Monday, December 15, 2008

More bad news

Might as well put some poetry to it, like Dan Barry did in yesterday's "This Land" column about a fading Connecticut newspaper. There's something cosmic in that detail about the crossword puzzle-- a little message for us, maybe.

Yes, this is another story about a newspaper in jeopardy, one that may well prompt dismissive responses about Paleolithic business models and pointless mourning over throwaway sheets of paper and ink. In other words: Get over it, hack, your day is done.

And it is true that even among the newsprint faithful, few weep for the Journal Register Company, brought down as much by its own bad business decisions as by declining advertising revenues. Often derided as a profit-mad, quality-journalism-be-damned company, it would begrudge the electrical cost of those holiday lights now faintly brightening the Bristol Press newsroom.

But if this is the future, at least let us pause to appreciate what a small, imperfect daily newspaper means to this small, imperfect city, where the clocks and watches of America were once made, where General Motors once produced its ball bearings, where ESPN is based, and where springs — yes, unheralded yet essential customized springs — are produced.

Let us pause long enough to notice that copy of The Bristol Press sitting on the sleek gray counter of the Applewood diner, its crossword puzzle half-complete, its clue for 20 across, five letters — “positive thinking” — unanswered.

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