Today’s paper officially marks the first edition of the Delta Democrat-Times’ new schedule of switching to printing bi-weekly.
Some local residents have been voicing concerns, from being afraid we are nearing the end of the newspaper to thinking they will now only receive old news. I would like to put some of those fears at ease.
Greenville is far from being the first paper to drop some of their publication days. In fact, we are wonderfully blessed, thanks to our dear dedicated subscribers, to have stayed open these 151 years as many newspapers throughout the nation have already been forced to see their last print jobs. The fact that Greenville was able to sustain a daily paper as long as it did is quite remarkable.
The Tampa Tribune, Oakland Tribune, Washington Examiner, Albuquerque Tribune, Los Angeles Register, Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Examiner, just to name a few, are all newspapers in much larger cities that have been forced shut their doors for good.
Does this mean these publications hired reporters, managing editors, publishers, ad salesmen and pressmen who weren’t doing their jobs well? That would be an incredible coincidence, but that’s not what happened.
One thing all newspapers have in common is one Goliath-sized competitor: the Internet, and possibly even more so, social media.
The reality of today’s society is people’s lives are centered around their phones. They crave the ease of grabbing the device from their pocket and gaining the instant gratification of finding the answer to whatever it is they want to know in a matter of seconds.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a modern-day film or TV show where a character was shown reading a newspaper at the breakfast table.
People, it seems, have forgotten the importance of local news.
Yes, there are area city leaders who share snippets of what happens at council meetings via Facebook, but they are only reporting what they want local residents to know.
As a reporter, I cannot tell you the number of times a councilperson has approached me after a meeting and said, “Please, don’t mention (x,y,z) in the paper” or “Please only report the positive things we discussed, we need to spread more positivity.”
Yes, positivity is important, but so is the truth.
A newspaper is not a public relations team for local businesses or our local government.
One of my favorite movies is the 2017 Steven Spielberg film, “The Post,” which follows the story of former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and her tough decision to risk prison time and the collapse of the newspaper to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971 concerning the hypocrisy and lies centered around the Vietnam War.
Graham was pressured by politicians and even fellow co-workers to not publish these top-secret government papers, but she did. Why?
Because, as it was quite simply and beautifully put in the movie, newspapers exist to serve the governed, not the governors.
Isn’t that, after all, a key point of the First Amendment?
Am I saying our city government is corrupt or trying to cover up secrets as the U.S. government did during the Vietnam War? Absolutely not.
We must, however, continue covering their city hall meetings. No one, from the people at Washington D.C., to Greenville, Mississippi, should have the power to control and make whatever choices they want without public awareness, especially when it concerns how tax-payer dollars are spent.
Yes, the city and county meetings are free for the public to attend, but few people rarely do.
Our reporters are, most of the time, the only ones reporting at city council, county and school board meetings.
It’s bothersome to hear people complain about paying to read the news. To purchase a single paper costs just $1, the same amount of money someone could spend on a cheap item at the Dollar Tree or a sandwich at McDonald’s. A month’s subscription costs $7 and a year’s subscription costs $72. These are incredibly cheap prices. Yet, we continue to hear the moans and groans about paying for the news. When the majority of people begin to feel this way, is it really any surprise there are so many papers are going out of business?
Just as local residents need to support local businesses, local businesses also need to support other fellow businesses.
As long as I've been working for the DD-T, I have heard several snide and sarcastic remarks about us on the radio by the folks at Q102, including their news report this week, and I am still trying to figure out why.
We have never publicly bashed Q102 despite the times they have copied our stories word for word and stolen our pictures to put on their website, claiming it as their own. And yet, they seem to take pleasure in mocking the work we do.
I have always said if you have to put down someone else's product to make yours look better, whatever you're selling must not be worth selling on its own accord.
I don't think the local radio stations are bad. In fact, I listen to them every morning as I drive to work and whenever I'm running errands. The station only changes depending on what genre of music I’m in the mood for.
We love supporting our local radios and the TV station. We have purchased ads through them in the past and invited them to our Best of the Best parties.
I recently had a wonderful lunch with Susan and Katherine Shamoon of Shamoon Advertising and Life in the Delta and Johnny Ross of radio network WDMS at South Main Market & Deli and we all agreed local businesses need to be more supportive of each other. Greenville, and the Mississippi Delta as whole, is far too small for this silly animosity toward one another. It is very much possible for us all to thrive, but we need to support and lift up one another rather than tear each other down in hopes of seeing their failure.
I enjoy our local radio stations and our other local publications and I hope they continue to stay in business as long as I’m alive and beyond. I only wish Q102 felt the same.
I am deeply grateful to our loyal readers who have stuck by the DDT’s side throughout the years and who will continue to do so. We are still here, working to generate the news for those who understand and care. We will continue to be the only ones attending meetings so you can get your news from a reputable source.
Our content isn't always 100% perfect, but we are always quick to report any errors we may make. I’m proud to say we rarely ever need to do so and we are the only local news source that makes a point to correct our errors.
Another favorite line of mine from “The Post” is from Katharine Graham’s character, who was beautifully portrayed by actress Meryl Streep, who said, “We don't always get it right, we're not always perfect. But I think that if we just keep on it, that’s the job, isn’t it?”
Indeed, it is.
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.