Why our newspaper readers are valuable intelligent community members
Last updated 2/24/2022 at 3:54pm
Some of the reasons why newspapers, whether they are online or in print, are important is that they are supposed to give unbiased information so that readers can make their own informed decisions. Sadly, most of our national papers are not unbiased anymore, but that is a point for another day.
Independent community newspapers reflect the soul of their community. If they are in print, they can’t be changed like they can online, as the New York Times and the Washington Post have had to do dozens of times in the last couple of years with their stories that were biased and wrong.
Community newspapers provide a balanced point of view, partly because most of the news is good news. They provide insight and are the eyes for the outside world looking into the community. People wanting to visit or move to the area are frequent readers, looking for school information, nonprofit organization work, arts, entertainment and cultural opportunities, youth sports, civic news, etc. Community newspapers like the Valley News and Village News provide that valuable information and connection to not only residents, but the outside world.
In Fallbrook, when outside publications do stories on our town, we are needlessly tied to a famous racist, now deceased, who lived here decades ago and was a problem for our reputation, despite the fact that we are a very diverse population.
Years ago when I was on the Fallbrook Chamber board, we were out recruiting Hispanic business owners who were willing to become leaders and they were welcomed with open arms. If you read the stories from outside publications, their version of our community and culture and history are different, giving a tone of racism. They don’t have the insight that someone who actually lives here and reports here does. That’s why it’s important for us to document our own history.
Many stories these days are complicated, especially the state and national stories. It takes more than six seconds to have a good understanding of the most pressing issues. When people are scrolling social media and reading only headlines, they may feel informed, but there is just not enough information to have an educated opinion on a subject. Besides the history and nuances, there is typically more information that takes a writer time and expertise to communicate to an audience who may not have any knowledge of the topic.
It’s a good system. A reporter talks to people directly involved in the story and then writes it from an outside position. The character of the writers are crucial. I am so thankful to have writers who are honest, trustworthy and have decades of experience. We have a photographer who isn’t shooting photos to try and frame a story in any direction, but just to display what is happening at that minute.
In addition, I do editorials mostly because over the years I have seen enough to have an opinion and I keep it to the opinion page where it belongs. People write negative posts on Facebook sometimes because, in their estimation, I am not supposed to have an opinion. I’m amazed by the hubris, when they obviously don’t even understand the difference between a story, an editorial, or a letter. Also, it amazes me how many of the negative commenters haven’t even read the piece on which they are commenting.
But that makes my point exactly. This is why newspapers are important and it’s why statistically, newspaper readers have historically been more educated and more influential with matters they actually take the time to read about and have a more thorough understanding.
Thank you to the advertisers who invest in our hub of communication weekly. I ask our readers to please support those advertisers, whether it’s a local realtor or a restaurant. Thank you to our subscribers. And to everyone who supports our community papers for the price of one cup of coffee a month. I promise you it’s worth it!