IBJOpinion

KATTERJOHN: Newspapers still deliver - for YOU

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The Hoosier State Press Association, a trade group representing 175 paid-circulation Hoosier newspapers, including IBJ, has launched a campaign designed to remind the public of the important role newspapers play in our democracy.

So this week, I’m ceding my space to David Stamps, executive director of the HSPA and business neighbor (the association is headquartered on the third floor of our building).



OK. Show-of-hands time. How many of you reading this column have ever attended your city council or town board meeting? Hmmm, I see a few hands waving.

How about during the month of September? Not many hands left aloft.

How about every city council or town board meeting the last year? Last five years? Last 10?

Don’t see any hands up now.

Question: Do you know who has attended all these meetings?

Answer: Reporters from newspapers.

Like a lot of good things about this country—things like expecting clean water to come out of your tap when you open it, or that the police or fire department phone will be answered when you call—newspapers and the job they do on behalf of the public get taken for granted.

But some people think that might be changing. They’re worried that newspapers are becoming more a part of the past than the future.

Yes, newspapers, often called collectively, The Press—despite being the only profession specifically protected by the U.S. Constitution—are encountering difficulties these days not imagined only a few years ago.

Oct. 4-10 was National Newspaper Week.

This observance used to be more of a salute to the role newspapers play in keeping the public informed, but this year has been given new immediacy as we read of venerable newspapers closing or going to Web-only publication, of household-name newspapers like the Chicago Tribune filing bankruptcy, of the two major newspapers in Detroit eliminating home delivery four days a week.

Now that’s pretty grim news, and there’s more of it.

But it’s news that gives a distorted picture of the newspaper industry.

Most newspapers in Indiana, while suffering through the same economic doldrums that nearly all businesses are experiencing, are still hard at it: covering city council and town board meetings; attending school board meetings; reporting from the police and sheriff’s stations; covering high school sports; printing honor rolls; tromping around the county fair grounds to count blue ribbons; and printing obituaries, birth and engagement announcements, and 50th anniversary wedding stories.

And lots, lots, lots more. (Publisher’s note: like covering the central Indiana business community, Dave.)

Think what your town would be like without a newspaper. We could all just blog ourselves to death, but about what? Newspapers, we like to say, write the first draft of history; bloggers, Googlers and the other news “aggregators” feed off that.

So, despite all the changes in how we can receive news and information these days, we still need newspapers.

And, Newspapers Still Deliver.

That’s the theme of a campaign Indiana newspapers began promoting last week.

And, although we don’t need a National Newspaper Week to kick off such a campaign, this is as good a time as any to remind you, our readers, of how important newspapers are to society collectively and this community specifically.

Thanks for reading this newspaper.

Thanks for patronizing advertisers choosing this newspaper to run their ads.

Thanks for caring that an important part of our democracy—that part guaranteed by the First Amendment—remains a part of the future.

Yes, newspapers still deliver—for you.•

__________

Katterjohn is publisher of IBJ. To comment on this column, send e-mail to ckatterjohn@ibj.com. David Stamps’ e-mail address is dstamps@hspa.com. <

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

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