A Letter to Your Readers
By: Don Heinzman
In your hearts you know why you came to your community to live and raise a family. You like small-town living, a good school system, a vibrant business community, a church of your denomination and residents who like to be involved in community-building organizations.
It’s been proven that every successful community supports and needs a good newspaper that informs you of news and events “closest to you” and helps you live a better life.
This newspaper is not the publisher’s; they provide it hoping to make a living, ever so small in the process of working long hours and attending important meetings for you.
So, this paper you are reading, is YOURS
Before thinking how you can keep your hometown newspaper alive, consider the following VALUES:
-Publishes advertisements from stores and services that save you money in reduced prices on certain items. If you shop local stores with savings and coupons, you can save more than enough for your subscription.
-Prints want ads of all types, particularly help wanted ads that tell you the jobs that are available.
-Publishes legal notices to alert you to what’s happening around you and particularly the legal minutes of public meetings, your city council, school board and county board.
-Tells you the city services you are getting for your local tax dollars.
-Hires qualified staff trained to dig out news, write it fairly and present it in eye-catching page designs.
-Gives you an alert of agendas from commissions, particularly the planning commission, that shape your community, even affecting your property.
-Records news of arrests and police calls, so you can keep track of police activity that could be close to where you live.
-Includes a sports section that not only builds community pride but encourages young athletes to try harder for the glory of their community, and commends the many volunteer coaches.
-Highlights the achievements of the school system: the quality of the staff and the progress of the students, like printing the complete Honor Rolls.
Most importantly, your newspaper prints edited news that’s accurate. Otherwise, members of your community would get information through the grapevine, not a good source.
Your newspaper publishes news about the views and qualifications of those running for office and makes sure you have an informed vote, so vital to your way of life. Accepts your letters to the editor, that do affect policy makers’ decisions, so vital to our Democratic way of life.
So, what can you do to keep your newspaper coming to you every week?
-Subscribe to it, all of those services for pennies a week, that easily can be captured by savings when you purchase goods and services.
-Get just one other friend to subscribe to the newspaper.
-Shop at local stores and tell them you saw their advertisement in your local newspaper. Advertisers need to know their advertisement is working. A little feedback goes a long way.
Finally you need to volunteer to help the newspaper by going to an event, particularly at night, and take a photograph for the paper, particularly for the out-of-town events while consulting with the Editor.
After all, it’s your newspaper’s life to protect and to preserve!!
Don Heinzman is a column writer and a consultant on newsroom management, particularly for beginning community weekly newspaper editors. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org