The biggest newspapers in the country have found ways to survive, but sadly, the daily local paper has become a thing of the past.

This week we featured Donna Donovan on the radio discussing the collapse of newspapers, in particular, the one she ran for more than two decades in Utica - the Observer Dispatch. Donovan became publisher of the Observer Dispatch "the O-D" in 1991, at a time when newspapers were flourishing. In 2014, she stepped away from the industry she loved so much and many have reminded her since, that her retirement came just in-time.

Over the last 10 years, we've watched the collapse of the hometown daily newspaper. Cities far bigger than Utica now have either limited printed, stopped printing all together and went online, or simply closed their doors for good. The OD might as well have closed up shop, they have about a dozen employees and the news is usually regional and outdated by the time it gets delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.

Donna Donovan. YouTube Keeler Live Stream
Donna Donovan. YouTube Keeler Live Stream

While it's true, in the Utica-Rome market The Daily Sentinel (formerly the Rome Sentinel) is working hard to fill the void. Many former OD employees now work at the family-owned newspaper and even Donovan gave them props for what they've accomplished so far. Still, the paper is delivered via the U.S. Mail, and that element of breaking news with a giant headline above-the-fold has become a thing of the past.

As a result, local news is dead. Staffs in radio and television have been slashed leaving a small group of dedicated journalists working extra time without compensation in order to develop a story properly, with facts that can be corroborated and reliable information that is actually examined for accuracy by a real editor with an established policy of standards that allowed the end user to feel comfortable that what they were reading was real and factual.

Watch the interview with Donna Donovan below via the Keeler Live YouTube Stream.

We in radio and television are not immune to these shortcomings. Staffs at TV and Radio stations around the country, including our own, are far smaller than they used to be. However, newspaper has long been the journalistic gold standard. While there are still well-staffed credible newspapers around the country that can be relied upon, the biggest loss has been local news. The formula that has always worked locally, is now being tested and will need to be reinvented. Sadly, in markets the size of Utica-Rome, the loss of a newspaper like the Observer-Dispatch has placed us in a "news dessert" where we're left with press releases and an over abundance of false accusations on social media. It's hard to tell what's real anymore.

In Utica, it will be up to radio, television and a family newspaper that used to just serve the city of Rome to fill that void.

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