It’s National Newspaper Week

It’s National Newspaper Week, a time to write about the important work that newspaper professionals do every day across the country.

Newspaper professionals do the unglamorous work of reporting the news that matters the most to their communities.

Newspaper pros cover the city, county and school board meetings where the important decisions are being discussed and made for the community’s present and future generations.

Newspaper pros cover the court news, the land ownership changes, the arrests, the accidents, the incidents and the public notices that keep an informed community moving forward with the activities that tell the day-to-day history of the community.

Newspaper reporters and photographers cover the important community events and that is the most difficult because sometimes there are more than three such important events occurring in different locations at the same time.

Newspapers in general shine the light - and keep the light - on government actions and expenditures and help explain controversial community issues. Freedom of the press is the only thing keeping this country from falling into socialism, or worse.

Newspapers provide an inexpensive, proven marketplace where generations of successful business people have placed their advertisments, knowing that the newspaper readers are the ones doing most of the buying and selling in the community. That has not changed.

Newspapers report on local people from the cradle (with birth reports) to the grave (obituaries) and all the important events inbetween – engagements, wedding, anniversaries, milestone birthdays , etc.

Newspapers report on the local school sports and other local hunting and fishing activities, not to mention all of the other good human interest stories that make us proud to live in our hometowns.

Good newspapers keep their opinions out of the news reporting and reserve them exclusively for the “the opinion page.’’ 

Good newspaper people know it’s their job to inform their readers and it’s their readers’ jobs to use the reported information to formulate their own opinions. A lot of times at community newspapers like this one, people want to read the news to determine whether the newspaper got the stories right. That’s OK with us.

Good newspaper people know that publishing stories citing “unknown sources’’ has no place in professional journalism and is instead merely rumor reporting.

Good newspaper people know there are two sides to every controversial story and if the newspaper is not reporting both sides it can’t claim to be objective.

Newspaper people have a tendency to want to let their work speak for itself. We don’t do a very good job of blowing our own horn and boasting, “Look at us!’’

What we do here at The Holton Recorder is considered community journalism since we are an integral part of a smaller community where everyday the nature of our work requires us to write about people and friends that we know well and live and work with.

We don’t know what to call the reporting we read in some of the big city newspapers any more, or see on the metro TV stations or on the Internet. Ninety percent of their news is lifted from newspapers and laced with personal opinion and entertainment glitz and the rest comes from unprofessional, mostly unreliable and predominantly un-named sources.

The big city papers’ unwillingness to provide solid, objective reporting is a sign, I think, that non-professional journalists are probably managing those newspapers. It used to be that The Associated Press stories were considered some of the best, objective national stories written. Now, I don’t think so.

Other types of media have long taken pot shots at newspapers and spoke of the impending demise of newspapers. The latest rounds by Facebook and Google are nothing more than the previous ones - attempts to prop up themselves.

TV advocates don’t tell you how few Americans watch the TV commercials any more, since TV watchers can record shows and then fast-forward through the ads. Radio advocates don’t talk about how few Americans listen to them at all any more, since the arrival of SiriusXM. Google and Facebook advocates don’t tell you how few people other than your mom and your friends and family actually “like’’ your social media stuff.

Most of the polls that TV and Internet people like to use to put down newspapers are polls that they claimed to have taken themselves and therefore are not objective, just self-serving and biased.

The best newspapers work to build up and promote their towns and that is what we strive to do here. We want to thank you, readers, for your past support and ask you for your continued support, too. We are proud to serve the community and consider it an honor! 

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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