On Thursday, Jan. 11 from 7 to 8 p.m., Bedford will have the opportunity via zoom to hear journalism professor Dan Kennedy and co-author Ellen Clegg discuss their new book, “What Works in Community News: Media Startups, News Deserts, and the Future of the Fourth Estate.”
One of the case studies in the book focuses on The Bedford Citizen, its history and current success. In his podcast and other writings, Kennedy frequently cites The Citizen as a model of a journalism startup that is helping solve the local news crisis brought about by the disappearance of print newspapers. Kennedy interviewed the founders of The Citizen and some of the more recent staffers in his profile.
Kennedy and Clegg (a former Boston Globe editor) are dedicated to the thesis that local news is “essential to democracy and civic life is impossible without it.” But as Citizen readers know, from looking at towns close to Bedford, local newspapers have vanished from the scene, creating news “deserts.” According to one widely cited study, some 2,500 newspapers have closed over the last generation. Fortunately, as the authors point out in their book, here in Massachusetts, there are now many innovative local news services cropping up to keep citizens informed about the work of town government.
“Hyperlocal” is the word of the day with grassroots coverage of day to day operation of town administrators and boards. It’s the raison d’etre for efforts such as The Citizen.
To hear this timely talk, please register via this link. The program is made possible in partnership with Tewksbury Public Library and a multitude of MA Libraries. Thanks to the Friends of the Bedford Free Public Library for sponsoring this program. It is free and open to the public.
Dan Kennedy is a professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University and a nationally known media commentator. He was a panelist on the GBH News television program Beat the Press (1998–2021) and also served as a weekly columnist for the network. Dan is a recipient of the Yankee Quill Award from the New England Academy of Journalists and the James W. Carey Journalism Award from the Media Ecology Association.