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End of an era as Argus-Citizen stops the presses

Calls began coming into the Reporter offices last week from readers and advertisers with word that another newspaper that services Dorchester— the Argus-Citizen— has published its last edition. Also closing, according to several sources: The South Boston Tribune, a weekly broadsheet like the Argus, that has been an influential newspaper in that community going back deep into the 20th century.

The Reporter has attempted to verify this information with the editor of the Argus-Citizen and its owner, Patrick Horgan, but we have been told simply by the editor that “a story is not necessary.” A number of sources who have spoken with the newspaper’s staff, however, have independently confirmed the news. (Update: Indeed, on Thurs., Oct. 25, the Tribune carried a page one brief titled "End of an Era" explaining the shut-down to readers. The same courtesy evidently was not afforded readers of the Argus-Citizen.)

While it’s true that the Argus-Citizen has not been a widely read paper in recent years, at one time it was the paper of record in this part of the city. If it is indeed true that the Argus-Citizen and its sister papers in South Boston, Milton, Hyde Park, and elsewhere will no longer be published, the news certainly marks the end of an era that is worthy of mention and reflection in this community.

Generations of Dorchester people relied on the Argus for news about their community, their kids’ schools, the local sports teams and church activities. In its heyday, it employed top-notch journalists and editors like the legendary Bill Pedersen, the Boston Globe’s Charlie Radin, and BNN-TV newsman Chris Lovett.

The Reporter’s publisher, Ed Forry, got his start in the business writing commentaries and news articles for both the Tribune and the Argus-Citizen, and Sports Illustrated’s now-retired managing editor Mark Mulvoy spent part of his grammar school years delivering the Citizen to his Lonsdale Street neighbors.

At one time, there were a host of alternative news sources in print for our neighborhoods. Longtime residents can recall such mastheads as the Dorchester Beacon and the Dorchester Community News, and the Argus-Citizen even published separate weekly editions focused on the retail markets in Fields Corner, Codman Square, and Uphams Corner.

But the newspaper world has changed dramatically from the apex of the Argus’s life span in the post-war years of the 1940s and 1950s. Today, there are many more sources of local news, from newspapers and websites like our own, to Facebook and blogs— even Twitter. But there’s still something special about a publication that has borne witness to a community over a time frame measured not in characters tweeted or hits accumulated, but in decades— even generations— on the watch, week in and week out.

We’re sad to see that another publication’s time has apparently come to an end. We wish the best for the Horgan family— who lost their father Dan, the papers’ longtime operator, last year. The Argus-Citizen will certainly be remembered for all of the stories it told for many years under his watch. They will live on in microfilm at the BPL and serve as an important record of what it was like to live here.
We salute the men and women who made the Tribune papers part of our community’s history.

Ave atque vale!

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