By Mike Wilcox, Publisher
I hope you will join me in giving a nod to this portion of the calendar which was long ago proclaimed as “National Newspaper Week.”
If you listen to some pundits there won’t be many more of these weeks. Newspapers for some, have been referred to as “dinosaurs,” and will be dead and gone before this millennium reaches its halfway point.
I beg to differ. In many areas of the globe, newspapers are stronger than they ever have been. Sure, a lot of dailies have turned to the internet as a better method of disseminating news, but that by no means, proclaims they are down for the count.
Imagine your area without its local newspaper. Maybe at first you wouldn’t notice much of a difference if your daily or weekly newspaper failed to show up in your driveway or on your computer screen.
But, guess what? Rather quickly a good fraction of the internet would be useless. I’m sure you have noticed a lot of what you read on the internet are stories and photos produced by local journalists who work for newspapers or like products. Without newspapers and journalists to author those stories, sites like Google and Facebook would have to resort to useless drivel.
But that’s only one consequence. No matter what you think of the national media, local newspapers actually do provide an extremely important watchdog service for local government. With the watchdog off duty, government would go awry often and local citizens would have little recourse.
That’s because a great amount of content that appears in newspapers and on the internet, starts out as the scribblings or recordings of intrepid reporters at city halls, township or county meetings and at statehouses nationwide.
Without reporters in the face of public officials or attending local meeting, it would be much too tempting for officials to do away with public meetings, open records and many other rights afforded taxpayers because journalists are there to ask questions and make sure officials tow the line.
To be honest, covering public meetings is not glamourous work. As an editor I have often thought, why bother? Does anyone really care what goes on at a school board meeting? And then I think again, and realize if we, the press, aren’t there to tell the story, no one will. So we continue in communities all across our great nation, to report on the sometimes tedious and mundane meeting agendas, knowing that at some point we will come across a story that we wouldn’t have had if we didn’t attend the meeting.
So, on these week when we honor newspapers and all the people that work for them I tip my hat to my crews. I can’t say there is one person within my group of newspapers that doesn’t take their job seriously. They realize creating the news, and the advertising that pays for the news, are important functions that thousands of reasons depend upon. From the drivers that deliver our newspapers, to the graphic artists who create them; from those in accounting, to those who write stories, and those who sell advertising, I say THANK YOU.
AND to those that voice dinosaur and newspapers in the same context, I will say “you don’t know what you are talking about.” Weekly newspapers, and I qualify weekly, are here to stay. We have our READERS to thank for that.