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EDITORIAL: You heard it here first – hopefully

News never stops: it’s part and parcel of human existence. Nor does the need to read or hear the news, since that’s what helps define us, discusses where we’ve been and ponders where we’re headed.

What does evolve over time is how people receive their news, thus demanding a never-ending need to adapt.

But we could trace this industry all the way back to the early printing press and moveable type, and all the way forward to electronic media and the platforms that carry information, and we would still find one constant. Readers want information that affects them, and stories and news about the people around them.

News media today faces plenty of criticism, much of that heightened by the polemics of politics. What or who can you trust? And at a time of online tactics when someone with an agenda can masquerade as a legitimate news source, the question of what’s real and what’s fake can become murkier.

But when people are surveyed on the matter, something they consistently value is community news. And that is precisely what community newspapers have striven to provide over the decades and will continue to deliver, even when reader and consumer habits prompt changes.

The stories can range from someone with a brilliant new hobby or pastime, a local resident travelling to a distant place on a mission, someone who’s achieved a significant milestone in life or – another that never fails to draw empathy from readers – an individual or family facing a challenge and who perhaps could use support.

Readers read – and respond, and form opinions – because they can relate, because the subject is familiar and because they care.

Community news sources also do their best to serve as watchdogs, to alert residents to proposals and developments in their community. Though many of us might take local governments for granted, often because we’re quite familiar with the faces sitting around those tables, never forget that it’s a level of government that has a direct impact on people, households, services, businesses and neighbourhoods.

People paying municipal taxes want to know about proposed projects, programs or developments that they will be helping to fund. Some personally watch local councils like a hawk – and good for them. But for those who aren’t as assiduous in keeping abreast, local news outlets make it their business to follow what municipalities are up to and ensure decisions are made public.

The same goes for other aspects of everyday life that we all cherish, depend on and contribute to financially: health, education, justice, social supports, transportation.

World news, national news, provincial news – they all matter, and being well informed is the best aid in making decisions in life.

When it comes to what goes on next door, or down the street or across the town or county, that’s information people really can’t do without.

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