Newspapers provide a great community resource

Monday, March 6, 2006

If you've observed this space for long, you know we enjoy tooting other people's horns.

That's a good thing. It's easy to concentrate on the negative aspects of society, and we don't shy away from discussing them if we feel it's necessary.

But we've found it's more productive to spotlight those with achievement than pointing out the shortcomings of others.

This week, it's our turn to toot our own horn.

It's Newspaper in Education Week, when newspapers around the country provide papers and special features for use in education.

We jumped the gun a little bit, providing newspapers to several schools last week, because many students have a break for part of this week.

As one Missouri publisher, Dave Berry points out, "The local newspaper is a living textbook. It's about their world. It's about their community. It is about them. It is being used in successful programs to teach math, science, English, civic service, government, consequences of bad behavior, rewards of good behavior, leisure time and much more."

The Gazette and local area weekly newspapers, help tie their communities together.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Newspaper Association, 95 percent of readers read local news, 92 percent read school news, 76 percent read local sports and 75 percent read public notices.

But how well do they do their job?

According to the survey, 78 percent of readers believe their local news coverage is good to excellent, 67 percent believe the accuracy of their community newspaper is good to excellent, 64 percent believe the quality of writing in their community newspaper is good to excellent, and 58 percent believe the fairness of reporting is good to excellent.

Can you still hear the horn tooting? Yes, newspapers are going a good job, but not so great that there isn't still plenty of room for improvement.

Now's the time for another horn to sound.

That's the one for the readers who buy our paper, contribute news, provide criticism and suggestions -- in general, make a community newspaper the great resource it is.

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