|Adapted Google map highlights towns involved. Click to enlarge.|
Without the Journal, elected officials felt no one was watching them, and “A lot of poor decision-making occurred because there was nobody to help sort through” anonymous allegations on social media and blogs, Reagen told Blinder. “There was no one to sort out the truth from the fiction, there was no one to hold people accountable for what they were saying. . . . That is one of the important roles of a newspaper at any level . . . to be sort of the arbiter of fact, the voice of reason, the community rallying point.”
Reagen rounded up businesses who pledged to advertise in the Journal, said Tom Grazer, Johnson Newspapers’ managing editor for St. Lawrence County. “That was a key component,” he said. People in Canton “saw what was going on in Ogdensburg” and did likewise. “Both newspapers have done well.” The company also piublishes the twice-weekly Courier Observer, which serves the towns of Massena (pop. 12,883) and Potsdam (14,901), more distant from Watertown. St. Lawrence County has 32 towns (in New York almost all places are in a town or a city) and about 110,000 people, and is the state's largest county geographically, at 2,821 square miles.
Laura Pearson, executive director of the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce, told Blinder that businesses were willing to support the paper because “They understand the value of promoting locally” and “the Journal takes care of everybody. . . . To lose the Journal really hurt the city a lot.” Now, she said, “Our community understands how important the Ogdensburg Journal is to us.”