Execution of the local paper

Mark DeLap
Posted 4/26/23

A weekly editorial by Mark DeLap

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Execution of the local paper


The hometown newspaper. It’s a piece of history. The first newspaper, Acta Diurna’, was printed somewhere around 59 B.C. in Rome. The first published weekly newspaper, Relation, was published in Antwerp in 1605.

We are in an era that has seen many businesses fall by the wayside. Technology and a paradigm shift of how and when we get information has forever changed society. Labor saving devices that we needed 25 years ago are not only obsolete, but a new generation must go to Wikipedia to find out what the “antique” was and how it worked.

We rescue things that are near and dear to our hearts and put money into preservation or renovation. Some things have been able to grow with the new technology and that adaptation has saved their life and the life of their employees.

The employees. They are the people who support their families with the operation of companies. Some are still paying off student loans, some have multiple mouths to feed and some are not quite to retirement age.

The hometown newspaper is in jeopardy. Many cities that have had daily papers are cutting back to 5 and some only three days a week. Others are cutting down to become a weekly.

Circulation alone, contrary to popular myth is not what keeps a newspaper afloat. It is the businesses of a community and the advertising. As the advertisers remain faithful to the community newspaper, that paper can survive and continue to thrive in the face of extinction.

The local newspaper is something we all grew up with. From stories where we looked for our names in the paper as kids to having our own kids and grandkids and seeing their names and perhaps their pictures.

Unless CNN or the big papers want to spend the time and resources to cover our local events which can range from band concerts to baseball games, plays and special functions, it’s up to the local media to cover and report things in the local community.

The newspaper has always been the glue holding communities together and bringing everyone to one central location. Sadly, many local newspapers are closing up shop and calling it a day. No more can the kids from college come home and catch up on what’s going on in the community. No more can the information on Mrs. Brown passing away get to the many people who loved her.

When you invest in the local paper, you invest in your community. You invest in a tradition that has been precious for over a hundred years. You preserve the past when others are just letting it die.

And when the economy or criticism become factors and the paper shuts down, it will be another case of taking for granted something while we had it, and regretting letting it die when we had a chance to save it.

As a local business, you not only make yourself visible with advertising, but you are standing up to an outside business idea that tells us that the local paper must die to make way for new age technology. There is a world that doesn’t care about your kid’s name in the paper or the score of a local basketball game or the death of a beloved teacher and icon in the community.

When we stand up for the printing of the honor roll or the prom pictures or the kindergarten kids that spent an afternoon in the library speaking to our public safety officials, we defy the cold and callous who say we don’t need to hear about those things.

We can help to euthanize the local paper or we can fight to keep it alive and well. We can secure its voice for a new generation while other communities are letting theirs die. The voice of the paper is the voice of the community.

We ought to be a community that has our kids searching the paper for their names and local happenings than having them go to Wikipedia to learn about what a paper used to be.