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Thank You, Germantown, for Five Amazing Years

Over the long Fourth of July weekend, the family took an entertaining trip to the small Indiana town of Hawkins. Hawkins is very much like Germantown; it boasts a hardworking populace, a brave and dedicated police department, curious and smart youth, and a rather large Department of Energy installation. Among the differences between Harkins and Germantown is the rift in time and space, the penchant for the supernatural happenings, one extremely gifted young girl. And, one very glaring difference is that Hawkins has what appears to be a very healthy and robust newspaper.

Of course, Hawkins is purely fictional. It is the setting for the Netflix blockbuster series Stranger Things. My family and I binge-watched the entire series over the long weekend. And in a world of alternate realities, meddling kids foiling supernatural evil, Mind Flaying monsters, secret Russian bases under the shopping mall, and government mind control experiments — the most unbelievable thing in the entire Stranger Things universe was a local small-town newspaper with a full-time editorial staff of seven men and two interns. That was too fanciful to be believed, even in 1983.

Of course, Stranger Things is a science-fiction fantasy series. The real economic realities of the news business in the 1980s were a bit more strained, and the real-time, real-life economic realities of the news business in 2019 are even harsher.