My heart sank when I just read this. My prayers to the Bolivar Commercial and its community that is losing one of its greatest assets and treasures.
Local businesses and residents in Scott County and elsewhere had better read this and read it closely. When you choose to not support your local newspaper both financially and in reading, you can eventually lose it. Facebook and other social media does not care about the things that your local newspaper does about your community.
But your local newspaper does. Your paper cares about your births, your deaths, your weddings and engagements, your local city and school board meetings, the quality and activities of your schools, your garden clubs and other civic clubs, your county operations, your sports, and so much more and all things in between.
The Itawamba County Times in Fulton has always had a motto in its banner: “The only newspaper in the world that cares anything about Itawamba County.” That can be said about any other local newspaper about their community.
When I was at the Scott County Times and people would call from outside the county asking us to put something they wanted in the paper, and if the answer was not obvious, my first question was always: “What relevance or connection does your item have to Scott County?” Nobody cares about our communities the way our papers do.
At the same time, people also need to understand that while newspapers are a great public service, they are also a business that must make a profit to stay in business and keep serving. Newspapers depend so much on advertising as well as subscriptions to stay in business and to keep providing coverage. When sometimes an item didn’t make it in a paper one week because of space limitations, someone would ask, “Just add a page.” It is not that simple. A newspaper has to pay for the pages it prints and can only print what it can pay for through revenue it receives from the community it serves. The paper also has to pay its staff and its bills like any other business.
Bolivar County will soon find out just how much they are going to miss having their newspaper. I feel for them. In salute to their more than a century of service, I salute them and offer a respectful farewell and prayers for the paper staff and the community. So, go ahead and keep reading your Facebook newsfeed for news and other online sites. Just remember, they are no substitute for community journalism like what your local newspaper strives to provide. Over the course of 30 years, I worked as a journalist, mainly in weekly newspapers. I can tell you personally that no one cares for your community like your local newspaper because I was a part of it and I lived that creed. Newspapers are part of the soul of our community that helps to keep the heartbeat going.
Chris Allen Baker