The first paid circulation paper in Virginia closes doors.

A lot of attention is paid to the floundering newspaper industry when the big name papers start talking about shutting down. When it comes to the news lifeblood of small town America not much attention is paid to when those town’s newspapers are forced to close their doors. As we rant and rave about the importance of journalism it is the small towns that feel the loss of their eyes and ears of what is happening locally.

At a time when more that 10,000 journalism jobs are disappearing from US newspapers alone it is easy to forget that part of those numbers are small town jobs. Much like Clarke Virginia where The Clarke Courier, publishing a weekly newspaper since 1869, closed its doors last week.

The Courier wasn’t closed because of a lack of readership as it has a paid circulation of 2,240 but rather the same problems that are plaguing its big city cousins – declining, or vanishing, advertising dollars. This is the same problem that will be affecting a growing number of small town newspapers as they struggle to keep their lights on. The sad part about this is that the wire services and web aggregators like Google News aren’t interested small town news, for them it is all about taking things national or international.

It may not seem important in the larger scheme of things but for the 14,000 people of the county in Virginia that The Clarke Courier kept informed they have lost a window to their community.


[hat tip to Marc Fisher – Washington Post Voices]