To the editor:

I was born and raised in Madison. I’ve worked as a daily newspaper editor for several decades and I was sorry, but not surprised, to see publisher Curt Jacobs decide to reduce the days of print publication of the Courier. All of us in this business know how the declines in readership and advertising support, increased expenses, and the competition for readers’ attention from so many sources on the internet, have made survival of print newspapers a challenge.

But with the support of print and online readers and advertisers – and I mean money paid for subscriptions and ads, not just kind words – the Courier and other local newspapers might continue to get the revenue they need to keep covering the news.

If a community newspaper can keep publishing – whether that’s a combination of print and online coverage or only online – communities served by that newspaper will benefit. If a local reporter isn’t there to cover the city council, report on the state of education in local schools, and profile the athletes who were key to last week’s games, how will residents know what’s going on, other than through the rumor mills of Facebook or other social media?

Whether you appreciate your local newspaper or deride it for mediocre coverage, poor writing or boring editorials — or all of the above — imagine the vacuum if that newspaper disappeared.

Local news, features and sports matter to people. Knowing about your community, about what your friends and neighbors – and your city or town officials – are up to helps keep people informed about daily life, how your taxes are spent, your children are taught and how the police do their jobs.

Will a newspaper in Louisville or Indianapolis devote coverage every day to Madison or Hanover? In many places, the larger, metro newspapers have faced even steeper cuts in circulation and advertising revenue in the last decade than small, local daily newspapers. “Big-city” dailies might be there for the big story – the Madison Regatta, or when the Klan comes to town – but not the day-to-day events that also matter in people’s lives.

A daily newspaper in a small city like Madison is very rare today, not to mention one that’s locally owned. And if you have a complaint or suggestion, or want to drop off a news item or photo from an important family occasion, I’d wager to say you can walk into the Courier office and actually talk to a person, maybe even the editor or publisher.

Accurate, timely local news matters. Words of encouragement are fine, but paid subscriptions and advertising are what really count.



Richard K. Lodge

Newburyport, Massachusetts