The News Monitor is celebrating newspapers this week. Agriculture, fire prevention and breast cancer awareness have their own weeks. Now it’s time to celebrate National Newspaper Week.
Here are three things to think about:
News Monitor has footsteps in past, eye on future
Be mindful about your information diet. Today, many of us are living on nutrition-free snacks by relying on social media as formats for disseminating news. But not everyone who is publishing over their smartphone or YouTube is a promising writer or videographer giving voice to underserved communities. Many are peddlers of propaganda, snake oil, disinformation and dissension. Where do you read most of your news? Is it from a trusted source? Or do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media’s click bait? Social media provides a wonderful outlet for pushing news to many readers, and in fact the News Monitor utilizes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach people beyond the traditional newspaper format. But still, it is immensely satisfying to hold up a newspaper. The News Monitor may be a weekly newspaper bound in the 132-year tradition since starting on the North Dakota prairie, but we also are in this instantaneous information age. Read us online, become an e-edition reader, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We have roots in history, with an eye to the future. We want to be your newspaper for 132 more years.
Recipe for not having opinions challenged
Social media is not as free as it seems. We pay by providing our personal data every time we log on and often, every time we make a purchase IRL (in real life). Social media sites use that data to deliver information likely to keep you on their sites — A resident of Moberly, Missouri who shops at Cabela’s and is Facebook “friends” with Donald Trump supporters is likely to get a very different news feed on Facebook than one who lives in Hankinson, listens to NPR and “likes” former President Barack Obama’s page. Because of Facebook algorithms, you see the same 25 people’s news feeds on Facebook. This is a recipe for never having your received opinions challenged or your mind changed.
News may not be free anymore, but it has value
Increasingly for readers of all ages, that low-grade paper with come-off-on-your-hands ink is being replaced by bits and bytes that light up your phone or tablet or computer. What can’t be replaced, and what should never be made obsolete is the primary function that newspapers have traditionally performed — deploying small armies of reporters, photographers and editors to find and produce stories on everything from Hankinson apartment fires to Lidgerwood grocery store updates to your neighbor’s golden wedding anniversary. That is the role the News Monitor takes quite seriously. No, news isn’t free anymore, but it does have tremendous value.