Since 2004 the U.S. has lost 2,100 newspapers, of which 2,000 were weeklies, closing at a rate of two per week. Many of the survivors have had to cut their staff and circulation. More than 200 of the 3,143 counties in the country have no local newspaper, with no reporters telling their stories and keeping an eye on the issues most critical to their local democracy and quality of life. There are no advertisers to offer their goods and services for sale, there is no newspaper of record, printing all the legal and tax notices, and there is no repository of community knowledge — births, deaths, op-eds, columns and letters to the editor.
Although for the most part, it has been written, we have taken our historic newspaper, The Freeman’s Journal, for granted as it has appeared in our Village every week since its founding in 1808, we need to step back for a moment and consider not only its remarkable achievements but also its critical challenges. On the accomplishment side, the Journal, to its overwhelming credit, has remained all its years under local ownership, free of hedge-fund and newspaper chain takeovers. It keeps the rules and boundaries of the local politicians and businesses and social media in check, preventing the spread of misinformation, rumors, fraud and corruption, and the onset of community indifference. It also publishes local reports on the activities of schools, school boards, sports, businesses and the various Village and Town boards and committees, as well as the proceedings of the police, real estate, social and cultural events — the connective tissue of the community. It often puts into local context national issues — politics, pandemics, climate change, opioids, international crises and the like, and its advertising connects local businesses with local consumers. Archival shorts, humorous clips and timely reminiscences regularly appear as well. In short, The Freeman’s Journal drives the economy and progress of the Village of Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego and their surroundings, and it reassures the community that its people, and its towns, matter. It is a repository of unbiased and true documents that reveal, and archive, the story of our county. That’s pretty good; not every municipality can boast of this.
But, were The Freeman’s Journal to fall onto the lost-newspaper list, all of this would come to an end. There would be no local news to share with the community, nor any local questions, challenges, issues and opinions. Current and upcoming events, cultural, political, sporting and newsworthy, would not be made available to the Village residents.
Connections would dissolve; archival information would cease to exist.
Today, The Freeman’s Journal needs your help. The paper is willing to hire, but to date no one has stepped forward. We are looking for an editor and several reporters to fulfill our mission to provide you, our readers, with the necessary tools to make good decisions and move forward with confidence. The editor would be in charge of commissioning articles and preparing them for publication. The reporters would be responsible for any current news and sports stories. Prior experience is preferred but not essential. There is a position in the advertising department as well. These positions are interesting, challenging and deeply rewarding. Please reply to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-547-6103.
Don’t let The Freeman’s Journal disappear and leave you less connected with your community and less informed.