Local Commentary

Editorial: The Future of This Newspaper

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise!”

 

Self-made man, media mogul Ted Turner has the quote above displayed prominently on his Facebook page. For small businesses in economic hard times, Turner said in a recent “Meet the Press” interview, the little rhyme holds the key to gaining a competitive edge.

Since its founding in the midst of another (relatively mild) recession in March 1991, the Falls Church News-Press has taken special pride in its ability to assist in the success of local businesses, good causes and enterprises. To us, providing businesses with advertising in our paper is not just a way to pay our bills. It is a vital and central component of the unique service we provide to our community. It’s how we are “pro-family,” in practical, not ideological terms. As we help businesses improve their bottom lines by advertising, we help keep food on dinner tables, folks employed, mortgages and college tuitions paid.

But we are, of course, not merely an “advertiser,” or bulk mail piece. Being a bona fide, award-winning journalistic enterprise, the News-Press has earned its place as a central and dynamic component of the community it serves, providing in-depth news coverage, the ability of citizens to sound off through Letters to the Editor, and a veritable plethora of local academic, sports, arts and community news each week. Editorially, it has always “told it like it is,” earning the respect, if not always the total agreement, of all components of the community. This has included a consistent support for the City’s school system and the business development needs to support it, and that paid off again this week when the City Council followed the News-Press’ sage editorial advice once more, and fully funded the Schools’ budget!

We pause this week to tout these virtues of the News-Press because hardly a day goes by but that the imminent and, in many cases, operative demise of the newspaper industry is being pronounced. The current nasty recession is taking its toll as businesses shut their doors, and everyone struggling to make it is slashing their advertising budgets in the process. But for newspapers, the pundits are convinced, the steep slide in ad revenues is not going to turn around when the economy does, due to a more permanent shift to 24-hour TV news networks and the Internet, for the way the public gets its news.

We remain skeptical about this, although we’re not eager to stand in the way of historical inevitability. But that’s only so long as unfolding history is moving the human condition forward, and there are yet-unresolved issues concerning the impact of an over-dependence on electronic communication on the social fabric over time. Certainly for us, we consider that our mission is still a vital one worth fighting for, to put something readable, interesting and important into our readers’ hands every week that also brings them closer to our advertisers.