Local news judgment evolves in a divided world

By Peter Weinberger | pweinberger@claremont-courier.com

It seems like it was long ago when Martin Weinberger was writing yet another Courier column on state or national politics, usually slamming the GOP for feeding the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor. There were dustups with the city that could get quite tense on occasion, but it never stopped the two from working on common issues for the good of Claremont.

The Courier was a unique publication because of the wide variety of issues discussed inside and outside the confines of Claremont. Yes, it focused on local news, but more than that it became a safe haven to talk about other ideas large and small, local or national.

For example, Courier photographers and reporters would cover the national political conventions every four years. Page after page would be published. Being a liberal Democrat didn’t really endear Martin to some, especially when he wouldn’t even endorse the Democrat’s choice for president in the general election. Yes, he endorsed all choices, from local propositions and candidates to the most powerful person in the world.

Over the past dozen years that dynamic has changed dramatically. Now the world is politically and culturally divided, it’s less about finding common ground, and more about simply attacking the “enemy.”


Changes in content judgment

I have come to the decision that it is time to admit that in these fractious times, there are certain national and world events and people the Courier should avoid talking about unless there is a strong local angle. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. No big decrees here. Just common sense thinking about the Courier’s role in the community. I am deeply concerned about who will be our next president, editor Mick Rhodes cares deeply about the war in Gaza. But taking into consideration today’s political environment, that doesn’t mean our opinions should be in the pages of the Courier.

Some of this applies to readers too. Most newspapers don’t even come close to publishing all letters to the editor. Yet here at the Courier we make a real effort for most all opinions to be heard. Comments on our social media are of course reviewed before they’re posted. Don’t expect the Courier to publish a letter or social media post about January 6th being driven by a deep state plot, or how the 2020 election was stolen. We will always publish only fact-based information.

The good news is none of this has anything to do with what we do best: covering local news. Local news is the Courier’s niche, and we will continue to play a pivotal role in keeping our readers informed.

Just look at our March 29, 2024 edition: there were two sections filling 44 pages of local content. There were 33 local stories and columns in print and online. Guess what most of the comments were about? “You should be doing more local news!”

All this is why I am rethinking our news judgment and acknowledging the Courier may not be able to take on certain topics and move the discussion forward. We hear you. Let’s just not lose sight of all the contributions we have made, and continue to make, in helping to make our community a better place to live.




    Thank you. The past several weeks I’ve only been skimming the stories because of what you just wrote about. I don’t read the Courier for that – keep up the good local reporting!


    It’s about time! The value of a Local Newspaper is the focus on local issues relevant to local institutions and people. I can get information on National and international events elsewhere … I can’t get information on Claremont issues elsewhere.

    • Peter Weinberger

      Thanks David. A reminder that opinion columns do not impact our local news coverage. The number of stories we write for print and online is far greater than most people think. Last week for example, we published 33 local news stories. Not columns or letters, news stories. My point is our focus is there, but I’m in agreement there simply are some non-local issues that are better served discussed on other forums. All decided on a case by case basis. Thanks.

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