Te Beagle Editor, My experience with provincial newspapers in New South Wales, and to some extent the UK, is that they were begun by people who had printers' ink in their blood. They just wanted to establish a newspaper in a country town and, apart from the satisfaction in that, to make a living...for themselves and any staff they may employ. Contra-deals helped in that ambition. The newspaper starters could trade, say, an advertisement for a butcher for a pound of sausages (this was a long time before metrication). I have never found out how that worked with undertakers, but in any case eventually advertising paid for by actual cash came along as well, and there was the income from paper sales. Such arrangements were made illegal several years ago. That was only one contribution to the present problem, another being that local newspapers these days, and for some years now, are controlled less by the urge to provide the widest range of local information to local people than the whims of accountants and such in other places. I can't speak for anywhere else, but in the UK and France local newspapers are still going strong. The weekly serving the the area in the UK I know best circulates in an area what must have about the same population as Eurobodalla Shire but has about 120 pages and good advertising support...much as was the situation here before Sydney took over. One difference is the UK newspaper is free. Eric Wiseman, Moruya.
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