Residents in the Indiana town of Hope who mourned the loss of the community’s weekly newspaper now have a new source for local information.

The media division of Heritage of Hope, the nonprofit organization that holds the annual Hope Heritage Days, launched hsjonline.org.

The free online news site fills the void of the Hope Star-Journal, which published for 102 years. Its final edition was Oct. 16, following the Sept. 28 death of owner Larry Simpson.

Bud Herron, Tim Shoaf, David Webster and Michael Dean – all pallbearers at Simpson’s funeral – discussed what they could do to keep the Star-Journal publishing because of the integral role it played in the community. They looked into continuing the print product, but complicated legal reasons and financial realities scuttled that option, Herron said.

Discussions steered instead to an online news site to serve as the new news platform for the community, in part because of the lower costs involved. Herron said that because of challenges online newspapers have in generating revenue, a nonprofit model was chosen, with Heritage of Hope stepping in as the umbrella organization to help support it.

The name hsjonline was chosen as a nod to the Star-Journal and to the history of journalism in Hope, which dates to 1854, Herron said.

Currently, the site is supported by donations, launched with about $3,000 in gifts from donors. Eventually, hsjonline will try to secure digital advertising to help pay for the site, Herron said.

While hsjonline is the new way to share news in the Hope area, backers hope the site will be able to replicate the Star-Journal’s community role, Herron said. The site features news about the community, submitted columns, obituaries, meeting notices, police blotters, photos, sports schedules, calendar items and community links.

– The Republic (Columbus)

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