Why does local journalism matter to you?
It's a question I have been asked on numerous occasions as I have officially stepped into the role of editor of the Press Banner. While newsrooms across the country face economic challenges and are consolidating, it comes with a stark reminder to stress the importance of a good local paper.
Just last week, Southern California News Group, which includes newspapers such as the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Daily News, announced significant layoffs in the coming months.
This should come as a wakeup call. When local newsrooms get smaller, the likelihood of creating "news desert" becomes a reality. Meaning, certain areas may soon or already face going without knowing what happens at every city council or school board meeting. Or why a recent surge of vehicle crashes are occurring at an intersection. Or what's the reason for a delay in the high school renovations? The list goes on.
And while larger legacy papers, such as the Washington Post or New York Times, can cover national or world news at a macro scale, local papers hold their own with being a key asset for the communities they represent. The Press Banner is no exception.
My predecessor, Barry Holtzclaw, paved the way for on-the-ground local reporting with his thorough investigation on the San Lorenzo Water District. My hope is to continue to hold local officials accountable but to also get back to what a community paper stands for: the community.
Prior to taking over the weekly paper serving Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley, I was working as a beat reporter for a daily paper in rural South Dakota. I covered stories ranging in topics from cattle on the loose to the emerging opioid crisis to the dire need to increase mental health care services.
I learned there the importance of what a local paper means for people. It's an important staple of the fabric of the community: because everyone has a story to tell. In serving the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley, I hope to continue to shed light on the city meetings, feature the students, business owners and local groups doing interesting and exciting things and most importantly provide a credible news source for residents.
In the coming weeks, readers can be on the lookout for the addition of a community calendar, which will be a strong asset to the Press Banner. Local events and happenings engage people with their neighbors and friends and it's a clear priority for my newsroom to supply this information readily. Anticipate coverage of the school board meetings and city council meetings. I also invite readers to email or call me with ideas and news tips.
Local journalism matters and it matters to not only myself, but to the community of Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley.