Opinion

Newspapers ‘Way to Know’ in communities we serve

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — In this digital and social media driven age, some have declared newspapers to be a relic of a low-tech era that is destined to fade as the baby boom generation dies off.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Newspapers have been utilizing both digital and social media platforms to enhance and grow their audiences to unprecedented levels when combined with print products.

Community journalism is alive and well across America, and it is especially true in the communities that we serve here in North Central West Virginia.

 Besides our daily newspaper, The Exponent Telegram, we also publish five weekly newspapers: The Bridgeport News, The Fairmont News, The Weston News and the Preston News and Preston Journal.

Each newspaper’s mission is to serve as the independent voice of community journalism in their respective communities. The media platform that we use to serve and connect with each community involves print, websites, FaceBook and Twitter.

So, when you ask a working adult how do they start their day and they reply, “A cup of coffee and the morning newspaper,” they represent about half of all households in North Central West Virginia — they are reading the newspaper.

When a stay-at-home mom accesses her I-Pad, laptop or Kindle multiple times during the day for local news, she is reading the newspaper.

When a college student goes on their smartphone to check out the local events of the day through his or her FaceBook feed, they are reading the newspaper.

Whether it’s print, digital or social media when it comes to local news, it more often than not is generated by local newspaper employees. In North Central West Virginia, that usually means The Exponent Telegram or one of the local weekly newspapers we publish.

This week, we celebrate the 76th anniversary of National Newspaper Week from Oct. 2-8.

This year’s theme is “Way to Know!” The aim — according to Newspaper Association Managers Inc., the consortium of North American trade associations representing the industry on a state, regional and national basis — is to applaud and underscore newspaper media’s role as the leading provider of news in print, online or via mobile devices.

David Chavern, president and CEO of News Media Alliance, points out, “The word newspaper no longer reflects the media industry encompassed by the word.”

Newspaper information is available on websites, through social media and via messages delivered through cellphones.

“All evidence shows that people of all ages want and consume more news than ever,” he added. “We need to focus on new ways to address the needs of the audience. Legacy newspapers are considered trusted sources of information; we must continue to keep that trust as we experiment in the digital age. Live streaming, social media and video are just tools for better stories as journalists fight to keep readers in the know.

“The power of the press was, is now and will be in the future, bringing consumers the news they need — and having the fortitude to seek and report the news they don’t even yet know they need, but will,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and of the institute’s First Amendment Center.

It is an exciting and challenging time as technology rapidly evolves and changes the way in which we live our daily lives. The manner in which we get our local news is being affected as a result.

As your local newspaper and source for area news, sports and features, we are committed to serving you, no matter what platform you prefer to get your news and information from — whether it’s print, digital or social media or some combination of them. It’s all part of our ever-growing audience for community journalism.

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