There is nothing like the community newspaper!
I hear and read all the time that the era of the newspaper is over. The blog is everywhere, and people flock to the Internet to get the news. If none of the above works, then folks will watch quasi-comedy shows to find out what is going on in the world. It is said that only people over 50 read the newspapers anymore.
Maybe that applies to the metropolitan papers, which do have somewhat of a problem competing with the immediacy of the Internet and television. But, the community newspaper is what brings the day-to-day events of our little towns into our homes, when we are now all so busy that hanging over the fence with the neighbors is not always possible.
I love going around the state and picking up the local paper. One thing I notice right off is that we are all so much alike. The issues of all towns and villages are pretty much the same. One can quickly pick up who the powers are in the town, who the social butterflies are and who is making things happen. Their names appear more frequently than others, as do their photos.
The sports stories usually involve the local high schools, though downstate local sports play a more integral part of peoples’ lives. The high school sports are such a big draw that people come out to the games whether they have youngsters in school or not. The high school athletes are the local stars, and are treated with deference-junior Michael Jordans, if you will.
Obituaries tell a lot about a town and its people. I like to read them, as they are all mini histories of people who have given back to their communities in some ways, even if it is just a one-liner about what it was that made them tick, what it was that did the best or enjoyed doing.
And, oh, those society pages! We all like to read about the things we and our friends do. The fried fish nights, the social service group meetings, the speakers, the charitable ventures undertaken. Some of it is the next cousin to gossip, but it is so interesting to keep up with other villagers and what they are doing.
I also enjoy reading about the weddings and anniversaries as they are people I know or their children. You see the coming and going of generations, with all of their hopes and desires to do good in life.
Sadly, there are also those who get into difficulty. We used to call them “dog bites” in journalistic lingo, but these are the stories of the folks who have some altercation with the police-a DUI, a domestic disturbance, a traffic accident. I don’t like to read about other peoples’ miseries, but much as we become voyeurs at accidents because of human curiosity, so it is that one reads these items.
I hear people say with regularity that there is nothing good to read in the papers anymore, only bad news. Well, bad news is news. If one buys into the philosophy that good news is what is supposed to happen, bad news is the exception and, therefore, worthy of reporting.
But again, the community newspaper has lots of good news in it, because we are all looking to be apprised of what is going on where we live, not just issues in some faraway place whose name we can barely pronounce.
I never miss JoAnne Kosey’s column her in the Landmark, because she is so attuned to what is going on in town. The features tell me much about this area that I would never otherwise know. The calendar of events makes me aware of what is going on, even if I can’t go to the events shown.
And, I would never miss reading the want ads, because the deal of a lifetime just might be there. If nothing else, I get a quick view of garage sales and where I might be able to sneak in a visit.
So, although there is always a national newspaper week, the days the community newspapers come around are something to look forward to.
The New York Times was once the paper where there was “all the news that’s fit to print.” In the case of the community newspaper-“and then some!”