From the publisher’s desk Newspapers remain vital to inform local communities
We appreciate hearing from our readers and encourage letters to the editor. The editorial page in the papers is a forum for our readers to express their opinions and I invite our readers to take advantage of it.
In the letter written by Andrea Richter, which appears in the April 4 Versailles Republican, she mentions that people use social/electronic media to receive their news so legal notices published in our paper or any paper do not adequately inform the public. I felt the need to respond.
Currently, government entities are required by law to publish notices in the newspapers to inform the public of financial budgets, meetings, utility increases, project bidding and annual school reports, etc. Many of our state legislators want to take these notices out of newspapers and place them on a statewide website. This would reduce the number of people who would ever see a public notice.
Let’s face it, out of sight, out of mind; most folks aren’t going to search online for legal notices. An American Opinion Research survey in 2017 found Hoosiers would be 60 percent less likely to read notices on government websites compared to publication in their local newspaper.
The public simply is not served when a government agency is responsible for posting notices on an obscure website. Newspapers make these important notices available to the public, in print and also on our websites. Printed newspapers cannot be hacked and they are archived and are easily referenced.
The Osgood Journal and The Versailles Republican cover governmental meetings throughout the county. Our editor, Wanda Burnett, assistant editor, Jared Rogers, and reporter, Melinda Starkey, cover Milan, JCD and South Ripley schools along with Holton, Versailles, Osgood, Milan and Sunman town boards. We are at Health and Library board meetings and go to the county council and commissioner meetings.
This past weekend, State Representative Randy Frye held a town hall meeting at the courthouse annex. Less than ten people attended, but we were there to cover it for the community. If you want to know what is going on around you, please read the papers. You are not going to find this information on Facebook or Instagram. We fill the role of watchdog in our community and have for over 150 years.
It is true that newspapers are going through a tough time. Many newspapers are publishing on fewer days and some have closed their doors. When a town loses their newspaper, they lose a lot. In a recent study conducted by three university economists they statistically showed that the closure of a newspaper negatively impacts the cost for local governments. Their data shows that without newspapers reporting on local government, the tax revenue collected per capita increases. The professors acknowledge that online news outlets are changing the way people consume news, but they aren’t providing a substitute for high-quality, locally sourced journalism.
Our readers know us and depend on us to provide reliable, trustworthy news. We stand behind what we print and we are accountable. In addition to working for this paper, we work for you!
The newspaper is of tremendous importance to a community. In a world where the news is so fragmented, the newspaper remains a common thread that binds us together. We tell the stories that inspire and move people, we record our history, and we inform.
You can have the Osgood Journal and The Versailles Republican delivered in print or electronically right to your home or device for less than $1 per week, a small price to pay to stay connected and engaged with a reliable news source working for our community.