|Another era recorded, passing
I was very disappointed when the news came that the Richfield Springs Mercury was suspending publication with this issue. Since July 2003, the Mercury has recorded the Richfield communityís news, and news from the surrounding area, faithfully, accurately and professionally. Itís a loss for everyone.
Across the country, small and large newspapers, both weekly and daily publications, are cutting back on staff, news reporting. Advertising and subscription revenues are diminishing and many newspapers are failing financially.
An independent press has served the American democracy for more than 200 years. Now however, the future role of newspapers is in doubt. Newspapers are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in the competitive, innovative modern multi-media environment.
Richfield Springs was fortunate to have Jay G. Bernhardt, a native son, as the founding publisher of the Mercury. Jay, with the help of veteran journalist Bill Gates, brought the Mercury back to life in the summer of 2003 after an absence of 31 years. In doing so, Mr. Bernhardt provided a public service and the paper was truly a gift to his home town where he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s playing baseball on a homemade field.
The original Mercury, Vol. 1, No. 1, appeared on the streets of Richfield Springs on July 19, 1867 and was published continually until 1972 when acquired by an owner who ceased to print the Mercury but simply absorbed its advertising and subscription list into another weekly. Perhaps the Mercury will rise again.
I was privileged to be the editor of the Mercury for a time, and I have contributed the weekly history columns for the past five years. Should any readers wish to contact me regarding items that have appeared in my columns, please do so by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
History Column Contributor