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March 18, 2009, 7:07 a.m.

Owens: “The imperative of localism”

For the past several years I’ve had a nagging suspicion that it would be the small community newspapers that would survive the bloodbath that is consuming our major metros, because they never lost focus of what we’ve recently taken to calling hyperlocalism. Howard Owens, late of Gatehouse, now of The Batavian, does an excellent job of attaching a why to that notion in an epic post that focuses first on what’s been lost at the metros:

Once people could no longer pick up the local gazette and find out who was visiting from California and when Helen Carter was going to sell her famous peach pies, the papers became less relevant to their lives.

Without that relevancy, society and democracy suffered. People became not only less informed, but less involved in their communities.

Consider that 57 percent of Americans say that if their local newspaper went away, both online and in print, they wouldn’t miss it and it wouldn’t hurt the civic life of their towns…

There is a nexus, I believe, between readership declines and less engaged communities that cannot be blamed entirely on the rise of radio and television nor on changes in urban-to-suburban lifestyles.

I recommend reading the whole post at Owens’ blog.

POSTED     March 18, 2009, 7:07 a.m.
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