Personally, I don’t think the community could handle it. Especially when the latter is an investigative newspaper. If our local paper of record exposed the true happenings of this community on a daily basis, I think the citizens would have heart failure. I can tell just from the tiny part that I have let leaked out – I feel an almost collective hand going up screaming, “Too much information.”
So much better to fill the paper with art and music, schools and city council meetings, birds and festivals; and all things lite and syrupy. You say they report ‘news’? There is news based on press releases – how about some investigating? How about all the news instead of getting it spooned out a little at a time?
If our paper functioned like other fourth estates in the country, local politics would be radically shifted. In the present state, everyone is allowed to visualize our little community as they imagine it, reality be damned.
When it comes to really what is going on, I even sense this aversion in the blogosphere.
In the old days (which wasn’t so long ago); those who wanted the news kept hidden, would threaten quietly, either with physical harm or by reputation. On the national level, they call that destructive politics but it never really went to that public of a level in Newburyport. (Of course, Bossy just used a fist!) Since everyone knew each other, it was usually sufficient to do veiled threats or try to silence them with some level of extortion or quietly find some dirt to embarrass them.
Many years ago, there was an elaborate map of a proposed development out in the Common Pasture – it hung on the wall just inside by the little back conference room at the Planning Office. Back in those days, no one had a convenient cellphone camera to take a picture. A local CEBer noticed and wanted to see it a few days later, and everyone in the office denied it ever existed. At another time long ago, a proposed development plan was made up and when a citizen demanded to see it, they were told they had to pay a goodly amount of money for a copy.
Normally, there would be loud denials all around on inquiries with many departments in City Hall with the basic attitude mirroring the movie that came out a few years ago, “Catch Me If You Can”.
Fortunately, in today’s City, vested parties just avoid anyone snooping around.
As one reporter noted, eventually any rabble-rouser is no longer spoken to forcing their sources to dry up. (Rabble-rousers such as The Undertoad, The Current [the old one not today’s Current] and the Newburyport Liberator)
All the better to keep the community in a clueless dream state.
PS. How else would a city council at-large candidate claim that everyone is taking care of their historic homes when gutting, plasticizing, renovating and demolition is occurring across the community weekly! None of that is in the paper or mentioned in the paper – therefore it isn’t happening!