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Size of papers reflect sour economy

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I am fortunate to have a subscription to our hometown newspaper. Clicking through the latest edition I ran across comments regarding the online version. One reader was no longer able to subscribe due to financial difficulties and wondered why The Lancaster News doesn’t offer free access like some other area newspapers.
Now, I’m not going to get in the midst of the battle between bottom line success or failure. I think any long-time reader notices that the want ads are diminishing and there are fewer pages. Isn’t it obvious that the local economy helps drive the paper’s volume?
Visiting part-time in Maryland, I read the Washington Post whose ownership also publishes the Charlotte Observer and Rock Hill Herald. I don’t have paid subscriptions,  but I do read their online versions. The two area papers are published daily which certainly means some news stories hit the stands before The Lancaster News, which publishes just three days a week.
In some instances the coverage of local crime, although reported in print sooner, usually lacks in-depth investigation. Of course, fast news without facts is not a troubling factor to out-of-town publishers.
Electronic comments submitted by a few of their readers often places Lancaster and its law abiding citizens in an unfavorable light. Such comments may well affect industry considering a possible location to our county.
In the meantime, I’ll use The Lancaster News as a barometer of the economy, when the want ads and printed pages increase in volume, I’ll know my hometown is again on the move.
 
W.B. Evans
Lancaster