I realize this is a bit late, but I wanted to post a link to Dan Kennedy’s article on GateHouse.
It’s an interesting history/review of the company, discussing if and how community themed newspapers can survive the downward spiral in the industry. Kennedy gives one of the best summaries of why local, community newspapers are necessary.
COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS ARE a vital part of civic life. From coverage of selectmen’s and planning board meetings to school lunch menus, from obituaries to letters from readers, the content offered by the kinds of newspapers GateHouse owns — weeklies and small and medium-size dailies — serves a need that can’t be met by larger news organizations, and that bind a city or town together perhaps more effectively than any other local institution.
I believe in that statement 100 percent. Local readers would miss the papers if they suddenly didn’t appear. But those are only the people who read the paper- people my age never do. It’s amazing the different reactions I get from people in their 40s than from people in their 20s on if they read their hometown newspaper.
One friend commented that he didn’t like this article. He felt it was too vague and essentially could have been written about any newspaper company. I guess that is true. I don’t know why the article focuses in on GateHouse- perhaps because of its concentration of community papers.
What do you think about this report? Can community newspapers be saved or are they going the way of the dinosaur?