It’s almost a cliche at this point: The story of a once vibrant and proud mid-sized city paper, now hollowed out to almost nothing by distant corporate owners slashing jobs amidst the decline of local news. This morning I saw this version of the story published by The Boston Globe about The Providence Journal. In this case I feel a bit more connected to the story. The ProJo bills itself as the oldest continuously published daily in the United States — and, more to the point for me, I lived in Providence for six years as a graduate student in 1990s. So I feel some sense of connection and identification with it.
It’s a sad, familiar and in many ways embarrassing story. The ProJo once had a dozen bureaus throughout the tiny state of Rhode Island and its own bureau in D.C. Now it’s down to just a dozen reporters total. The Globe itself, seeing the opening, is staffing up its Rhode Island presence and in so doing likely hastening the ProJo’s steep decline which has brought circulation to just under 30,000, print and digital — barely a tenth of its one-time circulation.