Clearwater Times editorial by Stephanie Hagenaars

Small town news – a town’s lifeline

With daily updates from all levels of government, including the various health authorities and the BC CDC, the information can become overwhelming. Social media is a haven for spreading information, both factual and false. It’s a lot to take in.

This is where your local paper, and news media in general, come in. They sift through the information and give snapshots of the most important points. But that’s not all they do. As the news focus becomes more local, they provide stories that would very rarely, if ever, see the pages of a provincial or national paper.

This is because they’re the stories that matter most to the people within the community. It’s the photos from your daughter’s skating practice on the front page. A piece highlighting the support for the local food bank. The closure of the road to the park, the heart of Wells Gray. They’re stories that affect the community, for better or for worse.

It’s also a check into the local government and businesses, keeping the public informed so they can make good decisions when council is up for re-election, or when there is a public hearing about a merger or new company coming into town.

They also support the local industries. In Clearwater, the events that happen every year fill the pages of the Times. Not only does this share the events with community members, but it informs those that are visiting, or thinking of doing so, what we have to offer: Tourism.

Sure, the pandemic has put a slow to that for the time being, but we’ve been able to adjust and soon those events will return and the Times will be there.

Tyler Dawson, a reporter for the National Post, described the local paper as “the lifeblood of towns across the country.”

Indeed, our local paper gives our town a voice.

And while not everyone may be as supportive of what the local paper is publishing, accusing us of “fake news” and all that jazz, without it, there would be a fairly significant hole left behind. (And let’s be honest, even those who criticize the paper are still reading it).

Many say news is dying simply because we’re rapidly moving from paper to digital — but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Steve Nixon, executive director of the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Association, told CBC News, “What’s important is the journalism — the medium it’s printed on, or displayed on, is secondary.”

Our world is more divided than ever and there is much uncertainty when it comes to the pandemic and our global relationships, but keeping the public informed at a local level is also more important than ever. The news provided each week is a lifeline — the letters allow residents to express themselves and interact with their community, council is able to speak to the public and the community is informed about what’s happening around them, whether read in the paper or online.

Now more than ever, it seems, the message has been to support local — and that support includes your local news.

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