November 19, 2008

'One of the biggest tragedies in this country'

Don't miss the story in today's Waterbury Republican American about the possible closure of The Bristol Press in January. Here's one telling section:
Adam Benson, one of two reporters working Tuesday in a newsroom with several empty desks, said it has been a depressing week.
"People are going to have no idea what it's going to mean to them to not have a newspaper," Benson said.
Bill Taupier has seen what it means. He was mayor of Holyoke, Mass., from 1967 to 1975, then town manager in Lowell, Mass., for four years after that. Taupier, now a businessman, can recall a time when five reporters from different papers would pepper him daily with questions, and the stories they wrote could spark hundreds of calls from concerned citizens in a day.
The last of Holyoke's daily papers, the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram, folded in 1993.
"Holyoke went down the drain after they lost the newspaper," Taupier said, adding the city itself wound up on the verge of bankruptcy.
Loss of the local paper dissipates civic pride and the connections that make a community, Taupier said. "Secondly, the citizenry becomes much more uninformed. It gives the politicians a chance to do what they want. You can't become smart watching a half-hour television program every night."
As for the Bristol Press' impending fate, "It's a tragedy," Taupier said. "It's going to be one of the biggest tragedies in this country when we lose our daily local newspaper."

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

He should know. Lowell is over-run by Puerto Ricans just like Bristol is becoming.

Anonymous said...

8:12 - you pessimistic fool, why don't you drag your butt outta here - fool.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Waterbury paper cover Bristol???

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo........

Anonymous said...

Steve, we hope the paper comes through this. You deserve a lot of credit for putting up with the idiots who post on your blog and say so many mean, spiteful, angry things.
My family knows that you are a caring and thoughtful man even though we have only met you once. You probably deserve much better than anything Bristol can offer but at the very least it would be nice if the people who read what you write on this blog you do would stop being so awful to you.
Where will they mouth off if you leave?

Pat Steele said...

People on this blog are never going to stop being awful because they can do what is the nature of human beings...be cowards and hide behind anonymity.
Most of these people spend so much time polishing their public image and community credentials that they don't spend enough time watching out for their children, who inevitably turn to drugs or crime and then find themselves in the newspaper.
Then mommy and daddy get outraged when they hear about it at the Elks Club meeting and so their natural reaction is to shoot the messenger rather than look inward.
Or they are brainwashed by the extreme right into thinking a small community publication like the Press is part of the dreaded "MSM" that needs to be plowed under because it doesn't quote Bible passages on a daily basis.
There are a lot of people in this community who don't deserve to get their trash taken out, nevermind having a newspaper.
But I'm glad that people like Steve are here to fight for them and the paper. It just shows the value of having principled, passionate people among all the haters.

Anonymous said...

The Republican-American covered Bristol for a long time but got out of the area for the same reason as the Courant: editorial layoffs and a perceived lack of ad revenue.
And even if Waterbury's people decide to cover Bristol again if the Press leaves, you can bet it would be in the form of a one-person bureau or only casually through stringers or part-timers.
Don't expect them to fill the daily void that would be left with the Press' closure.

Anonymous said...

More whining. I wonder how Collins feels every time a manufacturer relocates to a Right to Work state in the south?

Anonymous said...

I bet Steve doesn't like the jobs exodus any more than anyone else when a manufacturer leaves Connecticut. He lives here, after all, is raising a family and paying taxes.
But a factory closing, while devastating and very sad, isn't the same as a newspaper closing. When a newspaper shuts down, the community loses its voice.
A newspaper isn't an interchangeable commodity like shoes or screws or wire or widgets. It's a forum for public expression, a check on the powers that be, a place where people can learn what is happening in their town. It is a business unlike any other.
If you merely view the problems at the Press as though they concern only the current owner or the current staff, you're missing the point.

Anonymous said...

Not a tragedy...