What’s going on in Plymouth? It’s a question a lot of us have asked for years as local news coverage eroded, leaving the town without a credible local source of fact-based journalism. In its absence, rumors, innuendos, and outright falsehoods have filled the void, posing a serious threat not only to Plymouth’s prosperity, but to democracy itself. Without a robust press, public officials are no longer held accountable. Access to essential information – like the town’s plans for growth, traffic control, public education, culture, and a broader tax base – is, at best, challenging. As a result, most people have withdrawn from civic engagement out of frustration, confusion, or resignation. That’s dangerous.
I began my career as a journalist in Plymouth in the 1980s, serving as executive editor of the Old Colony Memorial and a group of other weekly papers for 15 years, under the MPG Newspapers umbrella. Some of you may remember our offices on Long Pond Road just off Route 3. (It’s a Honda dealership today.) Readership was high, advertiser support was strong, and the OCM provided the kind of robust and wide-ranging coverage a growing community like Plymouth deserves.
Sadly, the paper’s current out-of-state corporate owner has abandoned its role as a watchdog. The timing could not be worse. Plymouth’s unrelenting expansion brings with it issues and concerns that can only be addressed through a free exchange of facts and informed opinions.
So, after a long absence from local journalism – including a year-long fellowship followed by more than 22 years as an editor and writer at The Boston Globe – I’ve returned to my roots as editor of the Plymouth Independent. This isn’t a late career nostalgia tour; it’s a mission.
Thanks to a dedicated group of concerned residents who formed our board of directors, a team of fundraisers, and the crucial advisory presence of former Boston Globe Spotlight editor Walter Robinson, the Independent was established earlier this year with a goal of bringing locally grown journalism back to town by the end of 2023. We’ve reached that first milestone. With your financial support, the site can swiftly grow from these modest roots, serving as a source of vital information, as well as an online community gathering place. And it’s all free. We encourage your feedback and participation. (You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Even though I never left Plymouth, the Independent feels like a homecoming. It’s good to be back.
Mark Pothier, Editor
Mark Pothier can be reached at email@example.com.
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