What’s to love about the local paper?
One of our regular readers from Owatonna pointed out to me an article that ran in the March-April edition of RFD-TV Magazine about the local paper. It’s appropriately titled, “My Local Paper.”
It provides a good illustration of what local newspapers like the Steele County Times provide their readers week after week. It set out to answer one important question: What is it about my local paper that I love?
I’d like to share with you portions of the article:
“It’s called the News-Sun (substitute Steele County Times) and lists the communities it serves under the masthead; the largest, population 3,500, the smallest, 200, if that (substitute Owatonna, Blooming Prairie, Medford and Ellendale). It comes out every Wednesday and high school students sell it in front of the post office. Or, you can buy it at Safeway, one of only two grocery stores and often the busiest place in town.
“We subscribed the year before we moved to the community. We read about our future neighbors, the real estate ads, city politics, parades, school activities and the antics of local characters.
“My local paper takes itself seriously. The bulk of the news stories from “Crash on the Highway” to “Top Grads Recognized” are done by the editor and one busy reporter. They are skilled writers and very circumspect about not flavoring the news with news analysis—just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.
“Small town papers often thrive because CNN or the N.Y. Times are not going to scoop them for coverage of the “V.F.W. Fish Fry,” “Bridge Construction Delay,” or local boys and girls playing baseball, receiving scholarships, graduating, getting married or going off to war.
“I think of local papers as the last refuge of unfiltered America. A running documentary of the warts and triumphs of real people unfettered by the spin, the bias and the opaque polish of today’s homogenized journalism. It is the difference between homemade bread and Pop Tarts.
“It gives our little community a sense of place in the world. We are important to somebody. We make a difference. The paper recognizes that.
“They are the glue, the mirror, the billboard, the flashlight, the semifore, the boom box and microphone of small towns. It is how we hold hands. They care. They show we care. They wear our hearts on their sleeve.
“Is it accurate to say that I really ‘love’ my local paper? Well, it’s not quite the proper word, but… I can’t think of a better one.”
In providing me with a copy of the story, Bea Pichner wrote, “How true these words are! We feel this so much about your newspaper.”
Thank you, Bea, for recognizing the value of your community newspaper. I encourage others to share these same sentiments with their friends and neighbors.
It’s certainly gratifying to have readers like Pichner go through the trouble of sharing their thoughts about something that I take great pride in providing on a weekly basis. Sharing hometown community news is what we’re all about. And I think it’s especially important for everyone to understand this right now during one of the worst situations we have ever found ourselves battling.
I don’t think there has ever been a greater time where our newspaper is needed to help people navigate through this unprecedented crisis that has crippled our communities and the rest of the country.
We are here to guide you through this outbreak and together we will survive this.
What’s to love about the local paper? I offer that there is much to love.
But perhaps, most importantly, hope is something a local newspaper can go in hot pursuit of providing its readers.