Don’t write the obit just yet

Published 7:18 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

By Staff
Despite the hand-wringing in the media these days, I’m not ready to write the obituary for newspapers just yet.
The Rocky Mountain News, a 50-year-old newspaper with a long tradition of superb journalism, closed its doors last week.
It is an absolutely heart-breaking end to a storied tradition — and to hundreds of jobs for the people who worked there — but the closure was not all that surprising.
Many two-newspaper cities are now one-newspaper cities. Here in Alabama, the Birmingham Post-Herald ceased operations a few years ago, leaving only the Birmingham News.
But what’s interesting about the shuttering of second newspapers in these large cities is that I can look around our own county and see multiple publications that are surviving even in these tough times.
Escambia County is home to four newspapers — our own; the Tri-City Ledger in Flomaton; the Atmore Advance, our sister newpaper; and the Atmore News. We all enjoy a healthy competition with each other — and we all share an enthusiasm for what we do and a fondness for the folks who work at each of our newspapers.
If newspapers are dying, someone forgot to tell all of us.
Like most businesses looking to survive in this economy, we are being forced to make some changes. At The Brewton Standard, that means some changes in our distribution of the newspaper. Although all of our customers continue to receive the newspaper twice a week, some on more rural routes will now receive it in the mail. The cost of delivering the newspaper is simply too high to deliver to all of the areas we would like to reach.
But that doesn’t change the content of our news and sports pages, and that doesn’t change our commitment to covering Brewton, East Brewton and eastern Escambia County.
We are indeed in challenging times. But I can’t imagine life without a newspaper, and that’s not just because I’ve devoted my life to them.
Where do you look to find the specials for local grocery stores? Where do you look to find out what is on sale at your favorite stores? Where do you look to find deals on cars?
Where else would you find photos of local school and sports events, along with stories about the interesting people and places in our community?
Who else would be the watchdog for government?
Newspapers — especially community newspapers — will always be committed to providing those services, in newsprint and on our Web sites.
I believe in newspapers. And if you are reading this, that means you do, too.
And for that, I am more grateful than you can imagine.
Kerry Whipple Bean is the publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at

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