On the same day that a loving tribute to the departed Current newspapers appeared in the Washington Post, Georgetowners (and other NW DC residents) would be excused for doing a double-take when approaching their front door. Sitting there was what appeared to be a Current newspaper. This would be completely surprising given that the company filed for total liquidation earlier this spring.
But opening the cellophane bag and flipping open the paper would reveal that it wasn’t a Current newspaper, but something that looks almost identical: the Northwest Courier.
The Northwest Courier is the work of several former Current staff members, Brendan Martin and Kaleel Weatherly, who wanted to recreate the service that the beloved Current had delivered for generations.
Flipping through the maiden issue, it appears that they have succeeded. The issue is thicker than the jaundiced Current of recent years, clocking in at 28 pages of content and ads. And the topics covered reflect the Current’s old focuses, some citywide news and plenty of hyperlocal news. It even has ANC reports and a crime blotter.
It doesn’t have an opinion page (yet, at least). GM used to love reading the Current’s opinion page and its cantankerous letters to the editor. Hopefully something like it will come.
And it lacked school sports reports. But since it’s summer and the schools are out, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. High school sports coverage was one of the jewels of the Current. The Courier should put an emphasis on it.
Interestingly, this is the second hyper-local news publication founded by former Current staffers. Chris Kain, who was the editor of the Current for decades, formed the DC Line after leaving the Current. It is a non-profit, online-only, also attempting to recreate the service that the Current delivered. Kain has hired many former Current writers and has already developed a good track record with the venture.
But there’s just something about getting that weekly paper delivered to your doorstep (although GM should say he didn’t actually get a copy on his doorstep, which was a bit of a problem with the Current in later years as well). Hopefully there’s room for both the DC Line and the Courier. If they can carry on the legacy of the Current, they will have delivered a crucial public service.
One last point: The assets of the Current are subject to liquidation and (presumably) auction. Wouldn’t it be great if the Courier simply bought up the name of the Current from the auction and brought the name back? A similar reincarnation happened with the DC Blade a while back.