A landmark in the decline of local newspapers, as reported in a local newspaper with real quotes that merely read like satire.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/09/business/all-villagesoup-publicati...

Disclosure: Richard Anderson was a fellow winner of the Knight News Challenge (for rather a great deal more money).

This article caught my particular attention because i had met the owner in the context of his project to open source Village Soup's "successful community news software, combining professional journalism, blogs, citizen journalism, online advertising and 'reverse publishing' from online to print."

The broader goal: “Turning independent weekly newspaper companies and entrepreneurs into an imposing, lively, worldwide creative energy that is competitive with media company chains.”

So yes, i was interested in how this mix of idealistic goals and usual profit motive would play out (not that that was necessarily the question answered by it folding).

But the scary thing is that in the article about this by a surviving, well-established newspaper there are parts that are hard to tell from an Onion article.

“I’m shocked and saddened,” said Rockland Mayor Brian Harden. “I loved my Courier, whether it was to read the obituaries or to see who had been arrested."

That... that's all a newspaper for a small community is good for?

Belfast Mayor Walter Ash Jr. said he also was saddened by the news, particularly since the Journal had been such a part of Belfast.

“It hasn’t been the same paper the last two to three years,” Ash said. “A lot of people I talked to had not been buying it anymore. It’s been a long time since I bought one.”

The mayor doesn't read the local paper?

We have something more than a business model problem here, my friends and fellow countrypeople.

***

If i pass an accident on Route 6 on Cape Cod, how is it that i don't know how to get information on it? Twenty-four hours later, "Cape Cod Route 6 eastbound accident Saturday March 10 2012" does not find me it in online search (though it does find me other accidents from that day). In the most basic, conservative, radical, provincial, or expansive definition of what local news should bring us, surely "did anyone die in that thing i just saw?" is on the list of questions it should answer. And decades into the Internet revolution, in relatively media-rich Massachusetts, our local news system doesn't even work for that.

It is so past time for us to build a media and communications network that belongs to all of us and meets our needs.