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By Gregg Scott
Staff Writer 

Surprised by those that don't read the paper

 

September 13, 2016  | View PDF



I don’t know how many times I have asked people I know if they are going to attend a certain upcoming event only to have them reply, “Oh! When is that going on? I didn't know anything about it.”

When I tell them there was an ad or article about it in the paper they usually respond, “I really don’t read the news paper very often.”

I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised any more because this scenario seems to happen several times a month, but what is surprising is that most of the folks who respond this way seem to be otherwise very thoughtful and logical people.

When I first came to Chester in 1991 to start a new job and raise my kids, I stayed with my brother and his family until we could find a house to buy.

I commuted back to Sacramento most weekends for several months to see my family and get ready for the pending move.

When I would get home, I would always look forward to catching up on the Sacramento news in the Bee.

During the weekdays up here, I looked forward to reading the mid-week Chester Progressive.

As a newcomer, it helped me know what was going to happen and what news had already happened. I would even take it back to Sac with me to let the family know what was going on up the hill and learn a little about the community.

When we finally moved into our house in February 1992, we immediately subscribed to both the Bee and the Progressive.

Unfortunately the Bee hasn’t been delivered up here for many years now, but the Progressive has been a mainstay in our household to this day.

Why, some may ask, do you get a printed-paper in this day and age of Internet and cable news?

That’s a fairly simple question to answer, at least for me.

First of all, the local paper, wherever it may be, is the only place to find out about everything that is happening or has happened in that local community, especially in rural areas.

Second, because it is accountable to the community, it is probably the most reliable and truthful purveyor of the news available.

There are times that I am frightened by the thought that some citizens of this country actually give a higher priority to convenience than to accuracy.

For comparison sake consider the following.

When I write a story and don’t have direct knowledge of the event my first step is to research whatever subject or people I’m writing about.

Interviewing people directly involved is the best approach, but that isn’t always possible.

Maybe that’s when I go to the Internet.

That doesn’t mean I go and click on the first site that has information about the subject and consider the job done.

I may have to read numerous sites just to get an overview of the subject and then contact individuals that are mentioned in the pieces.

Then I need to follow the guidelines set by the Associated Press for the type of story I’m writing (news, pre-story, personal interest).

If I, or someone at the paper, do make a mistake, be assured there will be people who will point it out and a correction will rightly be issued.

People who write on the Internet can write anything they want; no guidelines, no designation that it is opinion only, they simply present it as fact.

I believe it is extremely important that as citizens and community members we all need to take the time to get the facts before we start offering up our unwavering opinions.

To me, there is no defense for having an opinion based solely on someone else’s opinion.

As many who will read this know, most of my life has been dedicated to trying to help the young people in our communities learn the skills and values that will lead them to a better future.

My grandfather had an adage for almost every occasion and they were all grounded in logic and truth.

One I heard many times was, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.”

The main idea being that everyone has their own agenda and most will only present their own side.

There are also many people out there, especially in this day and age, who will do and say anything to accomplish their own gain and most of them have found a home on the Internet.

So I have updated grandpa’s saying into a modern day mantra for young and old alike. “Don’t trust anything on the Internet without verifying the facts and then make sure you have both sides of the story."

Now I realize that most of the folks that will actually read this My Turn are probably already believers in the benefit of newspapers so maybe I’m preaching to the choir so to speak.

But, did you know that Plumas County has a population of just over 18,800 and the local papers have a circulation of around 7,000.

That means that nearly half the population probably doesn’t know all that’s going on in their own town or how it might affect them.

I would challenge you to encourage both young people and adults you know to pick up their local paper for information about local happenings.

Besides giving them an opportunity for some quiet time, they will almost certainly learn more about their community and hopefully become more involved as a citizen.

Are newspapers perfect? Heck no, but they have been the mainstay for information to the public for centuries and I know I will continue to count on them whenever I want reliable information.

I want to make my decisions based on fact, not some anonymous opinion.

 

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