Local community saddened by closing of The Ann Arbor News
Fritz Paper put two quarters in a newspaper box outside Michigan Book and Supply today and grabbed a copy of The Ann Arbor News.
For 20 years, Paper has enjoyed leafing through the newspaper during his lunch break.
But those days are over.
The Ann Arbor News closed today after 174 years and is being replaced by AnnArbor.com, a news Web site with a print edition on Thursday and Sunday.
“I’m going to miss it,” said Paper, a senior clerk at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. “And even though I do go on the Internet for news, I don’t think it’s going to be the same.”Paper questions whether AnnArbor.com will have enough staff to adequately report on important issues like crime and politics and where he’ll turn to read classified advertisements and obituaries.
“I don’t think people will find out as easily about things going on. The community loses out,” he said.
Archie Sader, who bought the final edition today at a newspaper box on South State Street, is disappointed the newspaper shut down.
Sader, who directs an online graduate program at Eastern Michigan University, works 10 hours a day in front of a computer screen, he said, and doesn’t find it relaxing to read news online.
While he understands the challenges facing the newspaper industry and wishes the Web site luck, he said it will not replace The Ann Arbor News.
“It’s a bold move,” Sader said. “I understand what’s happening. I certainly hope it’s very successful. It’s not a substitute.”
Margaret Hoad, 67, who has lived in Ann Arbor for more than 50 years and has read the Ann Arbor News off and on, said it was “tragic” it closed.
“Newspapers in general - we’re going to miss them,” she said. “I’m elderly and I don’t use the Internet. I’m a bit of a dinosaur.”
She hopes online news operations will fund the investigative reporting the community needs, she said.
“In a democracy, you need a lot of people poking and prying into what everybody’s doing. You need a nosy society to keep things on the up and up.”
Holly Jarman, a political science professor at the University at Albany -SUNY, who lives in Ann Arbor for six months of the year, also picked up a copy of the final edition.
“I always like to read local papers and I like the feel of a paper,” Jarman said.
While she said newspapers and news Web sites both offer quality reporting, newspapers often are better at presenting news and opinions.
For instance, Jarman prefers reading letters to the editor in a newspaper that are vetted as opposed unedited comments online.
Ed Davidson, owner of Bivouac, a custom outdoor clothing and equipment store in Ann Arbor, wonders whether his generation will visit the Web site regularly.
He knows it won't be an issue for his son and daughter, who are both in their 20s.
“I curl up in front of the fireplace on Sunday and read the newspaper,” Davidson said. “My kids curl up in front of the fireplace with their laptops.”
Whether Davidson will visit AnnArbor.com everyday or wait to read the Thursday and Sunday print editions remains to be seen, he said.
“It’s gonna be there if people want it. The question is are the over-50 crowd going to access it on a daily basis?”
Lee Higgins covers police and courts for AnnArbor.com. You can reach Higgins by phone at (734) 623-2527 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.