The Frontier is dedicated to independent, uncompromising journalism that shines a light on issues Oklahomans care about. We’re profiling a different Frontier staff member each week through the end of the year in conjunction with our NewsMatch campaign.
Name and title: Bobby Lorton, Publisher.
Favorite book: Usually the last book I read, which was The Nightingale.
Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption.
Favorite food: Thai.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to join The Frontier.
I was the 4th generation Lorton to be Publisher of the Tulsa World, so the value of local journalism is ingrained into my blood. We sold the Tulsa World in 2013 due to the collapse of the newspaper industry and it was the hardest decision my family had to make. While dusting off the fog of what to do with the rest of my life, I was pulled back into thinking about local journalism by a few friends, knowing you can’t replace what a newspaper used to do — covering city, state government, local sports, arts and entertainment etc. The days of having a large staff of reporters are gone because the strong support of advertising is continually fading away. But I asked myself what was the most important thing we did at the Tulsa World? And the answer was investigative journalism. I thought that maybe with a small group of experienced investigative journalists, we could concentrate just in that area of reporting and maybe we could get enough donation support from the Oklahoma community to recognize this important public service. And that’s where we are today with growing support.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of The Frontier team?
It’s the same feeling of pride I had at the Tulsa World, when I know a story The Frontier staff produced had positive impact for the betterment of our community.
What’s your favorite story The Frontier has published or that you’ve written?
The Frontier staff has written over 2000 stories since the day we started. My favorite story is always the one that holds people accountable and lets the public decide the outcome.
Why is nonprofit news important in Oklahoma?
The nonprofit news model may be the only one that survives as the industry continues to change. Our community has to recognize that without a journalist being there to ask tough questions, your news will all just be a giant press release. The bigger question becomes how do we pay for truly independent journalism without advertising and subscriptions? I think if every citizen chips in a little, that includes the corporation and foundations, The Frontier can have a very robust independent team of journalists all across our state.
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