PUBLISHERS NOTEBOOK: Newspapers still about telling stories
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 7:03 AM
This week is National Newspaper Week - a time to celebrate the role newspapers play in the communities they serve. The week caused me to look back at my start in journalism several decades ago.
One of my first - if not the first - newspaper articles I wrote was about Norman Grabau's log cabin project on his family farm near Forestville. It meant a lot to him to add to the heritage of his family farm with this project.
I felt privileged to be an audience of one for him as he told his story and then provide the details of that story to our readers through our newspaper. I felt it was quite a responsibility to tell his story accurately and interestingly to our readers.
The story was much more than the log cabin. He talked about the 120 years the farm has been in his family, which was then the fourth generation on the land, along with his views on self-reliance and the things that bring him satisfaction.
Through the years, newspapers have changed a lot. First, technology made designing and putting together information easier and visually better. Now, much of our world has merged with online presentation, meaning our newspaper has become virtual in some ways.
However, mostly, our profession is still about telling stories. The story may be about a city council decision or a fire, but equally important are the ones about our residents - not only their hopes and dreams, but also their struggles, accomplishments and experiences.
Technology is just a tool. Our news can be on a printed page or on electronic devices, but the content is what matters. Without the human connection that touches local residents, news is inconsequential, no matter what form it is in.
Just as Norman Grabau found a way to make his family farm heritage come alive more than a century after it originated, we carry on our tradition from the time of the hand operated printing press to this age of instant communications.
We'll adapt to new technology as we find new ways to work and convey information, but we'll also continue to tell the human stories that shape us, bind us and maybe even change us.
We hope you take some time to reflect on National Newspaper Week as we celebrate our unique, and important, role in the community.