Remember to support your local newspaper
This week, Oct. 4-10, is National Newspaper Week. And this is a good time to look at just why newspapers are so important to our society.
If you haven’t noticed, over the past couple of years, a lot of newspapers around the country are struggling. Many major daily newspapers are shutting down. Some are going to online-only publications, and many are struggling to compete with the new social media and online bloggers.
Many people, especially our younger generation, have come to find their news in places other than newspapers, online sources like Google News, for example. “Why go through the trouble of picking up a newspaper when you can get all that information online?” they ask.
Only there’s a slight problem with that formula. Basically, there are two major sources of news information online.
The first is the bloggers. Bloggers are often untrained individuals who write simply for enjoyment, with no obligation to report information factually. They often do not have the skills necessary to dig deep into a controversial story, or to report that information without any bias. They also only report on the things that they enjoy, so things that may not be interesting to them will go uncovered. And usually what they report is information they’ve pulled from other reporting entities.
This source of news is pretty unreliable. For one, you never know if the story that you are getting is accurate to begin with. Secondly, there may be many other stories that the blogger is missing.
The second major source for news online is — you guessed it — newspapers. Newspapers, of course, are staffed with people who have received proper training and know how to cover a major news story. We don’t pick and choose our coverage; we cover the things that are important to you.
If newspapers go away, where will the bloggers get their information? The majority of them currently get the information they report from newspapers. So while many people seem to believe that the bloggers can replace us, without us, there may be no bloggers.
And in a smaller community like we have here in Northern Michigan, your local newspaper is even more important. We don’t have several news organizations covering the same news. If your local newspaper goes away, who is going to keep you informed about what your local government is doing? Who is going to tell you why that stretch of highway was closed down all day last Wednesday? Who is going to tell you about that interesting person in your community?
It won’t be the bloggers, because we won’t be here to tell them about it.
Times are tough right now in Northern Michigan. They’re tough for all of us. So remember to support your local newspaper, so we can continue to tell you when things will get better.