This one hurts. Gannett today announced that it is shutting down The Middleboro Gazette, and it did so with an insulting message that included every cliché you can imagine short of “in order to serve you better.” The company’s message suggests that it will not cut back on coverage, which will be available online at The Standard-Times website. I hope they’re right. We’ll see.
I grew up in Middleborough. (People spell it both ways, but “-borough” is correct, damn it.) I remember touring the weekly’s offices, which included its own hot-lead press, when I was in elementary school. Later, I wrote a column of high school news for the Gazette.
Here’s part of Gannett’s announcement:
This business decision reaffirms The Middleboro Gazette and Middleboro Gazette Extra’s commitment to the sustainable future of local news. The Middleboro Gazette, the Middleboro Gazette Extra and their parent company, Gannett, understand many readers value and depend upon the news and information they find weekly in their print products. The company’s focus on digital news presentation helps ensure continued delivery of valuable community journalism and effective platforms for advertisers.
Over the summer Gannett closed about a half-dozen weeklies in the Greater Boston area. I had hoped they were done. Not to repeat myself, but if the chain is truly committed to transitioning to digital while providing the same amount of local news coverage, then I think that’s fine. The company has done nothing to earn anyone’s trust, though. That will have to be earned.