By Barry Zander, edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers.
This article is not written in praise of the work done week-in and week-out by J.P., Marshall and other contributors to “The Town Crier.” Nor will it scorn the local newspaper for its shortcomings. Rather, it is recognition of how fortunate we are to have a reliable source of local news and information about local businesses.
By way of qualifying myself for this task, allow me to mention that I have served as editor of three weekly newspapers after working for a metropolitan daily. I graduated from college with a degree in journalism from a school that taught the fundamentals of the endeavor as opposed to those nowadays that dwell on social issues and the esoteric reaches of the profession.
As Idyllwild-Pine Cove residents, you live on what I refer to as an island surrounded by Southern California. We are in an Edenic spot where 90 percent of what our county supervisors do, what the state
Assembly does and even what the federal government does is of little concern to us on a day-to-day basis.
Other than our families, what does matter to most of us is what’s happening in our neighborhood. We need to be vigilant about the threat of fire and infestations of insects in our trees. Health issues, if not now, someday will affect us all – I would guess it’s the greatest cause of people leaving the mountain.
Most of us want to know about upcoming cultural events. We are concerned with the incidents of crime that inflict themselves upon our neighbors. We want to know about the health of our local business and about the comings and goings of shops and services. For those of us with kids and grandkids, we are interested in the school news. I leave it to you to add to the list.
A community without a viable newspaper is like a person deprived of several of its five senses. The ancient form of news-telling, word-of-mouth, and the newest contrivance, the Internet, are news sources — but they are inadequate substitutes for what we find in our newspaper.
I remember my days of always having a red pen on hand to edit the work of staff members. We would work 50- to 80-hour weeks to provide as complete a coverage as we could about government, community and social doings, sports and business, etc. We would write what needed to be written, and what didn’t fit into the pages was left out until the next issue or permanently.
But, OH, what if there wasn’t enough news to fill the paper? Unlike a daily and a few weeklies, we didn’t have a wire service like the Associated Press or Reuters to turn to for additional stories. Our primary sources of revenue — advertisers and subscribers — would not have been pleased if we left large portions of pages blank. In truth, it never happened that we couldn’t fill the paper with legitimate news items, feature stories and opinion pieces, and as a quasi-outsider, I would assume the same to be true at the outpost of news assembly on Village Center Drive.
True newspaper journalists in every corner of America are dedicated to producing a product each day or week, often at pay far below what their efforts deserve, but they carry the responsibility of communicating what they feel is most important to the people who they feel are most important.
The economic reality of newspapers is that everything that goes into putting that paper into your hands costs money. Of course writers, managers and behind-the-scenes staff members who put the paper together, the salespeople, the folks involved in distributing the paper and other unseen individuals all expect to be paid for their services. The printer demands payment for his paper, ink and time. Those newsstand boxes cost money … it’s not a cheap operation. Unlike postings on the Internet, we all have an important financial stake in keeping the newspaper functioning.
Among the greatest strengths of our community is professional communications. Think about that when you scan your Town Crier and PLEASE give credit where credit is due.
Happy RVers, but At Home on The Hill
Barry & Monique
Photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved