Another media icon closes

Word from the Texas Panhandle hit me like a punch in the puss: the Canadian Record is shutting down after 132 years providing top-notch community journalism to arguably one of the more fascinating communities in the region.

Laurie Ezzell Brown, publisher of the newspaper and daughter of a Panhandle journalism legend, Ben Ezzell, has surrendered to the forces of change in the media.

This saddens me terribly. It is one more iconic community institution to fall victim to what we call the “Digital Age” of what passes for journalism these days.

Jon Mark Beilue, a former columnist at the Amarillo Globe-News, where I worked for nearly 18 years, wrote a touching tribute to the work that Brown did as publisher of the Record.

Here is part of what Beilue wrote on his Facebook post:

Like her father, (Brown) didn’t shy from calling it how she saw it with the best interest of her hometown at heart …

But more than anything, Laurie and a revolving small staff covered the 2,300 people of Canadian. They were the town’s conscience, the stitches in the fabric that knitted the community together. Achievements, disappointments, the memorable, the mundane, the Record was there. They were there for every school board meeting, every city council and county commissioner meeting, every time the hospital district met.

Jon Mark Beilue | Facebook

Communities once relied on their newspapers to tell them what happened next door, or down the street, or around the block.

The Canadian Record is far from the first such iconic institution to close. It won’t be the final one, either. That doesn’t make this news any easier to swallow.

Well done, Laurie Ezzell Brown.