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National Newspaper Week is Oct. 6-12

Published 3:30am Sunday, October 6, 2013

Next week (Oct. 6-12), newspapers across the country will celebrate National News­paper Week. The intent is to recognize the important role newspapers like this one play in their communities.

This year’s theme is “Your Community, Your Newpaper, Your Life.”

Although technology has changed many of the ways information is disseminated to people, local newspapers continue to be an integral part of their lives.

“Whether in print, online or on a mobile device, newspapers are the most trusted source of information in every community,” said Felicia Mason, Alabama Press Association executive director. “In fact, 85 percent of adults in Alabama read a paper each week. That’s almost 3 million people.”

Community newspapers fill a variety of roles. They provide re­ports on local government meetings — city council, county commission, board of education and others. Most people do not attend these meetings, and without local news­papers they would not know what actions are taken by elected officials.

Crime, courts and accidents are also covered. Reporters work to keep their readers informed about criminal acts, the suspects who are apprehended and their eventual judgment in court.

Local newspapers also provide the most comprehensive coverage available of school, club, church and other community activities. In addition, school and community sports are an important part of a local newspaper’s content. No other medium supplies the same kind of in-depth coverage.

Community newspapers also mark the im­portant days in the lives of local residents – births, graduations, en­gagements, weddings and deaths are all recorded in their pages.

Editorial sections generally offer opinions from staff members, as well as giving readers a forum to express their opinions.

Legal advertising and public notices provide information about foreclosures, wills, tax sales, building projects, bid proposals, zoning, bond issues and more. Businesses and customers, buyers and sellers all converge in the newspaper.

Local newspapers also provide a permanent record of the history of a community. In keeping with the demands of today’s readers, most newspapers offer much of the information they gather on websites and social networks as well as in print.

In sum, local newspapers are a vital part of their communities and people feel a sense of ownership in them.

National Newspaper Week has been recognized since 1940, and is sponsored by the Newspaper Association Managers.

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