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After a century and a half, our local newspaper ceases publication.

By Curt Anderson
July 16, 2021 1:09 pm
Category: News
(5.0 from 1 vote)
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Since 1876, the city of Ashland Oregon has been served by the Ashland Tidings. Ashland's population is only about 20,000. I doubt there are many newspapers serving towns as small as ours elsewhere in the US. Until recently, it was called the Ashland Daily Tidings. It's name was something of an overstatement. In the nearly 50 years I've live in Ashland, the Tidings has been a six day a week newspaper with no Sunday edition.

There is much lamenting about the demise and struggles of local newspapers. It may be that like town criers before them, local newspapers' time has passed. We stopped our Tiding subscription years ago. As you can imagine, the Tidings was a rather slim newspaper. For its scant amount of news, the Tidings came with reams of advertising inserts.

Unlike its bigger competitors, you didn't get much reporting for your dollar in the Tidings. We have online subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post which in terms of content is a much better value.

I predict that newspapers will go the way of television networks. Most metropolitan areas are served by CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox. The TV networks create most of the content, that is network programming seen everywhere across the country. The local affiliates provide local news coverage a few times during the day. I expect that a relatively small number of online-only daily newspapers (or whatever they will call themselves) will remain but they will provide local coverage via stringers from outlying areas.

I foresee a day when the term newspaper is anachronism, as physical paper is no longer necessary to convey the news. Before the internet, environmentalists decried the amount of tree chopped down to supply the demand for newsprint. If you've ever passed by a paper pulp mill, they are a smelly affair. They won't be missed by many.


Cited and related links:

  1. ashlandtidings.com
  2. en.wikipedia.org


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Comments:

  1. by HatetheSwamp on July 16, 2021 2:13 pm
    A sad sign of our times.


  2. by Curt Anderson on July 16, 2021 4:31 pm
    Craigslist.com was a fatal blow to local newspapers. Newspapers have been languishing ever since. The classified sections were by far the most lucrative pages in any newspaper.

    Incidentally, back in the 1970's I wrote a column for the Tidings. Ostensibly, it was about running and local running events (I worked for Parks & Rec setting up races) but I strayed into other topics and issues with a tangential connection to running.

    Our house happens to be on the National Historic Register, so we did a lot research poring through ancient copies of the Tidings on microfiche. The articles in small town 19th century newspapers were gossipy reports about people traveling to the neighboring town or prosaic reports about people breaking a leg or arm. They didn't hesitate to mix reporting and editorializing. Today there is a website called Nextdoor.com with reader submitted articles that reminds me of that old timey reporting.




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