Backbone's Closing A Loss To Community


Unlike turn-of-the-century robber barons, we are sad to see our competition go.

Carroll Cox, editor and publisher of the Backbone, announced in her column last Thursday that this week's edition will be the local weekly paper's last.

The news saddened us because the death of a newspaper -- no matter who, no matter where -- is a blow against one of our profession's cherished beliefs: that a vigorous press is a necessary part of a free nation.

Every time an American town or city loses a newspaper, it loses a voice that can contribute to the community's efforts to be just, efficient and charitable. Our belief is that a chorus of voices makes for a stronger community than does a solo effort.

The Backbone has been a very different publication from the Roundup, and for that the Rim country has been a richer place. It's been a much more personal publication, reflecting the perspective of someone who has lived here for decades and who has watched the community change and grow.

That kind of intimate community knowledge lends important insight and historical depth to the community dialogue that shapes how we meet each new challenge. Beyond adding its own voice on important issues, the Backbone has educated all of us about our heritage through its columns and essays about Rim country history.

Now that the Backbone is closing down, we at the Roundup plan to fill the gaps as best we can. We are working with the Northern Gila County Historical Society and the Rim Country Museum to make sure that the important historical voice does not fall silent.

Meanwhile, we wish the best to the hard workers at the Backbone.

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