Commentary: Sadness on the closing of our papers; gratitude to all who were part of them
I was deeply saddened to learn of the decision by the Los Angeles Times to shut down the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. These are institutions that have served our community for decades and have chronicled and guided our way forward for as long as many of us can remember.
These three great papers, and their place in our communities, will be truly impossible to replace. They covered our local achievements and setbacks, our challenges and our victories, our community heroes and our heartaches.
I have read these papers for decades and had the privilege of working with many of their reporters and editors since my very first campaign for the Assembly. And while I’m sure I took issue with some of their articles from time to time — as it should be — I never once doubted their skill and professionalism, or their passion for serving our community.
Whether it was uncovering wrongdoing or profiling one of our amazing residents or documenting our community coming together, whether it was covering our kids’ first time as a starter or recognition of one’s service to our community, you could be certain these papers would be there. They truly helped knit our communities together, and we will all miss their coverage.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I am deeply worried that the loss of these three papers is being repeated all over the country in communities large and small. It has been going on for years, but the sudden onset of the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated these trends, and more and more places are becoming news deserts, without dedicated journalists to investigate corruption, tell local stories and document communities’ histories.
This is a tremendous loss to our towns and nation, and a threat to the very health of our democracy. Though there are no easy answers, I believe it is important that Congress and our nation as a whole examine ways we can support local journalism of the sort the News-Press, the Leader, and the Sun have practiced for so many years.
So today, I want to say thank you to the journalists, editors and publishers from these great local institutions, both past and present. Thank you for your service to our community, and know that you and your work will be deeply missed.