The Loss of Local News - A Good Story

After The Fact


I work right around the corner and this is where I run and grab. The paper grabbed my coffee and breakfast sandwich rate over there morning. Having a paper. Melissa bears morning routine includes buying her local newspaper the Berkshire Eagle at Palmer's variety store. Just down the street from her house where she can check in with neighbors she sees there. It's just another way. A newspaper brings her community together. But as we've been learning in this series on what's happening to local around the country more and more communities are losing their newspapers and the reporters who go to city council sessions at school board meetings and take pictures at the high school sports events. The Pew Research Center reports that the number of newsroom employees at newspapers dropped by forty seven percent between two thousand eight and two thousand eighteen. And that's our data point for this episode of after the fact the basic problem for local news in the making for a number of years on a unfortunately. It's gotten that much worse. Less view is the print. Advertising is gradually shrinking. Greatly and after a while circulation has started falling to while they're digital news income from advertising that now from subscriptions doesn't really make up the difference. That's Rick Edmonds. Who analyzes the media business for the POYNTER Institute a journalism think tank in Saint Petersburg Florida in this series? We've been telling you about the more than two thousand newspapers that have closed in this country over the past fifteen years but the financial cutbacks that rick talks about our having a big impact on the papers that remained to ban the number of papers that are shrinking are a lot greater than the ones that are actually gone out of business and many the ones that have gone out of business are very small. You know you may be in a metropolitan area looking in the paper. This fifty people producing into there used to be two hundred and skinnier. But I'm not sure if it was going to notice that well people were noticing it in western Massachusetts the Berkshire Eagle the daily paper that in one form or another has covered that bucolic bid of New England almost since the founding of this nation had been purchased by corporate owners twenty five years ago in recent years. It faced budget cut after budget cuts. There were fewer reporters and less news was covered. Then in two thousand sixteen a group of local investors took over the eagle they're expanding coverage and hiring reports. It's also countered to the national trends that we had to go up there and talk to people about it and what a good local paper means to them from. My Office is rates. You hear wall. That's Melissa Baragan. You heard her at the beginning of this episode buying her local paper. She has lived in the Berkshires for eight years. She relies on the Berkshire Eagle to get the word out to drive donations and dollars so her organization conserve the poorest in that region. I helped low income individuals in our community specifically children around winter time with our warm clothing program which we serve over two thousand children every year. So you care a lot about the fabric of your community the civic life here yes I do. Our community matters and I'm blessed because what we do. Every day is help people who are vulnerable or need. It really doesn't feel like work. It's the good work. What's the role of your newspaper? And everything you've just described the work you do and the civic life of Here in the BERKSHIRES. The warm clothing program has been in the Berkshires for thirty eight years. The newspaper Berkshire Eagle has always supported the program. When that article hits the paper we see a huge increase in donations. Cash DONATIONS NEW COAT DONATIONS NEW BOOT donations. Now have people calling me on the phone saying what can I do to help? How can I help? Are you still looking for sponsors? It just goes to show you how important the local paper reaching people who might not have access to their phones and social media so yeah. It is really important to this program. If the paper wasn't here what would it mean for your work? I think we would be missing out on a huge demographic of the community. I think a lot of our older community relies on the newspaper to get the information that they need. It's important to have these Local newspapers Berkshire Eagle to get in the hands of the people that might not have access to news. Or what's going on in their community? The paper's gone through some changes here and local ownership has returned in the last few years. Have you noticed a difference? I have actually. I can see a lot more community interest stories because I think the paper has been more local. You see what other people are doing positively in the berkshires beyond your work. What does the Eagle mean for you just as a resident of this community? I was thinking about the local newspapers and I went back to Pennsylvania my hometown or one of the first things I did was good a coffee shop. Amrita local paper said slake picking up a little slice of what's happening in this little spot in the SA- beauty of the paper savell digging deeper and getting to the real stories of and the pulse of of things and I feel like sometimes that's lost on the Internet

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