My hometown, Moberly, Missouri once had three newspapers, the Moberly Monitor, the Moberly Index and the Moberly Evening Democrat and so when they folded into one press the newspaper became the Moberly Monitor-Index and Evening Democrat. Newspapers brought political and community voice to issues and often championed one side or the other. In Tucson the Citizen was the conservative voice and the Arizona Daily Star the more liberal view. For years the letter’s to the editor reflected the frustrations of both sides and then in the Bush Years, the rancor was dialed up and politics boiled over and community newspapers starting putting the news of the day on page three and some “advance” on page one. Telling folks how to become a part of the community, instead of telling them what they missed, is how we spun the news we were pushing. Then we decided we needed to court the new generation because they were our future, so we decided not to cover the older generation who read us religiously and concentrate on tomorrow instead of yesterday. Then TNI circulation decided it was too expensive to drive the Citizen to Sierra Vista, AZ (even though we had 2500 readers there) so we walked away from 10 per cent of our reader base and the Star never picked up those readers. We did this again and again, and each time, we would concentrate on a smaller area of coverage…at one time…we decided we would just cover the University of Arizona and tell the news of Tucson through the eyes of their students and teachers. We quit covering Picture Rocks, Saddlebrook, Oro Valley, Marana, Green Valley and started to concern ourselves with the area surrounding the newspaper building at 4850 South Park Ave, less mileage expense and besides who wants to buy and advertise in a newspaper nobody needs or reads. In the 1970’s we covered Arizona from the Utah border to New Mexico border to California border into Mexico.
It wasn’t long after that Tucson Newspapers Inc decided the Citizen was too expensive to produce any longer and folded the newspaper after 138 years of covering Southern Arizona.
The Tucson Daily Citizen had covered the Shoot Out at the OK Corral, Arizona Statehood, Geronimo’s Capture and now wrote it’s own obituary, taking with it a news team the likes of, Tucson, will never see again. The Citizen’s legacy, are the newsmen and women left in its wake, a generation of reporters and communicators who had their shot and took it…
The Citizen’s website survives it’s printed version (for now) preserving a second voice for the Tucson area, it’s staffed by volunteers, and yes folks, ” PLEASE pay no attention to the big man behind the curtain”, thunders the WIZARD of OZ.