Reporter Jackie Majerus wrote this story:
Local non-profits would suffer if The Bristol Press weren't around to publish news about their programs, activities and fundraisers, representatives of some of the organizations said.
Thomas Morrow, executive director of the Bristol Community Organization, said he hopes something can be done to stop the planned closing of the Press.
"The elimination of a daily local paper would be a devastating loss to the community," said Morrow. "Many people, including myself, are kept abreast of the local news by reading the Press. We learn what local government is doing, when boards and committees are meeting, not to mention births, deaths, and marriages. All this vital, timely information would be lost with the closing of the paper."
But Morrow said his own position as director of a human service agency in town gives him a "unique perspective" about the importance of the newspaper and a "vested interest" in its survival.
"The Press helps us publicize social issues and trends that are affecting the community at large," said Morrow. "It also helps us by announcing our fund raisers and programs that we are running."
BCO isn't the only non-profit agency served by the Press. The paper regularly covers activities of the city's homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries.
"We've had The Bristol Press forever," said Marge Rivera, caseworker at The Salvation Army.
To see it close, Rivera said, "would be terrible."
Without the newspaper, said Rivera, getting the word out to the public about programs, activities and fundraisers will be a problem.
"People read the paper," said Rivera. "If we didn't have that, how would people get their information? It's so important."
In addition to news about business and government, the newspaper also carries stories and announcements about the local churches, the Bristol Garden Club and conservation organizations such as the Pequabuck River Watershed Association, the Hoppers-Birge Committee and the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut.
The city's museums and music, arts and cultural organizations also get their share of space in the pages of the Press.
ESPN Vice President Mike Soltys said the newspaper welcomed ESPN with an editorial when the company set up shop in Bristol in 1979 and has kept citizens informed of ESPN's continued growth ever since.
"The Bristol Press has played an important role in the fabric of this community for so many years," said Soltys.
But Soltys said an even more important role the Press plays is keeping people informed about civic and charitable developments in the city.
"Without them, we will have a hole in the equation," said Soltys. He said ESPN has been closely involved in the planning, creation and operation of the Imagine Nation Museum in downtown Bristol.
"The Press was uniquely able to shine a spotlight on the stories and covered every angle of it," said Soltys. "The coverage sparked local interest that was essential in making the children's museum the valuable asset it is today for downtown Bristol and the surrounding community."
The Journal Register Co., the Yardley, Penn.-based newspaper chain that owns the Press, has said it will close the Bristol paper and a dozen others it owns in Connecticut, including The Herald, a New Britain daily, if they aren't sold by January 12.
About 100 people work at the papers. The company also owns papers in New Haven, Torrington, Middletown and many other communities in Connecticut and other states.
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