The National Newspaper Association recently sent out their monthly PubAux paper with the usual industry news of how community papers rock and how they must be preserved to ensure that relevant information gets to readers. What caught my eye was the story that more than 220 Minnesota newspapers printed nearly or completely blank front pages in August as part of the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 150th anniversary celebration.
This concerted effort by all those papers probably caught the attention of the Minnesota readership as well. The blank pages were to symbolize what people would be missing if they did not have their community newspaper covering their towns. In Minnesota, the association petitioned Gov. Mark Dayton to proclaim Aug. 13-19 Minnesota Newspaper Week, the same week the participating newspapers printed their papers with blank front pages. Most ran their flags with a big, bold statements, such as: “Without you there is no newspaper,” “Imagine there’s no newspaper …” and “What if … there was no local newspaper?”
In Alaska, we go through a news upheaval of our own. ADN went bankrupt, was “rescued” and now continues with a dramatically reduced staff. Again, we wish them well and hope for their survival. But can you imagine a week with a blank front page of the Nome Nugget?
Or, worse yet, no Nome Nugget? —D.H.—