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Editorial: Helps shape, define community

The National Newspaper Association finished a readership survey in 2013. The gist was that, even in the electronic/digital age, two-thirds of small-town residents rely on their local paper for news and advertising information.

The survey noted this reliance continues even as more readers use mobile devices to shop, read and communicate—39 percent say they use smartphones to access local news.

Newspaper websites, the survey found, remained the leading provider of local news, followed distantly by an area TV station and national online aggregators such as Google and Yahoo.

NNA President Robert M. Williams Jr., publisher of the Blackshear Times in Georgia, said research consistently shows community papers are the dominant local news medium.

“We know that it is very difficult for a good community to survive without a good newspaper and vice versa,” Williams said. “The high levels of trust, the consistent pass-along rate and the desire to find the newspaper in whatever medium one wishes to use—whether mobile, print or web—demonstrate the value of good community journalism.”

As a community paper, the Herald’s coverage is vast: up and coming businesses, new businesses and the accomplishments of business leaders and employees; political races for village board, town, county and school boards; new housing developments; major road and highway projects; following a school referendum election; weather-related issues and other havoc caused by major storms; county jail plans; university and technical college happenings; obituaries; wedding and anniversary announcements; police, fire and court news; events like community celebrations; sporting milestones such as the local wrestling team going to state; the school district’s new community service letter program; chamber of commerce awards; local authors and their new books  or recording artists and their new CDs—all this and more, week after week in print, and hour by hour online. That’s what’s to be found in the local paper, the Herald.

Major news outlets, especially in the Twin Cities, swoop in when there’s high drama or human tragedy, but then move on to search elsewhere. The Herald, the local paper, stays behind to cover the local news—from the provocative to the more mundane.

We’d like to think that recognition from peers during the annual Wisconsin Newspaper Association contest shows we’re on the right track. The Herald is regularly recognized among the state’s top weeklies.

The range of news the paper covers, including the partial and ever-changing list above, is what helps to shape and define the community called Pierce County. As we go along, we keep turning the page to see what the shape of our community becomes next.

We appreciate those of you who keep turning the pages with us.