Right on, Mr. Cowgill! The decline of local newspapers is indeed a threat to democracy. Although I can see where you are coming from, I cannot bring myself to support the WSJ, for the simple reason that I would be supporting the Murdoch family enterprise.

When I was a lad we recieved the Hartford Courant and the Waterbury Republican every morning and the Winsted Evening Citizen every afternoon. The secret to the then success of the Evening Citizen (under the editorship of Ted Vail, who most people in town referred to as T. V.) seemed to be the section called “City News Notes “ which were brief snippets of local gossip about boy/girl scout events, anniversaries, college acceptances, notes that sons and daughters were returning home from another successful year at school, or a list of all the guests at someone’s Fourth Grade birthday party.

There were many people in town (including some of the Evening Citizen’s corporators) who, when the Winsted paper merged with the Torrington Register, predicted the eventual demise of the merged newspaper. History would seem to bear that out.

In its new weekly format, the Register Citizen has become a ghost newspaper, seeming to print stories from almost anywhere except Winsted or Torrington. Ralph Nader’s recent effort to revive the “Citizen “ brand may have been a valiant gesture, but…

The Hartford Courant has become a mere shadow of its former self. And the Waterbury Republican-American, well, I thought it was right-wing when I was in high school, oh, how little I knew.

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I must say that I am impresseed, daring to paraphrase Winston Churchill. I hope this will not cause you you run afoul of the Internationl Churchill Society, or the Churchill Project, ala Ron Disantis:)

We are fortunate in our town, we have the Patch, a town specific newspapper, a weekly lifestyle newspaper, and a (I think moonthly) magazine. The problem that I see is that local news outlets are part of much biggger organizations (as you mention in your artcle). Getting in old man mode, when I was growing up, we use to know the journalist writing the articles in the local news. Pretty soon, the articles written in local news papers will be generated by AI.

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Agreed, and dismayed.

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You are 100% correct to call the dire state of this country's newspapers a threat to democracy. Even when a rich owner purchases a newspaper today, it's not necessarily good news. The very recent sale of The Baltimore Sun to David D. Smith, executive chairman of the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, comes to mind:

"Mr. Smith’s purchase has already raised alarm among many inside and outside the newsroom, who fear he will impose his political interests on the organization as a final coda to a once proud newspaper that has been facing a long decline."


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