The Advance-Press, works for community!
We at the Springfield Advance-Press believe the future for small town newspapers is continued success. As each individual has their own identity, their own hopes, dreams and personalities, so does each of the many small communities that dot the landscape of our country. It is the local community newspaper that can tell the story of each town best preserving a historical record that can be retrieved and read for decades to come.
Considering the Springfield Advance-Press stores 132-years’ worth of local history, that statement couldn’t be more accurate.
For decades, pundits and prognosticators have been predicting the death of newspapers. Radio, TV, and now the Internet were all supposed to kill newspapers, but we’re still here — Springfield’s longest established business. Small town newspapers are weathering a tough climate for community journalism and media in general; but we don’t think the problems we face are inconsistent with the issues that face small businesses and rural America, including increased competition from the Internet as a source of information and commerce. Newspapers are like any other business — trying to serve their long-time customers while adapting for the future.
We know that it is the local newspaper that honestly from day to day really feels the heartbeat of the community. Small town papers are usually the only media that cares about what is going on in the communities they serve unless it’s something sensational. We’re the only people who are going to sit through local government and school board meetings and break those details down into useful information that is easy to understand. We’re the only people who are going to seek out the interesting stories that come from the lives of everyday people right here in our own community — as well as print some news that some might consider mundane, too.
Everybody understands the power of the press, say, The New York Times, The Star Tribune, but probably less recognized and appreciated is the power of the Advance-Press and the thousands of other small, community newspapers just like it all across the land. People in the Big City can get their local news from several newspapers and other major media while people in small towns have only one main source. And it is neither flippant nor hyperbolic when we say that the Advance-Press is the only publication in the world devoted to the best interests of Springfield. While your hometown newspaper might serve as a prime example, it is in that respect no different from all those other community newspapers in all those other towns in this country.
In a small town, every newspaper reader thinks he or she is a stockholder, because there exists a real relationship, an implied contract, if you will, between that paper and its readers. We are happy about that relationship.
Community newspapers have the power to bring about great good and make a profound difference within their locales. And among the good ones, the ones who endure and even prosper, there is always to be found one common denominator — trust.
News travels fast in a small town; bad news travels even faster, but all too often that “news” is no such thing. All too often, that “news” is little more than rumor, sometimes made up out of whole cloth and at best some grain of truth exaggerated in its retellings vastly, and often alarmingly out of proportion. We’ve often heard the comment from someone who comes into the office to pick up a newspaper hot off the press edition, “I’ve heard all the talk, but I don’t believe it until I read in the paper.”
With the advent of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, a new generation demands their news posthaste and in 200 characters. We are grateful that technology enables us to revisit stories and share them with friends and to deliver messages for advertisers who prefer online. We have a website and are making an effort to reach out to the younger generation of readers. The electronic edition is a valuable archive, so newspapers remain an interactive part of the “new” media and most continue to evolve in this direction. We hope the print version, however, is never lost. It informs in a manner no amount of pixels ever can.
There will be a place for small town newspapers as long as there are people willing to put in the hard work it takes to publish quality journalism. It takes teamwork to put out a good community newspaper, and profitability is essential to a newspaper’s continued operation.
See complete story in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.