DAYTON (TDB) -- Citizen USA online hasn't published a fresh news story for more than a month. The conservative Christian right newspaper has traditionally been a foe of Democrats on its editorial pages, opposes abortion and gay rights, and has been critical of the mainstream media. Last fall, it endorsed Republican Ken Blackwell for governor, and Blackwell appears on the online site in what amounts to a plug that praises Citizen USA.
So far, there is nothing available that explains the lack of fresh news and commentary. It could be a slow perior, or neglect. But some are wondering if the Christian right publication has folded -- perhaps succumbing to the pressures and shifts in readership that are shrinking and damaging the bottom lines of general interest newspapers. Citizen USA online grew out of the print version of Christian Citizen, a newspaper that had its first press run in 1984. In the 1990s, it was aligned with Mike Turner, then Dayton's Republican mayor, now a conservative Ohio congressman.
The publishers are Pendra Lee and Rick Snyder, who say in a note describing their paper's history that they wanted to reach a broader audience. That meant a name change from Christian Citizen to Citizen USA. They intended to fashion a general interest publication with Christian roots. Does the lack of copy indicate their plan flopped, or has flagged? They wrote:
"As the Citizen USA expands into the culture and works to continually improve the coverage of news and information from a traditional values point of view, we pray that we won't have to wear our Jesus on our mast head. We pray that people who might otherwise stay away might will pick up Citizen USA and join us in the movement to return to traditional values in our nation."