Oct. 1 to 7 is National Newspaper Week and this year’s slogan is “Newspapers matter now more than ever.” Do I believe that? Yes, fiercely!
Newspapers have changed in several aspects since I went to journalism school 15 years ago. In many ways, I believe, they’ve become more readable. Fonts and formats have changed to make the physical product more enticing to the average reader. Printing techniques have improved to make pictures clearer, and newsprint itself has become lighter and easier to recycle. However, in one very crucial way, I firmly avow newspapers have not changed – reliability.
Much has been said in the past couple of years about “fake” news, usually by the very people who get their information from the fakest of all sources: social media. Whether it’s a misspelled tweet, a Facebook diatribe or a lengthy article on the latest snake oil that someone emails you, the chances that the information you’ve just read is unbiased are as unlikely as Vladimir Putin growing chest hair. But, and it’s a huge but, if you’re reading an item slated as news in this newspaper, you can be assured that the writer has researched their item and that’s what separates fact from fiction.
Did you know that nine in 10 Canadians read content every week that was garnered from a newspaper? Now the cynics among you might say, “Yeah, but people only pass on information they agree with.” Of course they do, but here’s the kicker – it’s information that a serious writer has checked and double-checked for validity, not electronic gossip.
The other role newspapers and especially community newspapers play is telling relevant stories about the places where people live. If you go through this paper you will find inspiring items about local heroes, you will read news pieces about the people who want to govern on the Sunshine Coast after the all-important municipal election later this month, and you will get an insight into the culture of the Coast.
It’s no coincidence the most successful businesses on the Coast advertise in this paper. They know how important it is to all of us. But not everyone gets it. If you believe, as I do, that newspapers are more relevant than ever before, please go to www.newspapersmatter.ca and make your support known. The future of this crucial industry is in your hands.