DEAN RIDINGS COLUMN: Making a difference in the community in many ways

Published 5:05 pm Sunday, October 2, 2022

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National Newspaper Week began Oct. 2. While this isn’t the typical holiday that most families celebrate, it does provide a good opportunity to take a moment and recognize all the ways that local newspapers make a difference in communities across America.

If you’re reading this, you probably already have a good understanding of why it is important to have a healthy newspaper in your town. By subscribing to or advertising in your local newspaper, you are providing much needed support to keep trained, professional journalists covering the issues important to you.

Your local newspaper is committed to being the local watchdog, covering city government, public utilities and school boards to make sure your tax dollars are being spent properly.

But, there are many other ways newspapers serve their readers and communities, things even regular readers might not always consider.

Newspapers are reliable. Unlike content you can see on social media, or even from national publications or cable news channels, you can be sure that news from your local newspaper is professionally gathered, fact-checked and edited. Even the editorials and letters to the editor go through a rigorous process to get the facts correct. You might not always agree, but you can rely on the fact that what’s published has followed the highest journalistic standards. You may not agree with the positions on your newspaper’s editorial page, but you probably realize that their goal is to provide you with objective and impartial news coverage in the rest of the paper.

Newspapers protect your right to know. In addition to covering what’s going on in your local government, most newspapers serve another critical purpose by publishing public notices.

A public notice is a notice issued by government agencies regarding proposed actions, zoning proposals, tax initiatives or other lawmaking proceedings. Most local governments are required to publish them in local newspapers, so all citizens have the opportunity to know what’s going on, and if necessary, take appropriate action. Newspapers provide broad community distribution. Moving a public notice to a municipal website would be like hiding the notice. Newspapers help keep your government’s actions transparent.

Newspapers are more than print. Your local newspapers deliver high-quality information in the format that works best for you.

Newspapers have dynamic websites, apps, social media channels and newsletters and they have made significant advancements in digital platforms to make sure you get the news you need when you want it and how you want it.

Newspaper audiences are bigger than ever thanks to the broad reach provided by the combined print and digital channels.

Newspapers are local. Your newspaper is local, produced by local citizens who drive the same streets, shop in the same stores and have children in the same schools as you. The local newspaper’s focus is on making the community stronger, safer and healthier. The publisher and staff share the same concerns as all the other residents.

Your local newspaper makes a difference in your community in many ways. That’s true every week, not just during National Newspaper Week.

Dean Ridings is the CEO of America’s Newspapers, an organization serving more than 1,600 newspapers across the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at