The importance of local newspapers

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To the Editor;
Recent feature articles in the Bangor Daily News have spotlighted how “local journalism is dying in plain sight” across the country, and “as newspapers close, [the] role of government watchdog disappears.” One rural bank board chairman was quoted as saying, “Losing a newspaper is like losing the heartbeat of a town.” The appearance of these articles coincided with a recent, local Community Conversation hosted by the Education and Outreach Committee of the Piscataquis County Democrats on “The Importance of the Free Press in a Democracy.” We were pleased to have current journalist Stuart Hedstrom of the Observer and former journalist Tom Lizotte as guests to add to our discussion.

We are fortunate to still have a local newspaper in the Piscataquis Observer. Cities and towns across the U.S. have lost 1,400 newspapers in the last 15 years, and the Observer, like all other Maine papers, has been subject to staff reductions, but at least we still have a source for coverage of board meetings, local events, sports events, etc. I may not agree with the opinions stated on the editorial pages, but opinion is different from the news. As a result of these recent articles and conversations, I feel that I need to support my local newspaper with a weekly purchase or subscription. I urge you to do the same.

Eric Boothroyd

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