A love letter of sorts about newspapers

March 15, 2018 GMT

I’m a month too late for this to be pertinent to Valentine’s Day, but I can’t miss the opportunity to share this with Daily News readers.

Jennifer Peters is staff member with the New Media Alliance, which is made up of about 2,000 diverse news organizations in the United States — from newspapers to digital only operations.

As such, a good portion of her work focuses on new digital trends in journalism.

But on Valentine’s Day this year, she wrote a column titled “My Love Letter to Newspapers” that I think was endearing and worth reprinting. Here’s what she had to say, in part:

“When I traveled with my family as a child, I would drag my parents to gift shops in every new city, looking for postcards and to commemorate our travels, but my father only ever wanted one particular souvenir for himself: a local newspaper.

“Wherever we went, that was the first thing my dad would buy. It didn’t matter if we were visiting for a day or a week; my father would buy every uniquely local paper at the first newsstand we encountered and he would read them cover to cover, even if they were out of date by the time he got through them all. It was a habit I found quirky as a child, but now feel grateful for, because it helped teach me the value of journalism.

“These days, with fake news and junk news clogging our media pipelines, it seems quaint to imagine a time when all our news came from trusted sources, like our local newspapers ... but all hope is not lost!

Every day, thanks to the work of incredible journalists across the country and around the globe, we learn more about the world in which we live. The world has gotten smaller, thanks to the seemingly simple acts of journalists just doing their jobs.

“Unfortunately, the press isn’t exactly celebrated in most parts of the world. The idea of a free press is an unknown concept in some countries whose governments seek to control the flow of information.

“Reporters from every country in the world put their safety, and sometimes even their lives, at risk every time they go out to report a story.

“They are harassed, assaulted and even jailed simply for doing their jobs, and often without any other cause. In extreme circumstances, journalists have died for their work.

“And yet, every day, we can open a newspaper, tune in to a local radio program, watch the evening news on TV or scroll through headlines on our phones without ever worrying that we won’t be given the information we seek.

“We lose not a moment’s sleep from concern about the future of the news media.

“But we should not take quality journalism for granted.

“The explosion of digital communication formats means that anyone with an internet connection can publish information, and they are not all necessarily committed to reporting the truth like quality journalists from trusted, respected news organizations.

“These days, whenever I find myself in a new city, I stop to buy the local newspaper, just like my dad. I don’t know where we’d be without the newspapers and journalists who help shape my views of the world, and I hope to never find out.”