I was heartened, but also a bit bemused, to read "Wonderful Weeklies" by Julia Cass (December 2005/January 2006). Our industry unfortunately focuses almost exclusively on what's going on at daily newspapers, despite the fact that most of the newspapers in America are weeklies located in small towns. Most stories about weeklies can be summed up as, "Golly, weeklies have good journalism after all!"
But those of us working at weeklies aren't surprised. We know our newspapers have a huge impact on our communities. We are cheerleader, teacher, critic, watchdog and friend. We are blessed with readers who care deeply about their paper, and they don't let us lose sight of our responsibility to each one of them. We often endure hurtful criticism from close friends for the tough stories we do. We work hard to put out the best paper we can each week with small but dedicated staffs. And for all our hard work, we are often dismissed or looked down upon by the big-city media outlets, which have largely forgotten their reason for being.
The highest calling any journalist can have is to write for their local paper. Thanks to Cass for passing on the valuable lessons taught by Ray Mosby, Jim Abbott, Waid Prather and Stanley Dearman. May these heroes inspire more people to rediscover real community journalism.
Patricia M. Larson###
Fort Mill Times
Fort Mill, South Carolina