By George Capsis
You read in the diminishing number of newspapers about the death of these publications, even community newspapers like The Village Voice, which died after 62 years in business.
Okay, as the Publisher of WestView, which is now in its 15th year, I wonder if we can keep this up. But maybe the more important question is: Do our readers really want us to? I mean, I would like everybody to mail in a subscription form. If they can’t afford the 12 bucks, they can have it for free. Just say, “No, no, George, I like it. Don’t give up.”
The enemy is the iPhone and the explosion of real news, fake news, and sheer nonsense. But that is all very real, right in your hand every waking hour. Still, you have to subscribe, or, God forbid, go to a stand and buy a real newspaper. The Times has gone from three cents to $2.50 a copy (forget it).
But wait, Queens City Councilman Rory Lancman wants to pass legislation that will help keep community newspapers alive. He spoke publicly with our Councilman, now Speaker, Corey Johnson, in favor of doing that. (Ouch, I missed the meeting.)
I sent an email to Michelle Rae, the head of the New York Press Association, to see if she could glean some ideas from the gang, but she did not seem to have any at press time. So, we are back to my simple idea.
The City of New York should pay to place full-page ads to alert and offer both sides of suggested or pending legislation, and it should do more. It should, like the Times does on occasion, provide expert opinions that small, independent newspapers can’t manage.
We have the very articulate residents of 13th Street meeting and honing collective rage at the city plan to eliminate a parking lane on 13th Street while 14th Street experiences two years of construction.
Let’s face it. More and more people are simply not looking at a newspaper any longer, and certainly not a community paper, all while electronic devices are become increasingly interactive. Very soon, our iPhones will turn themselves on in the morning to tell us the news they have detected, that we are interested in, and that’s it. For the very few years that we can still manage to turn out a Benjamin Franklin-type newspaper, we will do so, but you have to let us know you want it.