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Inside Out

The future of the newspaper

Jeanne Sager
Posted 3/21/23

“Whoaaaaaaa! We’re going to be in the paper! Can it be the front page?”

If you want to win the heart of a newspaper’s photojournalist, this is your road map.  

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Inside Out

The future of the newspaper


“Whoaaaaaaa! We’re going to be in the paper! Can it be the front page?”

If you want to win the heart of a newspaper’s photojournalist, this is your road map. 

I’d been wandering a Sullivan West Elementary School classroom for the past half hour, capturing the frenetic energy of a few dozen fourth and fifth graders for a story on the school’s KC (Kindness and Compassion) Club and their efforts to bring a little cheer into the lives of local residents fighting cancer when one student asked the question surely on all of their minds.

“Where will these photos go?”

Explaining that they would land on the Democrat’s pages elicited abrupt cheers and the aforementioned list of outbursts and queries. 

In a time when newspapers around the country continue to fold at a shocking rate of around two per week (according to 2022 statistics), it’s hard to overstate the importance of educating our kids on newspapers and why it is that we exist. 

As the only reputable, researched and vetted local news, newspapers serve a crucial role, especially for small communities like our own. There is no TV affiliate that’s going to show up at local town board meetings or even county legislature meetings  — at least not on any regular basis. There’s no one else who will keep you up-to-date on local tax hikes and budget shortfalls, nor is there anyone else who will show up at an elementary school on a random Wednesday to capture the magic of young people trying to do something good for their community. 

Today’s kids are our future readers and future subscribers. They need to understand the value of a newspaper for what it brings to a community. 

But perhaps even more importantly, they need to understand what a newspaper is for what it doesn’t bring. 

It doesn’t bring a bunch of half-truths and innuendos or randomly regurgitated “facts” gathered up and spit out without attention to order or nuance. It doesn’t present opinions as truths or force a personal agenda. 

It’s a place where facts are studied, investigated and then presented. It’s a place where splicing quotes to form alternate narratives is strictly prohibited and there’s a responsibility to the truth. 

In short, a newspaper is not social media. 

So long as newspapers exist, there will always be a place for our kids to find the antidote to the untruths and unbalanced opinions they’ll find on your average social platform. 

But that existence depends on educating our kids ... and not letting social media do it for us. 



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