Saturday, January 18, 2014

Whittling away at life


The announcement it our local newspaper on Friday last that come March the publication would change from a 5 day plus Sunday publication to become a 2 day (Tuesday/Thursday) plus Sunday publication..  Of course they portrayed the change in a positive light, saying better, more in depth coverage etc., etc..  But the fact is that for the amount of news, a three days a week paper is more cost efficient way to disseminate what little local news there is.



Small towns in rural America are dying a slow agonizing death; at least in the northeast and mid-west.  Our youth are migrating from the bucolic but economically destitute areas of their birth to the more thriving metropolitan vistas with better employment and cultural opportunities.



As more and more of the amenities of the city and town of my growing up days fall by the wayside I’m reminded of some of the patients we’d care for in surgery.  They consisted, usually, of diabetic smokers suffering from end stage renal disease.  Their peripheral vascular systems were shutting down and their feet, being at the far end of the circulation highway, began to suffer a slow death from gangrene and they ended up in the OR having first one toe amputated and then, on subsequent return visits to the operating room suite, would have more toes, then half a foot, until a mid calf amputation was necessary.  The surgeon whittled away their body parts ‘til death stepped in to bring surcease, finally, for the patient.



And so it is with our little communities; being whittled away of their economic livelihood until amid the relics of the past only the shell of what was once a thriving community is left.

image from Google images. Photo by
by

3 Comments:

Blogger Suz said...

oh sigh
you write the truth

8:34 PM  
Blogger Robyn Lee said...

It's the same in Australia, Rel, and I suspect the rest of the world. It's such a shame because there's something unique about small places that one doesn't find in impersonal metropolitan areas...a warmth and friendliness that every human needs.

11:23 PM  
Blogger rel said...

As editor of The Journal, one particular comment in your post caught my attention: "Of course they portrayed the change in a positive light, saying better, more in depth coverage etc., etc.. But the fact is that for the amount of news, a three days a week paper is more cost efficient way to disseminate what little local news there is."
I couldn't disagree more. Our readers only see the news we are able to fit in the limited space our current format affords us. They don't see the 10 to 15 articles we have left over just about every day because we simply don't have the space to publish them. Our format is outdated and simply no longer meets our needs and the demand of a changing industry that is increasingly turning digital.
I also disagree with the anecdotal assertion that all of our young people are escaping Ogdensburg like lemmings jumping off a cliff. That might once have been true, but I don't know how true it is anymore. I returned to the north country 14 years ago - I'm 37 now - and I find out all the time about more people my age and younger who have decided to stick around to try to make a living here. About half my graduating class is still here that I know of, and they're all doing pretty well. My husband, also an OFA graduate, works from home as a software developer because technological advances have made it possible for him to make a decent living from the comfort of the north country. Is my generation a blip rather than a trend? Time will tell. But we certainly have more opportunity - largely because of that technological advancement - than we did 10 years ago.
Ogdensburg might not be the same community it was 50 years ago, but it is still alive and well. Please don't pronounce it deceased it while it still has a pulse.
Thank you for your consideration.
Elizabeth Lyons
Managing Editor
Northern New York Newspapers Corp.
City Editor
The Journal & Advance-News

7:36 PM  

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