There’s still a lot of credibility when it comes to what is published on a page.
Your mind wants to believe something if you see it in a newspaper, a magazine or another printed form. A published book is going to grab you in more than an e-book or an audio book.
The internet can never have that level of credibility; anyone can go online and publish anything without any repercussions; what’s worse, some people will actually believe anything they read on Facebook or another website if it fits their agenda.
Broadcasting can never match that level of credibility, either. You hear it, but then you forget about it.
But when it’s in front of you, when you’re holding it in your hand, when somebody has actually taken the time and the money to publish it – that’s when it has enhanced credibility.
We’re in the midst of the National Newspapers Week, which runs from Oct. 4-10. At one time, it didn’t really register with people. Maybe the local paper would have a small ad, noting the occasion and thanking the readers, the carriers, the staff and everyone else who helped make the newspaper possible.
But in recent years, as newspapers have been vanishing, we’re seeing a greater emphasis on the industry and what they mean to the community and how they keep people engaged.
It’s not just the big-city papers that are closing down; we’re also seeing small-town papers shuttered, as their revenues can’t keep pace with the cost of business. It’s particularly tough for smaller communities, where the community newspaper is the only source for trusted information. (Sorry, coffee rows and overtly biased social media sites aren’t the place to turn for information).
And as such, National Newspapers Week has taken on a greater level of significance.
This week’s theme is Champion the Truth. That’s not just the theme for this week. It’s a theme for newspapers everywhere every day, every week and every year. It’s a theme that reflects our job.
The challenges facing the newspaper industry are well-documented. These have not been easy times for print journalism. We’ve faced challenging times, thanks to the ever-growing digital world, and newspapers haven’t always done a good job of adapting.
COVID-19 has only exacerbated the hurdles facing this line of work.
We’ve done a pretty good job here at the Mercury of adapting, as reflected by a stable newspaper size over the past seven months, and the numbers of stories uploaded to our website, www.estevanmercury.ca, on a daily basis.
But other papers haven’t done well. Revenue sources that they used to lean on aren’t there any longer. And so it’s incumbent on them to evolve, rather than come with the approach of “This is how we did it in 1990, and so that’s how we’re going to do it now.”
The fundamentals of the newspaper don’t change. That’s why they’re the fundamentals. Belief in a standard of perfection. Good, clear, smart writing. Crisp layout. Eye-catching advertisements. Hard work. Good photography. And follow the basics of good writing, with good grammar and punctuation.
And there will always be that commitment to find and bring truth to you.
Outside of those fundamentals of the job, there isn’t much that would be the same from a decade ago.
You won’t find fake news here, although you might not always like what’s included within the pages of the Mercury.
In this week’s Mercury, you’ll find testimonials from people who recognize the value of the community newspaper. Business owners. Non-profit organization employees. Long-time residents of the community. These people know it’s important to have a community paper and the important role it plays in keeping the community informed, of celebrating successes, of holding people accountable and of bringing the truth each week.
As long as there’s an Estevan Mercury, we’re going to be the champions of truth. We’re going to endeavour to bring the facts to you, because facts are sacred.
And we hope that you’ll continue to count on us each week to keep you informed.