

Today, The Post is still known for quality journalism, the kind of important work that uncovers injustice and inspires change. Recently, our groundbreaking reporting on the opioid crisis helped prompt Florida Gov. Rick Scott to declare it an epidemic and a health emergency.

The Palm Beach Daily News – “the Shiny Sheet” – also got global recognition this year. Both the New York Times and The Washington Post noted how the Daily News nabbed exclusives at Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post called the newspaper “must reading” – a fact Palm Beach residents have known for generations.

Cox Media Group’s decision to sell was difficult but strategic.

The company’s Texas newspapers, the Austin American-Statesman and some community papers, also were put up for sale.

Cox will keep its other two newspapers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dayton Daily News, because, in those markets, Cox also owns the market’s top TV and radio stations.

What does this mean to readers and advertisers? Our newspapers and digital platforms will remain the No. 1 source of local news – throughout the sales process and beyond. Our customized advertising solutions will continue to return impressive results for local businesses.

For 102 years and through five owners, The Palm Beach Post has served local readers and advertisers with the largest team of reporters and sales representatives in Palm Beach County. For 120 years, the Shiny Sheet has been the newspaper-of-record for Palm Beach residents.

Our work will not change. In what we do, we belong to you.

A local newspaper is really a public trust, part of the fabric of the whole community.

The way we deliver news has changed dramatically. That has impacted our industry — but not diminished our value.

The value of a local newspaper – a local watchdog with the resources to do real reporting on local government and issues — is greater today than ever.

Whether this news is delivered on newsprint or on your phone, The Post and Shiny Sheet offer your most transparent source of local news.

You know us. My face is on this column on this page, and I live in this community. Several of our reporters and editors grew up in Palm Beach County.

Nearly 600,000 adults in our market read The Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News each week. Our social audience has grown to more than 1.5 million likes and followers.

You depend on us. You depend on a free press.

And no matter who our parent company is, that is one thing that will not change.

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