Letter to the editor: The Value of a Community newspaper
Published 10:29 am Monday, May 17, 2021
It seems like every day another community newspaper closes down. Senator Cantwell of Washington State has proposed a multi-billion dollar package of federal funding to provide aid to newspapers.
A community newspaper is a written record of day-to-day events in a community recording everything from little league to bake sales. A well-written newspaper includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. My brother, a retired journalist, wrote two books on the history of our hometown relying on newspaper archives. The newspapers provided a recorded history. You do not get that from electronic records. Every time Microsoft decides to update its software they wipe out files based on software versions they no longer support.
Many families have relied on newspaper archives to obtain the history of their families. It fleshes out the limited amount they can obtain from oral histories passed down from generation to generation. We lost a section of our own family history because a prairie fire swept through a town, burning the newspaper, the county courthouse, and other buildings.
The archives also provide a research source for writers of history and historical fiction, and also a record of natural disasters. I worry about the fate of historical records as newspapers shut their doors.
Fred E. Camfield