Finding hope in local newspapers
This month saw the Portland Press Herald and three other papers in Maine ceasing their print editions, according to reports.
Despite these tough challenges, many people still believe that newspapers are an important part of a healthy democracy. With this view, many are also working to save local newspapers. For example, a Wellfleet house, located on Cape Cod has become a makeshift newsroom for the Provincetown Independent.
“We’ve been thinking for a while that there ought to be a more community-oriented, locally owned newspaper here,” the paper’s editor, Ed Miller, said.
Both, Miller and Teresa Parker, the paper’s publisher, are convinced a good newspaper can make it.
You’ve got to create something that people think is essential, and look forward to, and want. That doesn’t happen if you’re squeezing out reporters,” said Parker.
Furthermore, according to a study out of the University of North Carolina, 1 in 5 newspapers in the U.S. has closed over the last 15 years. The number of print journalists is down by 50 percent as well.
Despite these gloomy business conditions, papers are surviving. For instance, the Daily Item in Lynn has been taken over by Ted Grant and six other partners.
“It’s a labor of love,” explained Grant. “We’re never going to make money owning the Daily Item, and we know it. We started a bunch of magazines that will pay the bills.”
Such an approach allows the paper to focus on local news and continue to be an integral part of the community.
“We believe in the city. We believe in newspapers. We believe in information, “concluded Grant.