A newspaper is “a community watchdog that reports the bad with the good, warns of danger, advises of opportunity, challenges authority, praises accomplishment, investigates irregularity, marvels at art, exposes abuse, celebrates life and publishes its readers’ letters. Indeed, if a publication does not do all those things it may be something else, but it’s not a newspaper.” That was my view when I wrote it in 2009, and it still is.
Why does our Hill need a newspaper? Well, to do all those things I just mentioned, to be sure — but why, particularly?
Some of you may be surprised to learn that we can count 13 separate local governmental bodies that affect our Hill, i.e., tax-funded bodies of county size or smaller with elected officials who recommend or determine how to spend our tax dollars and how much to charge us in fees. And nine of these governmental bodies — four water districts, two CSAs, a commission and a committee from IFPD, and the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District — are reported on by no media but the Town Crier.
These public meetings generally are not well attended. Much of the time our reporter is the only member of the public present. If we do not have a newspaper reporting on the Hill, there is no community watchdog monitoring these agencies.
The Town Crier is not a public entity; it is privately funded and gets no government support. Of course, we strive to have as many subscribers as possible, but the subscription price barely pays for the postage. To survive, a newspaper must rely on advertising from businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Perhaps you have a business or nonprofit that “doesn’t need to advertise”? It may surprise you to learn that there are a number of local business people who feel that way but who advertise anyway. Why do they do that? Because they live here, and their families and friends live here — or they have employees who have families and friends here.
These business people advertise to keep the newspaper coming for all the reasons above, some of which affect their businesses only indirectly — and they promote their businesses in the bargain.
That’s why we ask our readers to please take notice of our regular advertisers and support them with your business. Their advertising keeps your local newspaper coming for all of us and our families.
Jack Clark, Co-Publisher/General Counsel