Why read newspapers?
With national newspaper readership on the decline, that is a question everyone related to the industry is trying to answer; whether that be for marketing purposes, in an attempt to reinvent themselves, or simply to reaffirm why they do what they do.
While many media mega-corporations hired consultants or created internal positions for this purpose, spending immense amounts of money trying to find the answer, local media outlets with real connections to their community need to look no further than their own pages.
Every community experiences situations full of inspiration, and every community shares in the heartache suffered after a terrible tragedy or loss, and every community needs to know how its tax dollars are being spent and what those who represent them are doing.
All of those things can be found in the pages of the community newspaper that actually cares about its community. It is becoming a rarity, as newspapers of all sizes are folding or merging into larger and more-bloated corporate entities. Just a couple of years ago, it was the corporate-level decisions that were made for a “community paper” from well outside that community. Now, with the general-economic struggles adding to the already-existing large-media struggles, the actual editorial decisions themselves are made from well outside of the community.
When these media outlets try to be local when they are not local themselves, they find themselves in a quandary. International and national news consumption is migrating from newspapers to cable TV and the Internet, and they are spread too wide and not local enough to actually be a hometown paper for anyone.
And that is exactly why local, hometown weekly newspapers are needed.
Unlike those distant corporate media entities, hometown papers like ourselves and like the Kendall County Record newspapers to our south are actually part of the community. We share in your joys and success; and we are with you through your moments of struggle.
We are there to share in your stories of inspiration, like “‘Miracle’ Meagan,” a story we printed in January about an Elburn family whose baby daughter beat all the odds when she survived after being born with a rare condition that led doctors to expect a tragic ending before Meagan’s personal story ever had a chance to begin.
We are there to share in your grief, like when we all experienced the passing of Leon Gramley, a community servant in Kaneville; and Bruce Conley, a community servant in Elburn who served everywhere in the area.
We share in your hopes, like when we were there every step of the way as the Kaneland Knights football team made its run toward state; and we share in your defeats as the team fell just short of a trip to Champaign.
We are there in the board meeting rooms, and we are there as the children of the community take the stage.
As 2010 comes to a close, we hope you take a moment to look through our website, elburnherald.com, and remember the ups and downs our community experienced.
So, why read newspapers?
After you take a look at all the moments we experienced together this year, we hope that answer becomes apparent, and that the question transforms into: Why wouldn’t you read newspapers?
Happy new year, and we look forward to sharing even more moments with you in 2011.