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OUR TURN: What you hold in your hands is big part of the community

You hold in your hands what remains — even today in the digitized 21st century — the most reliable source of information for what’s going on in your community.

It’s a newspaper. A comprehensive, totally portable, verified, accountable written source for news.

And it’s still valuable, both for readers who want to know what’s going on in town and for advertisers who want to reach those thousands of consumers.

It’s much more detailed than a 140-character message. It doesn’t track your buying habits and then sell that information to a marketing giant. And the opinions are confined to the editorial page and clearly marked as such.

For these reasons and so many more, a newspaper remains a good value and a good buy — whether it’s in print or an online version.

This is an especially good time to remember that. Though National Newspaper Week is ending, it reminds us of the unique role the paper plays in our society.

As the slogan says: “Newspapers, the number one source for local news.”

Sure, the industry has hit some hard times. But the country also is in a recession. What business hasn’t had to adjust or re-imagine itself? It’s called adaptability, and newspapers are making great strides to match and surpass the information needs of their audiences — The Tribune included.

While there is a sense of doom and gloom surrounding some of the big metropolitan newspapers, an article in the Los Angeles Times recently noted 8,000 small-town papers — just like the one before you today — still are delivered to their markets each week.

Those papers are doing just fine, thank you very much.

And most of them continue to deliver on the promise that remains an integral part of the relationship between newspaper and reader — to keep the community informed, enlightened and entertained.

Even today, newspapers and what’s in them set the tone for radio stations, television coverage, chat rooms and bloggers. If someone is commenting on or following an issue of the day, chances are it was in a newspaper first.

Where else is the community going to find the news that matters most, all in one place, presented in a logical and well-sourced, balanced fashion, if not a newspaper?

Think about the impact The Tribune itself has had in this community.

– The Tribune was one of the first Central Texas newspapers to break the story about questionable business practices occurring at the Pedernales Electric Cooperative. Those stories helped lead to sweeping reforms and even criminal indictments.

– The Tribune kept up coverage of the deadly road conditions on RR 1431 East near Mustang Drive, including a fatality, that eventually saw the highway department put up new lights and extra lanes.

– Stories by The Tribune about Marble Falls City Hall and the Economic Development Corp., including expenditures and the contract with an auto manufacturer at the vo-tech center, let city officials know it wouldn’t be “business as usual.”

– The Tribune trained a spotlight on the questionable use of surveillance vehicles by law enforcement to generate ticket revenue, until finally state lawmakers declared such devices illegal.

And what about all the other news and features delivered by The Tribune and its website www.dailytrib.com the community relies on? Sports, education, awards, events, culture, music, opinions, commentary, calendars — the lifeblood of the community, all conveniently at a reader’s fingertips.

Your local newspaper still remains the single most important source for all the news that matters to you and your family, the kind of information that has a direct impact on the entire community.

Newspapers have endured for centuries, and they likely will endure for many years more in some form or fashion.

Knowledge is power, so plug in at your local newspaper.