I’m dating myself. In the late 70s, I joined the Bucks County Courier Times –after working for WBCB and then county government. The newspaper job was a lifelong dream and I remained a reporter for 21 years- loving it, making some lifelong friends along the way and working with some great writers and editors.
We often made positive impacts on our community, uncovering the good and the bad and very often advocating on behalf of the needy in our community. We were news gatherers and advocates – non-partisan and fair. We were never the story.
Naturally, it was more than sad to hear the Calkins family sold the business – inevitable as it was. My former colleagues felt the pangs of old history, but not surprised, I add.
The Courier Times has been a local newspaper from the start some 80 years ago and continued as such into the 21st century while struggling with declining circulation and trying to keep up with ever-changing technology, competition and offering timely news coverage and great stories with reduced staff.
One thing that is clear about the Courier Times and its sister papers The Intelligencer in Doylestown and Burlington County Times —all are mostly staffed by locals – people who have a stake in the community. That is most important and now … Do I think the new owners are interested in boosting circulation, saving jobs, expanding? Nah.
Circulation has fallen from a one-time high of 75,000 (or more?) to an approximate 23,000 today. This is a sad day for all of the alumni, but more so for those still on the job, knowing they may be facing “retirement.” Involuntary, for some.
I hear the new owner, Gatehouse Media, plans to move their design departments to the Gatehouse Center for News and Design in Texas! That means a shop-loss at Calkins. Apparently, Gatehouse claims it can design thousands of front pages off-site and out-of-state for dailies, weeklies and monthly publications, efficiently. We all said a collective, “Wow!” Impressed? Not much.
Smaller newspapers, as we know them, are relics – save your old copies for the grandkids. In the meantime, I suggest you stay tuned to WBCB 1490-AM.
Thanks for listening.