A valuable community resource

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Sometimes the best way to determine the value of a service or product or person in your life is to try to imagine what life would be like without them. So this week, in honor of National Newspaper Week, we are asking our readers, "How would your life be impacted if the Cassville Democrat no longer arrived weekly in your mailbox or appeared on newsstands each Wednesday afternoon?"

The answers to that question will vary for sure, and we'd love to hear some of your responses. Many of our readers are loyal newspaper subscribers. We love it when we get notes from you with your subscription renewals. Many of you tell us how your family has subscribed to the Democrat for generations and you wouldn't think of ever missing a week. As a result, some of you even send in renewals before your subscription renewal notice is mailed. This is an extreme compliment, because it means that you couldn't bear the thought of missing a single issue of the Cassville Democrat.

Small town weeklies are a resource that remain an integral part of any community. Where else will you read about the successes of our local students? Where else will you find details and action photos from your favorite high school team? Where else will you learn what happened at the monthly school board or city council meeting? Don't think the big town dailies are anxious to tell the good news of the small communities that surround them. In fact, if you subscribe to the daily newspapers in our area, you'll find only a couple of paragraphs concerning our sports teams and very rarely a photo. It should also be noted that negative news from our communities is what produces headlines in Springfield and Joplin. Now we're not putting down those publications. They have their own specific audiences. Instead, we're pointing out the need to make sure weekly newspapers remain viable in the face of increasing competition.

Also try to imagine how you'd fill the pages of your child's scrapbook if the Cassville Democrat ceased to exist. Those keepsakes would be a whole lot thinner without newspaper clippings. Publishing stories and photos about Barry County young people is one our favorite things about the weekly newspaper business. We consider it a privilege to have the Cassville Democrat name appear on the pages of your scrapbooks, and we absolutely love it when people come in to buy multiple copies of the newspaper because of a story or photo that ran that week.

We love small town newspapers and want to remind our readers that our livelihood and future depends on your subscriptions and the support of our advertisers. If you try out a new restaurant, because you read about it in our monthly dining guide, tell the restaurant owner. Our advertisers need to know you have seen their ads and are responding. By doing this, you'll be helping make sure the Cassville Democrat continues to grow to serve the needs of the Barry County area.

I am truly blessed to serve as editor of the Cassville Democrat, because I love what I do. I also take my job very seriously and realize it comes with many responsibilities. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, and it's always a challenge to keep up with all the news and human interest stories that occur in the Barry County area each week. I also appreciate my staff and could never even begin to publish the newspaper without each and every one of them. They are professionals who work together as a team to put out an excellent product each week. I also wish to thank our many advertisers and subscribers. Without you, our publication could not exist. It's an honor to serve all the communities in Barry County, and it is our intention to keep doing that for a long, long time.