Thursday, September 21, 2023


Small town newspapers – ya gotta love ’em

By Chuck Woodbury
You can always tell you are in a town without a local Craigslist website because the local newspapers still have good-sized classified sections. You usually encounter this in small towns off the beaten path.

Most small town daily newspapers and weekly newspapers charge at least 75 cents a copy, often a dollar or even $1.50. That’s too much for me because the papers are usually thin with little interesting reporting. Sometimes the crime reports are good, though. A rural California newspaper once ran a report about how the fire department had been summoned to put out a fire. It turned out it was a burning bag of potato chips. I am not kidding you! It’s not at all unusual to read about a cow that was running loose around town.

If you just like to read these small town papers and are on a budget, stop by a newspaper recycling bin and pull out a dozen issues. Put them back when you are finished. You’ll also find interesting magazines, Modern Rancher, titles like that. I always enjoy paging through these periodicals to gain some insight into a subject that’s totally foreign to me.

The local library is also a good place to read the local newspaper. But all too often they are closed when you’re in the mood for the local news.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


  1. I live in a small town in rural NC. We once had a crime report of a stolen 6-pack of beer and a bottle of BBQ sauce.

    • Probably made front-page news, huh, John? Must be nice living in a peaceful place like that. 😀 —Diane at

  2. When, as a child, my family moved from a small Wisconsin town to Southern California, my mother continued to subscribe to our Wisconsin home town newspaper for several years. It helped her keep up with the local news “back home.”

  3. Sharene Vernon, I agree with you. Hometown papers, especially independent ones, are important to our democracy and our communities. They are often the only place we can get information on local government, for instance. People who can afford to spend $5 on a coffee can afford to support their local paper.

  4. When you’re done reading the papers you got from the recycle bin you can re-purpose them as your fire starter for your cooking /campfire.

  5. If you are looking for national news, you will most likely not find it in a small town local newspaper. Our local newspaper only publishes local news and I know, because I am one of the owners. We live in a town of nearly 5,000 and are a family-owned business, much different from newspapers owned by big companies. Most often these big companies concentrate on advertising revenue, not on editorial content, so their news is often lacking. Yes, our paper still publishes local church news, who had coffee with whom, the local city council meeting reports, the grant the local fire department got, lots of school news, and so much more!! We publish news that perhaps a person just driving through town might not have a lot of interest in. But if you live here, you most certainly would be interested if your water rate is going up or if the city is going to fix that pothole you always hit going to the local grocery store. You would also be proud to see your son’s picture in the paper for winning first place in the local fair. You could learn about events happening in town and be saddened to see an obituary of a person you went to school with, etc. We are a big part of our local community. So, I took offense from your article that said look in the trash to find out the news.

    • I don’t think the writer meant to offend, it was about pulling back issues from the recycling bin to catch up on local news, not that local news was trash! I love small-town newspapers, both my own town and the ones i pass through. Thanks for what you do!


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