Newspaper Day Is Time To Reflect On Why We Keep
The Press Rolling

By  John Derby
Times Publisher
October 13, 2016

This Oct. 18, will be our 53rd year of publication, and just by chance, the entire nation celebrated one day this past week as National Newspaper Day.
Why would anyone want to take 53 years of their life to deliver a community newspaper?
Does anyone out there bother to read the words printed each week, or is it a waste of time and effort?
An article in the California Newspaper Publishers Association magazine said that daily newspapers have seen a continuous dropoff in readership, but we have found just the opposite. The demand for our paper actually has increased, and nationally we have heard that other community newspapers are showing good signs of growth.
What does this say to us? People want to know more about what is going on in the community they live in, and not so much about world and national news — especially when it is so negative.
Warren Buffet actually has been purchasing strong community newspapers because he feels they are a good investment. In our case, profit-making is not our purpose for staying in a business which we love. We continue to publish newspapers because of the people we write about.
Today, we write less than we have ever written because it is harder to get around to all the events which are taking place in our community, however, we continue to write the editorials which we have been solely responsible for since we started in 1964.
A letter to the editor published in the Merced Sun Star asked who wrote their editorials, and why bylines were not included. The Sun Star replied that the editorials were the result of their Editorial Board, but some of those editorials are clearly written in Sacramento.
Writing local editorials is difficult, and something a journalist has to grow into it. While there is no editorial board on our newspaper, the topics are often discussed with the editorial staff, and in some rare cases, rejected as being too volatile.
We don’t want to make people mad, however, we do want to urge them to action. We have also tried to maintain the mission of our newspapers, and that is “The Power of Positive Press.”
Fifty three years ago, we told our co-workers we felt what this country really needed was a more positive press. We are dedicated to providing a newspaper that builds up the community and doesn’t tear it down.
We understand there are issues which need change and we never want to avoid them, however, we also never want to be guilty of using the front page of our newspaper to hang a person without a trial.
There is nothing better than having pictures community members to build readership and for that reason our pages are full of local people.
We also welcome contributions from other writers , and want to publish their letters to the editor as well as stories. While we do publish and write for the newspaper, we never feel that it is ours. This newspaper belongs to the community and its people.
“Why don’t you sell it and retire?” we have been asked … and at our age it is a good question.
Our answer, “Because it doesn’t belong to us … It belongs to you, our readers.”

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or (209) 358-5311

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