Readers' contributions, notes truly appreciated

I feel like Sally Field at the 1985 Oscars.

You like us. You really like us.

Field unfortunately was misquoted and that's not exactly what she said (read more about it online, if you wish). And we didn't just win an Oscar - or even a newspaper award.

But we have been looking through responses to our request for voluntary contributions to the paper, which we solicited in a recent letter to all Hinsdaleans and in ads in the paper (one appears today on Page 15). And they are making us feel really good.

Voluntary contributions are sought by papers across the country that don't charge for subscriptions. We had just the right - or wrong, actually - combination of factors this year. Among them were a sluggish retail and real estate markets, which affected advertising, and the skyrocketing costs with which businesses and individuals are all too familiar.

So we invited folks to make a contribution, if they so desired, as an investment in community news.

We are grateful to all who have contributed so far. We also are truly touched by the notes people sent in with their checks.

"When I get your paper, I sit down and read it right away," one kind reader wrote.

"Better journalism than the big papers. Keep up the great job!" another read.

"No gifts necessary, just continued excellent reporting," one reader wrote, referring to our offer of a free birthday ad and three free classified ads.

"Thank you for you all you do."

"Keep up the good work."

"We love The Hinsdalean."

Some were more personal - and one even referred back to my first job in town at the Hinsdale Community Pool in 1988.

"Best paper ever. Best staff!" Virgil and Diane Oostendorp wrote. "It was just yesterday that Pam and our girls lifeguarded at the pool."

We know a number of the individuals who responded to our request, and my first thought was how nice it is that we've made so many friends through the paper.

But when I thought about the comments and read more, it occurred to me that we aren't getting this support because Hinsdale is a small town and we know a lot of people. Contributors are supporting our efforts to create something that in many places is extinct.

"So grateful to still have local journalism," one contributor wrote.

"Supporting local news!" another stated.

Northwestern University's Local News Initiative says our country is increasingly divided between those who live and work in communities where there is an abundance of local news and those who don't.

"The loss of local journalism has been accompanied by the malignant spread of misinformation and disinformation, political polarization, eroding trust in media and a yawning digital and economic divide among citizens," Penny Abernathy writes in an executive summary of the study.

"Newspapers are continuing to vanish at a rapid rate," the report states. Since 2005, the country has lost more than a quarter of its newspapers and is on track to lose a third by 2025.

Seventy million people live in the more than 200 counties without a newspaper or in the 1,630 counties with only one paper. Newsroom employment is down by almost 60 percent.

Consolidation also is an issue, with the 25 largest chains owning a third of all newspapers. Less than a third of the nation's 5,147 weeklies remain independent.

"Strong local news ... binds our vast nation of 330 million people together, nurturing both democracy and community," Abernathy writes. "Everyone in the country has a stake in the future of local news, in whatever form it is delivered."

Or, as one contributor put it, "The Hinsdalean - the glue that binds this village together."

We have been privileged to cover this village for the past 17 years and look forward to doing so for many more years. We appreciate all who are helping to make that happen.

- Pamela Lannom is editor

of The Hinsdalean. Readers

can email her at

[email protected].

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean