Athol Daily News Cuts Back Production, Will Deliver By Mail

Nov 27, 2018

A newspaper serving the North Quabbin region of central Massachusetts for more than eight decades is reducing its publication schedule. 

Starting this week, the Athol Daily News, which had been publishing six days week, will now print Wednesday through Saturday, with papers being delivered by mail.

Athol Town Manager Shaun Suhoski said Tuesday that he'll leave it to others to explain why small town newspapers have been disappearing across the country. But he said this latest action leaves rural towns like his, already facing challenges such as inadequate broadband and transportation service, feeling even more isolated.

"And now our access to information is being curtailed even further," Suhoski said. "So it is a loss, it truly is, to hear what the local service clubs are doing, to hear how the high school sports teams are doing, to hear about how local government is functioning, so people can participate."

Suhoski said he only learned of the newspaper's cuts in a small notice on Saturday's front page.

Calls to the Athol Daily News and its publisher, Aaron Julien, were not immediately returned.

The Athol paper was purchased from its longtime owners, the Chase family, in December 2017 by Newspapers of New England. The newspaper group also owns the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Greenfield Recorder, Valley Advocate and Amherst Bulletin, as well as some papers in New Hampshire.

The company's employees in Northampton, Massachusetts, announced this month they were seeking to unionize. Julien opposes the move.