Tom Stangl

Happy National Newspaper week!

Yes, I understand it doesn’t have the same panache as Christmas or Super Bowl week, but since you are here, reading news and opinion in a newspaper or on a newspaper website, you get it. You understand the value and importance of a newspaper in your community.

And here’s where I always struggle during National Newspaper Week. I feel like I am preaching to the choir, then I feel a little guilty about the possibility of wasting your valuable time. Trust me, that’s the last thing anyone who works for a newspaper wants to do. We appreciate our readers, value our advertisers and love our subscribers. Without any of these three groups, a newspaper, the “footstool of democracy” fails.

And if you think I’m being a bit dramatic or have taken a bit of poetic license about the whole “footstool of democracy” thing, consider the reliance you have on us. 

We attend the government meetings (and there are a LOT of meetings), distilling and interpreting what goes on so you don’t have to go yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we love it when the public attends meetings, but those metal folding chairs are brutal on your body, so we understand why some folks stay away. We sift through the streams of information vying for your attention and pocketbook and carefully curate a concise and compact wireless mobile device you can read at your leisure.

Citizens who are informed about their communities hold elected officials in check. Communities that don’t have newspapers eventually end up paying higher taxes because no one is minding the store, holding officials accountable. Nothing good comes of unchecked power.

Other media on a regular basis promote themselves. Some do it so much, you wonder if they sell any advertising at all. But I digress.

We are working on doing a better job of letting you know how we are helping our community. Even if we aren’t the king of the media jungle, we still have a powerful roar and fatal bite. We consistently deliver the largest weekly audience in our market. Furthermore, the people who read our news are fiercely loyal to their community. They are the first to buy local, the first to help at the school or church and the reason we love to live in our community.

We can’t think of a better audience. We love you.

We also love the federal elected officials who are helping to advance portions of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA). Included in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package are temporary tax credits for publishers employing and hiring journalists. It calls for employment-tax credits up to $12,500 per quarter for print or digital local newspapers employing local journalists.

We’ve talked about this legislation before. This temporary, market driven solution will help newspapers of all sizes weather the pandemic and find new business models for the 21st century.

I do know that whatever form our business takes in the years to come, we will still need readers, advertisers and subscribers. We will always need to be focused on local topics of concern. There will always be a need for someone or something to cut through the clutter and the noise.

Simply put, there will always be a need for newspapers.

But you know that already. Happy National Newspaper Week, friend!

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

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