Editor column: It’s 73rd Newspaper Appreciation Week
Within the past week, I’ve had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 disagreements with readers and residents regarding content and other decisions we’ve made at the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun.
Of those, while most were casual conversations that fizzled after I offered context and understanding behind those decisions, three in particular blossomed into significant discussions, with each having an “agree to disagree” endgame.
Not every decision the editor makes is popular, and when it comes to operating a pair of newspapers in small-town communities boasting a large population of affluent and/or highly intelligent residents, the criticism comes at a quicker pace — and with a lot more volume.
I embrace healthy debate, whether in email, over the phone or in person, because often they’re productive conversations that accomplish two things: They let readers know (and hopefully gain appreciation for) what goes through editors’ minds on a daily and hourly basis — and they allow readers to call us out when we’re wrong.
Believe me — I hate being wrong, about as much as the greatest athletes in the world hate losing. I’d love nothing better than to publish content each week void of typos and errors and never have to issue a correction. But, as they say, no one is perfect. We as a newspaper are no different, and we’ve printed the corrections and stories over the years to prove it.
But it’s that hallmark of a newspaper to be transparent with the community it covers that makes that imperfection easier to swallow, knowing that we will take the time to hear your concerns and do our best to bring the conversation to an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. We truly do care.
It’s with these thoughts that I ask readers to take a moment and recognize that Oct. 6-12 is National Newspaper Week, celebrating a 73rd year of observing the importance of newspapers to communities large and small. The week is sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America, a nonprofit formed in 1992 representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multi-platform businesses in the United States and Canada.
Learn more about National Newspaper Week and the NAA at http://www.naa.org.
It’s no secret newspapers have changed drastically over the past decade in tandem with the powerful explosion of the Internet and social media’s tightening grip on how we view reality. Heck, some of them aren’t even papers anymore.
We’re no different. Since 2009, we’ve gone from five days a week to two for the Sun, and from three to one for the Bonanza. We eliminated free home delivery in Incline Village. We’ve even consolidated into one Tahoe/Truckee website with our wonderful colleagues on the South Shore at the Tahoe Daily Tribune. And from different content to adjusting ways we cover news in the community, the changes go on and on.
But one thing hasn’t changed — we serve a community loaded with dedicated residents who, in turn, continue to support their newspaper in a variety of ways, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be along for the ride.
So, while we may not see eye to eye at all times, and many who read this have had issue with — or will in the future — decisions we’ve made over the years, I hope you can continue to trust that we are committed to working tirelessly and with an open mind to ensure every day we meet this year’s National Newspaper Week theme: “Your Community, Your Newspaper, Your Life.”
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspapers; his columns appear every other Wednesday in the Sierra Sun. He may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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