what happens when a newspaper dies

Last week it happened again, another newspaper died. The venerable “Oakland Tribune” is gone.

“The most visible casualty of the cost-cutting move is the Oakland Tribune, a daily that has been published since 1874. The most recent circulation figures we could find listed its daily circulation at nearly 93,000 in 2009. It has been the only daily newspaper in Oakland since 1950. The Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for photography in 1950 and 1989. The other major daily title to be closed is the Contra Costa Times, which was founded in 1947. It has a daily circulation of 168,000.” Read more here. [NOTE: The owner of the Oakland Tribune, MediaNews Group is also the owner of the York Dispatch, York Daily Record, Hanover Evening Sun and Lebanon Daily News.]

The newspaper market landscape is littered with carcasses; the communities their reporters wrote about now get precious little information. One reader/commenter to this article,  “the newsonomics of loss,” laments, “I see the results of lack of news coverage every day in my rural village.  Nobody holds the school board accountable for failure to follow the open meetings law. Nobody says ‘here are the qualifications of the people running for supervisor.’ Nobody explains the items in the meeting agenda in terms that the locally elected officials can understand. Nobody sees what’s happening on Main Street from the perspective of someone who doesn’t walk it every day. Nobody celebrates the hundreds of people making life better as they go quietly about their business. We’re all the poorer whenever a newspaper closes.”

Who loses?

Who are the losers when communities no longer have community newspapers. Let’s say it this way. The winners are those who revel in operating with no scrutiny; those who relish the absence of transparency so they can ply their spurious, underhanded, slimy chicanery. The losers are everyone else!

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