This is National Newspaper Week and we’d like to say a few words.
Did you know you are reading from the pages of the oldest newspaper in the state of Texas? Think about that for a moment. You and your eyes are directly linked backward 175 years through this community — through statehood, through hurricanes and through wars. The pages you are touching are of the same DNA as the pages immigrants first put their hands on when coming to our shores in the mid-1800s. Founded in 1842, The Daily News is even older than the great state of Texas.
We share this for perspective. In today’s world, the media is in a state of flux. Tools of communication that we take for granted today, say your cell phone, did not exist a few decades ago. And even the concept of tapping out 140 characters and sending them around the world to a mass of followers was something out of a science-fiction story. To some, this is yet another dark cloud getting ready to take your newspaper away from the world.
For the record, we strongly disagree.
The reality is, newspapers are still around for one reason — they professionally produce a specialized and trusted service to a group of highly engaged individuals. Yes, it is that simple. The root of a newspaper’s success is not in the number of widgets it can sell or how many different colors it can offer. No, a newspaper’s true calling is something called community journalism — a labor-intensive process of creating original and trusted content helping the reader make more informed decisions about the world in which they live.
One month ago when Harvey came ashore, this very formula was in place to tell the stories of what damage the storm brought, as well as sharing inspiring stories of those involved on both ends of rescues. And for the most part, this was done with boots on the ground — courageous reporters out in boats, sloshing through floodwaters and carefully sorting through rumors and facts. Behind each keystroke was a group of individuals making sure the facts were right, the story was fair and the reader had the best information possible. Nothing less was — or is ever — acceptable.
Our printed newspaper readership spiked and our website experienced millions of views during the window, making the newspaper the undeniable go-to resource for people when looking for trusted and valuable information to navigate the event. No one put more people, more resources and more professional determination into the storm coverage in Galveston County than The Daily News.
And that, if anything, helps underscore why we strongly disagree when others point to ominous dark clouds over the future of newspapers. The formula of your local newspaper of trustworthy, relevant and professionally developed content will always be of value. And whether delivered digitally or on paper (we still love the feel of touching a newspaper), The Daily News will be there.
So happy National Newspaper Week. Thank you for allowing The Daily News to not only serve you and your neighbors, but also be a valuable part of your lives. We hold your trust and support with the highest of value.
• Leonard Woolsey