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  • Mary McNeil

The continued threat to local newspapers

See the attached article on the death of weeklies in Boston’s suburbs. One town of 89,000 will no have no local news coverage—no more reporting on high school sports, running of editorials or coverage of city council meetings. In short, no one will be paying attention to holding public officials accountable.



This crisis stands in stark contrast to what I describe in Century’s Witness about a time when regional and local newspapers not only had an effect on community politics, but on national and international decision-making. In 1968, Wallace Carroll, then the editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, published an editorial calling for the end to the Vietnam War “Quo Vadis,” which was run on local newspaper front pages across the country and influenced Lyndon Johnson to begin pulling back from the conflict. “In a day when some of our national foundations are being shaken,” writes one commentator in the book, “Carroll showed that to disagree, to argue, to reason and have free expression to those who can respond with authority is not a restrictive opportunity. Worthy thought can still come from the small home fronts of the nation, and it can find its place.”



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