We don’t care about Trump…we’re more interested in what you think

Published 8:46 am Monday, August 20, 2018

News matters. That’s why the Elizabethton STAR and hundreds of other newspapers across the nation exist today.
The reason newspapers exist today is because newspaper owners and advertisers believe in the value of professional journalists observing and sharing the human experience, holding public officials and institutions accountable, and building strong, well-informed communities. It’s one of the ways residents of a community are informed.
The turmoil in the news industry nationally has been widely reported, as has the American public’s decline in trust of newspapers as an institution (only 11 percent report having a “great deal” of confidence in newspapers as an institution, according to a 2017 Gallup poll). But here’s another recent data point: Americans actually seem to trust local news outlets more than national ones.
President Trump has labeled the news media “the enemy of the American people” and has called much of the coverage “fake news.” This may be true of some news organizations, but for most local newspapers and television nations, they work hard every day to bring you the news that counts.
We are not too concerned about how President Trump views local newspapers. We are more concerned about how our community sees us.
It’s not a good time for newspapers. Staffs are being cut, budgets are getting slashed. Newspapers are struggling for a variety of reasons, among them the growth of social media, which has turned us all into citizen journalists with the ability to make the news wherever we are. There’s Facebook and Twitter, which give all of us a platform to tell everyone what’s going on in our world at that very moment. If there’s a fire down the road, someone is quick to post it on social media. If there is a wreck, causing a traffic delay, it will be posted on social media by someone.
There’s no way local newspapers can compete with social media, but our role is finding the facts and reporting the real story.
We mourn the passing of the days when everyone had the local paper delivered through their paperbox. Most would rather read their news in a paper than online, and the nibs at the back of the paper about a family homecoming or a sports story about a local high school student are as much to be treasured as the violent crime story that’s made the front page.
The fact that newspapers are disappearing makes towns and cities poorer places as a result.
At the STAR, we enjoy telling the stories of local student athletes. We enjoy meeting our readers, and most importantly, we enjoy telling the stories of hope, stories that make a difference, and stories about the people living in our community. It’s your stories, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.
Most importantly, a free press matters. The First Amendment, protecting the press from interference from the national government, was ratified in 1791. In 1787, the year the Constitution was born, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to a friend, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
The essential role that local news will continue to play in the lives of individuals is an enduring reality; Warren Buffett said it well: “If you want to know what’s going on in your town — whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football — there is no substitute for a local newspaper. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable… papers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to tightly bound communities and having a sensible internet strategy will remain viable for a long time.”
Yes, Donald Trump may call the news written about him “fake” and he may call journalists “enemies of the American people.” That doesn’t bother us. It’s more important what you think about us, and we hope to be around a long time to continue sharing your stories and covering what is happening in our community.

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