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Hometown News

by Linda Jenkinson

Rachel Maddow often reports on the importance of local newspapers. In Winona, we are fortunate to have The Winona Post. Lots of people call it “the Shopper”, but it is a hometown newspaper that keeps its finger on the pulse of Winona and it is delivered to every home in Winona for free, all revenue coming from advertisements purchased by local advertisers.

This article from The Atlantic explains what happens to local newspapers when they are acquired by regional publishers.

“... stories are the connective tissue of a community; they introduce people to their neighbors, and they encourage readers to listen to and empathize with one another.”

“... we know what happens when a community loses its newspaper. People tend to participate less often in municipal elections, and those elections are less competitive. Corruption goes unchecked, and costs sometimes go up for town governments.”

This article breaks my heart.  Like so many things, you never know what you have until you have lost it. Though the article is about The Hawk-Eye, an Iowa newspaper, it mirrors what has happened to many local newspapers country-wide.

Although these losses are local, they spread across the U.S. like a literacy pandemic, one which can be seen in our town’s daily paper, which is printed by media giant Gannet, but in sheets neither big enough nor literate enough to line our bird cage.