The Chronicle carried a story recently: "County to mull taking public notices away from newspapers."
Most of the article discussed the cost to Citrus County of publishing notices in the paper, perhaps $30,000 this year. While I am not for spending money wildly, I feel $30,000 a year is a relatively small amount if it helps keep our community newspaper healthy.
Like buggy whips, newspapers are fast becoming a thing of the past. Circulation is withering. Advertising revenue is dwindling. Newsrooms are getting smaller. Papers are getting thinner. More of us now rely on the Internet. Fewer depend on a newspaper.
The web is faster and more efficient. You can carry a million news sources on your cell phone. But we still need community newspapers. There are three reasons why community newspapers, like the Chronicle, need to survive:
Unity: Community newspapers meld us together as a community. Local news of births, deaths, fires, accidents, arrests, real estate transactions and the County commission business are all at the breakfast table in one spot. The Chronicle editors know their readers. They are trained through education and experience to select, organize and present articles that are relevant to us.
For all the good the Internet does, it can isolate us from one another. Yet, when we're all reading the same stories about people who live in the place we live in, we bond. Newspapers create communities.
Selectivity: Anyone can write a "blog" Generally, blogs are written from one's viewpoint, often without regard to the truth. Citrus County has two conservative blogs that reek of falsehoods and "alternative facts," but not our newspaper. The Chronicle has quality control. Although progressives complain that the Chronicle is too conservative, and the conservatives complain that the paper is too liberal, you can trust the Chronicle for balanced news. Not so the internet.
Accountability: Newspapers hold our elected officials accountable. For example, we need to read the Chronicle to know what our county commissioners are doing. The Chronicle reported on Meadowcrest and the library. These articles brought out the crowds. The Hospital Board's business is reported, and we know where public money is going. Would we know that without our local newspaper? I don't think so.
Paying for public notices is a small price for supporting a local newspaper.