Have you heard that the New York Daily News has slashed its editorial staff by 50 percent? What does this news have to do with us here in the South and Dunwoody in particular? In a nutshell, it speaks to the demise of truly local news.
Think about it. If the city of New York can’t support its local paper, what does that mean for smaller cities like ours who have much-loved community papers? Unfortunately, it may be a harbinger of similar happenings. NPR sees it as a problem in holding local governments accountable:
“The move now to gut the Daily News’ newsroom will be a blow to local watchdog journalism in the nation’s largest city. It has retained a punch in local news at a time when The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have retreated from metro coverage.”
Where else do we get in-depth reporting on Dunwoody Council meetings, debates on the architectural standards for the city, information on when, why, where we’ll see road improvements? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has its hands full reporting on Atlanta, Fulton County, and Georgia state government news, not to mention the national news. It can’t possibly report the Dunwoody news that’s important to all of us.
Where else can you find high school sports coverage? The AJC sports section is devoted to the Falcons, the Braves, the Hawks and national and international sports. We in Dunwoody want that coverage, but we also want local sports news.
If you don’t ride by All Saints Catholic Church and happen to see the sign, you can still learn that Bingo is available monthly along with Italian food for dinner. Without dropping by the Dunwoody Library, you can still find out the dates of the Library sale. How? By seeing the All Saints and the Friends of the Dunwoody Library ads in the Crier.
Do you want to enjoy a play without driving downtown? Check The Crier for reviews and news about our outstanding local theater, Stage Door Players. Do you want to know when and where the local VFW meets? Read “Upcoming” to find that and other events around town at Brook Run Park, Pernoshal Park, and the Dunwoody Nature Center. Want to know what’s up with Food Truck Thursdays? Check the Crier. In so many ways, the Crier gives us our sense of community.
When I began writing for The Crier seven years ago, I described it as my lifeline to the city, and I still feel that way. It’s in the pages of The Crier that I find firewood and landscapers. It’s in those same pages that I discover new local restaurants and shops. All of this is available weekly for free in our driveways and tucked into stands around our city.
Unfortunately, publishing the newspaper is not free. The lifeblood of free papers is advertising revenue. Without local businesses supporting our paper with print ads, we run the risk that it will go the way of so many other local news outlets, or to put it bluntly, the way of the Dodo bird.
A local paper thrives when three constituencies work together:
• The newspaper provides the news that keeps the community connected, the news we want.
• Local businesses regularly advertise in the paper.
• We readers support these businesses and let them know we saw their ads.
Imagine, if you can, Dunwoody without its hometown paper. Not a pretty sight, is it? Consider this my plea for all of us—the paper, readers, and businesses—to do our bit to keep the Dunwoody Crier alive and well. As the Chicago Sun Times says, “…there’s no substitute for local news, and … [we need] ways of covering your neighborhood, your towns and your cities.” Hear! Hear!
Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum, and on Amazon. Contact her at email@example.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.