November 24, 2008

Rell, Blumenthal agree on need to save the Press

Reporters Jackie Majerus and Adam Benson wrote this:

Two of Connecticut’s top elected officials, Gov. Jodi Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, said they don’t want to see local newspapers close and promised to take part in a bipartisan effort to save them.

That's something that we'd be more than willing to explore,” said Rell, a Republican.

I’d be happy to take part,” said Blumenthal, the state’s top-ranking Democrat.

Rell and Blumenthal spoke in favor of local papers after hearing about the possible closing of The Bristol Press, The Herald in New Britain and 11 weekly papers in the state. Together, they employ about 100 people, mostly in Bristol and New Britain.

All the papers are owned by the Journal Register Co., a Yardley, Penn.-based chain that is struggling financially. The company said this month that if the papers aren’t sold by January 12, they will be closed.

Rell said she was “so saddened” by the news that the papers are in danger and that employees are facing the loss of their jobs.

This is the worst financial turmoil I have ever seen, not only in our state but in our nation,” said Rell. “I've never seen it so dour and people are feeling it.”

But despite “some very difficult economic times,” Rell said, it is “very important” that local papers stay intact.

For Blumenthal, local papers help him learn what’s happening in towns across the state.

That kind of closing would be a huge loss to me and learning about what’s happening in this community,” said Blumenthal.

Blumenthal said newspapers have a critical role.

It’s really the oxygen of democracy. People take it for granted,” the attorney general said, until it’s gone and they can’t breathe.

Local papers provide vital news, said Blumenthal, about what is going on in the community, from zoning meetings to city council actions, as well as things like firehouse fundraisers, Parent Teacher Organization activities and school sports.

In addition, they provide a record of births, marriages and deaths.

The newspaper is an information lifeline,” said Blumenthal. “It provides really an essential service.”

There’s something about having that paper and being able to sit there with your cup of coffee or your tea and read through and find out not only the news but the real feel for a community,” said Rell.

Any time you lose a news service, that's a service to the public,” said Rell, who said the closing of the newspapers would be “a real loss to the communities.”


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

9 comments:

Forever Amber said...

Here we go, another bailout!

Anonymous said...

Ummm... Here we go again, Forever Amber, another moronic comment based on nothing but your stupid bias.
Nowhere did the story say anyone was planning to bail out anyone or anything.

Anonymous said...

"Two of Connecticut’s top elected officials, Gov. Jodi Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, said they don’t want to see local newspapers close and promised to take part in a bipartisan effort to save them."

This is meaninless political rhetoric. Read the statement carefully. They don't mention the Press specifically. They say "local newspapers". "A bi partisan effort to save them" meaning to save ALL local newspapers? I would love to see this legislation. Would it mean tax breaks for the publishers? How about subscription subsidies for low income readers? Maybe they will volunteer to sling a delivery bag over their shoulders to defray the cost of circulation.

Steve Collins said...

10:14 - They were addressing the Press, Herald and the 11 weeklies when they each talked about a bipartisan effort to save the papers.
Their comments about newspapers generally were, of course, broader. Were they meaningless rhetoric? We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Are the local legislators putting together a plan to present to the Governor?

Anonymous said...

There is no need to save the Press or any other newspaper. Why is the Step saver doing fine? Cant the Press do the same thing? Once a week is fine and have the rest of the daily news on-line.

Anonymous said...

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Thomas Jefferson, 1787

Anonymous said...

Without government there would soon be no newspapers.

Steve Collins said...

True, but is there a government worth having without newspapers?