Celebrating 125 Years

On August 14, 1897 The Lakeville Journal printed its first issue. 125 years later our weekly newspaper continues as a pillar of this close-knit countryside community. The Lakeville Journal Foundation invites you to celebrate a monumental anniversary for this nonprofit publication.

From our Honorary Co-Chairs

Sam Waterston

Who Needs The Lakeville Journal?

By Sam Waterston, Honorary Co-Chair, Lakeville Journal 125th Anniversary

Who needs a local paper? Aren’t we already as plugged into the world as we can stand?

There’s an old legal principal, whose Latin name I’ve never known or have forgotten, which states that courts, when asked to review cases on appeal, should have great respect for those closest to the event — the judge, the prosecutor, the jurors, the investigators, and the witnesses — who most immediately looked into the case, who were nearby and local. The courts do this because experience has shown that nearness matters.

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The way this country ‘does the news’ is less and less like that every day. News is developed more and more by national organizations and national opinion is more and more formed in cyber space, less and less in the real public squares of towns like the ones in which we live.

The Northwest Corner of Connecticut, while staying otherwise pretty up-to-date, thank you, has blessedly been able to preserve some of the old ways of talking things over, and, even in the face of the isolation brought by the Covid pandemic, thanks to selectmen’s meetings and town meetings with public comment, thanks to local and regional politicians and public servants making themselves available and accessible, because of churches and institutions like our libraries and school boards and volunteer fire departments, because we run into people and talk at the post office, the grocery store, and around and about the town, direct communication is still alive. Actually living together in the same neighborhood, it turns out, moderates us, and moderation is the lifeblood of community, and its partners, compromise and consensus.

For 125 years — almost as long as I’ve been around here — the Lakeville Journal has been part and parcel of that healthy political/social/natural ecosystem, a way to keep up with the local news, yes, but also, and essentially, with local points of view about matters local, national, and beyond, with local and familiar names, and even faces, attached.

When you come back from away, in case it got frayed by absence, The Lakeville Journal’s familiar presence on the rack in the store and in your mailbox helps to knit up again the sense of belonging to a somewhere, a real place.

What with globalization this and international that, we need our local paper to help us keep our perspective straight, to remind us once in while, when our leaders make pronouncements at us, that a cat may look at a king. We need news that has its feet on the ground. The Lakeville Journal has come up out of this particular part of the ground for 125 years.

A good local paper — and this exciting new/old Lakeville Journal promises to be that — will let us know, not just what ‘the king’ said, or his henchmen decided, but will give ‘the cat’ a say in the matter, and, this being New England, a say about whether the king’s latest is anything to get riled up about. When you’re inside the Lakeville Journal’s territory, you’re home. Let’s keep it.

Meryl Streep

The Journal Is The Real Deal

By Meryl Streep, Honorary Co-Chair. Lakeville Journal 125th Anniversary

“To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one’s ear, and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humanity.”
— Alain de Botton

 

When I come home from very far away
I make familiar trek around the town:
I get milk at LaBonnes, and when I pay
Pick up the Lakeville Journal and sit down

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Outside, behind the bookstore, on that bench
And read up on my neighbors; feel the wrench,
The tug of time flown by – what’s here, and gone –
What’s new? What’s up? What gives? What’s going on?

Oh yes, sure, I have online subscriptions to the New York Times. And the Washington Post, the LA Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic and The Week.

And I take timid sips of the NY Post and the Daily Mail if I dare a taste of blood. It’s too much already, I know. It’s way too much. But Covid (and Putin) have brought home the necessity of keeping up with breaking international news. And because of hackers and attackers, I keep no social media presence: no Facebook, no Instagram or Tik Tok accounts.

The global news delivered at warp speed
Quicktime refreshed via your twitter feed
The commentary spat from pseudonyms
Out the mouths of robots, hers or hims?
Who knows what’s real, what’s false, I don’t, do you?
I like my news with names, and faces too.

So when I want the real deal, to take the real-feel temperature of the place on this planet that I call home, I read The Lakeville Journal. Another local, Arthur Miller, said, “A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself”. The voices of our community, the echo rumbling through the Litchfield Hills surround, tells me what’s happening on the ground authentically, what people think and feel, viscerally. Rooted in a place I know, from persons who have a real stake in local policy, something honest and actual comes through in the pages of the Journal. Not just the anger, or the outrage or complaint, but the goodness, the decency of people here. When I am away I read it online, but I like the actual paper in my hands. Home is not virtual, and The Lakeville Journal details news of home.

The births, the deaths, the weddings, fests and fairs,
The stuff for sale, the want ads, news of bears (!),
What’s at the movies, who did well at school,
When senior hours are at Hotchkiss pool,
Who served, who sang, whose speed exceeds conditions…
Who gave, who sold, who made the big commissions!

If we lost the paper, so what?

You can, right now, google what time church services are. You can google the score of your high school’s soccer team. You can then google what the dates will be of Fall Fest this year, and then ask google who’s running for School Board and Selectman and then find each candidate’s individual statements and google around or go on Facebook to see who disagrees…

You can then get up after 2 hours of googling and walk into the kitchen and find everything you were searching for all in one place, sitting at the table for ten minutes with the Lakeville Journal. And you will be well served. And you won’t get carpal tunnel.

Because we recognized what the loss of the paper would mean to our community, many people came together to try to save and sustain it. The willing generosity of those who worked to invent a solution, those who gave and continue to give to maintain this sounding board, our town square in oblong pages, our connective tissue, our common space, is thrilling.

My friend Anna Quindlen, a newspaperwoman herself, wrote: “To write the present is to believe in the future.”

I will piggyback onto her wisdom to add: “…and to preserve the past.”

Happy 125th Everybody!