NAM members continue to press the Relevant Point that a community is in big trouble once its newspaper disappears. We share a recent exhortation:
In a July newsletter, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association distributed a thought-provoking column by Andrew Johnson, the publisher emeritus of the Dodge County Pionier, Campbellsport News and Kewaskum Statesman. He also is the immediate past-president of the National Newspaper Association and a past-president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Johnson details several actions that citizens should take to support local journalism: Subscribe; buy from advertisers; support newspapers in what you say and write; contribute tax-deductible donations that help employ journalists; and engage with your local paper.
The author also reveals his own admirable call-to-action: “The purpose of this column is to make sure the public knows the value of a newspaper. I feel an ethical obligation to write this column and could only do it when I was no longer an active publisher, because of conflicting interests of owning a business and serving the community.
“Actually, there was not much conflict because newspapers in recent years are not businesses that make much money; nevertheless, they are private businesses. It is important that the people in this community are clearly informed on the value of having a community newspaper and the consequences for all citizens if it closes.”