We serve many roles

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 13, 2018

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A week ago a man came into the office, expressing his concern about a human interest feature on the front page of the Messenger.

“It’s not news,” he said repeatedly.

The refrain struck a chord with me and took me back to my freshman level journalism course at the University of North Texas.

“What is a newspaper? What is its role?,” I recall Dr. Wells posing to the class.

Richard Greene

In unison the young, bright minds in the room literally shouted out “to inform.”

Dr. Wells agreed, but then posed the next question, “What else?”

It’s the “what else” that sometimes gets lost. It’s the other roles that truly gives us a chance to not only be an information source for our community, but truly an asset.

We serve as the community watchdog or Fourth Estate. A role that is even more important than ever. As pointed out by a recent study cities that have lost their newspaper, they see a rise in government spending. It’s the reason on any given week we dedicate as a staff double-digit man hours just attending civic meetings to keep up with what our local entities are doing, along with making regular public information requests and asking question after question.

Another role is to entertain. Like the human interest story that prompted this column, we want to present articles that provoke emotions. We want to laugh, cry or show compassion, along with our readers. And the news can be fun and entertaining.

We are also here to elicit opinions, challenge readers and at times shape public opinion. That’s what this page is for and why it says “opinion” at the top of the page. Sadly, with so many people relying on the digital version of the product these days, there is a difficulty realizing that column or editorial is an opinion piece and that’s the reason it includes a slant.

We are also a business – a small, local business that is embedded in the community and works to help other businesses by giving them a wide-reaching opportunity to reach customers. We’ve been part of the community since the 1880s.

As National Newspaper Week concludes, we pledge to continue to fill these roles. In a time where theres constant criticism of the “media,” we hear the concerns. Some we agree with. We’d like to see the same approach we take echoed by others – thoroughly checking with varied sources and working beats.

But some of the criticisms, we disagree with strongly.

We feel our roles are as important as ever and will continue to be in the future. We ask as friends and fellow community members for you to consider lending some support and subscribing to not only our newspaper, but others around the nation and region.

We’ll make sure to have some news and a few other things.

Richard Greene is the editor of the Messenger. He’s worked at community newspapers in North Texas for 19 years.

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