Is the magic of the small-town newspaper gone?
I believe that this gift-giving season is the perfect time to ask ourselves this question.
Without a doubt, the amount of information people shared through online sources this year was higher than ever before. Practically every person, city, organization, agency, group, school … and the list goes on … have a page on Facebook and are tweeting information on Twitter.
I start thinking of all the information that is so readily out there when I ponder my life, my community and especially, my career. I wonder how much I can believe in the future of what I do, and how big of a fight we’ll face in the coming year to keep our little newspapers relevant in the great big technological age.
The thing that has kept me going, despite the never-ending tidal wave of information coming to people free, is my love for what I do and the sometimes indescribable “magic” of the newspaper.
Just like the magic you will see this season when a special gift is opened, or when your child or grandchild realizes that Santa came … I still see and hear about that type of magic all year-round because of what I do as a small-town newspaper editor and reporter.
No matter how many ways there are to share news about people; there is still something quite magical when you know you are going to be featured in the newspaper.
I still have grandmothers reach out to me about a grandchild who’s had a special achievement or honor. They want to see it in the newspaper.
I still see the excitement when I’m with a group of kids who know I’m interviewing them and taking their picture because it will be in the newspaper.
I still get a warm reception when I show up at a community event with my camera, and the people there are so happy because they know I’m covering it for the local newspaper.
I still get emotional when I know I’m working on a story of deep personal meaning that someone is trusting me to share in our newspaper.
I still believe that I have working with me, on news content, an amazing news assistant, a fantastic sports editor and some of the best contributing writers and columnists you will find anywhere. We all do what we do, because we enjoy the magic that we create in people’s lives when we take a story just a little further than a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. Additionally, we are willing to sit through local government meetings so that we can tell you a little more about what your representatives are doing. Our sports writer is getting more than just the stats when it comes to how your kids are performing on local sports teams. We love when a business is new or has a big news event and invites us in to talk about it with them because they want it in the newspaper. We are always happy to ask more questions and get more information about the things and people you know in your community.
We believe that what we do gives our readers and communities a gift, week after week. And we utilize social media, just as you do, to connect with you, to see what you’re talking about and to bring you even more about people and events you are interested in.
If you believe in the magic of the small-town newspaper — if you’ve ever looked forward to seeing a story about someone or reading something we’ve written — we ask you one favor this holiday season…subscribe, and ask your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. We are a business, and the more we grow our subscription numbers, the easier it is for us to continue to attract advertising support, which ultimately means we can continue to bring magic moments to our readers.
Thank you for reading this column; thank you for reading this newspaper. Is the magic of the small-town newspaper gone? I don’t think so, at least not for us! Merry Christmas to each of you and a Happy New Year!
Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times.