National week exposed as a truly local celebration

 

Last updated 10/4/2023 at 4:11pm | View PDF



Read any compelling stories recently?

We hope so. After all, that’s what we aim to deliver every week. Whether it’s an update on a school board or village board activity, the latest exploit by a Red Devil sports team or a write-up to let patrons know of new arrivals to Hinsdale’s shopping and dining scene, The Hinsdalean is committed to providing news that informs, enlightens and enriches our readers’ experience as members of this community.

This first week of October 2023 marks the 83rd celebration of National Newspaper Week. Since 1940, Newspaper Association Managers has sponsored and supported this observance, a weeklong promotion of the newspaper industry in the United States and Canada.

We understand that people today have more options than ever when it comes to sources of information. Most of us engage, to some degree, with social media, which is built to provide an endless feed of content to keep us scrolling. Unfortunately, misinformation is prevalent and much of that content isn’t fact-checked, verified or professionally produced. Rather than accuracy, the mission is aggregation — gathering enough page views to meet the criteria for prospective advertisers.

The result is clickbait headlines for stories that, at best, have little substance, but more often read like an agenda-driven blog. And don’t get us started about AI! We’re not after hits. We’re after truth that comes from balanced reporting, and that is clearly conveyed to readers through skilled, thoughtful writing.

Recent research has revealed that local newspapers significantly outperform local TV, radio and digital media outlets in terms of news coverage that is truly local. While local newspapers made up only 25 percent of the news outlets sampled in the study, they produced 60 percent of the news that was genuinely pertinent to their communities.

Of course, The Hinsdalean has worked hard to adapt from a solely print product to one that can be accessed on digital platforms, as well. Those who prefer touchscreens to newsprint can find our stories at http://www.thehinsdalean.com or purchase a subscription to receive the electronic version of each week’s edition.

The special, 120-page publication we issued last week in commemoration of the village’s 150th anniversary was a shining example of the work that can only be carried out by a news organization deeply invested in the community. The sad reality is that local newspapers continue to fall victim to the changing media landscape at alarming numbers.

In an interview on PBS, Johanna Dunaway, professor and research director at Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship, said that loss can have profound effects on the country’s civic health.

“Local news is something that reminds people of what they have in common, both their challenges and their shared identities, their shared culture, their shared community,” she said.

We enjoy sharing this community with you and, recognizing that an item in our pages may run counter to your thinking on occasion, thank you for supporting us in delivering the stories that only we can.

 
 

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