Last Thursday, more than 350 newspapers across the nation participated in an editorial writing campaign to promote the importance of a free and independent press in response to several tweets by President Donald Trump and allegations of fake news.
The same day, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution that reaffirmed that principal and declared that the press is not the enemy of the people.
In its resolution, the Senate quoted several of the nation’s Founding Fathers including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who wrote how freedom of the press is an integral part of the nation’s democratic foundation.
When introducing freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights, Madison cited the 1776 Declaration of Rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which declared, “The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.’’
The resolution went on to show additional support of the press and its ability to serve as a government watchdog throughout history.
As stated, it “reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States.”
We at the Boulder City Review heartily agree. It’s the core of what we do every day.
Despite this, we chose not to join the national effort. Instead, we focused on an important issue in our community because that is the very essence of our mission: local news.
Knowing what is happening in City Hall and throughout town is important to the residents of Boulder City and we do our best to keep a finger on the pulse of the comings and goings of city officials, activities of nonprofit organizations and achievements of our local youth.
Community newspapers play a vital role in keeping locals informed as a recent survey by the National Newspaper Association revealed. In fact, 90 percent of the survey’s respondents said their community newspaper informs them.
This was especially critical for elections as 84 percent of community newspaper readers said they were “very likely” to vote this year, compared with only 61 percent of nonreaders.
Plus, they cited the local newspaper as the most common go-to and most trusted source to learn about candidates running in local elections. Even nonreaders rated community newspapers as the most trustworthy source for information about political candidates.
In addition, the survey found that 73 percent of respondents said their hometown paper provides valuable local shopping and advertising information. It also discovered that readers said they are most likely to trust and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper.
One of the most heartwarming results of the survey for those of us who devote so much time to producing a newspaper is that 64 percent of the respondents said they read a paper that is specific to their community. Among those who said they read a local newspaper, 74 percent said they look forward to reading the publication and 71 percent said they rely on it for local news and information.
The paper readers also said 66 percent of them share it with others in their household, friends, colleagues and co-workers.
We hope the people of Boulder City feel the same way about the information and ads they see in the Boulder City Review each week.
Though we know that not everything we write will appeal to all of our readers or it may express an opinion someone will not like, it will not deter us from our goal of providing the community with local news. We take our role as a member of the free and independent press seriously.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.