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More local news changes coming?

Date: 9/11/2015

Concerned about just how many sources there are for local news? I’m sure it’s not the top item on your list of priorities, but it probably should be there someplace. reported Media General plans to buy Meredith Corp., the parent company for Western Mass – they don’t use a period for the abbreviation – News, our TV source for CBS, ABC, and FOX.

Media General owns TV22. To avoid the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from blocking this deal, changes will be made.

Deadline’s David Lieberman wrote, “To comply with regulatory limits, the combined company plans to swap or divest stations in Portland, OR; Nashville, TN; Hartford-New Haven, CT; Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC; Mobile, AL; Pensacola, FL; and Springfield, MA.”

That means some of my television colleagues over on Liberty Street in Springfield and in Chicopee will undoubtedly wind up with a new owner.

Anyone who has worked in the media dreads the concept of “the new owner.” Having gone through this myself, I can tell you the first thing you wonder is if you’re going to have a job. The second thought is how the new owner will change what you’re currently doing. Will there be additional resources or fewer? Will full-time jobs devolve into part-time jobs? Will a new out-of-town owner care any more or any less about the community that these media outlets serve than the last out-of-town owner?

It’s seldom pleasant.

I’ve written about how important local news outlets with local owners can be to a community. It’s a dying trend, though.

I believe the nature of ownership has certainly affected the kind of news coverage we are offered. This is a commercial business, but it’s a business that supposedly has a higher calling.

We’re supposed to be part of the community. We’re supposed to have ties here and be committed to it. Frankly, corporate ownership stifles that kind of involvement.

Consider a moment that commercial TV stations used to have local programming that extended beyond the news. Remember when radio stations had to have news and public affairs programs?  How about editorials on the local evening news? FCC rulings have certainly changed the landscape of broadcasting and have stripped it of the kind of local involvement in markets such as ours.

It will be interesting to see what happens to our local stations, but I doubt it will be good.

When will they learn?

It’s sad the same issues circulate among too many of us without any comprehension of them. Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple on the basis of her version of Christianity, apparently doesn’t understand that marriage is a civil contract.

We only assign a religious element to it if we want to. Getting married at City Hall is just as valid as getting married in a church. We don’t go to a cleric for a divorce. We got to a court.

Wasn’t this discussed earlier? I think so. If you don’t approve of same sex marriage then don’t get married to someone who is of the same gender as you.

It’s none of your business, just as your marriage is no one’s business other than your own.

I don’t care if Davis is a religious person. Her job is not religious. Her job is secular and bound by law.

Conservatives are supposedly all about law and order. So those folks on the right side of the aisle who are rallying around Davis on the basis of supporting her right to practice her faith are clearly ignoring the fact we don’t live in a theocracy.  

People, people, people: let’s deal with some real issues. 

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.