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This paper wants to keep it local

Sunday, April 11, 2010

There's a famous Norman Rockwell painting that hangs on my office wall entitled Country Editor. The painting portrays a small Missouri newspaper office during the 1940s. It illustrates the daily hectic pace of small newspapers, not unlike today's Standard Democrat in some ways.

Coincidentally earlier this week I had an interest in browsing through some back issues of this newspaper from 45 years ago. But it wasn't the article I was seeking that caught my attention. I was flabbergasted by the top headlines of the day.

Back in the mid-1960s, virtually every banner headline across the top of the front page was on a topic oddly unrelated to our region, much less our community. One blaring headline told of a massive earthquake in Turkey. Another screams that Sidney Poitier was the first black to receive the Oscar for Best Actor.

Not that these news events were unimportant. But I doubt seriously if an earthquake halfway across the world would generate much local interest. Nor an Oscar winner.

But the change is an obvious reflection of the altered world of mass communications. Back in the 1960s we obviously did not have the around-the-clock news cycles and constant bombardment of news on television, much less the Internet.

Today, this newspaper strives to report as much local news as possible because we understand that the national and international news is carried elsewhere.

There are those who constantly bemoan this changing environment but I am not among them. Granted, I get sick and tired of watching a constant recycling of major news events 24 hours each day. Yet I have the option of turning off that television if I so choose.

The true importance of this news explosion is that smaller news outlets - like this newspaper - can now focus on local, regional and state events that have a greater impact on our lives. We're not afraid to share our views on some of these national events but we want to assure our readers know what is happening in city government, in our school system and in the places and issues that directly impact their lives.

There are polls that show American viewers are tiring of the endless news cycles on the dozens and dozens of channels available on television. And the newspaper industry is suffering because of this avalanche of news from other sources.

However at the end of the day, nothing can compare with a local newspaper to accurately and timely inform you of the events that shape our lives.

We're no longer in the world of that 1940s Norman Rockwell painting. But the hustle and bustle that is involved in bringing you a daily newspaper remains, regardless of the changing climate on the national scene.

And for that, we remain proud.



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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen