Friday, July 10, 2009

RIP, Eagle-Times

Another dinosaur has found its way to the tar pits. The Claremont, NH, Eagle-Times abruptly ceased publication today, giving less than 24 hours notice to its 120 employees. The publisher said the company will file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. For those unfamiliar, Chapter 7 is the "gone and never coming back" version. The company's assets will be liquidated, and the proceeds divvied up among the creditors.

Claremont is a scrappy (some would say to strike out the initial "s") little city of about 15,000 souls, still reeling from the mass exodus of its economic mainstay, the machine tool industry, nearly a quarter century ago. It now finds itself without a daily newspaper covering its goings-on. The two nearest surviving dailies -- The Valley News based in Lebanon and the Keene Sentinel -- have never made much of an effort to cover the news there, and given the current state of newspaper finances, I suspect they aren't about to start.

It's a sad day. The Eagle-Times was the smallest daily newspaper in New Hampshire, and its demise doesn't bode well for the future of other small New England papers and the communities they serve.