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Tell us what you want in your Lakeville Journal and Millerton News

Newspapers are not a magical entity. They are a business, and they need income to remain viable. As important, they need to fulfill a need — among readers and advertisers, and also among our government agencies and nonprofits. 

Let us know if we are fulfilling that need for you; if not, let us know what would better satisfy your need.

Struggling newspapers

This is a crossroads moment for The Lakeville Journal Company. Like newspapers all across the United States, and probably the world, we find ourselves facing shrinking advertising. 

While subscriptions and single copy sales have not proportionally diminished as much as for some larger newspapers, the decreasing population numbers in our coverage area are reflected in our readership.

The ownership group that has steered and supported us since June 1995 is now looking for solutions that could stabilize our two newspapers (The Lakeville Journal and The Millerton News) and move them on to their next phase, whatever that might be.

As part of that process, we are reaching out to you, our readers and community, to see what you value in local news coverage. We feel from our conversations with you on the street, on the phone, by email, at the grocery store that maybe we think we know what you want to read about; but it would help us in formulating our plans if you would really let us know where you think we should focus our energies. 

The relationship that we all have with our news publications is always complex. Even very loyal readers of America’s best newspapers tend to be very critical of how news is covered. 

At the local level, that same love-hate relationship is slightly intensified; familiarity and what it breeds, and all that. But so is the sense of ownership that our readers feel toward our publications, and we appreciate that. This is why we want your input now.

This is a moment when small newspapers (and big ones) are closing fast. A recent study by the University of North Carolina says that one in five newspapers has closed in the past 15 years, some 1,800 newspapers. Newsroom employment has declined by 45% as the industry struggles with a broken business model partly caused by the success of companies on the internet, including Facebook, according to their research. 

Many people now turn to social media for even local news, often discussing events on Facebook. As a newspaper publishing company, we find that worrisome because the information that is shared is often word of mouth and sometimes incorrect; and discussions often get emotional and antagonistic.

What we cover week to week

Newspapers do play an important role.

Most small newspapers choose an area of priority. Our primary mission is to cover government and education in the six towns of the Region One School District, for The Lakeville Journal; and nearby towns in Dutchess County, especially Millerton/NorthEast, Amenia, Pine Plains and Millbrook, for The Millerton News.

We feel that the police blotters that we publish weekly in The Lakeville Journal and periodically in The Millerton News give a clear sense of what is going on with the police and our community; and we cover crime stories when they are centered in our core communities. 

To entertain and enlighten our readers, and to spotlight the work they do as artists and volunteers, we also do articles on art shows, new businesses, interesting people. Poignantly, of course, often the most interesting people are those we read about each week in the obituaries section; that is one of the most important parts of our weekly publications, and offers our readers a place to memorialize their loved ones and to learn about the lives and deaths and memorial arrangements of friends and acquaintances. 

The letters to the editor page and the viewpoint columns offer another and a very different way to learn what is on the minds of our community members.

And our special publications give us a place to do a deeper dive: on our towns and what makes them tick, as in the Discover series (Discover Salisbury was in our issue of Oct. 3); on arts and entertainment, as in Compass; and on lighter, lifestyle topics in our seasonal supplements such as Fall Improvements, which was included in our issue of Sept. 12. 

Perhaps these facets of our publications are all important to you; perhaps you have favorites and ones you care less about.

What matters to you?

For the next few weeks, we will be running this article online and in print and asking you, the readers of our publications, what is most important to you. 

This is a serious question, and your answers will definitely have an impact on how we formulate our newspapers and special sections in the months ahead. 

We ask you not to think of our two newspapers as something separate from you, but rather as an integral part of your lives. Your opinions matter to us. 

We want very much to know what sections of our newspapers are most important to you — and crucially, which ones you would miss if The Lakeville Journal Company were to close.

We have prepared a survey. We do want to know what you think and what you want. This is the time to share your thoughts with us.

If you view The Lakeville Journal as your primary newspaper, please complete the survey by clicking here

If you view The Millerton News as your primary newspaper, please complete the survey by clicking here

Or just share your thoughts: Send an email (cynthiah@lakevillejournal.com or publisher@lakevillejournal.com); phone us, 860-435-9873 and ask for Janet Manko; stop by our office at 64 Route 7 North in Falls Village; or send a letter to Janet Manko, Publisher and Editor in Chief, The Lakeville Journal Co., P.O. Box 1688, Lakeville, CT 06039. 

Janet Manko

Publisher and Editor in Chief

Cynthia Hochswender

Executive Editor

The Lakeville Journal

Whitney Joseph

 Editor

The Millerton News

We want to hear from you

We want very much to know what sections of our newspapers are most important to you — and crucially, which ones you would miss if The Lakeville Journal Company were to close.

We have prepared a survey. We do want to know what you think and what you want. This is the time to share your thoughts with us.

If you view The Lakeville Journal as your primary newspaper, please complete the survey by clicking here

If you view The Millerton News as your primary newspaper, please complete the survey by clicking here