Keeling says both newspapers and Kentucky's leadership must change with the times

06/08/2011 06:24 PM

Long-time Lexington Herald-Leader political columnist and editorial writer Larry Dale Keeling sat down on the other side of our interview table on Monday to talk about the future of newspapers — and Kentucky politics.

Keeling said Kentucky’s leadership likely needs a change to make progress. That’s been a theme in many of his columns over the years. But newspapers also will have to change with times, he said.

Keeling retired last month from the Herald-Leader where he spent 36 years covering politics as first a reporter, then as a columnist.

“Newspapers are going to have to find sort of their new role, I guess, but I think they’ll still be around,” Keeling said. (see the 1:10 mark of the clip)

The Herald-Leader has suffered through several rounds of layoffs in recent years, slashing the size of the newsroom personnel.

Keeling said the Herald-Leader does have a liberal-leaning editorial page and said that editorial role should remain.

“Editorial staffs are getting smaller. They have to do a lot more work. That’s sort of one of the reasons I decided to retire when I did. It wasn’t as much fun to me,” Keeling said. “I think newspapers have a role, an editorial role, of leadership in the community, of trying to influence events in the community, to direct conversation around issues in the community, speaking for the newspaper itself and also using the editorial page and op-ed page for other people to share their opinion.” (see the 1:30 mark of the video)

But Keeling asserts that the editorial staffs and the reporting staff don’t cross paths to influence news coverage, despite criticism from some conservatives that news coverage is liberally slanted.

On the political front, Keeling said he would like to see an end to “the bitter partisan” battles waged between Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky and across the country.

Keeling said it seemed like people from opposition parties worked together better in the past. “It’s too partisan, too bitter, too mean, it just doesn’t get done anymore,” Keeling said. (see the 5:00 mark of the video)


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