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What a shrinking newspaper costs a community

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SPRINGFIELD – Some version of the newspaper known today as The State-Journal Register has been published in Springfield and Sangamon County since 1831. It shared stories of fisticuffs in the state legislature and carried ads for elixirs and miracle cures. It reported on an ambitious local attorney and politician, named Abraham Lincoln — and in more recent years, spanned the continent to explore how immigrants from Mexico transformed Beardstown, which had been all white — that work was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

But today, The State Journal-Register is not what it once was. The Copley family, which had owned the paper for generations, sold to a private equity-backed company called GateHouse. Then the cutting began. Today on the program, we talk about what’s lost when a community loses a once-fine newspaper — or at least sees it shrink to a vestige of its former self. The 21st was joined by two journalists who used to work at The State Journal-Register to talk about it. 


Mike Kienzler

Former Metro Editor, The State Journal-Register – Worked at the paper for 40 years

Rich Saal

Former Photo Editor, The State Journal-Register – Worked at the paper for 35 years, Photography editor from 2000-2019


Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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