One of the things we value the most in our work as community journalists is the interaction and feedback we receive from our readers. From “Thank you, that was a great story” to “You dolt, that was Mary, not Amy, in that photo” we hear about what we write, photograph and display. (In truth, the vast majority of readers are far too polite to call us a name, though they might want to.)
We love the interaction. It means people are reading the paper. And that is a good thing.
People like to talk shop, too, and I’ll bet a week or 10 days doesn’t go by without someone asking me whether I think newspapers will be around in the future. They don’t specify “how far into the future,” they just wonder, probably because so many large city papers have folded and because people get their information from so many places in this day and age.
We wonder, too, but we remain optimistic about the future.
With modern technology, people have myriad sources of information at their fingertips: television, radio, the Internet, Smart Phone apps, blogs, Twitter, social media and, of course, newspapers. We have desktop computers, laptops, tablets and various readers.
But think about the source of most of the information you turn to the Internet to read. Where does it come from? In most cases, it’s a newspaper journalist. Websites organize and categorize information, usually newspaper stories, into an easy-to-find format, and Internet “surfers” have the ability to pick and choose what they want to read, what interests them.
Journalists are in the trenches gathering, editing and writing news and providing information that matters to people, and while how that information is disseminated is changing over the years, I firmly believe that journalists will always be at the center of the process.
There’s something to be said for a certain amount of information being “provided” to readers. Someone has to attend that town council or school board meeting and boil down hours of meeting time into the essential information that matters to citizens. Public access television sounds good, but few people really want to sit through two hours of meeting time while they do want to know when they can burn their raked leaves.
Likewise, most people are too busy to stop by the police station for the police blotter or call the local high school coach for his or her interpretation of the latest game. There are important points of information all over a community, information that is difficult for the average citizen to scoop up and digest.
That’s where we come in. Journalists go to the meetings, talk to the coaches, photograph the big events, interview the candidates for political office and do all of the necessary work in the trenches to provide that information to our readers, as well as providing a forum for commentary, a display place for photography and a marketplace for small businesses to connect with their customers.
It’s all about bringing local news to local readers, and while the big dailies may be suffering, community newspapers are continuing to survive and even thrive. And it’s all because of that relationship with our readers that community journalists have nurtured for decades.
The Lovell Chronicle is your paper, dedicated to telling your stories, covering your events and building your business. We are just the caretakers.
Indeed, small communities feel a sense of ownership in their local newspaper, and we value that relationship tremendously. Because we are your neighbors and your friends, we care about carefully chronicling your news and events and telling you about your neighbor’s.
There is something to be said about neutral information gathering from a profession with deep-rooted standards and ethics that ensure credibility and which is dedicated to bringing information to you. Without it, information seekers would splinter into billions of special interests and rely on hearsay.
In other words, sometimes it’s good to read about what happened at the school board meeting and how it affects your child rather than relying on rumors picked up around town, even if you’d rather surf the net about your favorite movie star or pro football player.
This week community newspapers across America are celebrating National Newspaper Week to the theme “Newspapers – the Cornerstone of your Community.”
At the Chronicle, we believe in our craft, in our role in the community and in our relationship with our readers. How we deliver information may be changing, including our new E edition, but our dedication to you has not waned. Now, more than ever, in this time of splintered information, we will continue to be a rock solid part of your lives as your community newspaper.