Just a quarter-century ago, local news junkies could get their fix by walking out to the porch and grabbing the daily paper … and the other daily paper. And maybe even two or three more. In addition to the stolid San Diego Union and sassy Evening Tribune, publishers produced daily papers in Escondido, Oceanside, El Cajon and Vista. The most obsessed readers could also gobble up the news in the local edition of the L.A. Times or pore over business stories in the Daily Transcript.
Then these papers began to blink out like stars at sunrise amid mergers and liquidation, ultimately shrinking to just a single daily. But amid all the bemoaning of journalism’s decline, another kind of print publication — the community newspaper — continues to survive and maybe even thrive.
Yes, local community newspapers have suffered. In general, they’ve shrunk in size and in staff, they’ve abandoned the subscriber model in favor of free distribution and they don’t come out as often as they once did. But two years after The San Diego Union-Tribune snapped up eight of them in one fell swoop, community newspapers that serve neighborhoods, cities or towns continue to avoid the grim fate of their daily counterparts. No big names have gone under here, and there’s even competition in upscale areas like La Jolla and Encinitas.
Working Harder but Still Afloat
“Certainly it’s not the heyday we used to enjoy, and we’re all working harder to be where we used to be. But community papers have weathered the storm with the recession much better than the dailies,” said David Mannis, publisher of six community papers like Uptown News and Gay San Diego.
Indeed, community papers haven’t suffered as much as dailies from the utter collapse of classified advertising in the era of Craigslist, and the Internet hasn’t battered them as much.
One key to staying afloat: They go local, often really local, without shame or apology. This means covering things like the open house at the little local airport (the Ramona Sentinel is on it), the National City mayor’s turkey giveaway on Thanksgiving (South Bay’s Star-News was in attendance) and the doings of San Diego’s Del Cerro Action Council (according to the Mission Times Courier, someone needs to take over taking care of Del Cerro Boulevard’s American flags).
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I would like to see the government outlaw the throwing of any advertising, newspaper, etc. onto my property unless I subscribe. They are littering pure and simple. If I threw a Three Musketeers wrapper onto someone's property, I would be littering. So what is the difference??? If someone wants to distribute flyers, newspapers, political ads, etc, let them pay the United States Post Office. And yes the San Diego Union is the worst and complaining to them has done no good.
And what about those plastic baggies with rocks and a flyer in 'em?! At least an unwanted newspaper is easy to recycle.
Fact is, there's no law against throwing all this s*it on our driveways. And there oughta be.