Letter to the Editor: Help Saving Local Community Newspapers

The loss of three local weekly newspapers (the Scarsdale Inquirer, Rivertowns Enterprise and Bedford Review Record) is a setback for democracy. These  local publication provided area residents with important information about the community.  The  election coverage they provided made it easier for non incumbent candidates to get known and for their concerns  to be taken seriously.  They sent reporters to meetings of school, town and village Boards -giving residents information about controversial issues.   The scrutiny and investigative reporting of all government entities helps keep government more honest.  The letters to the editor sections offered readers the opportunity to air their commentaries about topics of interest to the community. And they covered sports, entertainment, the arts and profiled interesting residents.

I am very appreciative of the efforts of a former opponent of mine, Lucas Cioffi, who is leading the effort to find a way to either save these publications or to encourage the start up of new weekly print newspapers. Mr. Cioffi- along with Sandra Nam, Quiqo Chat Inc and the Westchester Youth Congress organized a very impressive virtual community meeting on February 1st that was attended by over three hundred residents.. The virtual meeting encouraged the community to think of creative initiatives that could help a new local weekly publication survive. The meeting was democracy at its best –informative with  excellent ideas presented. Everyone who wanted to speak had an opportunity to express themselves.  And after the meeting detailed minutes were sent to participants.  Finally, follow up  progress report  e mails have been sent to participants.  I’m optimistic and hopeful that independent local journalism will continue to be an important part of our community in the future.

If a new weekly newspaper gets off the ground – Lucas Cioffi deserves lots of credit for leading the way. I’d also thank Lucas Cioffi for his efforts in recent years advocating for pedestrian safety improvements in the town and for organizing the Westchester Youth Congress—involving students in our democracy.  Democracy depends on oversight, citizen participation and respect for different ideas. Lucas Cioffi is making a positive difference in our community.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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About the Author: Paul Feiner