Stopping the presses: local newspaper publisher to close its doors

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The mood was somber at Reed Print Inc earlier as people got word the company would be going out of business.

No doubt Kern will miss a number of small papers with big voices.

In journalism, you never want to be the news.

But Reed Print Inc., publisher of weekly Kern newspapers The Arvin Tiller, The Lamont Reporter, The Wasco Tribune, The Delano Record, and The Shafter Press had no choice, as word spread the company would be closing.

Hitting stands Wednesday, the front page of The Wasco Tribune will read “Tribune goes to print final time.”

Jamie Stewart wrote for the Tribune, “It was a surprise, and not a pleasant one.”

Frank “Wally” Reed, president of Reed Print Inc. declined to comment Tuesday.

We spoke with former Arvin Tiller news editor Leonel Martinez.

“I wrote the stories, shot the photographs, did a little bit of the layout. That’s the way it was at community newspapers, I spent six years there,” said Martinez.

Martinez went on to write for the Bakersfield Californian, and said his experience at the Tiller was invaluable. 

“Those little community stories, those little quirky stories that the larger newspapers won’t cover, they’re not going to be covered anymore…but the second thing is those governmental agencies, by that I mean primarily the city council, primarily the school boards, the local school districts are not going to have that light shining on them at every meeting,” explained Martinez.

Walking around Lamont you’re much more likely to see a free Spanish language newspaper rather than any English language newspaper at all.

According to the Pew Research Center, weekday newspaper circulation has been steadily declining since the 1980’s.

Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola says he is an avid reader of the Tiller.

“I think now more than ever we need good local reporting to cut through the noise, to hold institutions accountable and to inform the public and the community. And when you have local newspapers go out of business, the community suffers,” said Gurrola.

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