The Tragic Irrelevancy of the Denton Record-Chronicle

Uncategorized7 comments


Dan’s Silverleaf was packed last night – not for a show, but for a city council debate. With four seats on the ballot, this is arguably one of the most important elections in years. Last night’s debate, hosted by the Denton Downtowners, We Denton Do It, and Drink and Think, was an attempt to capture the momentum and attention of Denton’s growing creative class,  a demographic that has made itself a force to be reckoned with in Denton. They are the creators of our city, the changers of culture, and are beautifully directing their democratic impulses back to their community.

By all accounts, last night’s debate had more people than any other forum to date and, according to many candidates and attendees, it stood out as the most important.

Yet our local newspaper, the Denton Record-Chronicle, neither promoted it nor covered it. Instead, the lead story for today’s paper was about the painting of walls at the Sanger library.

The first Denton Creatives Mixer from October 2012 at Oak Street Draft House.

The first Denton Creatives Mixer from October 2012 at Oak Street Draft House.

This isn’t new. Despite the fact that there have been growing crowds of civic-minded young professionals, artists, and families coming together to help create Denton in the areas of culture, technology, and livibility, our local paper has acted like none of this is happening. Hundreds showing up each time we have a Denton Creatives Mixer or host innovative citizen engagement events like February’s Ideas for the City Forum, yet not a single story.

Meanwhile the paper continues perpetuating the now tired and outdated narrative that “City Hall is not listening to the citizens.” I have no interest in speculating why this is the case other than to point to something that is becoming increasingly obvious. The conspiratorial fantasies of those who spend a significant amount of time commenting on stories tend to find their way into the headlines.  It’s as if the coverage of local politics in Denton is written with an aim of causing a commotion among these curmudgeon commentators.

And this is tragic. A robust local news outlet is essential for a robust and healthy local democracy. With local newspapers failing all over the nation, it will be up to somebody or some entity to reimagine and transform the future of local news. And I can’t think of a better place where we have all the necessary ingredients to create a new model for the power and possibility of local news than Denton, Texas. And in doing so, help return a vibrant democracy to the city.

There are armies of journalists, photographers, videographers, creative writers, cultural thought leaders, and analysts ready to join with you in this ambitious project.

But you are ignoring them.


  1. Nancy Viens says:

    I have lived in Denton since 1982 and have seen the size of the town double, and the atmosphere change. There was always a creative underground here in Denton, with two major colleges and all of the people who participate in them, but the relationship between the city council and the individuals who make up the city of Denton has decreased to the point where there seem to be two Denton’s–the political Denton and the actual living, breathing Denton. I think the Record Chronicle has chosen the side with the most money. It is a shame.

  2. Karen DeVinney says:

    Perhaps so, Kevin. But the DRC has one thing that other information sources like We Denton Do It don’t: a sustainable economic model. People are paid for the work they do researching and writing, and income is generated through subscriptions and ads (ads, mostly). Yes, income and circulation are down; yes, they don’t cover every breath we all take; but eventually these other sources are going to lose their shine for the volunteers who run them, and they’ll have to come up with a model that will probably look an awful lot like a traditional newspaper’s. Time for the creative class to come up with a viable source of information for everyone that’s not dependent on free labor.

    • Christopher Walker says:

      Karen, you’re right to a point, but WDDI /does/ have ad revenue coming in. They’re more cleverly disguised as their advertisers are those who fit the audience in a more focused way, but they’re definitely still there and paying for space on that blog.

  3. Will Milne says:


    Feel free to support We Denton Do It and our “free” labor by purchasing one of our ads at the link below:

  4. Terrible when the local newspaper does not cover issues you feel are important to you and your community isn’t it? Welcome to the world of people who are fighting hydraulic fracturing in this town. Want it in the DRC? do like we were told by Bill Patterson and “buy and ad”.

  5. Kevin says:

    Perhaps, if they covered events and topics that Dentonites are interested in, income and circulation would be up.

  6. George Neal says:

    I hope everyone noticed that the DRC’s response didn’t actually address Mr. Roden’s concerns about their lack of coverage of important local issues like the Candidate’s Debate. Instead Karen DeVinney gave a very weak criticism about local blogs and creative culture which had nothing to do with the criticism leveled at the DRC. The reason subscriptions are down is because our local paper doesn’t actually cover things that are important to the populous of our city.

Leave a Reply