November 17, 2008

Don't let the paper disappear

Two letters to the editor from former members of The Tattoo:
To the editor:

I'm sad to hear about the tenuous future of The Bristol Press.
For nostalgic reasons, I don't want the paper to disappear. I was first published in this letters to the editor section in 1993, when I was a 7th grader arguing for equality for girl basketball players. I cut my teeth as a teenage writer for The Tattoo, and today I am a reporter for the third largest daily newspaper in North Carolina.

For professional reasons, I am worried for my friends and fellow journalists, reporters Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins. They taught me how to be a writer and a reporter. And although I have met Pulitzer prize-winners, journalism school deans and folks from swankier publications, Jackie and Steve are still the best damned journalists I know.

As a Bristol native, I am disgusted to think what will become of the city without Jackie and Steve watching the gate.

I don't want my nieces and nephews to attend school in a city where there are no reporters to hold the school board accountable. I hate to think what kind of shenanigans Bristol's elected leaders might get into while no one is looking. Who will call them out when there is no Bristol Press? No one.

Here's also an opportunity for people who say they take pride in Bristol: Dig change out of the couch cushions and buy a paper. When you use a coupon inside, tell the business you patronize that you read about them in the Press. And if you've got deep pockets, its time to really invest in your hometown. Buy the newspaper, and turn it back into a point of community pride. Do what the Journal Register Company never could.


Amanda Lehmert

city reporter
(Greensboro, NC) News & Record
BCHS '99 graduate
To the editor:
Reading about the financial troubles at the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald this morning shouldn't have effected me so deeply. Many American industries are foundering right now and newspapers more than most. But to me, it was personal.
I moved to Bristol in 1996. As a freshman at Bristol Eastern High School I found a community that supported the growth of its young people through sports, art and music – and a newspaper that helped me grow every bit as much. As part of The Tattoo, the paper's student news page, I learned journalism from veteran reporters Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins. They volunteered their time teach me the skills that would make me an award winning professional journalist and changed the lives of scores of other teenagers. But they also taught me, by example, why journalism matters.
Papers like the Press are priceless tools for building and maintaining a community. They inform their readers about their government, giving them the tools to effectively govern themselves. They shine light on dark places, exposing injustices. They throw a spotlight on the things of which we should feel proud. And they bring us together – announcing marriages, births and deaths and telling the stories of our lives.
When a community lets its lone newspaper fail, it is failing itself. In the past the Press thrived as a locally-owned community newspaper. Those who care about the future of Bristol should now invest in the paper, reclaiming it and restoring it to what it once was. The city owes itself that much. People who can't figure out how to make money with a city's only newspaper should frankly get out of the money making business – and people who think Bristol is not a lesser city without its paper are kidding themselves.

Joe Killian
Greensboro, N.C.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


there's still hope said...

Here's some hope, Steve.

In case you missed Mr. Murdoch's prediction, here's a link to it.

Anonymous said...

Eloquently put.