OPINION: Worthwhile news isn’t cheap

May 9—Freedom of the press is a founding principle upon which the United States of America was built. A free press protects a healthy nation from tyrants bent on manipulating and overwhelming citizens. You need look no further than places such as Russia, China or North Korea to confirm. National and international news outlets protect citizen’s rights and freedoms.

Local news outlets provide the same protection to local communities. Local newspapers are a key component, providing news unique to those they serve. Healthy communities do best with a robust and healthy press.

News reporting is hard work and it does not come cheap. But, it is worth the price.

Reporters must be educated, engaging and artistic. Gathering news requires face to face interviews, with prepared questions with people who are either guarded or open, inarticulate or verbose.

Throughout the week, city and county governing bodies with the power to tax meet to conduct business and make decisions. They manage and maintain police protection, fire departments, emergency response, and provide clean water and sewer services.

The sports department juggles an ever widening array of girls’ and boys’ sports teams, chooses events to attend, gathers information from coaches, dispatches photographers and compiles stats.

Journalists must know how to write in an engaging and informative way. They must be precise with their grammar and punctuation. They must record facts, figures and quotes accurately in often complex and dynamic situations. Sometimes events are tragic and involve local folks. Those stories are as hard on reporters as they are on the community.

Free news sources are certainly available. Broadcast and online news sites are accessible with a television, computer or mobile device. Many are reputable. Few provide the depth and breadth of coverage you get from your local newspaper. Some are mere hotbeds of rumor and false narratives. Often they are mere entertainment posing as a news source.

An average edition of online and print offerings from the News and Tribune is indicative of what you will see day in and day out. You can read about a local company providing production service for major Derby week events. A feature story highlights a local farmer’s dream to sell homegrown food. There is a recap of how the Braves took down Charlestown and Providence outlasted the Highlanders in local baseball contests. The results of a local election, news of the governor signing a bill easing access to birth control, directional closures planned for the Sherman Minton Bridge and accusations of inappropriate touching by a local chiropractor are also part of the coverage.

We may be preaching to the choir. So, let this be a reminder to you of the value of your local newspaper. Then, go promote that value to your peers, children and grandchildren. Those who truly care about their communities are informed about what’s happening in them, and the best way to know such information is by subscribing to the local newspaper.

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