While everyone slobbers over the virtues of the Internet and twitter, take a moment to appreciate the wonder you have in your hands.
This product protects your property values by informing you when public officials want to raise your taxes or change zoning. It shines a light on corruption and incompetence and wasteful spending.
It is easier to read than a computer monitor. It can be read anywhere, even while hanging upside down on your inversion table or eating cinnamon buns in bed. It’s lighter than a lap top and requires no power source. It is disposable, easier to recycle and you won’t stress out if you leave it on the luncheon table while you go to the restroom. You can tear out articles and ads and coupons on the spot, saving time, copy paper and toner.
Here at The Press, as well as at thousands of other newspapers, trained journalists act as your watchdogs on government and the special interests circling congress. Our founding fathers, knowing first hand that unlimited power corrupts, gave limited power to each of the three branches of government and Constitutional protection to a free press to report on all three branches.
Our journalists take this responsibility seriously. They have won awards for bringing to light the impropriety and idiocy of some of your public officials.
Lately, The Press has reported on issues your leaders are contemplating, issues that will affect your investment in your home. They have written about wind turbines being erected in the back yards of two residents in one town and about a young woman traveling the country in a vegetable-powered automobile.
How will your property values and your quality of life change if you are surrounded by wind turbines erected without proper zoning?
In the vegetable-powered car story, you learned there are an estimated 50,000 such enthusiasts across the country. They don’t pay fuel tax on vegetable oil and fuel tax funds our road and bridge repair. What happens if that 50,000 grows to 10 million?
As we move toward energy independence these are two issues that should concern you. If newspapers don’t report them, who does? Untrained hobby bloggers?
In another recent story, we wrote about east Toledoans fighting a proposed zoning change for a convenience store. They fear undesirables will invade their quiet neighborhood and reduce property values. In the same issue, a former member of council proposed eliminating her village’s police force. Could that happen in your town? Sure, in these tough times, it could. Don’t you want to know about that?
In addition to our Constitutional obligation, we publish a wide variety of stories on education, personal development, human interest and sports. Our advertisers support this effort. They too believe in your right to know, although, quite frankly, they get a little upset with some of the things we print. But, the smart ones know democracy is a messy business, one that allows for many points of view and one that believes the truth will win out after vigorous debate. We published in 2008 a weekly average of 532 of their display and classified ads. We are your Main Street in print, a bustling mix of merchants and tradesman and neighbors selling their wares and services.
The size ads they choose to run are bigger than the typical phone book or Internet ad. The page layout we use is designed for serendipity—that unexpected discovery of something valuable. No click needed to save the $6,000 on that Ford Fusion advertised in last week’s issue. In fact, on an Internet ad you are more than likely to only see the company’s logo.
In your time-strapped world, newspapers beat the Internet hands down with an easy-to-scan product. If you don’t believe this, estimate the time it takes you to scan the paper in your hands, then go to www.presspublications.com and try to do the same.
This is not to say the Internet isn’t valuable. I use it all the time for research and comparison shopping. If I wanted that Ford Fusion, I’d go on the Internet to compare. If two of my neighbors are erecting windmills, I’d go on the Internet to see how other communities are addressing what could become a nightmare if not zoned properly. Besides, the Internet allows us to provide you with more access to community information on our Web site than we ever could in print.
So, why am I patting The Press on the back today? Well, it’s Free Paper Week March 15 -21 and across America more than 4,500 free papers with an estimated 100 million circulation are celebrating and thanking both you, our readers, and you, our clients, for your support.