I live in a suburban area with 7 other cities touching our borders. We get several small newspapers since we live in the same zip code and within 100 yards of two of the cities. (A block from my street, the roadway is one city on the left side and the other on the right.)
Sometimes small town newspapers try to compete with the larger city ones, with the emphasis on national, state and international matters.s When a small town newspaper is doing it right, it gives the community news that personally matters.
The Saturday edition of my local paper leads off in large bold print about Cody being bumped from "Dancing with the Stars." Not only does his family live locally, but he graduated from the local high school last year.
Underneath, in bold print about half the size of Cody's blurb, is an article and picture about 3 thieves who are breaking into cars, stealing credit cards and running to the store to buy items quickly. The pictures are less than 2" big so it's hard to tell what the culprits' faces look like.
The bottom of the front page has smaller less bold headlines about naming the city's first railway station with a very large picture of the new railway station they are constructing.
All these keep our citizens up to date, or at least the ones who pick up the free paper thrown in the yard and actually read it. Just what local papers should be doing, helping inform the citizenry and helping us to stay connected and want to participate.
The right third of the front page has a resident's 5"+ picture as she talks about where she was when JFK was killed. While that is national since she was in another state when it happened, it's also local for all her neighbors, work and religious friends to see.
I think local newspapers add a lot to small town life.