This may seem like an off-handed compliment but I have definitely been impressed lately with the Daily News.
Some important local issues have been reported and the paper is actually helping to lead the charge in relaying the city’s historic importance (and relevance). They reported on the solar panels contemplated for the Common Pasture. They reported the Mass Historic letter about the Ale House. I was shocked it was even mentioned let alone a fine article on it. Then, they have reminded readers of the purpose of Yankee Homecoming and even posted Historical Commission notices. Rallied for Coast Guard Day when even the Yankee Homecoming Committee has basically ignored it. And even today, reminded Newburyporters the raison d’etre of the giant parade tomorrow is not to split the eardrums with sirens or to clog our streets; but to support the ever necessary work of the Jimmy Fund.
Just lately I might add.
Perhaps the “star chamber” editorial staff was laid off; or they’re on vacation, or perhaps they have finally realized that the majority of Newburyporters are carpetbaggers who have no idea what is really going on in the city and now understand an informed citizen is better for our community.
Either way, I’m not getting my hopes up too high.
For years, the attitude at our paper of record has been to hide from view the soiled underbelly of the city. This tack has come from the old-timers (natives, political insiders, townies and dark siders) who have been running the city for a long time. They don’t want the newcomers to find out how the city is actually run – they don’t want them to know the personalities and how they conduct business, or what they are “up to”. When Tom Ryan and his Undertoad revealed their “doings”; they hated him, dogged his steps and even sued him.
Lord Timothy Dexter called the wise, “The Knowing Ones” but in this context, this group is, “the ones in the know who don’t want you to know”.
And for many who use Newburyport as a bedroom town; many have been satisfied with that arrangement. And many who come picturing our city as some kind of New England Disneyland; it would probably be upsetting to find out the community is filled with less-than-perfect people. (I’m being kind here)
So the paper for decades aside from police blotters and press releases simply doesn’t inform. This has been fine except that after awhile many simply stopped getting the paper frustrated in not getting what they needed. Cruel labels such as Daily Snooze have often been bandied about for years.
And this condition of the Paper of Record has been going on for a long time. But two things have been happening. The vast majority of Newburyporters are now newcomers and the Internet is putting tremendous pressure on newspapers across the world making their survival tenuous. The Daily News has not been impervious and has already suffered their run of layoffs.
Try approaching the typical man or woman on Market Square (during off tourist season) and ask them about national, state and world politics – you’ll get a barrage of thoughts on many topics. Ask them about local issues and most will look at you with blank stares.
This may make the ever-shrinking group of old-timers happy but it’s disastrous for our city as most of the former are no longer in power and it has been doubly disastrous for the Daily News as their readership continues to shrink.
But it need not be!
I do what I can as an individual on my blog and website; but the Daily News has resources and a staff that can actually report on many fronts that simply can’t be found anywhere else – not in the Globe, the Herald or even in the Merrimack Valley papers.
By actually informing the community, they will find themselves indispensable and worth the money spent on advertisements and subscriptions.
Let’s hope this recent trend continues!