white noise

by Jordan Green

News and views from inside the media bubble


In 19 states across the land — though not yet North Carolina — there’s a website called Patch. As best I can tell, it’s a network of professional journalists and volunteers that gather local news, which is organized and presented by community in an online format that’s consistent from market to market. Why? Because print newspapers, especially the daily kind, are becoming thin, pitiable vestiges of their former selves. Why? Because advertising is fleeing online and because newsprint, drivers and gas are expensive. Louis C. Hochman is among those who have made the transition from print to online — and possibly avoided termination. On Jan. 14, he wrote for the Morris Township-Morris Plains Patch about newspaper layoffs by Gannett, his old employer in Morris, Somerset and Middlesex counties. Gannett is shrinking its pool of journalists at three papers in those counties from 99 to 53, Hochman reports. “Fiftythree people to keep an eye on 85 municipalities (not counting the papers’ border territories, outside of those three counties),” Hochman marvels with more than a tinge of sadness. “Fiftythree people to keep an eye on crime, on government, on corruption, on heroism, on compassion, on danger and on wonder. Fifty-three people to document history as it’s made for a community of 1.6 million residents.”