I grew up reading newspapers that serviced large metropolitan areas–the Denver Post and Tulsa World. Strangely, it was only after moving to a suburb of Washington, D.C. that I discovered local journalism is alive and well. ARL Now is an online newspaper devoted entirety to the city of Arlington, VA.
Through this little “newspaper,” I learned about trivial happenings such as spats between local shop owners and the opening of new restaurants. I also discovered that Arlington, which is its own county, enjoys its own share of town meetings and political debates. Thanks to this paper, I found out that the Rosslyn kebab stand that I pass while biking to class was forced to leave his space of sidewalk and move to the other side of the neighborhood. Because of this reporting, the kebab stand’s customers were able to follow the owner when he moved, and he stayed in business. And just a few weeks ago, the staff of ARL mourned the transition of a local news association into a metropolitan conglomerate, and the ensuing loss to the Arlington community.
Of course, reading an online newspaper every day doesn’t replace civic involvement, but it helps take an intimidating city and make it a manageable area full of real people, and common concerns. Cursory research doesn’t reveal any sort of database of other local newspapers, but I have an inkling they might exist. In an age where I can get any information I like from the Washington Post, I appreciate a little sifting.
P.S. I’d love to hear about your local newspapers, if you’ve found any.