Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Britain should have a local newspaper.

Yesterday, New Britain and Bristol legislators sent a joint letter to the state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, Joan McDonald asking for her assistance in finding a way to keep the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press from closing down.
Representative-Elect Chris Wright of Bristol added his voice to these efforts.

The founders of our country considered having a free press as essential to democracy.  I think we need to keep that tradition and maintain that value to keep democracy alive and well.

Naturally, the Internet is changing the way people get their news, and I do not think anyone really knows what news media will look like in the future as a result.  So far, the Internet has expanded participation in the democratic process.  People are taking a direct role in getting news and creating it.  Most newspapers have online editions, now, and it may well be that paper editions of newspapers will disappear completely.  But people are also taking a direct role in news, as with blogs and social networking sites.

But I also know that there are many things that a community loses when it is not home to its own daily newspaper.  A daily newspaper is a central community forum, a place for local businesses to advertise and where major events in ordinary people's lives are recorded (like in marriage announcements and obituaries).

If New Britain loses the Herald, I am concerned that we may have nothing to fully replace the role it has played in our community for so long.

Here are some news stories on our efforts: