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Strong newspapers are a sign of strong and healthy communities

It is National Newspaper Week.

Yay. It is the week each year, newspapers, such as this one, take the time to remind you just how relevant and important we are to the health and well-being of our communities.

National Newspaper Week is the time for us to talk about how newspaper reporters are there covering meetings and important issues that impact the current and future of communities. Newspaper reporters are there asking the questions, turning over the rocks and shining light into the dark corners to hold government officials accountable and ensure they continue to serve the public rather than their own self interests. In a long-term study, researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Notre Dame found a correlation between newspaper closures and higher government wages and tax dollars per capita in those communities. Simply put, it costs taxpayers more to be kept in the dark.

National Newspaper Week is the time to talk about how community newspapers share the stories of people and places in our communities. The stories of the young person battling for their life against a serious medical condition, stories about community members rallying around a common goal to make the community better than it was before. Newspapers are the place where a centenarian shares the stories of her childhood and where the community joins in celebrating a milestone anniversary. National Newspaper Week is the time to talk about how community newspapers are there to cover the achievements of the community’s student athletes, artists and performers. Community newspapers are at the games, concerts, plays and shows sharing in the pride and excitement. Community newspapers are there, sharing the stories of overcoming challenges and of striving to be the best.

Community newspapers are there in times of stress and toil. They are there to cover when disaster hits or when the unthinkable happens. They are there to provide insight and information for how people can stay safe. They are there to shine a light on those rebuilding and what others can do to help or what people can do to avert future tragedies.

National Newspaper Week is a time to talk about how community newspapers are there for the business community. Community newspapers serve as a vital link between businesses and current and potential customers. A study conducted by Michigan State University for the News Media Alliance found that there’s a direct correlation between non-subscribers receiving the newspaper and how much they spend. When non-subscribers get their hands on a physical newspaper, they make more purchases and spend more money. The study also found that for regular subscribers, the money saved by taking advantage of advertised specials was seen as a return on investment for the cost of their subscription.

National Newspaper week is a time to talk about how newspapers help define communities and bring people together, breaking down the barriers, providing context to the sound bites and serving as a platform for considered and thoughtful debate.

Chances are you knew all of that before. After all, you are a reading this in a newspaper in ether print or various electronic forms. You know how valuable your time is and how it is important to take the time to celebrate community newspapers.