Some thoughts on National Newspaper Week

To the Messenger audience,

For 73 years, the first full week of October has been proclaimed National Newspaper Week in honor of the American tradition of a free, aggressive and responsible press.

Now more than ever, we think it's important to honor that tradition and the constructive role newspapers play in the life of a community.

As the editor of a weekly newspaper, I find myself doing a lot of different things. Both news and advertising become part of the daily routine. One day I’m crunching numbers for an ad program, the next day I’m calling on a new business that has just opened in the area, or faithful advertisers for a special section that we are working on.

The staff here also writes – news, features, editorials – the whole gamut. Whatever it takes to get the job done, we do it. It’s a way to stay connected to the community in a personal way and it can remind us when and why we decided to make newspapers our life’s work.

Sometimes life can bogg us down with day-to-day demands, and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of why we do what we do and why we love it. There are some things, however, you just can’t forget, like covering last week’s terrible accident that killed Mary Urturuastegui, Condon Hulgan, Jeff Miller and Travis Reak. Those are the most difficult stories to report on due to their nature. But we have to cover the event because it reaches out to so many people in the community. Students, teachers, and community members were all affected by that accident and its losses.

So, too, were the members of the Montgomery Police and Ambulance crews who responded to the scene. In those types of situations, they are dealing directly with the people affected. I can’t begin to imagine what they went through in responding to that accident, but I applaud all of their efforts for doing a fantastic job under the worst of circumstances.

Of course, not all stories are that emotional (thank heavens!). Others are very fun to write like the historic windows in Alvin Nasinec’s barn (Thank you, Dale Ruhland for telling us about that!), the last Redbird Homecoming, and all of the stories related to the school district consolidation. I can’t forget to mention the pre-and post-Kolacky Days coverage that we write about.

We also report what your local and county governing bodies are doing.

No other news outlet has reporters on staff who go out into this community and report on it. We have regular coverage of city council and school board meetings (you know, the organizations that are spending your tax money), local sports teams, churches, community groups, community celebrations and other events.

Newspapers are alive and well today, despite the reports we hear on the internet about the big daily newspapers making cuts to their staff.

If you think most people won’t miss their newspaper, try answering the phones in our office on a Thursday morning if some area didn’t get their paper in mail. The phone rings off the hook. And I’m glad, because that tells me people still like what the newspaper does.


As always, thanks for reading.