BJ-T and National Newspaper Week: Support local journalism

by Jordan Green

Journalists get few holidays. We work through Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Christmas, and just about every other special day. ‘Round the clock, year-round, we bring you the information you need to live a happy, healthy, informed life.

This week, we’re celebrating a holiday that means the world to us. It’s a holiday that recognizes our passion for reporting the truth and telling the stories that matter to you.

It’s National Newspaper Week – a week dedicated to the perseverance of a free and open press, one that advocates for transparency in government and holds to account public officials who choose to cloak themselves and their actions in darkness.

In 2020, being a journalist isn’t easy. We’re barraged by accusations of “fake news” from politicians across the political spectrum. We’re covering a pandemic that has impacted people in our communities and neighborhoods. We’re reporting on social unrest that hasn’t been seen in decades. And financially, we’re feeling the same tightening of the metaphorical purse strings that all other businesses are.

Yes, we’re a little tired. But we won’t accept failure in search of the truth, and we won’t falter in our mission to protect you and your rights.

Even in the digital age, few forms of media have the capacity to do the kind of journalism that newspaper reporters do. Though newsrooms aren’t as heavily staffed as they were in the good old days, journalists at papers across the country are still waking up every day and uncovering the day’s top stories.

I’m fortunate enough to work for two newspapers: The Blackwell Journal-Tribune, my hometown newspaper, and the Northwestern News, my university’s student newspaper.

While these two newspapers cover different communities, they share the same mission and purpose. They exist to keep readers abreast of events happening around them, providing them with a link to the outside world. As the world grapples with social distancing and the shuttering of businesses and social venues, nothing is more important than connectivity – something these newspapers provide.

More than just social outlets, newspapers wield the power to expose public corruption. In my time at The Journal-Tribune, we’ve reported on crime, examined audits of government agencies, and scrutinized public officials who choose to dodge the metaphorical light cast upon them by the law.

It takes time to attend public meetings. To dig through hundreds of pages of government documents. To call public officials and press them for answers to questions. To file requests for records with public officials who would rather burn the very records you seek to read.

But we newspaper people carry out these tasks – these sacred duties – with passion in our hearts and fire in our souls. True journalists will stop at nothing to get every side of every story, and to analyze an issue from every possible angle.

As our world grows and changes, a few things remain the same. First, we all need to be connected with one another. Second, we all need to learn about one another. And third, we must always keep a watchful eye on the people whom we select to represent us in all levels of government.

These are the functions of a newspaper – no matter where it is located, and no matter who reads it. Journalists love their work, and they do it with the best of intentions. No, we’re not perfect. Yes, we make mistakes. But we do our best to present you with information that enriches your life and informs you as you make decisions about your future.

No media outlet works to inform you like your local newspaper. Support local journalism today.