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October 6, 2013
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Editor’s Notebook: Community newspapers are far from being obsolete

Has this newspaper changed in your lifetime? Yes, it has. It’s changed in the last year alone.

It’s evolved many times in its 146-year history, and it will continue to do so as it reflects the makeup of our community.

The mere fact The News-Review has been in existence for 146 years and remains a daily habit for 32,000 readers ought to make you skeptical of reports that say newspapers are dying.

Newspapers are adapting

The thirst for news is greater than ever before. People want their news instantaneously and frequently. Technology has given us the platform to make that happen, so we offer news on our website, www.nrtoday.com, as well as in the familiar hard copy that’s delivered to your home, or for sale in the stores and news racks.

Just because we can report news 24 hours a day doesn’t mean we’ve turned into siren-chasers. The News-Review’s journalists continue to do the kind of work other local media outlets skip. We take the time and spend the money to provide the story behind the headlines and sound bites.

We provide context and perspectives from multiple sources. We research issues, analyze budgets and request public records — the information all of you have a right to know — from the government agencies your tax dollars support. When public agencies refuse to provide the information they should, we press harder and remind them of their responsibility to be transparent.

We report on accidents and crime, but not just when they occur. We follow up on victims’ conditions, law enforcement investigations and the movement of cases through our criminal justice system.

But we don’t just report the bad news.

We have 17 people working in our newsroom — by far the largest news team in Douglas County — representing 188 years of experience in journalism. We are dedicated to produce a daily newspaper that informs, explains, entertains and inspires you.

We want your voices, your events, your milestones in this newspaper.

It would be difficult to count the number of local names that have been printed in The News-Review. Think of all the places your name appears in the paper during your lifetime: When you’re born, make the honor roll, score a crucial point in an athletic event at one of our 15 local high schools, become an Eagle Scout, win an award, graduate from high school, earn a college degree, marry, place in a road race, give birth to your child, start a business, become an officer in a local club, hit a hole-in-one, celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary and, if not more, then finally in your obituary.

Some see their names in print more than others because they’re so active in our community. Others do because they have something to say: Approximately 560 letters to the editor or guest columns have appeared on our Opinion page in the past year alone.

Another 25 local writers contribute regular monthly columns to share their expertise with readers, many of them in the themed sections we’ve added or revamped in the past year: Money Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Healthy Wednesday and Arts & Entertainment Thursday. The Life and Outdoors sections on Sundays also include the submissions of your fellow Umpqua Valley residents.

Admittedly, names of some Douglas County residents end up in less desirable places, like the arrest records. But considering how well read that section is — and the protests we hear when it’s missing — we suspect you like knowing who the bad guys are too.

I’m reminding you how locally focused and valuable your newspaper is because National Newspaper Week begins today. It’s a good time to remember the wealth of information in a community newspaper like The News-Review. If you’re reading this, you’re part of a sophisticated group. Our reader survey shows News-Review readers are loyal (60 percent have subscribed for more than 15 years), educated (62 percent have attended some college or obtained a degree) and homeowners (76 percent own their own home).

With such a savvy audience, it’s essential that we provide high-quality journalism. You’ll accept nothing less than accurate, timely, balanced and compelling news, which is what we strive to offer every day.

So, the next time someone claims that newspapers are dying because so much information is available on the Internet, take a look at what pops up in their Google search. Generally, the top references belong to newspapers because that’s where most news reporting happens.

And because we have a large news team covering a wide variety of topics, no other website is going to provide more comprehensive news of what’s happening in the Umpqua Valley today, and what’s occurred here in the past, than www.nrtoday.com.

Vicki Menard of Glide has been writing for The News-Review for 30 years. She’s been the editor since 2007. She can be reached at vmenard@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203.


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The News-Review Updated Oct 8, 2013 04:36PM Published Oct 10, 2013 07:20PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.