Who died in your hometown over the weekend?

Who scored the winning touchdown in your local high school team's big game?

Where can you get a flu shot?

Why are your school taxes going up again?

Does the state have a budget yet?

What's new with the string of burglaries that have been plaguing your neighborhood recently?

As we celebrate National Newspaper Week, these are questions that might go unanswered if you didn't have your local newspaper to rely on every day. Your daily routine would be lacking a significant amount of information, news that is important to you. A lot of daily decisions you make come directly from what you read in your daily newspaper.

These have been trying times for the newspaper industry in recent years. Changing trends in how people gather news, a recession that has greatly affected advertising and circulation figures, have dealt the newspaper industry a serious blow. Some major papers have been forced to close, or at least downsize their staffs to deal with the economy.

The TIMES NEWS hasn't been immune to the trend, although not as seriously as is the case with some of the metropolitan newspapers. We're still publishing, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. And we expect to continue doing so for many more years.

There are self-proclaimed critics who think newspapers are a dying breed. We beg to differ. We answer those critics with two words – local news.

Where else would you get it? We're not referring to the headline grabbing big stories? Those are reported on in many venues. We're talking about the births, the deaths, the local police logs, the local sports scores, the updates on who from our hometowns is serving in the military, those who are graduating and making the dean's list.

The list is endless. And we're banking on the fact that many readers would be lost were this information not made available to them in the attractive format of a newspaper every day.

According to an opinion piece in Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry's trade magazine: "Fortunately, the economy eventually will improve, and businesses will start spending more, even on newspaper ads. The price of newsprint will come down. New print and online revenue models will emerge.

Organizational efficiencies will help the bottom line. And well-run newspaper companies will succeed by fighting hard, experimenting and evolving while tuning out those armchair critics who revel in the thought of a society without newspapers or news."

We expect to be among those who will be fighting hard to prove the doomsayers wrong.

The Editor and Publisher article also states: "In short, quality content is still king, and newspapers own the best news-gathering operations in their individual markets. Nearly all local news originates from newspaper journalists, which remains a huge competitive advantage if utilized the right way."

We feel we have an advantage. Those who gather and report the news for us live in the communities in which they cover. They know what effect news stories have on their readers, because those same stories have a similar effect on them.

And while we strive to keep up with the latest technology, one thing will remain – good old fashioned reporting will remain our strongpoint. There's no substitute for reporting the facts.

And you, our readers, can be rest assured, that we will continue in this direction.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com [1]