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Valley Newspapers to File for Bankruptcy

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Freedom Communications, the owner of a string of Rio Grande Valley papers, will file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to a New York Times story today.Freedom Communications, based in Orange County, California, owns the Monitor in McAllen, the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen and the Brownsville Herald.  The newspaper chain like many other chains has been limping along financially for some time. As a former reporter for the Monitor, it was depressing to see the cutbacks made over the years at the newspaper.  For instance, it made no sense that the paper ran editorials from Orange County, California, that had nothing to do with the communities along the border. The newspaper chose not to hire a local editorial writer in a cost cutting move. We are indeed in the middle of interesting times when it comes to the media. I will be curious to see what comes out on the other side of the bankruptcy. The border needs better and more diverse representation in the media. I believe the Freedom chain hasn’t been providing that for some years. In both coverage and analysis the online newspaper the Rio Grande Guardian has been eating Freedom’s lunch for years. As a journalist, I am trying to take a positive stance when it comes to the future of journalism. Hopefully, in the face of declining newspaper journalism, we’ll have a surge of online journalism where will have more voices coming from the border rather then less. I’m going to leave this post as a “glass half full” post on the declining newspaper industry.

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Melissa is a 2014-15 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.