Friday, June 19, 2009

Local News and a Sense of Place

Alternet features a very Rep-relevant piece today Next on the Endangered Species List: Your Hometown Newspaper. Reporter Benjamin Dangl writes of the growing epidemic of newspaper folds.

I Hate Canton was brought up on newspapers. "Our" papers were the Repository, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Wall Street Journal, which we read cover to cover every day. It was a rare morning when I Hate Canton missed Evans and Novak before leaving for school--even in the 6th grade. We even kept a scrapbook of columns that struck our fancy. We took an inordinate interest in the United Arab Republic. Subscribing to the local newspaper was one of the first "adult" things we did when we left home and moved to a different state.

We continue to be an avid newspaper reader and fan. When we travel we obsessively read local newspapers as well as the free USA Today or Washington Post or whatever paper is delivered to our hotel room each morning. If we don't have the time to read it, we bring it back with us. We have a collection of foreign newspapers picked up in our travels we can't bear to part with.

I Hate Canton believes that newspapers define and cement community, which is one of the reasons we are here. The local newspaper is a compendium of history, politics, trivia, gossip, personalities, and arcana. Local newspapers give us a sense of place. Our place.

Dangl captures this feeling in his essay when he talks about his online hometown news reading while he spent several months abroad covering Latin American politics:

As I caught up with news on the state budget and read a column by a local taxi driver, I realized that the paper had become like so many friends I ran into upon coming back to Burlington - something that helped define my place in the world. Like the parks of the city, the taste of a local beer and the contours of the mountains across the lake, this local newspaper was a part of the landscape.

We agree. This is why local newspapers are so important.

1 comment:

John E said...

Like IHC, I have collected newspapers from all over. They are a digest of the local people and what makes them tick. Although I have never left North America the different societal norms around our own country and Canada are partially bridged by the local paper. It would be wrong to let them go without a fight.