Newspaper Downsizing May Not Mean Loss Of Community Coverage

August 14, 2013

The latest downsizing by the Gannett Corporation earlier this month included 29 people being fired by The Arizona Republic. Several of those laid off were specifically involved as editors of the newspaper’s community opinion pages. So when an issue specific to Mesa, Scottsdale or Surprise is building in intensity, does that mean it will be more difficult for readers in those cities to gather more information or hear opposing perspectives?

Richard deUriarte was with The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette for nearly 30 years as a reporter, editorial writer and reader advocate. He was also the driving force and head recruiter of many community columnists for The Republic's “plugged in” component.

For decades, newspapers have been a point of community connection, but when large publications like The Arizona Republic cut back on that coverage and the opinions that go with them, where else do residents go? Are there other options perhaps smaller ones?

Gloria Freeland, director of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media at Kansas State University, talked about that issue. The center is involved in the newspapers and community-building symposium which will be part of the National Newspaper Association’s annual meeting next month in Phoenix.