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OUR TURN: Even now, newspapers are cornerstone of community

While the appearance, delivery and frequency of newspapers might be changing, our core mission of keeping readers informed about the community has not.

It is true the newspaper industry has undergone some upheavals the past few years as technology has changed, advertising resources have shifted and readership has found new platforms.

Yet the newspaper has adapted.

The newspaper of yesterday no longer exists, and who can say what the newspaper of tomorrow will look like? But one thing is clear: Even in the digital-on-demand world of the 21st century, newspapers remain the most reliable source of information for what’s happening.

You want a conduit to your world, your country, your state and your community that is comprehensive, verified and accountable?

Then read a newspaper.

The newspaper remains a valuable asset, both for readers who want to know what’s going on and for advertisers who want to reach those consumers.

Face it: A newspaper is more detailed than a text message. The stories are based on impartial reporting and fact-checking, not online personal views that masquerade as informed commentary.

And while the newspaper carries opinions, they are confined to the editorial page, where they are clearly marked as such.

No matter what platform newspapers utilize — be it print, Web, tablet or social media — they are still thriving and remain the indispensable source of news about government, crime, the courts, business, sports and education that a community must have to make informed decisions.

This is an especially good time to remember that. National Newspaper Week is Oct. 7-13, and it reminds us of the unique role the paper plays in our society.

This year’s slogan is: “Newspapers: the cornerstone of your community.”

While pundits say the Internet is driving the newspaper to extinction, nothing could be further from the truth. Newspapers have taken the Web and embraced it.

The Internet has merely given reporters and editors another resource to connect with their communities, as well as a faster way to disseminate information. Online news sites also allow newspapers to expand their storytelling by incorporating video, interactive graphics and access to other sources for increased understanding of complicated subjects.

Even the websites that are aggregators of news items draw their stories from newspaper sources. More than likely, if you see a substantive issue on television, hear about it on the radio or see it on the Web, it was carried by a newspaper first.

Traffic to newspaper sites continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, outpacing government, travel, tourism, economic and other related websites. According to the National Newspaper Association, more than 100 million adults — or 6 in 10 of the country’s adult Internet consumers — read a newspaper website. And consumers 25 years and older remain the core audience for the print product. Also, both the print and online products reach nearly 60 percent of the highly desirable 18-34 demographic.

So don’t believe what you hear about newspapers dying. They are not going away. They are transforming and matching the changing habits of readers.

But what will never change is our dedication to covering the community; of informing, entertaining and enlightening.

We serve the public, but we also are the public. The newspaper is a reflection of the community.

The newspaper acts as the eyes and ears of the public. We are also the watchdogs of government. We will continue to honor our commitment to the community by generating stories, tracking local developments and monitoring our elected and appointed officials.

Because without newspapers and the vital role they fulfill, America just isn’t America.