EDITORIAL: Let us help you celebrate
“Engagement” is the buzzword nowadays in journalism, as newspapers struggle to remain relevant in today’s fast-moving information world. Mostly, it means having a “comments” section on a website or Facebook where readers can weigh in. The problem we’ve found is this, people cannot be polite.
Give people an anonymous way to deride and disgrace other people and they will take it, every time. Our website doesn’t have “comments” and when we go for awards, the judges tell us that’s not a good thing. We don’t care, we’re not in this business to facilitate a way to make people feel inferior or shamed.
However, we are in the business of cultivating readers, and that means walking the thin line between having a newspaper our veteran readers find “friendly” and a newspaper that new-generation readers find interesting.
We’ve been in the business long enough to know this, what most readers find most interesting is other people.
Other people with life-events and interesting stories.
We need your help bringing more of those to light in Laurens County. When we look at our pages, what we don’t see enough of is life-events. We ask that you send us birth announcements, birthdays, weddings and engagements (a small fee), promotions, graduations - anything that makes your life, or the lives of your children and/or grandchildren, even more special. If it’s special to you, we know it’s going to be of interest to our readers. If you want your kid’s birthday to be “really special”, we have an ad designer for that, and the cost is nominal.
Facebook has usurped a lot of personal stuff from newspapers - businesses tap in, thinking they can do a couple postings and people will flock into their stores. They wonder why business isn’t what they want it to be, without realizing that most successful ad campaigns are just that -- “campaigns” -- taking advantage of many outlets. Post a couple of billboards and they figure that’s enough - but what about people who don’t travel all the time to see billboards (or drive by at just that right moment for those new-fangled, multiple-message boards) and prefer to be at home, reading a newspaper?
The same way, people put something on Facebook and their friends see it. What we’re asking is just a little more, share it with a community. We guarantee, your new grandchild’s birth photo will bring a smile to the face of a shut-in, who may have little outside contact other than the weekly newspaper. Realize, too, lots of our newspapers go every week to the PC campus where they are passed among students, and to schools where teachers use them for class instruction. These folks are part of your neighborhood.
We don’t want 100,000 dogs and cats that need to be adopted, but we wouldn’t mind Pets of the Week pictures from animal control and the humane society. We don’t want pictures of your food - just looking at food sends us to the treadmill. But a family photo of a 5 Generations Dinner - oh, yes, we want that.
In addition, while we have gone down this road of shameless self-promotion, realize that our Horizon section will be published in February. A consistent SC Press Association award-winner under our retired publisher Larry Franklin, Horizon is our “progress edition.” Rather than writing about new buildings and roads and water tanks, we choose to write about people transitioning in their lives and making a difference in their communities. People with great stories to tell; if you know of somebody like this, please send us a Nomination. We have developed a list of 23 potential people-stories - Horizon annually names a Teacher of the Year and Citizen of the Year - and we would love to have more.
No newspaper can be “everything to everybody;” but we know this, people connect to people, and we have been facilitating that connection since 1900. It is a trust we take very, very seriously. Thanks for your continued attention.
(E-mail is the best way to get information to us: firstname.lastname@example.org)