To The Editor:
Those of your readers who take The New York Times will have been dismayed to read the 12-page supplement under the above heading in the August 4 issue about the national demise of the local newspaper. This includes both daily and weekly editions.
– Over the last 15 years, about 2,100 local newspapers – or roughly a quarter of all local newsrooms – have either merged with a competitor or ceased printing.
– About 6,800 local newspapers continue to operate across the country, but many are shells of their former selves with pared down staffs and coverage areas.
– About half of the remaining local papers are in small and rural communities and the vast majority distribute fewer than 15,000 copies of each edition.
– Print readers are disappearing even faster than print newspapers. Since 2004, total circulation of dailies and weeklies has declined to about 70 million from 122 million.
– Digital startups are trying to pick up the torch, but most of those websites are based in major metro areas. Between 1,300 and 1,400 communities that had newspapers in 2004 now have no local news coverage at all.
We should be very proud and grateful that The Valley Reporter, which has served the Mad River Valley since 1971, continues to enjoy such widespread news coverage and readership. Long may it continue and beyond as its diamond jubilee (50 years) approaches in 2021. Let's have a party!
Keith M. Taylor