Have you hugged your news­pa­per to­day?

The Compass - - OPINION - Bar­bara Dean-Sim­mons is the as­so­ci­ate man­ag­ing ed­i­tor for NL Week­lies. She writes from Clarenville.

It was Na­tional News­pa­per Week from Oct. 6-12, and de­spite what some peo­ple seem to think, the com­mu­nity news­pa­per is not ob­so­lete. We are not di­nosaurs, doomed to die in the age of Twit­ter and Face­book.

We are, in fact, still as im­por­tant — per­haps more than ever — to the com­mu­ni­ties we serve in this age of fast­paced, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it news cov­er­age.

In the age where news can be con­densed to a 140-char­ac­ter synop­sis on Twit­ter, and the com­mer­cials some­times take up more time than the news bite on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio, your com­mu­nity news­pa­per of­fers you some­thing rare and unique — lo­cal news, about lo­cal peo­ple, with de­tail.

In the past few weeks, across this prov­ince, TC Me­dia’s lineup of com­mu­nity news­pa­pers have of­fered up in­ter­est­ing, provoca­tive and heart-warm­ing sto­ries of peo­ple and events from prac­ti­cally ev­ery nook and cranny.

On any given day of the week, from Car­bon­ear to Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay, and towns in be­tween, there’s a com­mu­nity news­pa­per reporter or ed­i­tor talk­ing to lo­cal peo­ple, tak­ing pho­tos and writ­ing the sto­ries that mat­ter to you. Com­mu­nity news­pa­pers ob­so­lete? Balder­dash! We are more rel­e­vant than ever, thanks to so­cial me­dia and the World Wide Web. The sto­ries that mat­ter to our cit­i­zens and towns are now be­ing shared via Face­book and Twit­ter. Peo­ple who have moved away are main­tain­ing their con­nec­tions to their lo­cal towns, thanks to our dig­i­tal pres­ence. And more peo­ple can be en­gaged with their lo­cal pa­per — as writ­ers, blog­gers and pho­tog­ra­phers.

Ul­ti­mately, we are – and will con­tinue to be — rel­e­vant be­cause of the re­la­tion­ships we have built, through years of ex­is­tence, with our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Peo­ple know that when they send a photo of a child get­ting a hair­cut for can­cer, the lo­cal pa­per will use it. Cit­i­zens know that when they stage a protest over a gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion, the lo­cal news­pa­per will likely be the first on the scene.

Read­ers know they might meet up with the ed­i­tor or re­porters on any given day in the gro­cery aisle at the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket, and be able to sug­gest a story idea dur­ing that brief en­counter.

Sim­ply put, your com­mu­nity news­pa­per is a re­flec­tion of the com­mu­nity. It’s a weekly (print) and daily (online) record of the events, is­sues and peo­ple that give life to a com­mu­nity.

We hope you take a mo­ment this week to con­sider your com­mu­nity news­pa­per and the very im­por­tant and es­sen­tial pur­pose it serves. You are nec­es­sary to what we try to do each week and we are grate­ful.

We are not dy­ing. We are evolv­ing and chang­ing with the times, and we firmly be­lieve we have many more years and decades ahead of us, serv­ing our com­mu­ni­ties by telling your sto­ries.

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