Sunday marks the start of National Newspaper Week, a chance to celebrate something near and dear and to share with readers why local newspapers are important.
Newspapers tell people what is happening in their community — the good, the bad and the
ugly. But they do so much more, also chronicling the exciting, heart-breaking, inspiring, infuriating and interesting things happening nearby.
Newspapers tell readers what they need to know — serious stories about fires and crime, what City council is doing and what’s going on in court.
The latter requires daily checks because people deserve to know what’s going on in a court system that is supported by taxes they pay.
The average person doesn’t have time to do this, nor would they have the abilities to make sense of it all, frankly.
A court reporter has to comb through a list of anywhere from 20 up to 100 cases in the various levels of court and discern which might be of importance. Just because it’s a murder charge, for instance, doesn’t mean it’s worth spending time sitting in on as it could be no more than setting a date for a future appearance.
People have a right to know whether a judge put down the hammer on a man who stabbed his father to death, what happened in the case of a man allegedly sitting outside a school making rude gestures without his pants on and why a case built around allegations of illegal hunting was thrown out after it took too long to come to trial.
Beyond the heavy, serious news, newspapers also tell readers about what they want to know, tales that lighten the heart and make us feel good about what’s going on in the community we choose to call home.
Stories like how a local First Nations author won another national award and will give back to the community by offering free writers’ workshops, how volunteers worked together to clean up the river’s shoreline, and how a local woman survived cancer three times and will run with her mom and sister in Sunday’s CIBC Run for the Cure.
Since we want to do it right, we pay not only skilled journalists but professional photographers to take pictures about what’s going on seven days a week.
Sure, it’s great to have people submit shots they’ve taken with their smartphones but you need to rely on a professional to ensure photos are in focus, accurate information is gathered, and that someone is willing to go out at ungodly hours to do the work in unpleasant and, at times, dangerous conditions like when a huge fire rages or there is a major highway crash during a blizzard.
Newspaper give readers a place to share their voices on the Opinion page in the print edition and even further, via discussions in our online edition; it tells who has passed away; dishes on the latest sports; and gives advertisers a place to describe what their goods and services can do for consumers.
Yes, times are tough and our industry is not immune to the cost-cutting pressures that so many other businesses also face, but the importance of what a newspaper does for a community cannot be overstated.
It’s something I’m proud to be a part of.