If you are like me and concerned about the decline of The Hays Daily News, you should be. An article in the Wichita Eagle (“Town by town, local journalism is dying in plain sight”, tinyurl.com/y2hncz9w) tells the story of how a few years after GateHouse Media purchased the Waynesville Mo., Daily Guide, the number of news staff declined, weekly issues were cut from five to three, and then it eventually closed last September. Similarly, since GateHouse Media purchased the Hays Daily News in November 2016, the paper has lost its local Editor/Publisher, Patrick Lowry, many other staff members, and number of days has been cut from six to five. Lowry’s regular editorials on local, state, and regional issues may not have been popular with all readers, as evidenced by many letters to the editor disagreeing with him. However, at least we had regular local editorials and letters to the editor, the latter indicating someone was actually reading the paper.
As The Hays Daily News declines, it’s no wonder that people like myself wonder why we keep subscribing and advertisers abandon it. People in Waynesville wondered the same thing, but now many wish they still had the Daily Guide. In Hays, we think we’re getting the equivalent of the Hays Daily News for free with the Hayspost.com. Both have superficial local reporting and rely on news releases and stories picked up from other newspapers. However, neither are providing what we really need: in-depth coverage of local issues and editorials to keep local officials accountable for their actions. Studies have shown that towns without a good local newspaper have more expensive government (tinyurl.com/y2hncz9w). The time is now to tell GateHouse Media to improve the Hays Daily News, so more readers and advertisers will support it.