In September, I attended the Colorado Press Association annual awards ceremony, where we watched some of our own reporters and staff members be honored for excellent work along with others throughout …
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In September, I attended the Colorado Press Association annual awards ceremony, where we watched some of our own reporters and staff members be honored for excellent work along with others throughout the state who work day and night to bring the public the news.
Bringing the public the news has not been an easy task — especially in the last four or five years.
One of my favorite parts of the annual newspapers awards is the advertising design category. While not in my area of expertise, I absolutely respect what newspaper designers can do for companies and programs. These ads are always creative, beautiful and informative.
This year, in the “House Ad” category, I noticed a common theme. A house ad is one that a newspaper creates to promote our work and abilities. These ads might talk about circulation, staff, programs, etc.
However, a theme this year is what would likely happen without them, creating these amazing designs with the term “News Desert.” A news desert is essentially a community where residents have significantly diminished access to important local news and information that feeds a local democracy.
I understand that major news stations are not going anywhere. We need our information on Congress and current administration. We need to know about major news events on a national level.
I get that publications and digital outlets such as People magazine give the endless updates on what is happening with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry today. I understand those clicks are going to continue and, while I do not care, those headlines will continue fill my news feeds.
However, what I worry about is losing my local news coverage, and not because I collect a paycheck from them.
No other media outlets cover the nuts and bolts of your community. It is the local newspaper telling you what is happening with the local school districts. It is reporters like those working with Colorado Community Media who will tell you that your local town council has now adopted an increased fee schedule for water rates.
It is organizations like Colorado Community Media who will ask the questions on why one county, such as Douglas County, will continue chasing a suspect in a stolen car while the City of Littleton or Arapahoe County likely won’t.
We are the ones who can truly answer whether or not teachers in Douglas County are underpaid to help you make a decisions on the current election ballot.
We are the ones who will take the time to talk to the candidates running in the less flashy races like treasurer and coroner to help in making an Election Day decision.
I am thankful for the work my reporters did on local candidates because I was definitely able to fill out my ballot with knowledge because of it.
I am happy to read about a new business opening that no one else outside of my area will care about.
I am thankful to have that local news that, as I got older, I realized truly provides the information that affects my everyday life. Taxes, schools, retailers, restaurants. I would not know a thing about them if it was not for local news outlets.
However, as newsrooms and fundings continue to decrease – the local, community newspapers pay a price. Pay a price that, I fear, will not be absolutely missed until it is gone.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.
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