Final column for August 31

(Disclaimer: This column is not directed toward nor targets any specific newspaper. It is a reflection of today’s community product. To our knowledge, Minden’s print publication continues to publish and has no plans to close its doors.)

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors today. 

No more fresh ink off the press. No more picking up the paper at the end of the driveway as the morning quickly approaches. No more sitting at the dining room table, drinking a fresh cup of coffee as you learn of recent happenings.  

The nonexistence of a daily paper delivered straight to the citizen, may lift a weight off the local news source. They will no longer have to be burdened by staff cuts, loss of advertising or low circulation numbers. But who else will be lightened by its demise? 

Local government officials will no longer be held accountable for their actions. Parents of little leaguers will no longer feel the pressure of cutting out and putting away news of every big play. Newspaper lobbyists will no longer have a reason to fight.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors last week.  

An editor in chief cleaned out his desk. A news reporter put the finishing touches on her last story. A photographer turned in her camera. An advertising executive informed her clients. A paperboy clocked out for the last time.  

Across town a young man opens his laptop and scrounges for the latest events of the town. He finds nothing referring to the local news except for one article. A farewell from the local newspaper.  

A month later, he sees the need.  

Local governments are more corrupt than ever. Parents of little leaguers no longer have news clippings to send and show to relatives. Newspaper lobbyists have moved on to the next hard-hitting issue. 

The young man takes up the responsibility. He now bears the weight of delivering. Delivering news, delivering jobs, delivering opportunities for local businesses. He has replaced the paperboy in more ways than one.  

He hires a small team – a photographer, a reporter and a salesperson – together they carry the weight, and it becomes a little lighter.  

The format may be different. It may be digital, but the news is coming quicker, the photos are in full color and the advertising businesses are seeing returns. 

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors last month. 

The young man and his team have made a name for themselves. The reporter is welcomed into meetings. The photographer snaps photos as little leaguers slide home. The salesperson is making commissions and connections.  

The numbers are up and continuously growing – subscribers, employees and advertisers.  

The editor receives daily tips via email from local citizens wanting to share the good, bad and controversial. The city council is playing by the rules, just knowing one lone reporter now bears the weight of knowing that they are close to the only reason the backroom deals have come to a halt. The photographer has seen her work shared across multiple platforms on the world wide web. 

The local newspaper permanently closed its door last year.  

They no longer carry the weight of the town and all that comes along with it. They are now a part of its ever-growing history. Beyond the front doors of the local paper are nothing but dusty and empty shelves, stacks of old news and an old printing press about to make its way to the museum.  

Beyond those front doors is a visual representation of what it looks like when the times change too quickly. A time before everything could be found by the click of a mouse. A time where daily news meetings were held, and interviews were conducted. A time before it was out with the old and in with the new. A time before a newspaper was just an archive you could find in the library.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors ten years ago.  

School aged children take field trips to the local museum to get a glance at an old printing press. There will be no hearing the press gear up for the day. No witnessing the ink hit the paper. No feeling of warmth as you clutch a fresh paper to your chest. Knowing the opportunity to be a paper boy will never exist for them. 

Everything is digital. Locals now go online and search their favorite platforms to receive the daily news. But it’s not just daily now – it is hourly. The newest generation has become accustomed to getting what they need the very minute that they need it.  

No more waiting for the paper in the morning to hit your front lawn. No more waiting for their daily subscription to hit their email. They want their news like a live feed across the ironically also now extinct Twitter. It no longer matters if it is accurate if it tells them what they want to hear. If it doesn’t, then it is on to the next news source and then the next and then the next.  

The local newspaper permanently closed its doors.  

They no longer carry the weight – the burden. The news is ever changing just like its source. For those too stubborn to accept change, too naive to see what is happening right before their eyes and too far behind the times to ever catch up, let this be a reminder of how easily and quickly you could become the latest dinosaur. They now carry the weight of knowing it is either to be the latest and greatest or die.

(Copyright: Pending. Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)