Recently, our little local newspaper raised their daily price from fifty cents to seventy five! Holy cow, that seems like soooo much more money. Seventy five cents eats up my dollar. Now, instead of buying the paper three times a week on the way to work I wait until I get to the office. Somebody always has one there. Because of the price increase the Sentinel Record lost my $1.50 a week.
I understand newspapers are struggling. Prices for everything are going up. And their readership is very old and dying off. Twenty five and thirty yearolds never read actual news papers anymore. Hippsters never read a paper. They get all their news and information off their phones. And most news papers don’t cover things like MMA or local indie music, that might draw some younger readers back. (I’m proud to say our paper does a good job writing about local music)
But wait, before we set the last paper on fire, think about this… local newspapers are incredibly important. Nobody in our town of 40,000 or county of 100,000 thousand does any investigative journalism except the Sentinel Record. The local radio stations get their news from the newspaper, they don’t have reporters digging up stories or following local government issues.
Our paper has a sports department who writes with elegance and humor about our high school teams, local athletes and the thoroughbred track Oak lawn Jockey Club. Nobody else does that and it makes me so happy because they care and write beautifully.
And then there are the human interest stories, the employee of the month, the old lady collecting diapers for poor families, the fire departments fund raiser car wash. I don’t need my local paper to tell me about foreign policy or the weather in Bangladesh but I count on the Sentinel Record to tell me when my kids should trick-or-treat and what the mayor and board of directors are up to.
Radio and tv stations make us happy, they entertain and sometimes inspire. And they have the ability to inform us instantly so we know when a tornado is possible or a road has to be closed because of a wreck. But we need our local papers because they dig deep, into stories, into our communities and into our lives.
Ok, I’ll stop whining like a little girl about the seventy five cents. I need my paper.
(I work for a radio station and hope this doesn’t get me in trouble)