Newscoma Has Moved
Thursday, November 16, 2006
  The One About Rural Newspapers Good Lord, I didn't think I'd ever be defending Terry Frank. But, as with other bloggers, I have been watching Roger Abramson's series this week regarding Conservative Appreciation week. It's been extremely compelling and I think he's brought very insightful, and amusing, items up for consideration. I actually am quite smitten with Abramson's series, if you get right down to it. But, as I work at an extremely small newspaper in a community that I lovingly, and sometimes cynically, call Hooterville, I will say that Frank most likely has no control over the web-site of her hometown paper that was mentioned on Monday. I don't. I argue with IT guys over the quality of our website all the time. I go through tons of church bulletins and poorly written press releases on a daily basis and have been yelled at repeatedly that a bake sale didn't make the front page. I do, on occasion, clean the toilets at the paper. It has to be done. I try to keep a sense of humor about it all. Ms. Frank obviously is very serious about the work she does and although I'm not nearly as serious about this blog (I do Bigfoot Watch, for Christ's sake). I do try to advocate that rural newspapers are of value and it is what it is. Now don't get me wrong. Frank is very earnest and I don't agree with her most of the time as she leans way right and I do not. And, because I have been questioned about my liberal leanings here I also know that I run a business and much of what I put on this little free blog I do not put in the newspaper. You would be surprised by how balanced I am with my editorials in the paper if you've been reading any of the stuff here. And my publishers do know about this blog and kid me incessantly about the blogging thing, which they do not see any value in whatsoever. Did I mention they are conservatives? Big-time! We get along just fine. The thing is that small town newspapers don't get any respect, and I get that. I really do. I mean, I'm part of it and I make fun of us myself. Frank does, however, have a good-looking personal website. And for that, kudos to her. I also must say that I don't take hits out on people I disagree with and I've seen Ms. Frank do that and those are her battles. I don't always agree with it, but if she can dish it out, I'm most certain she can take it. I read conservative and liberal blogs because there is value in all of them, and I like to know other people's perspectives. I get enough dissent from my readers from the paper (remember the bake sales) that I just don't want to argue about it here in my home away from home. So in defense of small community newspapers, I will say there is a certain value to us as well because we serve our communities as best we can on a very limited budget and with, to quote Rodney Dangerfield, no respect. And yes, I break stories on the AP I just don't talk about it here. The paper and newscoma are two different things. So, consider this my two-cents. I'm sure I will get take some hits for it and that I'll be called a rube. But localized community news does matter. And I guess I'm the girl that will fight the battles about the web-site for my newspaper and that goes through the badly written press releases and put a kid's pic on the front page of the paper when he catches the winning touchdown because that's what I'm paid to do. And here, I will seek out alien abductions. Because it amuses me. And I like to be amused. 
Why should you be called a rube for choosing to serve as the link between your community and the rest of the world? There would BE no AP, no CNN, no TV stations, no big-city papers without community news. How do folks think the "biggies" (ahem) get their news? They read the locals. (And in my experience often plagiarize the locals by reading the locals' stories word-for-word on-air. But that's another post.)

You perform the same service Ben Franklin did, missy. He was right about beer, and he was right about the press. Salute them both. Keep on.

And always remember, and don't ever forget -- sometimes the senior picture of the kid who got a scholarship will run 4x6 above the fold while a conviction in a murder case of statewide interest gets buried down next to the mailing label box. It's what the community wants.

Thank you for staying in the trenches, miss. We love ya for it.
Okay, I'm officially smitten with you, Grandfille.
And your right.
Beer is good.
And I know I'm interviewing the same folks, doing more for news in a small way, than some of the "biggies."
I also know that I'm a part of the grand intimacy of a small-town paper and I dig it.
I really do.
Smitten, By God.
Of course you dig it, hon. It's a grand opportunity and a grand responsibility, and you're gifted at it. Very few have the dedication or the cojones to stay in hometown journalism and prosper as a human and as a journalist. It's too easy for folks to write it off when they don't have the understanding of the talent and loyalty required to stay in the field. I used to tell folks it's the straight and narrow way.

Smooch the pups for us. And yourself, too. (And embrace The Nap at every opportunity.)
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