Year in Review 2020: Easton Courier’s Rebirth

The print edition of the Easton Courier ceased publication in 2018, its 40th anniversary year, as a result of diminishing ad revenue. Recognizing Easton’s profound community need for local news, James Castonguay, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences at Sacred Heart University, reached out to Nancy Doniger to look into reviving the Courier. 

Doniger, an adjunct professor at SHU and Easton Courier editor, had worked as managing editor at the Courier’s parent company and as a correspondent for The New York Times. Castonguay assembled a team of faculty members and consulted with Easton leaders and residents. 

Their vision was to restart the Easton Courier as a non-profit community journalism project that would also provide an experiential learning opportunity for students at Sacred Heart and at Joel Barlow High School.

Professors Jim Castonguay and Keith Zdrojowy present an early version of the new Easton Courier website during a meeting in the Martire Theater at the School of Communication, Media & the Arts at Sacred Heart University. — Gregory Golda Photo

Community meetings about the Easton Courier 2.0 were well-attended, and ideas from Easton residents formed the basis of the new site’s priorities. The new nonprofit Easton Courier launched on leap day, Feb. 29, two weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down schools, businesses and almost all activities of daily living. 

Easton community leaders and other residents attended pre-launch meetings to learn about the new Easton Courier.

Three Easton residents wrote articles about the new Courier. Adrienne Jane Burke wrote Easton’s Local Newspaper to Make a Comeback with Citizen Support after the first of three community meetings about the new Courier. The first meeting was held in the Martire Theater at the School of Communication, Media & the Arts at Sacred Heart University.

Gale Papageorge wrote New Easton Courier 2.0 To Be Launched, following the second community meeting, held at the Easton Public Library. The third community meeting was at the Easton Community Center, on the occasion of the Courier’s launch day, Feb. 29.

Cathy Alfandre wrote The New Easton Courier at Four Months: A Model for Innovative Community Journalism.

Kelly Wendt, a college intern at the old Courier who recently earned a master’s in business administration degree, was a contributing writer during the pandemic while waiting to start a new job.

The faculty team of Castonguay, Doniger, Rick Falco, Keith Zdrojowy, Jane Paley, Ann Marie Somma and Taci Batista is grateful to Burke, Papageorge, Alfandre, and Wendt for their well-written articles and to all of the Courier’s student and community contributors.

The faculty team donated countless volunteer hours to produce the news that Courier readers now consume every day. They ask that you support the Courier by making a donation at the link below:

Easton Courier Community Journalism Project Donation Page

All donations are placed in a restricted fund earmarked solely for the purpose of sustaining the Easton Courier Community Journalism Project.

Photo at top: After the pandemic shut down in-person meetings, the Courier team met over Zoom. Team members, left to right, top row, Rick Falco, Jim Castonguay, Jane Paley; middle row, Ann Marie Somma, Kelly Wendt, Keith Zdrojowy; bottom row, Nancy Doniger.

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