For Our Connecticut Readers

I live in Bethany now, a town without media. Oh, we share a Patch page with Woodbridge, and there’s a weekly paper put out by the New Haven Register that has some original content, and there’s a very informative “Bethany Bulletin” and a monthly newsletter from the First Selectman. But there’s no hardcore beat reporting, no tweeting or posting of breaking news. If I wasn’t on the email list of the head of the town Democratic Party, I wouldn’t have been able to find the full results of the recent municipal elections (without going to Town Hall myself and asking, I guess).
After 30 years of living in New Haven and working at a newspaper there myself, plus living the rest of my adult life in and around Boston, I’m used to deep extensive coverage, even of suburbs. An odd transition.
But not an unwelcome. I’m so used to getting information about where I live from the media, I’d forgotten how you can ask neighbors and politicians and other community members for answers. I’m naturally inquisitive, and I like hearing both sides of a story and bouncing different versions off of each other.
I’m also recalling something I learned when I was a busy, story-chasing journalist myself—that not everybody needs everything to be a story. It can be validating to see something you did documented in print, but it’s not always necessary to be validated. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes unnecessary arguments fade away if they’re not fought in the media. Sometimes things are so blown out of proportion that they shouldn’t’ve been brought up in the first place. The media is a reflection of what it covers; a bustling city and a quaint small town will operate differently.
I’m all for authoritative reporting and transparency and truth. But I’m learning that in a town where people are more set off from each other, and create their own small quiet cultures, that solitude and privacy and respect are the real story. No news may be good news.

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