National Newspaper Week begins Oct. 1. It’s a good time to look at the state of the industry. Community newspapers — weeklies, twice-a-week newspapers and small dailies — are not on the pressroom floor, ready to expire.
In fact, it is the community newspapers that are holding their own in this era of unprecedented competition in reporting, delivering the news, and for the advertising dollar. Newspapers can’t fulfill their mission of informing people without the support of advertisers.
The community newspapers, the ones that aren’t owned by large conglomerates, focus on local news, pictures, and beat the drums for the communities they serve, and at the same time are critical of wrongdoings not in the best interests of the town and area served.
The editorial pages are the heart and soul of the newspaper. Opinions are expressed in editorials, letters and by local, state and national columnists. There is no more powerful tool for good than a well-written letter to the editor. Editorials represent the opinions of the editor and/or publisher. Editorial writers don’t expect everybody to agree with them, but if they can stimulate thoughts on an issue, the purpose is fulfilled. A newspaper is a watchdog over government operations and the spending of your tax dollars.
Community newspapers carry advertisers’ messages. Advertisers attest to the success in selling their products and items through the print publications.
Many larger advertisers have their preprint advertising supplements inserted in the newspaper. The Missourian has available to advertisers front page ads and stickers.
Newspapers publish public notices, which inform the public of government sales, bids
sought, public meetings, legal matters involving individuals, settlements, court-ordered sales, foreclosures and trustee sales, estate matters, notices to creditors, public hearings, vacations of streets and subdivisions, request for proposals, zoning issues, tax rate hearings, conservatorships and other legal matters.
For the smaller advertisers, there is the classified section. The help wanted ads for area businesses in every Missourian usually number 100 or more.
Newspapers serve the public in many ways. The cost of the newspaper is a bargain considering the varied reading content. Every issue is of value to the subscriber or single-copy buyer. Taking advantage of the values in the ads pays for the cost of the newspaper many times over.
Newspapers don’t “talk up” or remind people of the value of their product enough. National Newspaper Week, Oct. 1-7, is a reminder to people in the community of the value of a newspaper.