I just learned that this is “Support Your Local News Week.” For that matter, support everything local. If local businesses ever needed supporting, it is now.
You may or may not have given it much thought, but it is important to recognize the value of local news as a vital public service.
A research firm, Coda Ventures, confirmed newspapers were the top source when looking for information about their local government. The local newspaper at No. 1 attracted 53 percent of the respondents. Want added strength? Reading newspapers for advertisements and public notices was rated as being very important to survey respondents. That survey was just done in Tennessee, but no doubt the same information would apply to our area.
With all the doom and gloom information being spread about newspapers we should consider what it would be like to not have the information that is shared by local community newspapers.
For one thing, there are some legislators in Frankfort that want to hide all legal information on the Internet. These people know that if that happens hardly anybody will see actions they take that affect you and your tax dollars.
Last week I wrote about tourism tax. About eight years ago, State Auditor Adam Edelen noted all of the problems associated with “special districts” in Kentucky, those that receive a lot of tax dollars but have very little oversight.
Then in 2013 the legislature passed House Bill 1 taking the “special district” notices out of newspapers. Current Auditor, Mike Harmon’s office issued a release recently that found issues of tracking compliance and financial information preventing proper oversight of local tourism commissions.
As recently as June the Department of Local Government reported that a website was no longer available to the “special interest” to submit their information online. A non-complier list has remained unaddressed since 2018 by the DLG.
Would you have noticed if all this information was on a website? I think not. But you would have paid attention to it had it been published in a newspaper. Again, this is just one way of hiding information some legislators don’t want you to know.
But community newspapers are vital for many more reasons than sharing legal information. For the people who have an interest in what happens in their communities nothing but a newspaper will fulfill that interest.
No, not the Internet. For one thing the Internet does not have paid reporters collecting the news. Much of what you read online is hearsay, and not to be trusted. Radio stations are mostly there for your entertainment, and large city television stations only report sensational happenings in our neighborhood.
That leaves your community newspaper to report events that happen at city hall, churches, organizations, weddings, obituaries, public records, and numerous other things.
The facts from the research firm showed that newspaper ads motivate readers to take action. Overall, more than half of all readers can recall a newspaper ad and nearly 7 out of 10 of those readers say they’ve taken action.
Thank you to those who developed “Support Your Local News Week,” we appreciate it.