This is National Newspaper Week, and it arrives at a time when newspapers are in crisis. Communities across the country are waking up to the news that their local paper has closed up shop, once and for all.
Just as it has happened in many other places, it is bound to happen here. We would be foolish to imagine otherwise. And when it does, some here we will be surprised, some disappointed. It’s often only after we’ve lost something that we stop to appreciate the role it played in our lives.
If we let our community newspaper disappear, we will miss clipping a child’s team photo from its pages to paste into a photo album. Sharing news of a birth, graduation, marriage or death with the community, knowing it will forever be recorded in print. Getting an update on how a favourite fundraiser is going. Finding out what fun things there are to do on the weekend. Seeing the repeated rituals – the festivals, banquets, tournaments, church services and seasonal celebrations that remind us we are still functioning as a community and reassure us that all is well.
Your local paper is called a community newspaper because it builds community. It keeps us in touch with what is happening in your town and in the town just up the road with which you have a common history, geography, economy, and social and cultural life. Every week, it reminds us who we are and shows us the best we can be.
Your local newspaper reports on what is happening in local government, the place where people we elected make decisions about how to spend money we pay in taxes to address our needs as a community. We tell you about the direction in which our politicians and other people with the power to influence our fate are steering the ship. We ask questions that some might prefer not to answer. We press for transparency and accountability where some would prefer to operate in secret. In other words, we do local journalism, something you don’t find in social media.
And we encourage debate. Newspapers are a place where we and all members of the public can express ideas, challenge dogma, compliment or criticize, and engage in an ongoing discussion about the future we want.
These, we believe, are good reasons to support a community newspaper. But the question is, how do we do that?
If you are not a subscriber, become one. If you know somebody who is not a subscriber, buy them a gift subscription. You can get weekly home delivery of a printed newspaper for about 85 cents an issue. A digital copy costs even less.
If you have goods or services to sell, an upcoming event to promote or an announcement to make, place an ad in the paper. This is what pays for reporting, layout, printing and distribution. Without advertising revenue, we cease to exist. By advertising, not only do you reach the community at large, you are also supporting an institution that is fundamental to the community you serve.
And we should all buy from local businesses that advertise in the local paper, thereby contributing to their return on an investment they are making in the local community that is ultimately good for all of us.
Like all the good causes you read about in the pages of this paper and which our community is so good at supporting – be it for snow suits, lights at the baseball diamond, or a dialysis machine – supporting something so fundamental to community as a community newspaper is something we can surely all get behind.
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