The community newspaper plays an important role in your quality of life.
With the nation plunging into recession and with the unending stream of bad economic news, there is much focus on the decline of newspaper circulation and advertising in most of the major markets across the country. Newspaper stocks have been taking a beating, and news reports tell us these are dark days for their industry.
Community newspapers are much more than paper and ink; we have not followed in the path of daily newspapers. Unlike them, our circulation and advertising remain strong. We pull our communities together, helping connect people with those around them. In this way, community newspapers provide a valuable form of public service.
Weekly publications help strengthen the communities they serve. As the daily newspapers have downsized for economic reasons, shifted away from local coverage and focused on the national news, we have become a must-read in each of our communities.
Community newspapers are the last line of defense to boost the local economy, both through advertising and in news coverage. They showcase community businesses at a time when we need to be shopping locally, investing in the community and protecting local jobs.
Community newspapers also bring us good news, news of Scout projects, civic club fundraisers, Little League registration, chamber of commerce happenings, church bake sales and students who make the honor roll or dean’s list.
They help neighbors get to know each other a little better. They report on anniversaries and family reunions, reminding people of the things they like so well about their community.
We have provided an accessible forum for expression. We allow readers to make their voices heard, and enable ordinary citizens to deliberate on the future of their community.
Your community newspapers serve as watchdogs to hold elected leaders accountable. They shine a light on local governments, using Freedom of Information Laws to get public records and make those available to citizens. They keep voters informed. They let people see how their tax dollars are being spent. During an economic downturn when tax dollars are scarce and the demands on them have increased, it is vital for local newspapers to bring this to the public’s attention.
Amid uncertainty over the quality of our daily economy and the direction of our nation, our role is more important than ever. We know that the outlook for community newspapers is much brighter than what is being reported in the national media.
May I assure you that good community newspapers are not dying and never will? No doubt, times are changing and will continue to change; we will just have to make some minor changes with our newspapers along the way.
As publishers of good community newspapers, we should always promote our strengths. Every year we have received awards for journalistic excellence by our peers in The New York Press Association. Most of the municipalities we cover have made us the legal paper of record, which indicates the high readership. Facts show there is no other media that approaches the readership of a solid community newspaper.
Our goal is to produce a quality, community-oriented newspaper of which our readers will be proud. We will reach that goal through hard work, teamwork, loyalty and a strong dedication towards printing the truth.
Yes, weekly publications strengthen the communities they serve. Continue to support us, read us for all the local news happening in your communities, and remember: Our local retailers are counting on you as well.
–Howard Sturman, Publisher