The New News
People have been asking me what I think of the new tabloid version of The Springfield Republican that has been coming out on Saturday and Monday for the past few weeks. In three words: I like it.
Or at least I like it better than the alternative. For months it had been rumored that The Republican would follow the example of its northern competitor the Hampshire Gazette and discontinue their Saturday edition. Some feared the Monday edition might fall as well. Happily, the new format allows the paper to continue to be a daily for at least a while longer, and they should be praised for their commitment to remaining a daily for as long as possible.
Of course the tabloid editions are smaller than the broadsheet ones, but not dramatically so. The national news is mostly missing, but people can get that lots of places. Instead they are finally focusing on what they do best, which is providing the local news that most other news sources are not likely to cover. As Jeff Jarvis has advised, "Do what you do best and link to the rest." I have hundreds of sources for information about Obama's speech in Egypt, but if the Mayor of Springfield gives a major address there are only a handful of places to turn to find out about it. The Springfield Newspapers are well equipped to be that source, but its too bad its taken them so long to realize it.
Yet better late than never. It is only a matter of time until all seven days are published in this tabloid style, and so far they are off to a good start. In fact I notice more people reading the papers in the new format then I did with the old. In a way it's a shame that most of the national news is gone, in part because historically the Springfield Newspapers were once famous for the unusually good national and even international coverage they had for a paper their size. But that's all over now, and it is encouraging to see them embracing a new format that will give them a better chance to survive.
But what do you do when your paper finally fails? Here's one unemployed journalist who is making money singing in the New York subway and blogging about it.
I’ve been a journalist for 25 years. And on Monday I’ll have been an unemployed journalist for one year.
I’ve been freelancing a bit, and doing some editorial consulting, but I haven’t had what used to be considered a ‘real’ job for a while. And I’m coming to the conclusion, like the increasing number of folks in a similar boat, that I’ll probably never work in a traditional newsroom again. Or perhaps even for a traditional news organization.
But you know what? That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
To follow his adventures click here.
On the streets of Northampton the usual everyday circus was in town.
Nearby Food Not Bombs was giving it away for free.
This morning I was admiring the flowers by the bus stop.
I couldn't help but notice this bright orange flower standing out amidst its otherwise barren environment.
Even in hostile surroundings and against all odds, the flower still managed to blossom and express its beauty. There's a lesson in life there if you look at it right.
I took the bus down to the Paper City. Soon I was in beautiful Veteran's Park - the shuck and jive capitol of Holyoke.
I needed to go to the Social Security Office but I didn't know where it was. I decided to head over to the post office, since being a federal building they might very well know. Entering the Holyoke Post Office is like tumbling through a time tunnel into the 1930's.
The Social Securtiy Office is not located in that building, but I discovered there that it is located on High Street. On my way I admired the beautiful old buildings still standing on that famous street.
However, I still couldn't locate the Social Security Office. Therefore I decided to inquire at Holyoke City Hall.
To do so meant sneaking past the doorway leading to the meeting place of one of Holyoke's most dangerous gangs.
At the Election Office I asked the whereabouts of the SS office, and they rattled off directions with a formality that made me realize it was a question they had been asked many times before. They were good directions and I had no problem finding the office, which is located right next to the Holyoke office of The Republican.
Once inside they gave me a number and told me to sit down and wait my turn. My number was 32. They were currently on number 24.
So it was hurry up and wait, but who expects to do otherwise at a government office? I stared out the window at the city below.
Quicker than I expected my number came up and I completed my business in less than five minutes. Then I was back on the street, and Holyoke I love you, but I must say good-bye and catch the northbound bus.
Later at UMass I had lunch at the Blue Wall, which was packed with patrons wall to walls of blue. So much goes on at the University in the summer now that you might consider it a year-round institution.