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It’s taken a while to process what happened. The massacre that occurred inside the newsroom of The Capital Gazette in Minneapolis on June 29th reveals the truth in daily concerns. It also reminds us – it very loudly reminds us – that what newspapers do on a daily basis is important.

Even in a small town like ours, the newspaper staffs that work in our community hold a certain truth. They sit through meetings so that you don’t have. They report on how tax dollars are spent and on how sports teams practice. They let you know how your elected officials vote, and how your booster clubs spend fundraised dollars. They inform you of problems with roads and problems with beaches and problems on our public buses. And these same newspaper staffs then give you a forum for your input. Relationships are built between these staffs and you, the readers.

Relationships are also built between these reporters and your elected officials and your governments. This is not a light task.

On a larger scale, such work can be dangerous. But, even in a small scale like our own, the truth that we produce that can hold a real threat. We do not say these words for pity or praise. We want to remind you, our readers and our neighbors, that such work requires trust and respect. To ensure that our work remains important, it requires that you, our readers, stay engaged. You are the heartbeat to what we do. And we can only hope that such a heartbeat is compassionate toward our community.

This editorial is not an idea unique to our own staff. The Miami Herald recently published an editorial pleading with readers (citizens) to give newspapers their worthy due. The editorial also gave respect and paid tribute to those who killed in that mass shooting. The S.C. Press Association has also recently published editorials and social media posts on the same notion.

These papers and the associations that represent them are choosing to speak on the topic because it is important. People must never be injured or killed for presenting a truth or for being a present part of our community. Respect is needed. Now. We don’t have to agree with the words that come from our neighbors. But we must respect their right to say them. Or write them. Or agree with them. Or disagree with them. Words hold power. They are a voice and a tangible back-and-white proof of daily movement happening inside our communities. But, it is respect that is the tide that carries our society. That level of respect will also carry our newspaper business, and our safety as working newspaper staff members and reporters, from one day to the next.

We value what we do for you. And we ask for your continued support.

Heather Walters (1494 Posts)