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Opinion: A free press, like freedom itself, isn’t free

NORWALK, Conn. – The media landscape is evolving across the country and around the world. How we get our news, and who we get it from, is changing almost daily.

I know. I entered the business when I was 15 years old, back when newspapers were printed on site, using Linotype machines that created type from hot lead. The process was long and labor-intensive and resulted in news of what happened yesterday landing on your doorstep today – often, back then, in the afternoon. All of this was accomplished by large groups of people in big buildings with many layers of editors who insisted on making the information right and filling in all the “holes” in stories before they were sent to press.

Today, newspapers are struggling. Instead of the old New York Times motto – “All the news that’s fit to print” – hard-scrabble newsroom veterans wryly joke about “All the news that fits, we print.” Papers are shrinking, both in size and volume. Reporters and editors are laid off in groups. The Hour, Patch and The Daily Voice have all cut back.

With reduced staffs and fewer pages, stories get shorter. Some stories go untold.

That’s why we made the move to a small, independent news website with a focus on shining the light on Norwalk’s government. Similar sites are gaining traction around the nation as veteran reporters and editors are laid off, their jobs eliminated as big news outlets cut expenses and go for the low-hanging fruit of celebrity news and rewritten (sometimes) press releases.

We believe that Norwalk, and every other municipality, needs to have news outlets that watch the taxpayers’ backs, that hold the city officials accountable for how they spend tax money and how they behave while doing the city’s business.

Our system of government depends of a free press, but a free press, like freedom itself, is not  free. The people who spend every day doing the legwork and bringing you the news need to make a living. Bills must be paid. Living in Fairfield County is not cheap. Having to pay for documents provided through Freedom of Information Act requests is not cheap.

That is why we are asking our readers to consider making a donation to help keep NancyOnNorwalk.com a part of their lives and a part of Norwalk’s media landscape. To be honest, we hate having to ask. We are a small operation, and we are journalists, not ad sales people. In fact, journalists traditionally avoid mixing with advertising so as not to taint their reporting. We have someone starting to approach businesses, but these things take time, so we need your support.

If you think NancyOnNorwalk has value to you and to Norwalk, please consider a donation. After all, your daily print paper has advertising and still makes you pay for the privilege of reading it. At least with us, you don’t have to recycle!

And a big “THANK YOU!” goes out to our readers who have already contributed this month. We appreciate it greatly.

To donate online, click on the button in the donation box on the right side of the home page and follow the prompts. Or you can make a check out to Englewood Edge LLC and send it to Englewood Edge LLC, P.O. Box 64, Norwalk, CT 06856.

 

Comments

2 responses to “Opinion: A free press, like freedom itself, isn’t free”

  1. Piberman

    A subscription price might be the way to go. Long are the days when one could walk into a museum without making a contribution. Even once free CUNY charges tuition. Paying is the “American way”!

  2. Diane C2

    Great stuff, Mark, and some super comments from the other thread.
    All reminds me of a public comment speech I gave a few years back when I said I was there to speak for those who can’t, and some wise ass wanted to know if they were mute or something. No. It’s not that they can’t speak, it’s that they can’t speak- they are afraid, or uninformed, or uneducated, or intimidated, or shy, or repressed, or can’t get a ride there, or don’t feel they are dressed ‘appropriately’, or worried someone will question them, or that someone won’t. Or that there might be a “price” for admission.
    It’s news from Nancy and Mark and this forum that enlightens the uninformed, and validates the “is it just me or is something not right in this city?” working class. It’s news and insight here that gets people thinking, or angry, or laughing, or questioning, or yes, involved. It’s information here that may prompt someone to attend their very first council or committee or zoning meeting at city hall. And it’s the reporting and happy banter here that may make someone speak up – which is great. Because we are all wanting to hear them. Thanks for bringing us their voices, Mark and Nancy.

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