July 28, 2021

When the Local Paper Shrank, These Journalists Started an Alternative

The mayor’s vision of a trusted news source was similar to what the group of journalists had in mind when they created The New Bedford Light. With its newsroom still under construction, in a refurbished textile mill, the publication went online June 7.

“There’s a crying need in a complex city like New Bedford for in-depth, contextual, explanatory investigative journalism,” Barbara Roessner, The Light’s editor and the former managing editor of The Hartford Courant, said in an interview.

The publisher is Stephen Taylor, a veteran journalist from The Boston Globe, which his family owned for generations, who has taught the economics of journalism at the Yale School of Management.

In its first week, The Light delved into the local effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 400 people in New Bedford.

The coverage led with the human cost, with photographs and detailed profiles of residents who died of the virus, and the editors asked readers to submit additional names. The Light also provided a data-filled analysis of how the disease had hit New Bedford’s communities of color the hardest and examined the toll it had taken on the city’s retired textile and garment industry workers, on its vibrant social club scene, and on two local “long haulers” who still suffer from lingering effects, including a 5-year-old.

“We all want to move on,” Ms. Roessner wrote in a message to readers. But to do so, she said, “we need to know where we’ve been, and where we are.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/20/business/media/when-the-local-paper-shrank-these-journalists-started-an-alternative.html

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