(Editor’s note: Our award-winning columnist is also published in the Waco Tribune. A letter regarding his recent column for both papers—titled “Newspapers Connect in Civilized Fashion” in the News—is reprinted here with permission from Bill Whitaker, editor of the Waco Tribune.)
For the past year I’ve made it a practice to read the local paper each day. I receive the Waco Tribune-Herald on my driveway. I know I may be the exception to the rule, unfolding, opening and perusing print and ink right around sunrise each day. I’m not a senior citizen, but I’m not young, either. I am 38 years old.
It has been said that newspapers are going the way of the dodo. I hope not. I found myself agreeing with the thrust of Bob Vickrey’s January 28 Trib column, “Decline of Daily Newspapers Explains National Turmoil.”
Mr. Vickrey is right: Newspapers are a better source of information than what appears before us in a social-media feed.
Journalists, at their best, are servants of the public good. They offer news. Sometimes they give commentary or opinion. In a good newspaper, there is a place for both.
Newspapermen and -women keep us informed, make us think, give us something to debate, to kick around and even to act upon. Good editorial boards set before the citizenry a range of views that will sharpen public discourse. They give us the chance to exercise the democratic value of reasoned debate and impassioned argument with one another, helping us to bridge differences. And excellent local papers do their best to represent the full range of the citizenry, reminding us that we have a responsibility to live together, work together and partner together to build a healthy, vibrant community.
Mr. Vickrey writes, “Through the years, newspapers have contributed in elevating the quality of our lives by informing and entertaining us—and reminding us of our common connections and fundamental humanity.”
Publishing a newspaper is an act of neighborliness. So is reading the newspaper. Take up and read, and support those who serve us through the crafting of words, the structuring of sentences and the composition of good prose that delights, informs and challenges us to be better human beings. So sharpened, perhaps we can be a better community, too.
Benjamin A. Simpson,