The Westport community will lose its online newspaper at the end of the month due to the death of its founder.
Gordon Joseloff began WestportNow in 2003, before online local news became a growing trend. James Lomuscio, who worked for Joseloff, said not only did Joseloff have a deep passion for journalism, but he also loved his hometown.
“When he was a teenager he started the radio station at Staples High School, where he attended, and that radio station is still there today,” said Lomuscio.
He went from that small beginning to a notable career at CBS, eventually serving as bureau chief in New York, Tokyo and Moscow. It was that commitment that helped his hyperlocal publication win multiple awards.
“Talk about the pressure of a daily newspaper, online journalism never ends,” said Lomuscio. “Gordon used to say, ‘Someone has to keep feeding the beast, they need to know.’ Gordon was someone who was always so committed to the story.”
Over 18 years, WestportNow was published for 6,467 days straight. With so many local publications losing their funding, the loss of WestportNow is enormous, said Rich Hanley, professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University.
“It performed a vital function of sort of lubricating the social and political conversation that went on in that town,” said Hanley.
He said that beyond the great journalism, the publication survived thanks to a wealthier community and a vibrant downtown with advertisement dollars.
“The big loss is to the community,” said Hanley. “It loses a sense of itself, it loses a record of history that took place.”
Joseloff, who suffered from blood cancer, died earlier this month. His children say they’ll honor his wish to have the former publications live on as a digital archive of the town’s history.