It didn't matter - the paper was picked up and read daily by thousands of readers. Many read it cover to cover. It's truly an important service to any community. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without a local newspaper an area isn't a community at all. Newspapers traditionally bring people together and provide a sense of belonging and regional awareness and even pride.
This stuff isn't sexy, nor particularly profitable, but it has to be done! Someone needs to keep track of these events, summarize and disseminate this information. Even the most boring, mundane happenings need to be recorded and publicized for well-functioning society. Without that effort, the things happening around us become opaque, and being informed relies literally on word of mouth.
Sadly, pretty much every effort to digitally replicate the services provided by local papers has failed to my knowledge. As a result, I know more about what's happening in London than I do about my home city.
No idea what the solution is, and a lot of people much smarter than myself have tried for years. But what I do know is the long term consequences of small newspapers closing is a lot more dire than I think most people realize.
As a young (21yr) person in my community, I have to say I have never read through a full local newspaper and don't know a single friend my age or younger who has. The local news channels have websites these days and I would say those, in combination with local public radio, television channels, and even social media are the main source for local news in my town (for my demographic at least).
I personally don't feel a lack of community due to the fact that this news comes from my computer monitor instead of ink on some rolled up paper, but then again I never really lived in an era when I got to experience that.
Now, a community is whoever you want it to be. Folks who play the same game you do. People who hate rocks. People who think purple hair is awesome. People who think purple hair is stupid and red hair is awesome.
The people may live next to you, or they may live in another country.
Previously, all these people who made up your community were in your town, by necessity. Because of that, you pretty much rolled the random dice and that's who you interacted with.
Gain (present vs past) -- being able to find a community that's similar to you. Especially if you don't identify with the norm (imagine being the only person you knew who thought computers were cool). Much more rapid dissemination of ideas and social mores.
Loss -- forced mixing of and interaction with different groups. Exposure to new ideas and different perspectives. Identification with people who aren't like you (but are still "one of us", i.e. from the same town)
Small towns are historically far worse for ideological conformance, because once you're ostracized you're stuck.
This. I miss that, on a small and large scale.
And that’d be silly. Communities existed long before newspapers, and they exist for nnplaces too small to support their own newspapers now. And even communities that would have had a newspaper a couple decades ago make do with, e.g., one or mor Facebook groups today, with the boring bits you refer to informally crowdsourced.
Fun aside, language is not only shaped by culture, but also shapes culture.
It couldn't get any harder for people to affiliate with the EU if the EU institutions would embrace a foreign, sterile and planned language.
In fact I think it would only strengthen the resentment against the EU.
Esperanto is easy enough to learn that most people could by now speak it as a second language if it had been introduced in schools back when it had the possibility to become the language of politics (that's a hundred years ago now!).
In my opinion, having one or a few well established communication languages works pretty well right now, although adoption could of course improve.
My comment was mostly targeted at the concept of Esperanto. As far as my knowledge goes, it is a culture-free designer language made to ailinate people from the literature and thoughts of the past.
Based on that I have difficulties to see it in a more favourable light.
Maybe check out the introduction of the book that introduced Esperanto:
It states it is neutral, which it obviously can not be. Just because a language doesn't impose current biases (which Esperanto does) that does not mean that it will not impose its very own, new biases.
From there it gets highly problematic: The thought that languages shouldn't get translated into each other but should get cleared and isolated by translating them only to and from Esperanto is something you would expect George Orwell to come up with.
With this I don't want to say that the current, grown concept (mostly English, Mandarin, Hindu, Spanish, Arabic, etc.) isn't without its flaws, just that Esperanto has those flaws as well, plus its (new) design issues and the dystopian political agenda of its enthusiasts. (Like the culture filter I mentioned from the introduction.)
Would you personally see something positive in the adoption of Esperanto compared to the current model? I'm curious.
It's hard to learn English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Hindi. At least for Chinese and Arabic there is a multitude of mutually unintelligible topolects that you'd also have to learn. Each of them takes at least ten years to master.
I'd strongly prefer it if we had one language that most people speak reasonably well. English gets you quite far (outside of Asia at least) but English is a lot harder than Esperanto. Esperanto has a number of flaws, most notably it's too Euro-centric making it harder to learn for people who don't speak a romance or germanic language. There are other conlangs that try to address that deficiency, but they are a lot less popular than even Esperanto.
I don't really mind which language wins, but I want to live in a world where I can interact with everybody without having to learn dozens of languages. I learned English reasonably well so I can interact with large parts of the "western" Internet, but that's just a tiny echo chamber compared to all content.
In the US, the papers won't totally go away because certain things must (by law) be reported in a public data source. I think the thing that the journalism totally missed the boat on was being the source for local entertainment. People always want to know what fun things they can do this week/end with their kids and friends. Having local knowledge is something the Yelps of the world will never be able to do right.
In the US, it was the churches that made an area a community not the newspapers. As the churches have faded nothing has replaced them. Newspapers supplemented what was discussed informally in gatherings.
Frankly, local newspapers that didn’t remember that they served locals and either tried to preach or kept republishing national news outlets when it became obvious national news was available elsewhere doomed themselves.
For example, my town doesn't publish its meeting minutes online for three months. I can get the minutes in person the week after, but by then the once-weekly newspaper has "scooped" my AI because they had a human there. And even after I get the minutes, oftentimes the note will say "approved PUD conversion from C-2 for [Business X]. Motion from [Councilmember Y] seconded by [Councilmember Z]". Without knowing the discussion surrounding that decision, the minutes are dry and would produce an even drier news article.
I've tried to work with other area towns as well, and many of them don't put their meeting minutes online at all. The most reliable council meeting notes come from bigger cities, which don't need an AI to write their news for them.
anecdotal, in Atlanta we tend to see the local TV news doing a lot of investigation with one partnered with the local paper (AJC). They tend to focus on corruption more than costs of city programs. However the one expense they never ever will touch is how cities are getting buried by pension costs to where even the pension systems are threatened. (Chicago's system will be out of money by 2021) too rich of benefits and more retirees than active is to much of a burden
You are wrong, didn't read the link, don't make any arguments about its findings, and don't offer any evidence for your claims.
"To further account for within-state cross county variation, we control for county-level differences in population, population growth, per capita income, and employment growth."
Was it really so important that you say "this study is wrong" and share your personal anecdote that you couldn't have spent a few minutes reading it first? Commenting on HackerNews isn't a race and the level of discourse usually goes up when people aren't in a rush to comment.
Is sharing a personal anecdote on HackerNews with strangers more valuable than learning something new?
-- David Simon (Creator of The Wire) on the necessity of local newspapers which are quickly disappearing.
Why is the newspaper dying? Because updates about what is happening in people's world is no longer constrained by what is published in the local paper! And everyone involved in the old industry still can't wrap their minds around it.
The newspaper was a medium for communication. The World Wide Web is a medium for communication. News didn't die, but what constitutes news is no longer defined by what the local paper decides to publish.
Instead, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, etc. you get a flood of "news", but you have to vet it all yourself to see what is true and what isn't. And many many people don't do that - if they trust the person sharing, they trust the "news". Or if it agrees with their world view, they trust the "news". Sometimes amazing things are covered - live Reddit threads have broken some amazing stories, with details from local residents. Same with Twitter, etc. But for every one of those stories there are 100s that are fake, or actually pushing alternative narratives that are not based in reality for their own ends. And that flood is just too much for the average person to actually separate the fact from the fiction.
Social media does not equal journalism. That isn't "old industry" thinking. That is just a sad fact.
Not write. Gather. The whole point of reporting is someone going out and collecting news. Not someone who already has it issuing a press release. “Whatever a patron desires to get published is advertising; whatever he wants to keep out of the paper is news." (Attributed to many, but seen as a desk sign on some newspaper editors desks.)
So sure, there is some value there. But, less than many people seem to think.
PS: OK, local movie showtimes where generally correct.
And don't get me started on ranting about Facebook trying to hamfistedly assume that mantle.
And that having a voter base which exclusively does so is antithetical to objective truth and a functioning democracy.
This leads to a less informed public, at least locally. Any of the "local" social sites (i.e. Patch/etc) seem to wither or get consumed by politics (national/international) spam (commercials) and propaganda.
The internet of today lacks trustworthiness (probably an engineered outcome).
Yes, a lot of people prefer to read updates on the Kardashians, just like people prefer to do the crosswords and read the funnies.
With a paper, I can't ignore the front page. On the internet, I can easily cocoon myself in a bubble that exclusively agrees with me.
Which isn't to say I'm suggesting the Luddite path. Change has come and society must adapt. But we (and specifically, Facebook and Google) need to do better at realizing what's being destroyed and replacing it.
Reading inane clickbait on Facebook and being informed aren't mutually exclusive.
A Facebook post doesn't cover the PTA meeting and compile what occurred. A twitter update from the president is national news and just a snippet where an article about the tweet would provide a larger context about what he's talking about. Reddit is so likely to be astroturfed by big companies that it is becoming increasingly misinformation.
This is simply not true. There is a huge demand, perhaps now moreso than ever, for trustworthy sources of consolidated information about current events. I don't follow Trump or the White House on Twitter. I don't follow Apple news on Reddit. I don't attend PTA meetings and I don't follow them on Facebook. Do you expect me to start doing all those things to replace reading the paper?
The number of Americans reading print newspapers has been declining since the web became popular. The average age of a newspaper reader is somewhere north of 55.
When people are being paid for the express goal of gathering such data in as unbiased way as possible - how can that be replaced by pure crowdsourcing?
Local newspapers are dying largely due to a change in the audience they once depended upon. This isn't an argument about "better" in some objective manner but instead an observation of the reality of the situation.
That's super important stuff and has a lot more impact on my life than many things in DC.
From the article:
> Susan's a Daily Camera subscriber, but she mentions Boulder's local paper recently raised the subscription price by 25%.
This is, in part, a result of tariffs by the Trump administration:
At least, I like to think I was neutral in my writing. There were two political cliques, and one of them occasionally behaved in incredibly jerkish ways (And would regularly have between 0 and 40% of the council seats).
Rather than try or pretend to be neutral, Swedish newspapers tend to outright state their political affiliations/biases. (e.g. "Skånska Dagbladet is close to the Centre Party" "Aftonbladet describes itself as an independent social-democratic newspaper"). This results in the newspapers having protection of the parties they support, rather than the legislature-du-jour, and an attempt by the government to influence an opposing newspaper would quickly gain political attention.
==Less than a third of U.S. newspapers assign any kind of reporter—full time or part time—to the statehouse. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, only 30% of the 801 daily papers it monitor send a staffer to the statehouse for any period of time. In Massachusetts, whose capital is the largest city (Boston), just 6% of the state’s newspapers have any reporting presence at the statehouse—the lowest percentage of newspaper representation of any state.==
You're probably more informed on the whole, but there are fewer and fewer eyes watching our elected officials and shining lights into dark places.
A strong and free press is critical in maintaining a healthy democracy. Support your local papers or hyperlocal bloggers if you see them doing good work - you and your community will benefit in the long term.
It's sad to see how less diverse the opinions are. We are just being told what to think now.
I didn't see any other years compared to see if that kind of variance is typical.
Is this really true? I've heard of at least a couple of non-profit newspapers opening in small towns including the one I'm from, and I don't really pay that close of attention to this stuff. For enterprising journalists there are a lot of people willing to pay/donate to these causes. Optimistically, the funding can move from ad/subscription more to donations/grants and the local reporting can continue.
It was harder to spy on what the other was doing, unless you wanted to be a day behind them. This allowed people to come up with more original opinions, and less hivemind behavior that you see with the constantly updating/mutating articles online.
PS To be sure, Google learned that our readers are doctors from our site and related sites. Now, Google shows them doctor-related ads on Candy Crush Saga. How's that for fairness?!
I am guessing because it contradicts your free-market ideology?
Keep going with the lack of capitalist funding for news. Open source is socialism, and everyone knows socialism failed in the USSR and China, and USA is the land of the free, first you have wikinews next thing you know you have gulags!
People have been contributing to wikipedia without any crypto currency rewards, and it is far superior to Britannica in scope, breadth and level of bias. Same with Linux vs Windows, WebKit vs IE, etc. Why would the same not be true of news?
Capitalism is failing as a model for generating the long tail of news. Open source is notoriously great at the long tail. This was true 20 years ago too. And you downvote because you think I said crypto currencies are necessary and sufficient?
Some jokers flagged my post and every response that agreed with it. Is that normal? There is some kind of new activity on HN that attacks things they disagree with using inappropriate measures. That’s what you should be worried about.
How does one vouch for a post btw?
Open source works because working code is working code. Wikipedia might be an edge case, and even there politics and lobbying are pernicious. Citizen news sounds good, but it seems like people prefer consuming filter-bubble, prejudice-confirming clickbait, so I'm not hopeful.
Vouch shows when you click into a flagged post and have enough karma.
Being alive gives you time.
>If you aren't being paid to do the journalism then you are getting paid to do something else
Yeah, you're getting paid to do whatever it is you're a subject matter expert in.
Reporting on it in important situations is simply a public service which people do all the time with blogs and such.
Implying people only want to do things if they're paid money is silly.
Yes, it takes time and money. But it is not concentrated in a few individuals that are paid by someone. It is actually made up of thousands of small contributions, from people who know something.
CASE IN POINT
I started this article back in 2005 I believe, while I was a math grad student in NYU. I went on to do other things besides math. The article is now much more expanded, each diagram improved several times, the Talk page discusses various things, all over the span of years with dozens of experts contributing.
I still like to come back and see that a tiny bit of the original language and page structure I put together has remained, but a lot of it is simply beyond what I knew at the time and certainly what I know now about it.
Like Britannica is so much better than Wikipedia.
Which do you think has less bias, wikinews or fox news or cnn?
And then of course there’s this:
It was downvoted (fine) and then flagged and killed. Also replies to it that agreed with it were flagged even more and killed.
My question is - why was it flagged? Can anyone explain? Is it because it suggested a non-capitalist approach to news? Or because it made a broader point? I really think the “flag” feature should require an explanation.
Likewise, I can go down to the river, and start taking water samples, to figure out whether or not the local factory is polluting the waters. I'd really rather not, though.
And in most towns, it's been my experience that decisions are usually already made by the time it is.
The local political beat used to mean going and sitting through council meetings. Now there's no one reliably doing that.
That said, I suspect there's more chance of local newspapers surviving in the UK than the US, if only because we tend to like tradition more over here and because local papers in many UK towns are well... locally owned. For instance, the main one in my town is (as far as I can tell) run by the community, written by regular people there and funded by ads almost entirely placed by local businesses. So there's less chance of a bean counter closing it down because the company's bottom line is at risk.
Overall though, they're also not doing so hot overall.