Reading the Local Paper

Local news
Local News

The headline: Kearney, Kroth Address Optimists

The Lead: “At the noon meeting of the Olathe Optimist Club yesterday, Tom Kearney and Mike Kroth spoke on their experiences last week at Boy’s State.”

Best quote: “In his speech, Kearney reiterated the words of the 1969 governor who said, ‘I don’t believe in a black race or a white race, I believe in the human race.’ Kearney said the younger generation was fed up with racism and this was especially evident at Boy’s State.”

The Time: 1969 (date unknown)

The Newspaper: The Olathe Daily News (I am pretty sure)

I am pretty sure it’s the Olathe Daily News because I am looking at a faded newspaper clipping from an old scrapbook.  It’s loose in the scrapbook and I can see the dark rectangles on each corner where tape was used to attach it. It doesn’t have a date on it or the name of the newspaper but it’s got to be from our local newspaper.  Who else would carry such a mundane bit of news about a couple of high school students from a small Kansas town?

Well, local newspapers would, did, and do. I was thinking this morning about our paper, The Idaho Statesman, and was pretty sure I had a few old clips from local papers. Sure enough, I do. The Optimist story was written almost half a century ago, and yet I still have it and am referring to it this morning.

The Idaho Statesman this morning had miffed me, as it usually does when I see an advertisement covering a third of the front page, emulating the real paper headline of the day with a truncated version as it were the real news, and then the ad below and then wrapping around the back of the front section.

Pretending to be the front page.  Harumph!

I don’t like those.

And on Sunday these kinds of ads might be embracing several different sections of the paper.

But you know what? These ads are a minor, minor price to pay for local journalism and, to be honest, I’m always going to support advertisers who support our local paper.

I subscribe to the Statesman and not just to the electronic version.  I want a paper copy delivered to my door every morning just as papers have been delivered from the days of cavepeople.  I like to turn the pages, sit back in my easy chair, and ruminate about what is happening in my community and state, to get a picture of what is going on just around me, and what folks think about it and also the world around us.  Reading a newspaper each morning (and each evening when they used to have them – gosh, it’s been awhile since the Albuquerque Tribune) has been a comforting part of my day that helps to situate me, to ground me, for decades.

I subscribe to the local newspaper because I want to support journalism in our country.  Journalism and a free press are essential to a democracy.

Local news, written and electronic, is an essential part of a thriving community.

Retirees need to be able to read the obituaries written about their long time friends and neighbors. Taxpayers need to be able know what they need to know about the next bond election and voters need to get a personal picture of the candidate who hopes to defeat the incumbent.  Fans need to be able to boast about their local team.

I could just get national and world news for free online and call it good, but I won’t ever do that because kids need to be able to clip stories about themselves and put them in scrapbooks.  And I want to be able to grouse about some crazy thing written on the opinion page.

Subscribe to your local newspaper and watch your local electronic news sources.

Clip stories and put them scrapbooks and then, when you look back, you will be reminded about what is important in the middle of what sometimes seems an unanchored world.

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