As is being explained and demonstrated in other areas of this issue, logistic and economic realities have made some substantial changes and consolidations necessary for both the Atkins and Dover weekly newspapers.
Let’s first concentrate here, though, not on things that are changing, but on things that are remaining the same.
A local newspaper, no matter what the logo or ownership, remains the best and most reliable source of local news. And local news remains the most vital and effecting of all news coverage.
Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously said that all politics is local. The speaker meant by this that people react most strongly to things that have an impact or perceived impact close to home.
This also applies to news coverage.
Decisions made on the county, city, and school district level have a more direct effect on our lives than those out of state and federal capitols. Milestones and events in the lives of our friends and neighbors are more significant than those in the lives of tabloid celebrities.
Gossip and rumor, the original and real definitions of “fake news,” thrive in the absence of local reporting.
Local news provides a continuing record of surrounding events. Those of us who strive to maintain that record have a responsibility to provide an accurate picture of events, complete with context and insights.
None of this is changing.
What is changing is the addition of more varied voices and resources, more support from within and without.To be effective, this support for a local newspaper’s mission must come not just from the new ownership and staffers. It must come from area business with advertising support, forging a continuing and mutually beneficial relationship. It must come from the readership keeping circulation healthy and providing feedback.
I joined this operation almost three years ago after retiring from a career in education. I’ve enjoyed the work immensely and am happy to continue in it. In change, things are lost and things are gained. I’ll miss the Tysons and their dedication to the papers’ core mission, but look forward to working with the new folks with their equal dedication.
In addition, we might note that change is, and always has been, the status quo. That’s certainly been true here in Dover. One supermarket replaces another. One hardware store replaces another. A game-changing public utility project, planned and debated for more than two decades, perches on the edge of implementation. Construction continues on school facilities that will serve the community for generations. In the school system, which has always been the heart and soul of the community, a major changing of the guard is underway both on the elected board and in the appointed administration. An equivalent change is in the process of taking place at the Dover public library.
And if you know about these things, and more importantly understand them, it’s probably because of material you read in the local newspaper. That’s something that’s not going to change.