Your newspaper matters to your community

by | Oct 11, 2018 | Opinion

It really does.

Of course, you’d expect to hear that from a newspaper publisher, but if you give my headline a little thought you and the rest of this community would agree.

Since we are in the middle of National Newspaper Week (Oct. 7-13) I’d like to explain why your newspaper matters.

But first let me give you some facts about what this paper provides to the community beyond this printed (or digital) page.

The most common reason I hear from individuals who don’t subscribe, or no longer subscribe to the newspaper is “I don’t have time to read it.”

In reality when I hear this it’s likely an incorrect statement. Not a purposefully incorrect statement, but an uninformed incorrect statement.

Because of the reach of our printed or digital products, citizens are getting information about this community that is generated by the local newspaper.

I know this to be the fact when we post on social media. Our posts show traffic, views, click throughs, engagement, sharing and more. Since we’ve been using social media to direct readers to other products we publish, we know we are reaching more people than ever before.

You, your friend, your neighbor, your mother, your father, refer to something they’ve seen in the paper, the website or social media more than you or they may realize.

Although this newspaper publishes once a week, we report news as it happens on our website and social media pages. Using all these mediums your newspaper can keep you up-to-date on issues and events with accurate information. In some cases it may be an ongoing story that lasts months, or even years.

For example, we recently calculated the amount of copy allocated to a story that was polarizing one of the communities we cover. An Islamic cemetery was being proposed on land adjacent to the city of Farmersville. The matter was recently ‘settled’ after three years of negotiation between the city and the landowners.

The city of Farmersville sent out two press releases to the community during this time. The local newspaper, not the regional newspaper, published story after story chronicling the process during this same time. In total, the local newspaper wrote 8,724 words related to this cemetery. Not to mention countless digital posts which generated a flood of responses about the cemetery.

This is just one example of what your local newspaper does. I don’t have the space to tell you everything we write about that affects you each day. But, believe me when I write….this newspaper matters to this community.

We are not politically motivated in our coverage. We don’t take sides in our stories. We do try to give all sides an opportunity to provide their opinion, or response about an issue.

Our stories are meant to help readers become better informed about the events and issues that shape their community. The more readers we reach, the more informed the community becomes as a whole.

This newspaper matters because we put you first. You are the primary reason we do what we do.

I also know that my fellow publishers across Texas and beyond feel the same way. We want our readers to be more informed. We know that knowledge is power and with power readers can make a more effective community.

Without an independent news source, a community must rely on information from sources which consciously or unconsciously craft messages that benefit and boost their image.

Gene Policinski, the founding editor of USA Today wrote, “The power of the press was, is now, and will be in the future, bringing consumers the news they need – and having the fortitude to seek and report the news they don’t even yet know they need, but will.”

As a reader, I hope this statement is reassuring to you and helps you understand why this newspaper matters.

I also like to think that while Thomas Jefferson’s statement in 1787 to Edward Carrington, then a member of the Continental Congress, was over 230 years ago, it still rings true: “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

 

Enjoy National Newspaper Week.

 

For more stories like this, see the Oct. 11 issue or subscribe online.

 

By Chad Engbrock • [email protected]

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