LOSING THE SMELL, SOUND AND ADVENTURES OF THE LOCAL PAPER!!
By William of CrossDove Writers
I grew up a in time period where television news was confined to just three national and/or local network/stations and the local newspaper.
I grew up in a time before the influx of modern-day technology that has changed life so anyone, anytime, anywhere can pull up a news item or story from anywhere, anytime and involving nearly anyone.
I grew up in a time when the local newspaper was devoured by nearly everyone in the family, and I mean they went through every edition from the front-page stories to the very back page that most likely had the comic strips.
I grew up in a time when any community bigger than 10,000 had their own daily paper apart from maybe Sunday’s, and they never seemed to run out of stories and ideas to fill it up.
My first ever job was as a ‘cub’ reporter for a local small-town (population of maybe 20,000) newspaper where my job was to man the sports desk on Tuesday and Fridays to take the phone calls from area coaches and get as much information as I could from their games and then pound away at the typewriter to get a ‘sports brief’ of up to 200-250 words for the next day edition.
To me, there are two things which make me dream of better days and those are the aromas from a good restaurant (I worked food service for over 20 years) and the smells and sounds of a newspaper office getting ready to go to print.
To me, that local newspaper always had a sense of excitement as to what was the big story to make the front page, who had the most electrifying local editorial, how much success did the local sports team have, who has the latest best buys, which comic strip was going to cause the biggest laugh of the day, what miscellaneous things are for sale and which businesses are looking for help.
It used to be that the local paper was the heartbeat of the community, where the guys gathered at their favorite barbershop would discuss the latest news or non-news from the latest edition.
Now days, those small-town newspapers are getting to be just an old relic that nobody reads or even pays for.
Our local community is no different as the one time bustling six-day a week newspaper is now down to just twice a week and when you do get it, it contains a second newspaper from a bit larger community some 30-minutes away.
Nope, our local community newspaper that for most of the 40 years I have lived here was run by local people who not only took immense pride in the paper itself but were also active members within the community as well.
Several years back our local newspaper was purchased by a larger corporation, who then sold it to what is one of the largest newspaper/media holding companies in the world. Our local newspaper had become just a spot on the company ledger, and loss of quality and quantity were visible as we gradually lost our local feel and sound within the paper itself.
Now when you go by the offices of our local paper you will find one young lady who does a super job in directing traffic to whomever needs to be found.
Can I speak to the local reporter, I want to know why so few articles have true local content – nope, they don’t have any local reporters except for a sport writer who works from his home.
Can I speak to someone in advertising – nope, all advertising is taken care of by the advertising department of a larger newspaper located some 35 miles away.
Can I speak to someone about not getting my newspaper on one of those two days of the week – nope, you will need to call the circulation department of a larger newspaper, you guessed it – some 35 miles away.
The local paper has gone from was normally a daily assortment of 20-plus pages to one that if we are lucky may contain 10 total pages period.
Well in these days of media technology, do they have a website you can read more articles?
Yes and no, as each newspaper within the corporate arms of the central powerhouse owners have the same style of website and I for one am not impressed. Plus, like the larger, national papers – you will still have to have a subscription to read more than a couple of articles a month.
Now our community has the other, one-day a week newspaper that looks and feels more like a newspaper. But it was weaved together with another area daily and in all honesty, most of the articles within it are from communities elsewhere in the county.
Recently the community has a new start up internet newspaper that from what I can see is trying their best to cover the loss of the real, in your hands paper, by covering only local community stories and events.
The local radio station has a pretty solid sportswriter who covers the whole county of sports on their internet website, but guess where he came from – yep, the local newspaper. That sportswriter is a gold mine of local information as he wrote for the local newspaper for like 35 years before noticing the push out to pasture so he jumped ship and now has a strong following on the radio website, I congratulate him for that.
Another local website has popped up with the attempt to cover the six small area communities and their events, happenings and sports – but being a one-man show, he is finding it hard to keep up with all six small community happenings, especially when it does not generate any income at this point.
So, as I browse through the internet on my computer looking for the latest news and updates, I try not to mourn the sunsetting of those local, small town newspapers that were once the bastion of communication for an entire community of people.
Without the newspapers, what is left to keep the community talking within itself.
So now as I finish up, I hear the wife calling – something about not getting that darn paper today. Now what did I do with that out of town phone number so I can maybe get the paper sometime before tomorrow when the news will be a day late.
With that – hugs, prayers, blessings and happy thoughts from Grumpy Gramps.
(Copyright@2019, CrossDove Writers – no part of this posting may be printed, copied or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Grumpy Gramps.)