Here at The Messenger, we work diligently to put out a daily newspaper that we hope readers find both informative and useful.
This is National Newspaper Week. That makes it a good time to reflect on our industry.
Newspapers are so much a part of daily life that most people spend little time considering just how important they are to the success of democracy in this rapidly changing country.
During the tumultuous years when revolutionaries built a nation out of a collection of royal colonies, newspapers helped our Founding Fathers communicate their vision of what America could be to their would-be countrymen. They helped our forefathers understand the choices available to them and, thereby, made democracy a system that was workable.
Through the centuries that have followed, newspapers have remained among the most important mechanisms in this society by which vital information about events and options is communicated.
Times change, of course. Even so, the sharing of knowledge and opinion remains of immense importance.
In a time when almost too much raw information is available to anyone who seeks it, newspapers help to organize the intimidating array of data, and make it understandable to readers. That function is especially critical in a time when information overload can cause more confusion than enlightenment. Such bewilderment can lead to nonparticipation in civic life. Newspapers help overcome that problem by sorting information into categories that are manageable intellectually. In so doing, they help citizens interpret the complicated world around them.
The information explosion - and most especially sites on the Internet sponsored by groups other than legitimate news organizations - has also created a verifiability problem. It is difficult for people to determine whether what is presented on the Web and elsewhere as "truth" should in fact be believed. Newspapers have always played an important role as validators of information. The deluge of information that confronts us today makes this function more important than ever.
Take a few minutes this week to ponder the ways modern newspapers make your life easier, and help you be a more effective participant in the community. We think you'll be surprised at just how important newspapers really are in your world.