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Being a hometown paper is special

April 9, 2009
Lake Placid News
The Lake Placid News was honored over the weekend with eight awards by the New York Press Association, including the first place in the prestigious Past President’s Award for General Excellence. Although it is a noteworthy accomplishment for the newspaper, the entire community should take note as to what a local newspaper represents.

    It’s no question that many larger newspapers that serve bigger cities are facing tough times due to the poor economy. It’s been in the news. Smaller newspapers also feel the crunch. But in bad times, many newspapers do not toot their own horn when it comes to all the positives a newspaper provides, especially those that serve smaller communities.

    First, in a computer age, too many people assume that newspapers will go the way of the dinosaur. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    Newspapers are the most portable means of gaining information and understanding, and a newspaper doesn’t require a power source to operate. Also, too many people forget about the “little” things about a newspaper, especially a LOCAL paper.

    If you were to live in a big city, the big newspaper wouldn’t have time or the space to gather “everyday” news about its “everyday” citizens. In a larger paper, local student news, people news and other important items get overlooked by “bigger” events. What makes a local newspaper like the Lake Placid News special is that it thrives on what its citizens, both young and old and in between, are doing. It thrives on its business owners and attractions.

    It’s also easy to forget that a newspaper is also a historic record. It’s true that in our Information Age there’s plenty of information to be found on the Internet. But just how reliable are various sources on the Internet? At a newspaper, lots of effort goes into getting facts straight.

    Just how personal is the Internet? Can you make a phone call and discuss issues with an editor like you can with a newspaper? And how useful is it when the power goes out?

    When something noteworthy happens in the community, either to an individual, business or organization, just how special is a printout of the Web site page compared to having a copy of the newspaper? A bunch of printouts on plain white eight and a half by 11 paper does not make for a good, compelling or memorable scrapbook content. A great personal scrapbook is composed of photos and newspaper clippings.

    Newspapers provide keepsakes. A hometown newspaper feels the pulse of a community.

    During the award ceremonies for the New York Press Association’s annual Best Newspaper Contest, guest speaker Ken Paulson, former editor and senior vice president of USA Today, said in a time of trouble newspapers do not do enough to talk about how important they are to their communities — or just how unique they are in this computer age. He said that is both unfortunate and troubling, and it is important to speak about a newspaper’s role and its strong points. That’s one reason why the News decided to run a front page story on our achievements.

    There’s an old saying: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” It is easy to take local commodities for granted — and readers should keep in mind that not every area has a local newspaper. Remember, the Lake Placid News is YOUR community newspaper. The News won awards through teamwork and dedication to the community, and readers are hopefully proud that the Lake Placid News is YOUR community paper.

    Although it’s great to be recognized with prestigious awards, judged by those who do not have a vested interest in the newspaper, the staff at the Lake Placid News will not rest on its laurels. The News will not only continue its effort, but build on its success. Please help us help you by keeping us informed. The News does not have a big staff as do some other papers. Our continued success lies in the community keeping the lines of communication open with the newspaper.

    Let us know what you think. Let us know about a photo that should be in the paper. Have a photo? Send it to us. Have a story to tell, contact us. Send us your letter to the editor. We are a reflection of the entire community.

    The judges called the Lake Placid News “a great community paper.” We want to keep it that way.


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