Ted Nesi of WPRI-TV (Channel 12) in Providence reports some good news from Rhode Island on the local news front. In his weekly “Nesi’s Notes” column (item 10), he writes that the seven local newspapers and other properties that comprise the East Bay Media Group are thriving, and that The Valley Breeze in northern Rhode Island is also doing well. East Bay publisher Matt Hayes tells Nesi that his properties now have 145,000 weekly readers, while Breeze publisher James Quinn says he’s now distributing 50,000 copies each week and is expanding.

The East Bay papers are paid and the Breeze is free, a sign that different types of for-profit business models can work. As Nesi observers, this comes at a time when even relatively healthy national papers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are cutting their newsrooms.

It may be too soon to declare a trend, but with even Gannett in hiring mode after years of devastating cuts, it could be that people are rediscovering the importance of local news.

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