I read an enlightening article about a small town in Iowa whose newspaper had died, after being purchased by a news conglomerate. I never realized how large a role our local newspaper plays in a community. I believe we take for granted the skills and effort required by people who collect, investigate, edit and print a local paper.

Think about the consequences of the loss of our local newspaper. The recording and the history of the goings on in your town would no longer exist. Without a local newspaper we would know very little, good or bad, regarding the activities of our law enforcement, fire department, township boards, school board, and charitable and church group activities. Small local businesses would lose a vehicle for attracting new clientele. Students from the local schools wouldn’t receive the recognition they deserve for excelling in their studies and sports. Without the “letters to the editor” page people would not be able to express and sometimes impress others with their understanding and interpretation of current events. We’re all going to make the newspaper someday—the obituary page. The obituary summarizes the lives of those productive people, who have passed from this community. It’s their last chapter. That needs to be recorded somewhere. My preparation for making the back page is underway. I purchased an urn and headstone, selected the music for the service and hired two guys to say something nice about me.

Without a local newspaper there is no community history going forward. They said the citizens of Burlington, Iowa seemed to drift apart after losing their newspaper.

The article “When local newspapers die” was adapted from a story that appeared in the Atlantic monthly. The sentence in the article that most stuck in my mind was this: “As local news crumbles, so does our tether to one another.”

—Tom Janicki,