A 1986 daily issue of the Transcript-Telegram
|Owner(s)||Newspapers of New England|
|Publisher||Murray D. Schwartz|
|Founded||1849, as Hampden Freeman|
|Ceased publication||January 21, 1993|
|Headquarters||120 Whiting Farms Road, Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040 United States|
|Circulation||16,300 daily in 1993|
Published as a daily since 1882, the newspaper folded in January 1993 after four years of heavy losses. Long owned by the Dwight family, the T‑T's last owner was Newspapers of New England, which had been founded by the Dwights as a holding company for the T‑T and other newspapers it had acquired.
With the departure of the T‑T, Holyoke lost its only newspaper of record. Daily newspaper readers in the city turned to newspapers in nearby cities, which increased their coverage of Holyoke: the Union-News of Springfield, now called The Republican; and the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton.
Founded as Holyoke's first newspaper, the Hampden Freeman, in 1846, the story of the T-T begins when William G. Dwight became part-owner of the paper in 1882. He oversaw the conversion of the weekly, by then called the Holyoke Transcript, into a daily; and in 1926 he completed the acquisition of the Holyoke Telegram daily, lending the combined newspaper the name it would keep until 1993.
Dwight died in 1930, and his wife, Minnie Dwight, became publisher. Their son, also named William Dwight, was named managing editor but he also explored other investments. He founded WHYN radio with Charles DeRose, owner of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The two also founded WHYN-TV, the Springfield area's second television station, in 1953. They sold the WHYN properties in 1967.
Another of William Dwight's purchases would have a profound impact on the T‑T's future. In 1955 he bought and became co-publisher of the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette. His later purchases of the Concord Monitor and Valley News in New Hampshire would lead to the establishment of Newspapers of New England, the company that eventually decided to close the T‑T.
Following Minnie's death in 1957, her son William became publisher of the T‑T, a title he held until his son, William Jr., took the reins in 1975. William Sr. stayed on as chairman of the board until 1982, succeeded in that capacity by his son Donald R. Dwight.
William Dwight, Jr., stayed on as publisher only until 1981, when the company board, made up largely of his family including brother-in-law George W. Wilson, fired him. William Jr. later blamed his out-of-towner replacements for the newspaper's decline, according to CommonWealth magazine:
The new crew had grand journalistic visions, and forgot the Transcript's local roots, residents say. The publisher sent one reporter to China, another to Poland to cover the labor Solidarity movement. "They saw it as a more metropolitan type daily, a more sophisticated newspaper", said William Dwight, Jr., ... "The result is they added enormous expense to the newspaper and it was not covered by the income."
In 1988 the T‑T was named "best newspaper in New England" by the New England Newspaper Publishers Association, but in the years 1988 to 1992 the newspaper was said to have lost $1 million as advertising and circulation declined. Some observers blamed competition with the Union-News of Springfield (which would later publish a "Holyoke Union-News" edition) or Holyoke's substantial and growing immigrant population, which diluted the market for an English-language newspaper. In a newspaper interview, the T‑T's then-publisher blamed economics:
"You're wrestling with a market that has decreased substantially over the last two decades", said Murray D. Schwartz, publisher of the Transcript-Telegram. "It has really lost its downtown core. It's really a traditional story of what has happened to American cities."
Out of 69 workers at the newspaper on the day it closed, the company laid off 36. The remainder took jobs at four weekly newspapers, published at the Transcript-Telegram building, intended to take the daily's place.
Immediately after the daily newspaper's demise, Newspapers of New England reopened the T‑T as a group of four free-circulation, tabloid-format weekly newspapers—a weekly Transcript-Telegram in Holyoke, and In South Hadley-Granby, In Chicopee and In Westfield, covering four of the largest cities and towns in the old daily T‑T circulation area. The Chicopee and Westfield weeklies had actually been established about a year prior to the daily's demise.
The free tabloids immediately proved to be unprofitable, however, and the company pulled the plug on the experiment only three months later. The Holyoke Transcript-Telegram published its final edition April 23, 1993.
With the weekly T‑T gone, Holyoke was in "a virtual news blackout", according to journalist Carolyn Ryan, "with only a gossip sheet called Hello, Holyoke remaining for local media". Indeed, it is true that Hello, Holyoke's coverage was almost exclusively local news and opinion, with no reporting of world or national news or sports or financial coverage. That vacuum went unfilled until two years later, when Justin Prisendorf established the Holyoke Sun.
- Constantine, Sandra E. "Transcript-Telegram Ceases Publication". Union-News, Springfield, Mass. April 24, 1993.
- "Holyoke Daily Splits into Four Weeklies". The Boston Globe, January 22, 1993.
- "William Dwight, 92, Holyoke Publisher". Obituary. Union-News, Springfield, Mass. June 5, 1996.
- Ryan, Carolyn. "A Newspaper Grows in Holyoke". CommonWealth magazine, Fall 1996.
- Fiedler, Tom. "What Happens When a Community Loses its Newspaper?". CommonWealth magazine, Boston, Mass., November 3, 2011.
- Donn, Jeff. "Holyoke Newspaper Closes". Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass. January 22, 1993.
- Collection Highlights, Holyoke History Room. Holyoke Public Library. Accessed 25 April 2018.
- Transcript-telegram. Holyoke Transcript-Telegram Pub. Co. WorldCat OCLC 20551327.
- Burke, Mike. "Local newspaper stops publishing". The Republican, Springfield, Mass. December 15, 2006.  accessed April 19, 2012.
- Turley Publications: Holyoke Sun, accessed February 6, 2007.
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