Looking at the newspaper in another way
In the hectic world we live in today, it’s easy to get caught up in everything and forget about the significance or importance of someone or, in this case, something.
I even find myself falling victim to not appreciating things as much as I should from time to time. I think it’s easy to underestimate and undervalue the importance of the local community newspaper.
A few months ago I had a reader reach out to me offering an analysis of that particular week’s newspaper. He wrote, “When I read the DCI this week, I began to think about the value within the articles. My take: readers would be drawn in to this issue, and other issues, because the articles deal with values.”
Allow me to set the stage here. The newspaper he is referring to was the Aug. 2 edition. Forgive me for taking you back that far as you may likely not remember the paper itself. But that’s fine. I think you’ll still understand the point the reader is trying to make.
Here are the specific stories from the Aug. 2 edition that the reader highlighted and commented on regarding value:
· Proposed sales tax increase: The value that taxes produce for all of us.
· Triton baseball player battling cancer: Value of our health.
· Proposed Dodge County Wind Farm: Energy, a basic value for how we live our lives.
· Former K-M teacher’s death: Reminder about the value of life.
· National Night Out preview: Value of neighborhood.
· Land of Dodge- Demolition Derby: Value of entertainment.
· County fair rodeo: Value of entertainment.
· Dodge County Fair wrap-up: Value of entertainment.
· Florida woman returns to county fair: Value of roots.
· Lois Riess murder update: Value of justice.
· Hometown Scene section: Value of hometown activities
· Mary Ann Henry’s column on haying: Value of memories.
Whew, that’s quite a list from just one edition. It definitely opened up my eyes as I had never really looked at the newspaper in this way before. And I hope it will do the same with you.
As we celebrate National Newspaper Week this week, I want readers to appreciate their local newspaper for all the value it brings. We publish countless stories and photographs each week detailing life in our communities. It’s an exhaustive effort on our part to bring you the level of coverage we do each week. It’s no easy task, despite what many people think.
Reviewing a list of values makes me realize that everything in the newspaper is important to someone. That’s why I treat every story as it’s the biggest deal in the world and try not to minimize its importance in any way.
People often ask what’s the big deal about community newspapers. They need to know that everything on those pages is important to someone. Maybe the ribbon cutting isn’t flashy enough to go viral, and the Thanksgiving turkey recipe is not going to change culinary trends across the nation. But these things, these small things in communities across the country, are what give meaning and purpose to all of our lives.
The ribbon cutting may be a culmination of a childhood dream. The donations at the food shelf will allow a family to gather around their table to enjoy a meal. The honor roll goes on the fridge, of course, because it’s a reminder to youngsters that they can flourish if they apply themselves. The face looking out from the obituary is one that a loved one will never kiss or hug again. The referendum benefiting a local school is where a young students might develop an interest in science and grow up to develop a treatment for ALS, cancer or Alzheimer’s, allowing millions of people to live a little longer to enjoy the loved ones in their lives.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Journalism Matters Now More Than Ever.” In an era where bad information clogs the internet, it’s desperately important to have journalists asking questions, cutting through propaganda and offering fair and balanced reports.
Instead of attacking the local newspaper for what it didn’t do, how about focusing and channeling efforts on things it does do and how it’s benefiting the residents of the communities it serves. As the reader pointed out, no matter what the story is, there is great value in it.
The school is calling with a photo opportunity of some students doing something special. It’s time for me to go in hot pursuit of tracking down something of value in a society where journalism matters now more than ever.