Now more than ever journalism matters

Rod Baker - Publisher

Oct. 7 through 13 is National Newspaper Week and this newspaper like many around the country will be participating in promoting it. This year’s theme is “Journalism matters. NOW more than ever.” We will be devoting space to editorials and cartoons that highlight and reinforce the importance of having a newspaper within our community.

Our mission is to deliver local news and information that’s important to you and our community in an unbiased and truthful manner. Our desire is to inform, inspire and educate our readers each and every day through our print and online outlets. We are the only local news outlet that extensively covers our local government entities both city and county, local community events, publishes public notices to keep you informed, offers comprehensive listings of local deaths in both print and online, follows and provides information on local sporting events, and the list can go on and on. Also, let’s not forget about the “written” history that’s recorded and kept for future generations to see. The legacy of those that walked before us can be found in the pages of the local newspaper. The news we report today will be the legacy for those who follow us.

What we do is relevant to our community and it matters. It has for more than 150 years. If you question the relevance of that, consider this for a moment…

Today, our newspaper is read by thousands of people, five days a week. The foundation of what goes out over our social media platforms and website are all driven by what we write in our local newspaper. Our website is visited by more than 70,000 unique visitors each and every month, and collectively our social media platforms have more than 20,000 followers. The information found in these platforms are viewed and shared by tens of thousands of people each month. I submit to you that no local news and information source has a greater comprehensive reach and is more relevant than what our local newspaper and associated properties has.

Still wondering about your local newspaper’s relevance? Let me offer this up to you…

In an article written by Kriston Capps, called “The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City’s Newspaper” (May 30, 2018, he starts out by saying:

“When local newspapers shut their doors, communities lose out. People and their stories can’t find coverage. Politicos take liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them accountable. What the public doesn’t know winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally.”

Not only do communities lose out, but it may even cost them in long run. He goes on to write:

“Disruptions in local news coverage are soon followed by higher long-term borrowing costs for cities. Costs for bonds can rise as much as 11 basis points after the closure of a local newspaper—a finding that can’t be attributed to other underlying economic conditions, the authors say. Those civic watchdogs make a difference to the bottom line.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that our paper is closing, I wanted to use this to drive home the point of the relevance of what we do each and every day, because I firmly believe that it matters!

Lastly, there’s a huge human element to what we do. The people who work at The Ledger Independent are your neighbors; your friends; your family; we go to church with you; we shop at the same stores you do; we eat at the same restaurants you do; we serve on boards that you do; we belong to clubs that you do; we pay taxes; and we are passionate, care deeply about and are invested in our community…just like you. Yes, what we do matters!

Rod Baker