Oct. 3, 2022 — Oct. 2 to 8 is National Newspaper Week in the U.S. and Canada. Organizers of National Newspaper Week — including Newspaper Association Managers, The Relevance Project and Metro Creative Graphics — want to use this week to talk about the relevance of newspapers — including this community’s newspaper, The Cottage Grove Sentinel.
One of our main focuses at The Sentinel is local news. Like our readers, advertisers and the businesses and organizations that make up this community, we are local. Your newspaper is writing about your schools, your history, your governments and your neighbors. We write about things that matter to you — because they are the same things that matter to us.
Second, newspapers are universal. All ages read us, including students in schools through our Newspapers in Education project. Thanks to our weekly print edition and an increased focus on our online platforms, we want to get the most possible news into as many hands as possible. According to The Relevance Project, young adults make up 30% of all local newspapers readers; readers from 35 to 64 years make up 50%; and boomers make up around 20%. While it is unknown exactly how those numbers pan out for the areas we serve — the communities of Cottage Grove, Creswell, Dorena, Lorane and Drain — we try to appeal to all ages with our coverage.
Third, local newspapers are respected and trustworthy. In a National Newspaper Association 2022 survey of communities across the U.S., 93% of readers say that their newspapers keep them informed. It’s something our newspaper tries to do — keep you informed of important goings on in this area. An additional 83% said their household relies on the paper for local news.
Besides news generated by our reporting staff, The Sentinel also provides valuable local shopping and advertisements, public notices, obituaries and other information.
According to The Relevance Project and a Nielsen 2021 Trust in Advertising Study, newspapers rank in the Top 5 “trusted advertising channels” rated by U.S. consumers.
We sift through press releases and statements from local governments, health organizations and more to provide as much relevant information as possible.
“Research suggests that access to government information is indeed essential for our health and well-being,” said David Cuillier, with University of Arizona’s School of Journalism and National Freedom of Information Coalition. “Studies have shown that making government information open leads to cleaner drinking water, safer restaurant food, less corruption and more confidence in government.”
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas Executive Director Kelley Shannon wrote, “Blocking information is a favorite weapon of authoritarian regimes. Information is essential for democracy to flourish. The ability to examine public records and tune in to independent news sources enables us to speak out and hold our leaders accountable.”
Newspapers stand up for you, and we fight for freedom of information. We believe the government functions best when it operates in the open. It’s our job to question authority, expose wrong-doings, fight injustice and get to the heart of the issues that matter most. We are watchdogs who advocate for accountability and transparency. Freedom of information through an open government is a bedrock of democracy.
Newspapers are trusted journalism. We are a solution to disinformation, and we strive for accuracy and clarity.
So please, this National Newspaper Week and all year, support local journalism.
“The newspaper ties a region together, helps make sense of itself, fosters a sense of community, (and) serves as a village square whose boundaries transcend Facebook’s filter bubble,” writes Margaret Sullivan in “Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy" (2020). “A newspaper’s purpose isn’t only to keep public officials accountable; it is also to be the village square … to help provide a common reality and touchstone, a sense of community and place.”
A sentinel’s job is to stand and keep watch. The Cottage Grove Sentinel has been sharing news for more than 113 years right here on mainstreet. We belong to this community, and that’s why we’re proud to bring you local news.
Learn more online at cgsentinel.com and by reading The Sentinel each Thursday.