Annie Gilbert 0

Restore Funding for the Andover Townsman

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Many thanks to all for your signatures on the petition to restore funding to the Andover Towmsman, and for the emails you sent to the corporate offices of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc and to the Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.   We are happy to report that our collective voices were heard.  

On Friday, Eagle-Tribune Publisher Al Getler met with Alex Vispoli, Paula Colby-Clements and Annie Gilbert and committed to moving former news reporter Dustin Luca back to the Andover Townsman to work with Editor Neil Fater and part-time reporter Judy Wakefield.  Again, THANK YOU for your advocacy.

While we are pleased that the original plan has been altered and that a reporter has been restored to the Townsman staff, we view this as a short-term solution.  Mr. Getler made it clear that, while he altered the plan for re-organization by moving Dustin Luca back to Andover, Community Newspaper Holdings has not increased funding to the Eagle Tribune Publishing Company.  In the long run, we recognize that the Townsman needs additional resources and new models of business to be sustainable as a meaningful local newspaper, and we are committed to doing whatever we can to assist in making this a reality.  

Meanwhile, we will keep the petition open until November 30th, as originally planned, before sending it to the appropriate corporate offices.  If you have not yet signed it, please do so!  Extra signatures will contribute to a greater impact.

Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc--a Montgomery, Alabama company that operates newspapers and publications in over 130 communities nationwide--has eliminated funding for all staff of the Andover Townsman, an award-winning weekly newspaper, with the exception of the editor and one part-time reporter.  The Townsman has weathered multiple reductions in recent years, but these latest cuts to staffing will make it impossible to produce a newspaper that adequately serves our community of over 33,000 people.  Andover is unique: it is the largest municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to use an Open Town Meeting form of government.  This means that at least once a year, every registered voter in Andover comes together to vote upon every single issue before the town.  Our residents therefore require an unusual level of information and depth of coverage in order to track the development of the Town’s priorities and proposals, and ultimately to make informed decisions on a $140 million operating budget, multiple bonded capital projects, and dozens of warrant articles each year, covering everything from complicated zoning decisions to local bylaw changes to land acquisitions to funding requests. 
When it comes to keeping the citizenry informed, nothing comes close to the Andover Townsman in terms of the audience it reaches, the amount of discourse it stimulates, and the level of accountability it demands from town leaders.  The reductions Community Newspaper Holdings have made will mean the local news stories we all rely on will be replaced by general content that runs in multiple papers and is not specific to Andover.  

Please restore funding for the Andover Townsman.


Alex Vispoli, Paula Colby-Clements, Annie Gilbert


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