Metrowest Daily News Letters To The Editor
Metrowest Daily News Letters To The Editor – FRAMINGHAM – A June 17 (MetroWest Daily News) letter criticizing the Pride flag in front of the Memorial Building is itself a slap in the face to veterans.
Flying the Progress Pride flag in a place like this honorably celebrates and honors the many contributions LGBTQ+ people, not just veterans, have made to society.
Metrowest Daily News Letters To The Editor
As a foreign naval officer and US diplomat serving my country overseas, I have experienced my share of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. For many years, this kind of irrational hatred was enshrined in our country’s laws. Until President Obama signed a law in 2010 repealing the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” service members like me had to make the difficult decision to cover up in order to be members of the Armed Forces. united states. Like hundreds of thousands of my colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+, I chose to serve even though doing so meant I would have to fight for others to be free – even though I was not at all comfortable living my life openly. A U.S. World War II veteran. Army Air Corps, Marvin Liebman, explained in a 1994 report.
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That the way to survive and succeed as an LGBTQ+ person in the US military was “invisible.” LGBTQ+ veterans should no longer be invisible.
Raising the Pride Flag in Progress at the Framingham Memorial Building pays tribute not only to Framingham’s present but also to its past.
The dedication of the Memorial Building in 1928 as “…a memorial to the soldiers, sailors, sailors and nurses of the town” continues to honor Framingham residents who have given their lives in national service.
The June 17 opinion claims that flying the Progress Pride flag under the national flag in front of the Memorial Building is “disgraceful” to veterans, which in itself is shameful and dishonorable to all veterans who have fought and continue to serve this country.
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The idea that our community’s veterans and our LGBTQ+ community alike are isolated shows the kind of ignorance that flying the flag helps to fight. We were forced to serve in silence. But LGBTQ+ service members and veterans will no longer be pushed to stand up. We will never be invisible again. , the first thing they do is install new locks on the doors of our headquarters in Framingham. The daily newspaper operates 24 hours a day; I never saw the doors locked. But there were rumors that union journalists who had lost their jobs in Waltham might try to vandalize our printing presses. We hunkered down and waited for blowback which never came.
It was the late 1980s, and the newspaper business was booming. The Sunday papers were thick with coverage; page after page of classified ads selling cars, real estate, and jobs. Those ads paid for a wide range of features — comics, recipes, movie reviews, astrological predictions — things that gave readers a reason to turn the pages. Most importantly, they pay for local news.
Almost all of the 350 Massachusetts cities and towns have one reporter who shows the meetings of the selectmen, collects police reports, writes signs on new school programs and 100.
It was a more innocent time, especially compared to today, as vulture capitalists picked up the scraps from the newspapers they once boasted. But the business was changing, even before the internet disrupted the newspaper business model. A generation of local newspaper owners made money; new investors were coming in.
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They spend weeks, weeks and small days, mostly on borrowed money, building urban chains to compete with the powerful.
, looking for economies of scale to enrich their profits. The new players swore they believed in democracy and journalism, but the game they were playing followed the rules of modern capitalism: borrow heavily, turn things upside down, cut costs ruthlessly, make your quarterly numbers, and pump up the stock price.
, her smart, compelling, and necessary new book on the sad state of local journalism, Margaret Sullivan tells a national story. Sullivan, a
Of Youngstown, Ohio, one of more than 2,100 newspapers that have bitten the dust in the past 15 years. For every page that’s officially dead, there are hundreds of “ghost pages,” he writes, that exist as free streaming clients with little local content or as websites loaded with copy and clickable ads. Sullivan cites the growth of “media deserts” — large areas of America where people have no source of local news.
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Cancer eating newspapers is a local story, one I’ve watched for 30 years from my perch at another Massachusetts newspaper attacked by a succession of owners: Harte-Hanks, a Texas chain that left newspaper publishing to focus on direct mail; Community Newspaper Co., around-the-
, which went into liquidation after its purchase of CNC proved unsustainable; and GateHouse Media, which merged with Gannett earlier this year, now controls one in six newspapers in the US.
The withering of Massachusetts newspapers happened slowly at first, then all at once. Printers in places like Waltham were the first to go, as managers looked to eliminate unions and centralize production. Some operations were eliminated as corporate offices and marketing departments were consolidated.
Then they came to the newsrooms, and started making simple calls. If Waltham was playing Framingham, why send two reporters from former rival newspapers to cover a high school game? Why pay a State House reporter when the Associated Press has one there? Why not borrow reporters for weeks to fill shifts every day? Why not do regional stories and run them in a group of papers, instead of the tedious task of covering the news of one city or town? Why pay an employee to write about art when you can get freelancers to do it for less? With each cut, the pages became redundant, unresponsive, unprofessional, and unnecessary.
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Then the internet took over the ad revenue that saved the pages. Craigslist and similar sites have taken classified ads, Amazon’s display ads. Google and Facebook have taken newspaper stories produced by journalists and distributed them for free.
It’s not like publishers didn’t see the new technology coming; they did not understand how to respond. They couldn’t throw everything into digital because they still had print products to deliver to paying customers. Their debts forced them to cut costs and raise prices, charging more money for small papers that no longer had much local news for them. Readers noticed, and paid distribution declined.
With each economic downturn, the newsroom’s media coverage has faltered, and it has never recovered when the economy rebounds. Reporters and editors are told to do more with less, and read to young readers they will never graduate.
Government meetings were considered too tiring, so in many towns journalists stopped attending. YouTube became big, so journalists were told to make a video. Social media stole their readers, so newspapers took to tweeting, with newsroom analysts tracking minute-to-minute stories. Meanwhile, Gatehouse moved production of the Massachusetts papers to Texas and is now removing the paper’s editors, once the main link to the community, from mastheads across the country.
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, and a hundred more – they became invisible to each other. Small cities with big challenges and rich cultures — Worcester, Lowell, Quincy, New Bedford, Fitchburg — have seen newspapers that provided leadership and community for a century turn into ghost papers.
With each additional loan acquired, the new owners often receive valuable downtown housing, expensive printing presses, household loyalty built up over many years of service and, often, a pair of Fenway season tickets. First the new owners sold baseball tickets, then they sold the land, and finally they sold it. As waves of layoffs and buyouts decimate newsrooms, their credibility has eroded.
We are now in the final stages of the newspaper supply, as Wall Street giants pick through the remnants of distressed property. Fortress Investment Group, the fund behind Gannett/Gatehouse, has 10 properties in Massachusetts, including
Sullivan looks for signs of hope in this sad world, and finds few. Self-motivated billionaires have bailed out major metros like
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. In Pittsfield and a few other cities, local owners bought papers from hedge fund ownership with promises to reinvest in journalism.
Community-focused websites, some started by retired journalists, have filled the gap in other areas. Non-profits are trying to create new models of sustainable local journalism. Now there is talk of direct government support to keep newspapers alive, a sign of business desperation. But no model promises to restore all lost local news.
Newspaper readers are not the only ones feeling the loss. Researchers have found that when a newspaper closes, public engagement decreases, fewer candidates run for office and fewer people vote. Studies have found that communities without journalists looking over the shoulders of government officials experience more political corruption and wasteful public spending. Epidemiologists find it difficult to track the spread of disease in areas without local newspapers.
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