It was either ironic or perverse – perhaps both – that yesterday we first learned of the demise of 28 newspapers through an online post.
While one colleague rightly noted that the affected titles weren’t routinely top of our distribution list for client media releases, most of these newspapers have over many, many years played vital role in their communities.
Two that I’ve have been familiar with are the sister papers, the Hastings Mail and Napier Mail, delivered free to homes in their circulation areas. I’d always seen them as a link to families unlikely to subscribe to the local daily, Hawke’s Bay Today. When changes affecting workers in local businesses were being announced, these papers were always near the top of the distribution list.
The likely end of newspapers such as these does not come as a surprise, as progressively they’ve wanted for investment and resources.
While the communities served by the farming titles to be closed may well find alternative sources of the same news through their social media networks, I doubt the same will be true for the many urbanites who are not yet as social media literate.
The closure of these newspapers may be inevitable, but it does not make it any less sad. In a world where accurate and truthful information is becoming a scarcer commodity, the loss of such sources of local news and information should be mourned.