What’s Not in My Mailbox
Yesterday was Thursday, April 2 and because so many things have changed it is tempting to push aside what seems not so important. Like what’s not arriving in my mailbox.
Every Thursday our local newspaper, The Glenview Lantern, would arrive. It was filled with stories big and small about our town, just like the many Chicago suburbs north and south that were covered by 22nd Century Media. But this week, the company announced it was suspending operations. No more Lantern, no more local news.
Of course, this is not the life-or-death crisis that we are all facing together. This is not nearly as critical is the jobs of frontline health care providers and first responders. But something has been lost and we should all take note.
What we will miss are the young journalists covering Glenview with enthusiasm. Retired writers from the Tribune keeping their hand in the game. Small stories of kindness getting proper exposure. High school sports stars sharing a moment in the spotlight. Local government getting the coverage that keeps everyone honest.
The financial problems facing news organizations were present long before COVID-19 showed its deadly face. But the virus did its job on 22nd Century Media. The small businesses that are the lifeblood of local newspapers stopped advertising. The numbers just didn’t add up. The company calls it a “suspension” of operations. We can hope, but the forecast looks grim.
There are other sources of local news. But the once-proud Pioneer Press chain is now a shadow of itself under the Tribune Publishing umbrella. Online news aggregators do provide some information. However, there is no replacement for having eyes and ears on the ground looking for stories. That’s what we’ve lost when 22nd Century Media pulled the plug.
Right now, the focus must be on staying safe and saving lives. Later, on the other side of this pandemic, we need to focus on how we keep local news alive with subscriptions, advertising and hopefully a new appreciation for what we’ve lost.