I learned about the Oct. 12 closing of the Journal Tribune, York County’s daily newspaper for 135 years, in an email. That fact speaks volumes about the state of print journalism in our digital age. Throw in the constant abasement of the mainstream media by our president and the far right as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people,” and you have a perfect storm of economic and cultural peril for community journalism specifically, and mainstream journalism generally.

Apart from having one less local news source (I live in Kennebunkport), the demise of the Tribune is a personal loss to me. When I was in the nonprofit communication business, the Tribune was a valuable resource to my university and community mental health clients. When I worked for the University of New England I hired the paper’s news editor, who became one of my most valued staff members and a close personal friend. The Sample News Group, which owned the newspaper until 2018, gave me my first reporting job at another small newspaper the family company owned in Pennsylvania.

This loss and the national climate for journalism deeply sadden me. Like many college students who took up journalism in the 1970s, I was inspired by Woodward and Bernstein, whose dogged reporting brought down a corrupt president. I predict history will come full circle, and today’s persistent and courageous journalists will ultimately be responsible for a similar outcome. Today’s unsung heroes will be the inspiration for tomorrow’s young, idealistic journalists.

Steven Price

Kennebunkport

 

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