Monday, September 29, 2014

National Newspaper Week is Oct. 5-11; now is a good time for stories about importance of papers

A Gallup poll released in June said that Americans' confidence in news media is at or tied with record lows, while a poll released this month by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center said that more than one-third of Americans are opposed to freedom of the press when it comes to stories concerning national security. Those are startling numbers. But with National Newspaper Week scheduled from Oct. 5-11, now is a good time to try to restore Americans' confidence in the power of the press.

This year's theme is “Newspapers: The Foundation of Vibrant Communities.” The National Newspaper Week website says it offers several resources for local newspapers and encourages newspaper to "editorialize locally about how your newspaper is important and relevant to your community."

A good example of a National Newspaper Week story is one written by David F. Sherman, managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of western New York state.

Sherman said the Gallup poll is "a sad reality for an industry struggling to adapt to changes taking place at a rapid pace. Perhaps beauty, like fairness, is in the eye of the beholder. As someone who has been a professional journalist for 37 years, I can attest to the greater attention being paid now in the newsroom to double-check the most basic facts and the thirst to present both sides of the story. These frameworks of fairness are more prominent now than ever."

Sherman quotes Robert Williams, president of the National Newspaper Association: “It’s been reassuring to see so many dedicated men and women who see newspapering as so much more than a ‘job.’ Newspapering is a job in the same sense that being a father or mother is a ‘job.’ Parents are responsible for the well-being of their family. Good newspapers take on that role with the communities we serve.”

Williams added, "Newspapers sound the alarm with swift, accurate and thorough coverage when sensitive issues arise. We provide not just facts but clearly labeled editorials to help everyone weigh matters with sufficient information. We pay attention. We laugh. We cry. We hurt. We rejoice. We care. We share the pain and shed tears along with our readers. That is what well-run newspapers do." (Read more)

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