Friday, June 12, 2015

Local Newspapers And Local Blogs

Ken O’Brien

This notice appeared in today’s Southbridge News.

There was a time when the local newspaper was the go to source for information about local events. Not only was its role respected but timeliness was a treasured virtue.

That era has essentially passed.

The local paper still serves a role as the compendium of upcoming and recent events. But anything related to the reporting of breaking news has been abandoned.

The local paper was also the forum for residents to express their opinion about matters affecting the community. That function has also, in large part, disappeared.

Aside from reporting on and providing picture spreads of community activities, the local paper serves functions related more to its own survival rather than to the interests of the local citizenry. It provides an outlet for local advertisers and legal notices. It also provides what little is left as an entry point for those interested in a career in the dwindling field of print journalism. 

Much of the reporting on local news as well as the expression of opinions related thereto has fallen to the function of local blogs. 

Regrettably, at least in Southbridge, that function has substantially been eviscerated.

Once we had a substantial number of local blogs. There was Dennis Martinek’s Speak Out Southbridge, Brent Abrahamson’s The Massachusetts Observer, Monique Manna’s Get Involved In Your Town, Raciel Fernandez’s The Political Trash, Amelia Peloquin’s The Greater Southbridge Project and the anonymous Slow Towny.

All that now remain is this forum and the religiously oriented Shepherd of Souls by Father Peter Preble.

Perhaps it is an illustration of the apathy that has embraced our community.

While I may have disagreed with some of those former writers, at least they constituted a welcome arena for usually informative discussion and debate. Now we essentially have a vacuum for such exchanges. While commenters have often provided valuable information and insight they are not a substitute for an ongoing dialog. 

I hope that we have not seen the demise of intelligent commentary or a devolution into the 140 character subculture of twitter.
P.S. When did the Southbridge News become a Thursday paper? July 2 is a Thursday after all.

1 comment:

  1. "It's you and no one else...."
    - Mick Jagger


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