Community newspaper editor talks media at West End Library

Davis Kennedy, editor and publisher of a series of neighborhood newspapers, emphasized the stability of community papers during a lecture on the past, present and future of newspapers Saturday at the West End Neighborhood Library.

For 15 years, Kennedy has been working with the Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont, Northwest Currents, and Voice of the Hill, all of which are free community papers.

Kennedy said he wanted to get across that “things change,” noting that in the ’20s and ’30s, the evening newspapers were the often a community’s main newspaper.

Kennedy also addressed the selectivity of the newspapers when it came to hiring for some of the older writers in the audience.

“A lot of things are taken into account, but when it’s 35 versus 55 [years old], and it’s a long term’s a natural thing, though it is illegal, to show favor to the 35-year-old.”

Though the event was intended to last from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., the seminar concluded an hour later due to the question and answer portion.

“One question people always ask me is why don’t we have color [printing],” Kennedy said. He explained it was dependent on the revenue obtained through advertisements for each paper.

Jacqueline Lemire, a member of the Foggy Bottom Association, said she found the lecture informative.

“I found… the difference between what appears to be a healthy community in newspapers versus what we are seeing with the newspapers like the Washington Post, and to a lesser degree, to the New York Times…very interesting,” she said.

John Gizzi, a member of West End Library Friends, organized the event.

“[Kennedy] was fascinating,” Gizzi said. “He gives me a lot of hope that print will survive,” he added.

While the only about 15 people participated in the event, Gizzi called it impressive to get that number of people to come out on a Saturday afternoon.

After the success of the event, West End Library Friends plans to host similar lectures in the future.

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