Beacons in the Darkness

Beacons in the Darkness

Hope and Transformation Among America’s Community Newspapers

by Dave Hoekstra

Published by: Agate Publishing

298 Pages, Color and B&W photos throughout, Charts, Tables

  • Paperback
  • 9781572843165
  • Published: October 2022

Community journalism has long been a part of the lifeblood of America, but never have the stakes been so high for the people behind it. 

In Beacons in the Darkness, award-winning journalist Dave Hoekstra interviews the people trying to keep the lights on at community newspapers across the country amid buyouts, declining revenues, fake news, and a pandemic. This book is not another account of the death of local journalism—but rather a celebration of the community ties, perseverance, and empathy that’s demonstrated in community newsrooms from Hillsboro, Illinois, to Charleston, South Carolina, to Marfa, Texas. 

Hoekstra recounts the sometimes-scandalous but always-industrious stories of the families who built these newspapers and passed them down through generations. Modern publishers and owners describe in their own words their struggles and experiments to stay alive in the digital age, not just for their businesses and their families but also for the communities they serve and the neighbors whose stories they tell in their reporting. Beacons in the Darkness provides an intimate view inside the organizations that still publish photos of the local bowling league and the outlandishly large mushrooms on the edge of town, leaving you with a rekindled fondness for your own community paper—and a renewed appreciation of what we all stand to lose without one.