A subscription to the paper is an investment
January 12, 2017
My relationship with a local newspaper began only a few days after I was born, an event recorded in a yellowed clipping from an old Portales News-Tribune. It announced that Mrs. Jim Williamson (because women didn’t have first names back in those days) had given birth to a girl.
That clipping is one of a flurry of others that have accumulated over the decades like fall leaves in the corners of our cabinets: weddings, obituaries, graduations, stories about family members, photos of friends.
When I was a kid, many of the small communities like Milnesand, Rogers, Lingo, Causey, Floyd, and Elida each had its own local reporter to provide gossipy tidbits about who went to eat supper at who else’s house and what they ate before they settled into an evening playing 42.
Regardless of what was reported, if someone we knew happened to be mentioned, my mom was sure to clip it out and save it. I have the boxes to prove it. Newspapers were proof that we had accomplished something and someone else noticed.
They still are.
Newspapers have changed a lot in my lifetime, and especially in the past couple of months. The one you’re holding in your hands (or looking at on your laptop or your hand-held device of choice) has a name we are still getting used to.
I am a lifelong lover of community newspapers. When it comes to defining communities, they rank right up there with post offices and public schools and hospitals and parks.
The recent merger of the Portales News-Tribune and the Clovis News Journal into The Eastern New Mexico News has been tough for some (my sentimental side mourned, while my practical side applauded the decision that allowed us to keep a local newspaper).
When the free-until-recently online version started charging for access, there was a new round of concern.
I’m not an employee of Clovis Media Inc. — this column is a freelance gig that I continue to relish after more than five years — but I do want to speak up for them.
It’s no secret that newspapers everywhere are struggling, and I’m deeply grateful for the commitment CMI has made to keep a newspaper in eastern New Mexico.
If you are already a subscriber, thank you. If you are not and you can afford to subscribe, please do. If you can’t, then I hope you’ll at least dig deep for quarters now and then and buy a copy. (I am, of course, partial to Thursdays.)
If you’re an online reader, you can still see three stories a week for no cost, and obituaries will continue to have unlimited public access, but if you can swing it, please consider subscribing for a month or two and see how it works out.
If you’re unhappy with what is being covered — or not covered — tell someone at The News. There are good folks there working hard every day to put out a publication that benefits us all.
The word community has many definitions, but one of my favorites is the feeling of fellowship we share with others because of what we have in common.
When we support a local newspaper, it’s more than just signing up for another subscription. It’s an investment in community.
Betty Williamson has continued the family tradition of collecting clippings. You may reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org