Opinion, WVPA Sharing

Opinion: Newspapers integral to West Virginia communities

From The Intelligencer of Wheeling

The first week of October marks National Newspaper Week, a chance to step back and highlight the important role newspapers play in serving as a community forum for news, sports and human-interest stories that chronicle life in the Upper Ohio Valley.

We Americans enjoy a vigorous, vibrant press, like no other in the world. For more than two centuries, it has served us as guardians of our liberty and prosperity.

Newspapers indeed are critical to a free society and also to helping grow strong community bonds. Our nation’s founders recognized that in adopting the First Amendment. Since they did so, courts all the way up to the highest in the land have reinforced press freedoms.

Just how do we safeguard rights and promote well-being? We tell you every day what government is doing — and newspapers do it better than any other medium both in print and on our websites. We tell you in detail whether your school board is doing a good job, how your town or city council is spending your money, what new taxes state legislators are considering and why federal lawmakers take certain actions.

But more than that, newspapers provide a community forum, a place for local residents to go to find trusted information not only on how their tax dollars are being spent, but also on what events are taking place over the weekend, or how the region’s high school sports team are performing.

Our editorial pages consider local and regional issues from the standpoint of what is good for our readers. When government seems insensitive to those interests, we point it out. When a problem arises in our communities, we search for and offer solutions instead of simply noting why government is doing this or that wrong. We provide a platform for informed opinions from readers wanting to discuss important local topics.

We also celebrate the successes of local residents, frequently offering “Pats on the Back” to those in our community who are doing wonderful things.

But newspapers are so much more than sources of information and leadership on how government operates. We serve as the fabric of our communities.

We tell you who’s getting married, when children are born and when old friends pass away.

We tell you about campaigns to help local children suffering from serious illnesses, we inform you about church socials, and we cover initiatives to clean up neighborhoods.

We let you know about crime in your neighborhoods and about tragedies such as fires and floods. We offer opportunities for you to help your neighbors recovering from tragedy.

We report exhaustively on local high school sports, as well as concerts, bring-a-parent to school days and other activities involving your children.

We profile new businesses when they come to the community, and also provide our businesses partners a valuable way to reach tens of thousands of readers each day.

No one else tells you what’s going on in our communities like we do. Long before there was an internet, newspapers were sources of all sorts of important information. Now, our digital components complement our daily print editions.

National Newspaper Week is a reminder of how important we as an institution are to our communities. These are our communities, too, and we take pleasure in being partners to safeguard and make them better.

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