The end of a newspaper

From the day they started, more than 26 years ago, Nancy and Fred Hastings never failed to publish a weekly issue of the Downeast Coastal Press. That weekly publication, based in Cutler and serving coastal Washington County communities, will come to an end sometime before Thanksgiving when the final edition of the newspaper rolls off the press here at The Ellsworth American.

That will be a sad day for many of us. Like so many other businesses, newspapers come and go. But the loss of a newspaper, especially in small towns such as those served by the Downeast Coastal Press, creates a void not easily be filled by any other entity. For nearly 3,000 Washington County households, a valued and trusted source of information, a vital part of their lives, will disappear. As the Hastings said so eloquently in their retirement editorial, a community newspaper is not unlike a mirror to all that its readers do, “whether it be reporting the news, holding those in a position of public trust accountable, provoking dialogue and debate on the great issues of the day, sharing memories and humor, extolling achievements or inspiring good deeds.”

For more than two decades, the Downeast Coastal Press did all of that and more — and did it very well.

The Hastings rightly noted that “the need for information is forever” and that “for those in the information business, these are invigorating times.” But after years of working seven days a week and meeting inexorable deadlines, the time has come for them to pursue other endeavors.

We heartily applaud their accomplishments and inestimable contributions in the Downeast area over the past 26 years, and we wish them well.