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Wahl to Wall: I hope I’m never ‘nonessential’

Wahl is editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Published on January 24, 2018 1:39PM


I’ve lived through a couple government shutdowns over the years.

There’s always talk of “nonessential” government functions being impacted. Heaven knows, if Kim Jong Un sends a nuclear missile our way, we want the personnel that track those things on duty.

Which begs the question, “Why does the federal government have nonessential employees and who says they are nonessential?”

It’s a lot more clear from a private sector standpoint. I can’t think of one person at the Chieftain who could be considered nonessential. Each one is vital to the process of producing and distributing a weekly newspaper.

Let’s hope the latest silly season in Washington, D.C., has passed by the time you read this.

REMEMBER WHEN Facebook was for young people? I do.

Oh those silly young folks posting about what they had for lunch and and adding videos of their friends acting giddy.

Fast-forward 15 years and the young people have moved on to other platforms.

This fact hit home with me rather dramatically a while back when I checked to see how the various posts on the Chieftain Facebook page were doing.

Several times I came across this message: “Your video is popular with women ages 65+.” They call it “the graying of Facebook.”

I remember when newspapers first began using Facebook as a way to communicate with the community. We were told it was of utmost importance because it was a way to reach the “younger generation” and expose them to the newspaper.

We’ve come full circle. Our print demographic –– older women –– is now the median Facebook demographic. So where do we go to reach those younger folks we were told were so important to our future existence as newspapers?

In order of use, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. I have never ventured into the Instagram or Snapchat world. I have tweeted but it never seemed like the way to reach people with an important message.

Around three quarters of American teens age 13-17 use Instagram and Snapchat equally. Facebook is still in the running along with Twitter.

I couldn’t find a convincing statistic to report on whether social media use as a whole is decreasing, increasing or stagnant. I do know there is a counterculture of young people who are unplugging and reverting back to reading books printed on paper. Imagine that.

I guess it’s true that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

KUDOS TO everyone who had a part in the Eagle Camp Extreme Dog Race last week, whether participant or spectator. It certainly brought life to our corner of the world during an otherwise rather gray period weather-wise.

Everywhere you went in the county you saw signs welcoming the mushers and everyone else affiliated with the competition. I’d venture to say most of them had a terrific time.

I was particularly thrilled to watch potential journalists in action during the vet check in Enterprise. Young people with pencils and notebooks asking insightful questions of the mushers. May your tribe increase.



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