Crystal ball

That’s what the residence of Birmingham, Michigan said when Gannett announced it would close the community’s 3,000-circulation newspaper. The Detroit News did a really nice story on what transpired. In short, the town rallied behind the newspaper, promised to help prop up subscriptions, and as a result, the newspaper didn’t close.

Folks, this is the future. Newspaper companies, burdened with debt and shrinking profits,  are going to close newspapers or shrink the days of the week they publish. But if a community can show some love, that newspaper could very well survive.

There’s some good and bad to that. The good: the newspaper continues to write about issues important to their customers.  Journalists — and not just bloggers — can dig and anlyze. The bad: does this mean newspaper publishers and editors now are indebted to a community that’s keeping it afloat? Could newspapers be pressured to suppress news if supporters deemed it unbecoming?

I worry about the bad. I can see someone barging into a newspaper office, demanding an unflattering  story not be published, and reminding everyone in earshot that they — and their legion of buddies — could cancel their subscriptions and possibly help push that newspaper to extinction.

But I also have faith that most in any community understand what a newspaper does — it reports the news without bias and lets its customers make up their minds. That should outweigh anything else.

The opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone.


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