“When Life Lacks News Sources, You Make Your Own”: The Story of the Northport Journal, A New Local Publication


NYS Historical Newspapers

The Northport Journal, first established in 1872, is being rebooted through an online platform to distribute news to the community.

James Connor, Contributor

“This is one of the only communities I can think of that has this many people living in it, this many things going on, and there’s literally no way to get news locally online.” Those are the words of Douglas Roberts, a managing partner of the newly emerging Northport Journal. The Journal, first established in 1872, is being rebooted through an online platform to distribute news to the community. The Port Press sat down with Roberts to discuss the new platform and the role Journal staff are hoping to assume.

In Northport, there exist few sources for local news. The most well known is The Observer, a local print publication operated by resident David Ambro. Otherwise, the only additional sources of news are larger publications such as Newsday or News 12 — whose coverage is few and far between. According to Roberts, that’s a problem.

“The school board meets on Thursday nights,” he explains. “The Observer doesn’t hit people’s mailboxes until Saturday. So you get the story about what happened at last week’s board meeting six to eight days later.”

Douglas and the rest of the Journal staff — currently numbering a small total of four — set forth on a mission to provide local, real time, and online news for the residents of Northport. The publication plans to cover a wide range of content — from investigative and opinion pieces to sports and restaurant reviews. In fact, the Journal has already started using its Facebook page to put out small news bulletins pertaining to local Board of Education elections, village water treatment projects, and even the history of the Northport Journal.

Roberts also noted the importance of the Journal in today’s digital climate; currently, 86% of Americans get their news online. He and the rest of the Journal staff hope that the publication will play a vital role in combating local misinformation. “We get frustrated how quickly something that’s just not true can spin out of control,” he explains, citing the rumors and gossip that circulated during last year’s closure of Northport Middle School. “That’s part of why we’re doing this.” The Journal staff hope that no matter the content, the publication will provide an accessible means for getting pertinent local information.

From education to government, the Northport Journal offers a new frontier for news-hungry residents. Swapping a pen for a keyboard, the Journal is approaching its role as a community news source with the very qualities necessary for any successful publication: enthusiasm, pride, and a dedication to the truth.

The Northport Journal is available to read online at https://northportjournal.com.