Thursday, July 09, 2009

Small daily in the Connecticut Valley calls it quits

UPDATE, July 10: Hill explained his decision in a 109-word note. Here is a Rutland Herald story on the closing, by Susan Smallheer. See another update below.

"The Eagle Times newspaper in Claremont, N.H., is filing for bankruptcy and shutting down," The Associated Press reports, in the only story on the paper's Web site about the closing. "Publisher Harvey Hill sent an e-mail to staffers Thursday saying Friday's edition of the paper will be its last," AP reports. "He told employees he did his best to keep the daily paper going, but the economy and changes in the newspaper industry have made it impossible to survive." The paper has a circulation of 7,800. Its two affiliated weeklies are also closing. (Encarta map)

One of the subscribers, freelance journalist and former New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor, says in an e-mail to The Rural Blog that the paper has had very few ads on some recent days, "but it tried its best with a solid local report" on Sullivan County and towns on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River. "The area is classic Rust Belt, still reeling a quarter of a century after its once-thriving machine tool industries got wiped out by Japanese competition. I wrote sports for the paper when I was in high school, and some of its alumni include Nelson Bryant, longtime Wood, Field & Stream columnist for The New York Times; Mel Wax, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle back in the '60s; and Art Silverman, now a senior producer with NPR. Sad day."

UPDATE, July 14: The closing came as a big surprise for Claremont, which "just completed one of the most ambitious mill redevelopment projects in New Hampshire history," correspondent Kristen Senz reports for the New Hampshire Sunday News, the Sunday edition of the Union Leader in Manchester. "City Manager Guy Santagate led the efforts to bring more than $25 million in private investment into a community that many had viewed as forgotten and depressed. With that project complete and economic momentum building, Santagate said, it's devastating not to have a local paper to document what happens next." He told Senz, "We try to promote the city, and we try to communicate with the residents here and let them know what our strategies are. It's really very difficult to promote a city without newspaper involvement."

Senz adds some business details: "Eagle Publications, the Eagle Times' parent company, filed for bankruptcy on Friday and terminated 66 full-time and 29 part-time employees. The company was one of the largest employers in Sullivan County and also published the Weekly Flea, a popular classified listing; the Connecticut Valley Spectator, a Lebanon-based weekly newspaper founded in 2002; and The Message, which covered Ludlow, Vt." (Read more)

1 comment:

Howard Owens said...

If Mr. Taylor or anybody else from that community would like advice/help in starting a news web site modeled after The Batavian, they should contact me.