Every community should have a local, daily newspaper.
Some big city dwellers might think that nothing ever happens in a town of less than 1,000 people – and sure, maybe there aren’t any big music festivals making a stop in that town and the Olympics will never be hosted there – – – but what happens in these towns is life. The news stories and local items of interest that directly impact that town’s residents, be that a town of 800, or 8-million, and everything in between. It’s just as important to small towns as it is to big cities because regardless of what area it’s representing what that newspaper is providing is information.
New Orleans, with its population of roughly 350,000, might not seem all that significant next to giants like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles but it is still among the top 50 largest cities in the United States. Even so, the importance of any community should not be based on numbers alone, people around the world know about New Orleans and for more than just Mardi Gras. For the residents of the New Orleans area the 175 year old, Pulitzer Prize winning Times-Picayune is an enormous part of life in the Crescent City.
The May 24, 2012 announcement that the Times-Picayune would cease daily publication in the fall of 2012 and go to only printing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays has stunned residents of New Orleans. Just the idea of the city of New Orleans not having a daily newspaper is not only tragic but it’s a slap in the face to both the size and significance of this great city.
On non-print days news will be available on the paper’s website but that isn’t good enough, far too many residents of New Orleans do not have access to the internet.
Maybe I’m growing old-fashioned as I get older; maybe I’m too idealistic about how American institutions should not be ruled alone by how much money can be made.
So many of my personal memories include a newspaper. Hearing one of my family members ask another, “Did you see that article in the paper?” Watching my grandfather looking down through his reading glasses as he made his way through each page, every day. And searching through it myself for projects at school or when my favorite sports team was playing, let alone for the major events in the world – tragic and celebratory.
The countless times I’ve seen someone lay down their paper on the bus, park bench, or on the counter of a diner and then witnessed someone else quickly snatch it up and begin to devour its words. Maybe that act doesn’t matter to newspaper owners and publishers because someone is reading their paper for free – but it is important to have this source of information that one can slip into their briefcase, backpack, or pocket and take with them where ever they go; it’s important to the idea of what a newspaper is and provides us with in America.
Click here to help Save The Picayune on Facebook, and here on Twitter as well.