Honoring milestone news in our daily lives

You have to won­der just when news­pa­pers lost their way. Many people say the de­cline in space for news, the shrink­ing of ed­it­or­i­al staffs and the re­duc­tion of pub­lic­a­tion cycles to only three days a week is the res­ult of the biggest dis­rup­tion to journ­al­ism in years — the emer­gence of the In­ter­net.

While that is prob­ably true, I’ve been won­der­ing if it also wasn’t the day news­pa­pers got too big for their britches and stopped run­ning com­munity news on their pages.

This came to mind the oth­er day when I was in the at­tic try­ing to make sense of the boxes scattered across the floor. In one of them, I found a scrap­book from my early years, and there on the first page was a yel­lowed clip­ping from The Shar­on (Pa.) Her­ald, a simple birth an­nounce­ment. A few pages back — and 27 years later — was a full-fledged art­icle, this one de­scrib­ing my wed­ding. 

Without knock­ing the re­ward­ing speed of the In­ter­net or the emo­tion­al punch of im­ages on TV, there is something to be said for the re­flect­ive and per­man­ent value of print. 

The Shar­on Her­ald with a cir­cu­la­tion of 17,000 is con­sidered a small daily pa­per. It serves a circle of towns 75 miles north of Pitt­s­burgh. You can’t really com­pare the con­tent it car­ried to big metro dailies like The Phil­adelphia In­quirer or the Los Angeles Times. These pa­pers serve huge pop­u­la­tions, and the rules and cul­ture of big cit­ies are far dif­fer­ent from the feel of small towns. But even these metro pa­pers once ran daily columns that were every­day fare for read­ers, and now have been left be­hind.

The North­east Times, for its part, tries to straddle both worlds. It is a com­munity news­pa­per in a big city. We cov­er a di­verse pop­u­la­tion of about 410,000 and de­liv­er about 110,000 pa­pers a week. We don’t shy away from the big news stor­ies, like prop­erty tax re­as­sess­ments, the threatened clos­ing of St. Hubert, or the mess at Traffic Court. At the same time, we strive to have a ho­met­own feel. 

Read­ers of­ten tell us what they like best about the Times is that it tells them what is go­ing on in their neigh­bor­hoods. They fre­quently cite the crime re­ports as well as the news that comes out of the civic as­so­ci­ation meet­ings. 

You might have no­ticed over the last few weeks that we’ve re­com­mit­ted to run­ning our com­munity pages on a reg­u­lar basis. By this, I mean the pages that tell of birth­days, en­gage­ments, mil­it­ary news and dean’s list hon­ors. 

These are cel­eb­rat­ory mo­ments in daily lives and they are worthy of men­tion. Our hope is that they are clipped and pos­ted on re­fri­ger­at­ors, shared among friends and mailed off to re­l­at­ives in far-flung places.

Joyce Rug­gero, our com­munity ed­it­or who handles this news with di­li­gence and great care, tells me that these com­munity pages have not drawn as many sub­mis­sions as they once did. Per­haps, it is be­cause they did not ap­pear reg­u­larly for a good many months. 

So, now that you know we are com­mit­ted to run­ning them, won’t you take a few minutes to send this in­form­a­tion to her, either by e-mail at  pronews@bsmphilly.com or by mail to 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Dr., Tre­vose, PA 19053. 

In ad­di­tion to these pages, we also re­main com­mit­ted to run­ning a two-page Com­munity Cal­en­dar every week that lists dozens of events in the North­east. (When the news­hole dic­tates that the cal­en­dar can only be one page, we run the full two pages on­line.) On our pages, you’ll also find de­tailed lists of trips offered by com­munity groups, bus trips to casi­nos, re­union in­form­a­tion and re­li­gious ser­vices across the North­east.

All of this rep­res­ents a big com­mit­ment of staff power and space on our part. But if you do your part and send in the birth­days, en­gage­ments and mil­it­ary news, we prom­ise to pub­lish them in a timely way. Of course, it’s up to you wheth­er you paste them in a scrap­book. ••

Ed­it­or Lil­lian Swan­son can be reached at 215-354-3040 or lswan­son@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at lswanson@bsmphilly.com.

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