Carol S Newman John E Short RULH Elementary names ‘Go Green’ Students RE/MAX Local Experts opens in Williamsburg RULH wraps up ‘No Shave November’ fundraiser Eleven indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Donald C Vance John C Morris Rebecca E Simpson Hot start sets pace for Broncos’ 85-40 win over CNE G-Men get off to 1-1 start Lady Rockets start off season with tough string of road games Basketball Special: 2017-18 Katherine J Wolfe Virginia J Germann Rev Commadora Manning Mona K Kirker Ohio Rural Heritage Association donates to Food Pantry RULH FCCLA attends meeting in D.C. RULH MS students try ‘Tabletop Twitter’ Ripley Village Christmas update Bonita Planck Carol J Wagner Christopher O Richey Sr Five new members to enter WBHS Athletic Hall of Fame Blue Jays ready to soar under Woodward Fischer named to OPSWA All-Ohio First Team of football all-stars High school girls’ hoop action kicks off in Brown County Formation of new joint Fire & EMS District discussed RULH students learn about ‘Global Food’ Personal financial management class at RULH High School Dale G Ferriel John E Slack Nicholas A Arthur Bonnie J Roush Charles E Faul Phyllis A Mills Carl L Watson Marc W Bolce Robert R Moore Robert K King June R Williams William T Ishmael Sr Deborah J Napier High school hoop action begins Fayetteville SAY Girls Wing Soccer Team finishes season among state’s Final Four Devils visit Georgetown for OHSAA Foundation Games Grandfather charged in boy’s death ‘Real Money’ at RULH Middle School Ripley High School celebrates Veterans Day Reward increases for information leading to conviction in Stykes’ murder Ripley Village Christmas update Kenneth M McKinley Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Aberdeen Police Department receives ‘Shop With a Cop’ donation Benefit to take place Nov. 17 for Grace Copple St. Michael students take part in Community Soup Supper Voters return Worley to the bench Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber RULH NHS welcomes new inductees K-9 Units and handlers visit RULH High School EMS members honored for service Road work on Ripley streets to begin Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves RULH MS students hold first Science Club meeting Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill

Why community newspapers matter

“I got credit down at the grocery store and my barber tells me jokes.” —Roger Miller

The chosen theme for this year’s National Newspaper Week is “Power of the Press,” and that power, it seems to me, is a very relative thing.

Everybody understands the power of, say, The New York Times or The Washington Post, but probably less recognized and appreciated is the power of the Deer Creek Pilot and the thousands of other small, community newspapers just like it all across the land.

In survey after survey, it is these little community-minded newspapers that are continuing to thrive. And there are some very tangible, observable reasons for that, not the least of which might be the notion I share that the smaller the community, the more important its newspaper.

For more than 20 years now, I have put out a little country weekly that’s been published continuously for 138 years in what most folks might consider Backwater, U.S.A., the two poorest counties in the poorest state in the union with a combined population of less than 6,500 men, women and children.

And it is neither flippant nor hyperbolic when I say that little country weekly newspaper is the only news organization on the planet Earth that gives the first tinker’s damn about Sharkey and Issaquena counties, Mississippi. That, folks, is what makes the Deer Creek Pilot mighty, mighty important to those people who call that place home.

While mine might serve as prime example, it is in that respect no different from all those other community newspapers in all those other towns in this country.

Community newspapers have the power to bring about great good and make a profound difference within their locales. And among the good ones, the ones who endure and even prosper, there is always to be found one common denominator—trust.

In a small town the local newspaper is not like the local hardware store. It simply isn’t.

In a small town, every newspaper subscriber thinks he or she is a stockholder, because there exists a real relationship, an implied contract, if you will, between that paper and its readers.

They buy your newspaper, advertise in your newspaper, sometimes even when they don’t have to, based on a simple precept: They trust you to do your very best to find the truth and to tell it to them.

News travels fast in a small town; bad news travels even faster, but all too often that “news” is no such thing. All too often, that “news” is little more than rumor, sometimes made up out of whole cloth and at best some grain of truth exaggerated in its retellings vastly, and often alarmingly out of proportion.

In a small town, readers expect their newspaper to separate the wheat from the chaff and then to “tell it like it is.”

And why not?

The community newspaper is not some monolithic entity; its editor is not some ivory towered “big shot.” He or she is also a neighbor. He or she is one who goes to church with you, or stops to chat in the grocery store or is always there to volunteer at community functions or stops to shake hands or just waves in passing.

More importantly, he or she is the one everybody else trusts to promote those things that are beneficial, and to try to stop that which is not. There’s a fishbowl effect in small towns, and its newspaper is hence, often its lightening rod. It may be praised one week and dog-cussed the next, but it is not only impossible, but really not important that it be liked. It’s important that it be respected and it is even more important that it be trusted.

I have been in this crazy business for some 38 years now, at both the daily and weekly levels, and been blessed to receive a few accolades along the way, but the greatest single compliment I have ever received came from a salt-of-the-earth little lady who stopped by the office to pick up a hot off the press edition featuring the issue du jour in my little town.

“I’ve heard all the talk, but I don’t believe it until I read in the paper,” she told me.

And that, in a nutshell, is the secret to the continued success of community newspapers.

That, in a nutshell, is the true Power of the Press.

Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of The Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork, Miss. He is a two-time winner of the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence, the highest honor for commentary writing presented annually by the Mississippi Press Association.

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By Ray Mosby

Contributing Columnist

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