And say what you will about either camp; still, this ups the ante on the absurdity theater that is Lakewood politics.
ohioneighborhoodnews.com was registered Oct. 24 by FitzGerald, shortly after print editions of the "newspaper" were sent out in the mail to homes in Lakewood and Brooklyn.
Above the fold, the lead item in the Lakewood edition spells out certain doom for the taxpaying public. It's ripped almost verbatim from, like, the background of a frame in Watchmen: "ISSUE 64 COULD DOOM HOSPITAL." (Issue 64 is the charter amendment that, if approved, would automatically trigger a voter referendum if City Council were to approve the closure of Lakewood Hospital.) Below the fold: "Mayor Mike Summers Gaining Momentum."
On the inside, there are a handful of odds and ends: a story praising Ward 3 candidate John Litten's campaign (Litten sits on the board of the Lakewood Hospital Association), a review of Roxu Fusion, a piece about fallen firefighters, a story by school board member Tom Einhouse about construction (the only bylined piece in the paper), etc.
The back page of the paper closes with a full-page ad from the Lakewood Hospital Association, the stewards of the hospital currently in favor of the Cleveland Clinic's proposal to demolish the building and build a family health center in its place.
(The layout and design bear striking resemblances to the Lakewood Observer, a community newspaper that has published articles decrying Summers' involvement in the hospital fiasco and advocating for greater transparency all year.)
Whether or not there will be future editions of the Lakewood Neighborhood News remain to be seen. (Where can we send pitches, Ed?)
Given the context here, though, the mission statement of the Ohio Neighborhood News outfit is funny stuff. In full:
We’ve all read the headlines about the headlines: newspapers in America are dying, one by one. Digital journalism has destroyed print journalism, and now it’s just a slow, inevitable slide for one newspaper after another, as they cut staff, cut delivery, cut content, and finally just fade away.
So, this must be a terrible time to start a newspaper…so, we’re starting a newspaper.
We’re starting a string of local, community newspapers, because we believe that there will always be a place for local stories, and we believe that people still want to touch and feel that content, and pass it back and forth to each other across the table.
We also believe that although much of the decline of newspapers was probably inevitable, a whole lot of it was driven by clueless giant media companies, mostly based on the East Coast, who care much more about quarterly earnings reports than the local communities they are supposed to cover. They bought up a slew of local brands years ago to make a buck, and now they’ve ceased to be local at all. And ever since the easy money stopped rolling in, they’re showing just how hollow their commitment to our communities always was.
Our papers are 100% local news; you will have to go elsewhere for national news or celebrity clickbait content. You can’t subscribe to our paper- we are funded exclusively by advertising content. We may eventually post some of our content online, but unlike the big corporate media conglomerates, we are happy to leave all the tweeting and posting to someone else.
We don’t pay for any of our content. The stories you see in our papers were either written by volunteers or the owners of that paper. If you’re interested in contributing stories, or bringing Ohio Neighborhood News to your town, you can email us at [email protected]
The decline of American newspapers has left a large hole where our civic dialogue used to be. One community at a time, we’re going to try and add a little bit of content to the mix. We believe that’s a mission worth all the hard work.
We hope you enjoy it.