Editorial – Newspapers make a difference

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2022

National Newspaper Week, which started Sunday, is an opportunity to take a moment and recognize all the ways that community newspapers like this one make a difference.

If you’re reading this, you probably already have a good understanding of why it is important to have a healthy newspaper. By reading or advertising in your local newspaper, you are providing much-needed support to keep trained, professional journalists covering the issues important to you. Your local newspaper is committed to being the local watchdog, covering city government and school board to make sure your tax dollars are being spent properly.

But, there are many other ways newspapers serve their readers and communities, things even regular readers might not always consider.

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Newspapers are reliable. Unlike news you get on social media, or even from national publications or cable news channels, you can be sure that news from your local newspaper is professionally gathered, fact-checked and edited. You might not always agree with everything we publish, but you can rely on the fact that what’s published has followed journalistic standards.

Newspapers protect your right to know. In addition to covering what’s going on in your local government, most newspapers serve another critical purpose by publishing public notices. Public notices are issued by government agencies regarding proposed actions, zoning proposals, tax initiatives or other lawmaking proceedings. In Virginia local governments are still required to publish them in local newspapers, so all citizens have the opportunity to know what’s going on, and if necessary, take appropriate action.

Newspapers provide broad community distribution. Moving a public notice to a municipal website would be like hiding the notice. Newspapers help keep your government’s actions transparent.

Newspapers are more than print. We deliver information in the format that works best for you. For many, that remains a printed newspaper held in your hands. For an increasing share of our audience, information is better consumed on computers, phones and tablets. We have made significant investment in digital platforms to make sure you get the news you need when you want it and how you want it. Newspaper audiences are bigger than ever thanks to the broad reach provided by the combination of print and digital channels.

Your newspaper is local, produced by local citizens who drive the same streets, shop in the same stores and consume the same government services as you. The local newspaper’s focus is on making the community stronger, safer and healthier.

In short, we hope you agree that your newspaper makes a difference in your community in many ways. That’s true every week, not just during National Newspaper Week.