It's no secret that daily newspapers across the country are having a difficult time making ends meet. Many papers have cut back much of their coverage and reduced staff, or gone out of business all together.

Reasons for the decline of newspapers can vary; running a newspaper is a labor-intensive business and that means spending money to do the job right. But the revenue stream for newspapers has taken a hit in recent years as more and more people have decided to stop paying for newspapers and look for other ways to get their news.

A group of SouthCoast residents, understanding the challenges newspapers face, are now working to provide information that daily newspapers and other media can't do. New Bedford Light, a free online news site, launched last month with a special COVID-19 edition. It provided in-depth coverage of the pandemic's impact on New Bedford and its people.

New England First Amendment Coalition via YouTube
New England First Amendment Coalition via YouTube

Founding Editor Barbara Roessner said it's the type of coverage New Bedford Light hopes to provide on many key issues like housing, gentrification in city neighborhoods, the impact of offshore wind and more.

New Bedford Light is a non-profit organization, operating on grants and donations. Roessner is a former managing editor of the Hartford Courant and many of those who work with her at New Bedford Light have years of experience in the newspaper business. She said those who have signed on have made a "leap of faith," hoping the new online venture will be a journalistic success.

Roessner's Townsquare Sunday interview can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 a.m. The program highlights individuals and organizations working to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

The Victims in the New Bedford Highway Murders

The New Bedford highway murders took place in 1988, with the bodies discovered into 1989. The killer is confirmed to have killed nine women and suspected of murdering at least two more. Although there were at least three different men considered as suspects by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, the murders remain unsolved and the families of the victims are still searching for closure. The cases are all featured on the unsolved cases page of the Bristol County District Attorney's Office website.

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