From NewsPrint to NewsDigital: It’s not if, it’s when

By now most of you have read or heard the news: The Kaweah Commonwealth will cease to circulate a printed newspaper following Jazzaffair 2019 (April 12-14). It will be a bittersweet weekend finale for two stalwarts — cultural icons of Three Rivers — both whom have done yeoman’s work in putting Three Rivers on Google maps. 

I say Google because that’s the way three-quarters of the planet’s population now plot their every move. It’s how they search for what they do and consume every day of their existence.   

Ode to 3R jazz 

For the High Sierra Jazz Band, that April weekend marks the retirement of a classic, or traditional jazz playing septet, that has been performing under the same banner for 42 years. That’s a long time to do anything, even if it allowed the boys in the band to travel the world over and make a multitude of friends and fans on five continents at every stop along the way.

There are many reasons why the timing is right for both of these changes. High Sierra, as originally constituted, will live on in their dozens of albums, CDs, and in the hearts and minds of the thousands who were touched by their greatness when their music was absolutely the best. 

Some of HSJB’s members will retire and only perform infrequently if at all. Other members will join fellow musicians, on stage and in the studio, to rekindle those memories of that world we have lost. Some folks will refer to those times as the “good old days.” 

Dixieland jazz is akin to printed newspapers. It will live on in one form or another by those few individuals who seek to preserve its legacy. For all others, it will be relegated to the pages of history.

3R News: A Rebrand

In the 24 years that The Kaweah Commonwealth has published a print edition, there has been one constant: to be an artistic expression of the collective intelligence of the community it serves. Above all else, that has meant becoming a definitive source of Three Rivers news.

In the coming weeks we will be rebranding the Commonwealth as 3R News. So instead of envisioning the Life of Riley in retirement, we will be doing double duty to finish the print run while creating the new infrastructure to keep on doing what we have been doing, day in and day out, since March 1, 1995: 3R News. 

Looking back

If you don’t know the idiom “Life of Riley,” Google it. My acquaintance with the term came from the TV show starring William Bendix that ran on NBC from 1949 to 1958. It was one of those icons of media that bridged radio and TV far before the recollections of most who will ever read this article. Among the TV show’s constants were the sponsors: Prell Shampoo, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Dreft, and the American Meat Institute.

Interesting note: In 1977, Prell and Head and Shoulders shampoos, both owned by Proctor & Gamble, were the largest selling shampoos in the world. It’s no surprise they both had the biggest advertising budgets mostly then spent on TV and in slick glossy magazines. 

If you haven’t noticed, television too is undergoing sweeping changes, and magazines are headed in the same direction as print newspapers: extinction. The impetus for all this change is the Internet and who controls its access and content. As much as you might believe that the Internet is the vehicle for true freedom of expression, it’s not even close. Like in the 1960s world of “Mad Men,” the Netflix portrayal still dominated Madison Avenue boardrooms in 1977.  

Looking forward

Today, the media that is streamed over the Internet, tightly controlled by a new generation of corporate advertisers, who now have access to your most valuable personal information. Their strategy: bombard you with every sort of product you could possibly ever need on every device that has Internet access.

Here’s the key to understanding the vise-like grip of 21st century technology. All these new remarkable advances that make life easier ensure that the biggest players thrive. Their goal and mantra is to get you to pay attention to products everywhere. The farther you consume from where you log on, the more they make. I can name the biggest players but you already know them: Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft… WalMart is few notches down the list putting pressure on the biggest players while closing nearly every mom-and-pop business within 50 miles of its 11,277 stores. 

Three Rivers first!

So the key to coexisting in the era of unprecedented corporate bigness is log on first to a platform nearest to where you consume. And by consume, I don’t just mean what you buy but also where you get your latest news, information, weather, and plans for what you might do on any given day. At the very least, you will check the weather, breaking news, and you will probably buy something.

That’s why The Kaweah Commonwealth is going digital. We can get ahead of this inevitable change or we can all fall behind. Everywhere you go, 99 percent of everyone under the age of 50 is staring at an electronic device. Believe it not, the majority of those over 50 are staring at screens too, albeit they are larger ones like tablets, computer monitors, and flat-screen TVs.

I’ll explain how the resolution revolution works next time. For now, please provide your email address to allow us to stay in touch with you (send to; type EMAIL in the subject line), and for a sneak preview of what’s just around the corner, follow
3R News on Instagram. If you’ve never heard of Instagram I envy you. See you in the funny papers. 

P.S. The phrase “See you in the funny papers” was a widely used fond farewell and had its origin in the early 19th century when newspapers were king and it applied to most of us who saw ourselves more as comic strip characters than the rich and famous featured in the society pages.      

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