Serv­ing our com­mu­nity

The Covington News - - Opinion -

We are about to em­bark on an ex­cit­ing time here at the 143year-old Cov­ing­ton News; our cov­news.com Web site is about to be­come a mar­velous and ex­cit­ing daily part­ner of our news­pa­per. This change should take place by mid-Oc­to­ber.

The news and ad­ver­tis­ing that we will be able to bring to our com­mu­nity will ex­cite and en­er­gize you. Over the next few weeks we will be in­tro­duc­ing our new baby.

Be­ing ex­cited about this change brought to mind the 40 plus years that I have been in­volved with com­mu­nity news­pa­pers— first as a in­serter and a mail­room clerk, then a cir­cu­la­tion di­rec­tor, later an ed­i­tor/pub­lisher, then an owner and now I have the priv­i­lege of manag­ing The Cov­ing­ton News

Dur­ing those 40 years, I al­ways looked at a news­pa­per as a liv­ing em­bod­i­ment of the com­mu­nity it served. A com­mu­nity news­pa­per, I be­lieve, has a heart — it laughs, it cries. At times it is filled with pas­sion and some­times it bleeds.

Dur­ing that time I never thought of my­self as any­thing but a shep­herd of any news­pa­per I was ever priv­i­leged to serve. I have never be­lieved that any­one could own a liv­ing breath­ing thing such as a news­pa­per.

Years ago, 42 to be ex­act, I was at­tend­ing a cir­cu­la­tion con­ven­tion and I heard a speaker from Knight-Rid­der news­pa­pers, at that time one of the largest chains in the coun­try, tell us that in 20 years there would be no news­pa­pers— that the only means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion would be the lit­tle black box, which we now know is ca­ble tele­vi­sion.

That lit­tle black box would con­tain mil­lions of pages of news­pa­per news, be­cause of that there would be no need for news­pa­per car­ri­ers or for the use of print­ing presses.

For­tu­nately for all of us, that speaker was wrong.

But a cou­ple of his points were not too far off. In fact the larger pa­pers like the Los An­ge­les Times, The New York Times and the At­lanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion are strug­gling and loos­ing cir­cu­la­tion at such an alarm­ing rate that the day of the big metro news­pa­per is al­most past. Hun­dreds of com­mu­nity news­pa­pers are spring­ing up to fill their own com­mu­nity needs.

I pre­dict in the next ten years the AJC will be­come a com­mu­nity-only news­pa­per also, just cov­er­ing the greater At­lanta area.

The rea­son for that is that the pop­u­la­tion has mi­grated to far flung com­mu­ni­ties over the last 40 years, and as the own­ers of the big metro dailies are find­ing out a news­pa­per truly can’t rep­re­sent a mul­ti­tude of com­mu­ni­ties ef­fec­tively. Be­cause of this their cir­cu­la­tion num­bers have steadily de­clined

The Mor­ris fam­ily has owned and shep­herded this news­pa­per since the ‘80s. I don’t know if their fam­ily will carry on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of shep­herd­ing the News for an­other quar­ter of a cen­tury or not, but I cer­tainly hope so. If they don’t, who­ever does will bring their own ideas and thoughts into run­ning this com­mu­nity news­pa­per. Re­gard­less, it will still live and will still be the heart of our com­mu­nity.

Its peo­ple will con­tinue to live here and vol­un­teer here and be a part of the everyday growth that will con­tinue to hap­pen in our rapidly grow­ing com­mu­nity.

I still look for­ward to re­ceiv­ing one of the morn­ing metro pa­pers still dis­trib­uted here even though most of the time I strongly dis­agree with its ed­i­to­rial poli­cies.

I still pace when its late, I used to have to have it to per­form my morn­ing con­sti­tu­tional, but thank­fully I have got­ten over that.

I now skim through the metro pa­per in record time.

But when my News comes, I read ev­ery word and if I don’t have time then I fin­ish the next day.

I re­al­ize that I’m preach­ing to the choir if you are read­ing this.

Dear reader, you have a mag­nif­i­cent re­spon­si­bil­ity, to make sure that we never lose our com­mu­nity news­pa­per; it truly is our com­mu­nity iden­tity. Some politi­cians may scoff at that state­ment, but no mat­ter what they say, they usu­ally are the first to line up to get their pic­ture in the lo­cal pa­per.

I would sug­gest to you as you as our com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to grow, greet your new neigh­bors in­tro­duce them to your lo­cal news­pa­per. It also makes a great Christ­mas gift, for those fam­i­lies who live far away it keeps giv­ing and giv­ing all year long.

By the way, Knight-Rid­der news­pa­pers no longer ex­ist as the mighty group they once were. I think maybe there ex­ec­u­tives are still looking for that magic black box.

Un­til next time.

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