Newspapers matter, more than ever!

There is a source of current, accurate information in the community that is irreplaceable and is necessary and vital, not only to local residents but to the country, and to democracy itself: the newspaper.
National Newspapers Week is being observed from Oct. 1-7 and celebrated across Canada — but do newspapers even matter anymore, in an age of digital, instant information on multiple social media platforms?
The answer is an unequivocal “Yes!” Consider the following facts:
1. Nine in 10 Canadians read content that was originally generated from a newspaper each week. Canadians turn to newspaper information on a number of issues. It could be the details of a government program, or updates on NAFTA talks. In the case of a community newspaper, readers seek out information on town council happenings, or school events, or the latest hockey game.
2. A recent survey found that 63 per cent of Canadians are unable to distinguish between legitimate news websites and fake news stories.
Newspapers fulfil a very important role, in not only gathering all of the information about politics, people and sports from around the community, they also provide editorial comment on local and national issues, and hold our elected officials to account.
Take for example the recent controversy over budget cuts to the regional library system in Saskatchewan. In the Southeast Regional Library system, a grassroots “Drop Everything and Read” protest movement was born, and with newspapers supplying stories, columns and editorials, along with coverage of the grassroots protest, the government of the day reversed itself, and fully restored the funding they had cut.
Library officials stated afterward that stories and editorials from the newspapers were a big factor in getting the word out to the public, and they stepped forward to protest.
In the Steven Spielberg movie, “The Post”, Meryl Streep’s character (the owner-publisher of the Washington Post) said newspapers are “the first rough draft of history”, because they are covering it as it unfolds, every day.
People want and need to know the truth about what is going on in their community, including why they should care about who is doing what, when are they doing it, and why? Just one of many important reasons why during National Newspapers Week in Canada, Canadians are asked to simply sign a pledge of support by going to www.newspapersmatter.ca and send a message that matters, more than ever!

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