Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amish paper obeys its readers, limits online news

The oldest and largest Amish newspaper in the U.S. has decided not to put more news online because readers "feared their plainspoken dispatches would become fodder for entertainment in the 'English,' or non-Amish, world," Meghan Barr reports for The Associated Press. "My gosh, they spoke in volume," Publisher Keith Rathbun, right, told Barr. (AP photo by Kiichiro Sato)

The paper's Web site says, "Online you will find highlights of our weekly Local Edition coverage. Out of respect for our 116-year relationship with our Amish and Mennonite writers, readers and friends, the National Edition remains available only in its printed format." Each edition has a circulation of about 10,000. "The national edition — and the source of its faithful following — is a patchwork of dispatches from scribes, which include both fresh-faced teenagers and bearded old men," Barr writes. "The news isn't always upbeat. They'll write about the child whose arm got caught in a threshing machine, and the family that was killed in a buggy accident. When a gunman shot and killed five Amish girls in Nickel Mines, Pa., in 2006, the scribes detailed the aftermath."

The paper is owned by "a local, non-Amish family who own a chain of dry goods stores that cater to the Amish," and has a non-Amish staff, but "is the dominant means of communication among the Amish, a Christian denomination with about 227,000 members nationwide who shun cars for horse-drawn buggies and avoid hooking up to the electrical grid," Barr reports. "The Budget is published in Sugarcreek, an eastern Ohio town of dairy farmers and bricklayers at the heart of the nation's largest Amish settlement." (Encarta map) The paper says it is the "most popular and widely read local weekly newspaper" in Holmes County and parts of three adjoining counties. For the full story, click here.

1 comment:

Old Scout said...

This decision is what makes our culture so enviable. Your family is a credit to the memories of John Stuart Mill, Will Rogers, Mark Twain, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin.

Applicability of the philosophy supporting your decision is a lesson for both sides of the Medical Care/Insurance debate.

Thanks for the reminder.