From reporting about civic events, murder trials and everything in between, the role of newspapers — including the one you are reading — is as important as it has ever been.
We are living in an age of advanced technology and information sharing. This information age has seen the birth of the Internet and the growth of blogging, Twitter and Facebook. Instant news and information is available just moments after it happens, if you know where to look.
But there is a major difference between the news you read in the paper, and the “news” that you get from Twitter, Facebook or a blogger. All too often, the Tweets and blogs aren’t delivered by the person who witnessed the event. More often than not, it’s third-, fourth- or fifth-hand information. At that point, it is sometimes nothing more than a rumor. If the information is indeed credible more than likely the story originated from … a newspaper.
Most savvy readers know that. And that is precisely why newspapers, although facing tough financial times, will always be with us.
“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,” financial wizard Warren Buffett said recently in his annual report to his shareholders. And Warren is putting his money where his mouth is, this past year alone he bought 63 daily and weekly newspapers.
The news media has long been referred to as the “fourth estate.” The term “fourth estate” was first used around the time of colonial America in the early 1700s. Our forefathers considered the news media to be the fourth branch of government (or fourth estate).
The founding fathers considered access to information essential to the health of democracy. Newspapers ensured that citizens made responsible, informed choices. The media served as a checking function by ensuring that elected representatives upheld their oaths of office and truly served the wishes of the people who elected them; that shady businessmen weren’t allowed to prey on the public.
In short, it showed how essential newspapers are to a well-functioning democratic society.
At Feather Publishing, we know that you rely on us to be the newspaper of record for Plumas County. As we have said before, this is your newspaper; the staffers at your local paper are merely the caretakers. We understand that, and we take our role seriously.
We realize there are no other reliable sources for news from your neighborhood. You won’t find it in the Reno or Sacramento papers. You won’t hear about it on TV.
Making sure that what you read in this paper is factual and unbiased is our top priority. We try to make sure we don’t sensationalize events for the sake of selling newspapers. That’s not our goal. We answer to you. We answer to the truth. We have been doing business that way for more than 100 years.
We don’t report rumors. In fact, our role is to squelch them. Sometimes that means reporting events that are distasteful to some people. Sometimes it means that what you read in the paper could be different than what you heard on the street.
We stand behind our reporting. Yet, despite our best efforts, there will sometimes be mistakes. And that is why we pledge to correct mistakes as soon as we find out about them, ensuring that the last word you read about an event — opinions aside — will be the truth.
Usually it is you, our readers, who alert us of any errors. And we applaud you for doing it. You are the ultimate ombudsman of this publication.
This is your newspaper.