Our mission depends on help from you

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2015

To me, newspapers come in two kinds: a big city, metro newspaper or a community newspaper.

We’ve all read about the struggles of the newspaper industry. Some of us have lived them. While all newspapers have suffered to some degree, the hardest hit have been the large, metro papers, which for years commanded huge advertising dollars and operated with slovenly gigantic staffs.

A reporter at a big city newspaper at one time would write a story or so a week. A reporter at a community newspaper pumps out a couple of stories a day and sometimes more. That’s just the way we work.

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Community newspapers have always operated lean, often in triage fashion, which when times got tough, meant we were nimble and able to roll with the punches in a way the big boys could not. Newspaper industry changes have debilitated many of the big boys. No need to name names.

In my opinion, the mission of a metro newspaper and a community newspaper are vastly different. I don’t know much about the workings of a big city paper. I’m a community newspaper girl — always have been, always will be. And, that’s just fine with me.

Community newspapers simply have a more vital role in their communities. Often, when a newspaper is doing its job, it is the lifeblood of the community.

That’s why our sector of the newspaper industry is thriving. I have some pretty good company in concluding that. Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway began buying mostly community newspapers in 2012. He’s not in the habit of buying losers. By March 2013, Buffett’s company had acquired 28 daily newspapers and paid $344 million for them.

In a speech to his shareholders in March 2013, Buffett said, “Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents.”

Think about it. We are the place you know you can turn — whether to our printed newspaper or our website — to find out just about anything you need to know about life in Vicksburg and Warren County. Do we miss things now and then? Of course, but no one is more devastated by that when it happens than we are.

It is our job to mirror this community, but it’s more than that. Our mission, too, is to connect us all. We should and do challenge our elected leaders and others whose job is to provide services for us all, and we take them to task when that is need.

At the same time, we are this community’s biggest cheerleader and we pay our civic rent by giving back to this community in which we live and work.

I have been more than tickled to find The Vicksburg Post has a strong tradition of doing all of those things in this community. My co-workers here are very active in a variety of endeavors in this community, as evidenced by the many awards, thank you plaques and recognitions hanging on the walls of our building.

We also value our readers and know we need you in order to serve our mission. We need the photos you take at little league games. We need you to let us know when you come across a story you think we should cover.

Or, write us an article about what’s going on in your neighborhood or school or church. Email it to me, jan.griffey@vicksburgpost.com or to news@vicksburgpost.com. Odds are, if it’s interesting to you, it’s something that would interest your fellow readers, too.

A community newspaper means just that — it’s a part of all of us. Let us know what we can do better to serve you, Vicksburg and Warren County.

We’re all in this together.

Jan Griffey is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at jan.griffey@vicksburgpost.com or 601-636-4545, ext. 123.