On the cover of today's issue, the Amherst Daily News has announced that as of Friday, August 2, it will change its name to the Amherst News and become a weekly newspaper.
"Over our 120-year history, we have transformed and reinvented ourselves to remain relevant in the ever-changing media landscape," says the To the Readers letter signed by both the editor and publisher. "Our brand is moving with the times. As the audience is shifting more and more online....it's the best way to serve our clients and readers, and to secure out title's long-term future."
Small communities need their newspapers; even weekly is enough to keep the sense of community and connection that is vital to rural areas. Attending the gala evening for the Atlantic Community Newspaper Awards this past May made it very clear that community newspapers are not only necessary but thriving. The reporters and photographers at these community newspapers are dedicated and hard-working and a very enthusiastic crowd of storytellers.
I am proud to work for a weekly newspaper, proud to write about the people who live and work and flourish here in Cumberland County, many having done so for generations. I am also proud that the family who has owned this paper for 115 years made the right decision regarding the Internet: our paper is available online only by subscription. My boss once said that if he had put The Oxford Journal online for free, it would have been the end of the paper.
What remains to be seen with the Amherst paper's move to publishing weekly is if it will drop its national news and editorials (available from the Internet or from the provincial paper) to focus entirely, and rightly, on local news.