To be honest, I had sort of forgotten about the News in the past couple of years. Their distribution didn’t seem to reach downtown (where I work) because it focused on the North End and Black Rock. They ceased mailing to home subscribers years ago, and never made much of a push online.
I was more charmed by the News than informed by it, possibly because it reminded me of the first newspaper I worked for, the Sentinel-Ledger of Ocean City, N.J. — a terrific first job and place to cut one’s teeth. Like the Sentinel, community briefs (events at churches, city hall, cultural institutions…) were its bread and butter. A columnist there used to pack in readers’ birthdays and always sign off with “GOD BLESS AMERICA!” I loved that.
It’s a tough time for print media, especially community-level journalism which competes with lean digital publishers like Patch. The town of Fairfield alone still has three print weeklies competing for eyeballs and ad dollars with online news services that don’t have to print and physically distribute issues, cut copy for space, or deal with news stories that shift overnight like the death penalty vote recently did.
The News clearly had an affection for Bridgeport, too. Despite its focus on Black Rock and the North End, the weekly loved nostalgic historic features. Its final A1 lead featured a 1910 photo of the Locomobile Company, which manufactured cars during the city’s industrial heyday. Its top news brief alerted readers to a Criminal Justice Fair at Housatonic. Transfer station announces summer hours, announced another brief. At the bottom, a column from Joe Pisani, former Stamford Advocate editor, with some Holy Week advice “for atheists and believers alike.” Angry atheists are picking on God, and the Dalai Lama, too, he complains. “Live and let live,” he advises.
The News went out in fine fashion, true to itself to the very end.