Tanner Salyers, a city councilman in Mount Vernon, population 17,000, said that when he emailed Metric Media to ask what its plans were for the town’s only newspaper, Mr. Timpone called back to say that he now owned the Mount Vernon News and that he would rebuild it. Yet since the change in ownership, Mr. Salyers said, the newspaper has cut much of its staff and reduced print circulation to two days a week from six.Ohio has lost more than 40 percent of its working journalists since 2012, including dozens at the Plain Dealer. Many daily newspapers have reduced home delivery, have been acquired by national conglomerates or have closed up shop for good, as the Youngstown Vindicator did last year. The resulting news vacuums have created massive information gaps that companies like Metric Media are only too eager to fill.
“I’m the first person to admit that the Mount Vernon News was not Pulitzer material,” Mr. Salyers said. “But nevertheless, it was local and independent. You could go to the grocery store and bump into the writers.” Now, a reporter based in Atlanta has covered local happenings, he said, and not well. When a water line broke last week, forcing the town’s residents to boil their water, the Mount Vernon News didn’t mention it.
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