We all grew up in a world with local newspapers.
Although we probably don’t think much about it, it’s hard to imagine a world – or a community – without a local newspaper.
It’s understandable that we take newspapers for granted simply because the local paper has always been a part of our lives, whether we really thought about it or not.
We know exactly where to read what’s going on in our community.
If we are interested in city or county government or want to know what happened at the school board meeting, we know we can find out by getting a copy of the newspaper.
Coverage of state government, social justice issues, and other ensemble coverage that impacts our lives is an added bonus.
Perhaps we also take for granted that it is the local newspaper that holds the powerful to account, defending the First Amendment, protecting the public’s right to know and advocating for free speech.
And we can’t overlook coverage of the local sports scene. If we want to know what to expect from the opposing team in the high school football game on Friday night, we know that every week we can read a preview of the game or get an analysis of last week’s game in the sports section of the newspaper.
How many kids and their parents can’t wait for the honor rolls to be published so they can cut the page out of the paper and stick it in a scrapbook?
Then there’s coverage of school plays, musicals, 4-H events, academic competitions, debate team wins, and all the other great things happening throughout the year. .
There are readers who go straight to the obituary page when they receive each edition of the newspaper and that is certainly understandable. It’s so interesting to read about people’s lives, their families, the places they’ve lived and the things they’ve done.
During election season, of course, the newspaper is how you find out who’s running for office and learn a little about each candidate, what they stand for, how they answer tough questions, and what we might wait if that person is elected. .
You may be planning to have dinner this weekend. You can go to the newspaper and check the food scores, restaurant cleanliness or see what promotions or coupons are advertised in the newspaper.
Speaking of ads, which stores have sales promotions? Where can you get the best deals? Check the ads in the newspaper.
Among the most popular stories in the paper, both in print and online, is always coverage of new businesses coming to town. You can be among the first informed, simply by reading the local newspaper.
You may not agree with everything you read in the newspaper. Its good. None of us agree with everything we hear or see people do in our daily lives, but we still love being part of our community.
The newspapers also tell us the beautiful stories of women, men and children who live in this beautiful place. The journal makes us feel, makes us think, and in many ways enriches our lives by keeping us informed.
Like everything, the newspaper may cost us a little more than it used to, but it’s still incredible value when you think about the amount of local news and information it gives you access to with each print edition and each day in line.
Occasionally a generous reader will send a donation to the newspaper, sometimes with a note simply saying something like “thank you for keeping us informed”.
Your local newspaper doesn’t ask for donations, but it’s such a nice gesture when it happens. If you can’t imagine a world, or a community, without a local newspaper, just subscribe because that’s what it takes to get the news rolling.
Jim Zachary is Editor-in-Chief of the Valdosta Daily Times, Director of Newsroom Training and Development for CNHI, and Chairman Emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.