3/15/2022 11:58:00 PM Local Newspapers Are Still Important
In the 21st century, far more people are getting most of their local news from internet sources than are reading print newspapers.
L. Wayne Howard Staff Writer
The local Lincolnton newspaper, the Lincoln Times-News, discontinued its Monday edition last month and is now published only on Wednesday and Friday. Back in 2012, the late Larry Dellinger, having spent over half a century in the newspaper business, saw that the times had changed: more people every day were getting their news via the internet. That year, he founded the Lincoln Herald, and we began providing local news FREE online.
Even the bigger newspapers are having difficulty as people's daily habits have changed. Instead of picking up a print newspaper, most people now check the news on their smartphones. Even the largest papers, like the New York Times and Washington Post, reach more people via the internet than they do with their print newspapers.
On Wednesday, the Gaston Gazette announced that it will discontinue delivery of a print newspaper on Saturdays: "Responding to continued rapid shifts toward digital news consumption, The Gaston Gazette is announcing a change in print delivery frequency beginning Saturday, March 19.
"The Gaston Gazette will cease home delivery on Saturdays but instead will provide subscribers with a full digital replica of the newspaper that day, filled with local news, advertising and features such as comics and puzzles. The new model means subscribers will get newspapers delivered to their home six days a week, with a digital newspaper available every day."
This reporter, having been involved with news for many years on radio and writing for the Lincoln Herald, believes that local newspapers are still important. Michelle Bernard, the editor and essentially the lone reporter for the Lincoln Times-News, does an excellent job of providing what are often called 'human interest' stories. It is, if I may borrow a quote, 'writing worth reading.'
With the changes in the business climate, chain stores now dominate much of local retail. Those chains rely on their national reputation--and advertising--and no longer do a host of local merchants fill the pages of local papers with ads.
With people also switching from getting their news from newspapers to getting it on the internet, the number of paying subscribers has also declined for almost all newspapers nationwide.
While in one sense, we are competitors (for advertising dollars), we have the same important goal as our 'reason for being': to provide important news to our community.
At the Lincoln Herald, we tend to concentrate on what many call 'hard news,' but we also do articles about local events. With the local newspaper now publishing only two days, our reporting of area obituaries (for which, by the way, we never charge) has become one of our most important services to the community. To make sure that people have ample opportunity to get important local news, we put links to all our articles on Facebook and Twitter.
We still believe there is a place--and a need--for a locally owned and operated newspaper. It's important because its presence says something positive about our town and county.
The local theatre is gone; the department stores that used to be in our downtown have either gone out of business or moved to shopping centers. Local businesses have had to develop niche marketing to survive.
The world--and Lincolnton and Lincoln County--has changed, but we believe some of the 'relics' of our history are still very much worth saving.