The City of Tempe's throwing a wake tonight for the loss of the East Valley Tribune's Tempe and Scottsdale coverage.
In a free event cooked up by Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, the city will "say goodbye to 121 years of continuous newspaper coverage" by the local paper in a celebration planned between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 E. 5th Street.
As reported in this blog, the Tribune's making major changes starting just after the first of the year. Nearly half of the staff will be forced out, and the paper will publish just four days a week. Delivery will stop in Tempe and Scottsdale, and the paper's reporters will no longer cover the news regularly in those cities.
Lots of neat, old headlines will be on display at tonight's event, as will an as-of-yet-unveiled memorial to honor the Tribune that will be placed in the Tempe Historical Museum. The band "Los Guys" will provide live music.
The party's sponsored by public relations firms, which no doubt lament the coming scarcity of reporters to rewrite their press releases into news articles that serve as free advertising.
Of course, the Tribune provided much more than rehashed news releases over the years. Looking back at the interesting and important stories the paper covered, it's mind-numbing to imagine what information the public will miss in the future.
Sadly, similar farewell parties may be held across the country in the coming year as more newspapers get smaller and others go the way of dinosaurs. -- Ray Stern