Last August we blogged about a newspaper aftermath in a small town, on the border of ever being able to support a small weekly. Shoshone, Idaho, population around 1,300 in a county not terribly larger, long was home to the Lincoln County Journal. Along with a bunch of other weeklies in the area, it was shut down last year by its owner, Lee Enterprises.
The editor, Marsha Hiatt, may have lost the paycheck but she refused to quit. She started a news blog, the Lincoln County Chatter, and got it off to a promising start last summer.
And now? A few days ago, she sent a mail saying "the blog is still going strong - almost 5,000 hits a month. I have branched out and now have a photo blog and government blog as well. In November I was also elected as Commissioner in my county - the only Democrat elected in the Magic Valley region of Southern Idaho. Just thought I'd let you know - we're still kickin' over here in Idaho."
Today, responding to a query back, she adds:
. . . the blog followers are - for the most part - hugely supportive. This effort is successful because of them and the information they send into the blog. We also have readers all over the country and in many other countries - mostly people who grew up in this area or have family here. (This is astonding to me because our county is less than 5,000 in population). It really has turned into a very fulfilling and full-time hobby. On a political note, I have learned a great deal about what's important in this community and how people view the world. Though I may not always like, or agree with, what they send me I still think it's important to know where their heads are.
Again, thanks. I'm truly proud of what this has turned into.
There may be hope yet beyond newspapers.