Marjorie Arons-Barron remembers the heyday of journalism in Newton on the news that Gannett is cutting back the Newton Tab to basically nothing.
The Flanders family reads Newsweek instead of nothing.
It's been nothing since about 1996.
Long live the Newton Graphic!
I think the TAB was pretty good at least through the turn of the century, maybe a few years beyond. But yeah, the downward spiral has been excruciating, and sad.
Had the opportunity to do a couple of freelance stories for The Graphic back in the early '90s. I think by then it was The TAB's biggest competitor; don't remember a lot about it, but I do recall liking the fact there was another perspective.
Needham Times no longer in circulation as of this week.
Chronicle on Thursdays, Tab on Fridays. GateHouse kept both going for a few years, but eventually the Tab disappeared (after being converted to a broadsheet).
Is directly connected to the rise of the Internet. Classified ads were the lifeblood of every newspaper -- and those have been supplanted by Craigslist, Ebay, and Zillow (as well as other sites/apps). Businesses which might have bought display ads now direct their dollars to Google and Facebook, which can target their customers more effectively. No ad money meant that newspapers had to try other revenue sources like paywalls on their websites, but those don't bring in enough money to cover salaries for local journalists.
But it's not as if people have no sources for local news and info -- there are sites like this one, as well as Facebook groups, Patch, NextDoor. etc.
Even Boston is now down to about 1.1 daily newspapers.
...but it seems problematic comparing newspapers (as we knew them) with Facebook groups or other social media entities, because with the latter you can't always be sure how much oversight -- if any -- there is as regards vetting news and information that's posted. Sure, maybe someone in a Facebook group puts up a "story" that turns out to be erroneous, fabricated, etc., and the group administrator deletes it, but not always, or at least not soon enough. Not to suggest that the old-school newspapers were infallible that way, but generally you had the sense there were gatekeepers who adhered to accepted tenets of journalistic accuracy.
Brookline Tab is also reducing print publication and behind a paywall. The Newton Tab seemed to have more stories in it compared to the Brookline Tab.
The loss of local journalism is worrisome. How else will people be able to monitor the issues that are happening in their community (real estate development, trends in the local economy, traffic, performance of local government officials and schools etc.)
There are online options such as the Patch and local sites such as Village 14 in Newton- hope they can step up where conventional newspapers have left the scene. Perhaps more non-profit online offerings can come up- maybe give high school journalists a forum for covering local events?
You can go to YouTube and probably watch every single city meeting in Newton for the past three years yourself. You don’t need to wait for the tab to come out to find out what happened and what people’s opinions are.
Then there is obviously social media channels where people can simply comment on issues and tag the actual local politicians and they can respond there. You don’t need a reporter to ask questions anymore.
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