American newspapers are struggling for a variety of reasons. This article by Gary Sanders of Iowa City is spot on for anyone who lives in a town with an endangered local newspaper. To find and subscribe to a local paper near you, here is a directory of Iowa newspapers at the Iowa Newspaper Association
Reprinted with permission from the author Gary Sanders, avid newspaper reader and longtime Iowa City activist.
I’m sending this out to a lot of people, some of whom I don’t usually send emails to. But today’s [Iowa City] Press-Citizen has four exceptionally good articles by four local journalists, and I feel compelled to do this. Many of you, when I tell you I am a paid subscriber to the print Press-Citizen, scoff and say the PC isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Well, I’d like you to read at least one of the four articles I’m about to mention and tell me what you think:
1) Council unsure over 15-story towers by Zachary Oren Smith, p.1…..This is coming up for a vote at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and this article helped me understand the pros and cons.
2) “I still do not know when I am leaving.” Former University Heights mayor still on cruise turned away from East Asia ports, by Hillary Ojeda, p.1……. A first person account by a person stuck on a cruise ship because of the coronavirus. This virus is pretty scary, but far away. The local angle made it more real to me.
3) ICCSD looks into options to prevent violence; Social media-monitoring companies considered, by Aimee Breaux, p.1…… I subbed in the district for many, many years. Obviously, things are way different than when I started. Do we really need to hire a “social media-monitoring company?” I don’t have the answer, but I am distrustful of the concept of “social media-monitoring.”
4) Remembering Lasansky’s devotion to art, by Isaac Hamlet, p.4. Story about Phil Lasansky, who recently died, and his family. I met Phil about 40 years ago in Democratic Party politics. We talked briefly over the years when we bumped into each other downtown. I am not very knowledgeable about art, but I am faintly aware of the Lasansky family and I really liked this article.
After reading those four articles I thought today was a really good day for the Press-Citizen. And yes, I remember when the PC was a lot more pages. And yes, I remember when they could cover an event in the evening and it would be in the next day’s paper. But this is still a good newspaper. And I say that as a paid subscriber to the [Cedar Rapids] Gazette and the Daily Iowan, both of which are excellent papers. (I email their reporters and editors regularly telling them what a good job I think they are doing).
I’m asking you to think about subscribing to the Press-Citizen, either print or on-line. It’s $22/month delivered to my porch by 6:30 AM. (I have no idea what an on-line subscription would cost).
I don’t want us to turn into a city like Ann Arbor, which has a population of about 140,000 and no local newspaper. I lived there in the 1970’s, and I cannot believe that the Ann Arbor News is gone. But it is. People there have to depend on the University of Michigan’s paper, the Michigan Daily, for their local news. And I’m pretty sure that the Michigan Daily, which is an excellent newspaper, only publishes when U-M is in session.
Now I’ll get off my soapbox, and everyone can go back to their smart phones or I-pads or aerodoodles….. I’d appreciate any feedback, pro or con, by email or phone.
Gary Sanders 319/337-7739