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Letter: Communities need local news, print journalism
09292017 THE TIMES

New electronic devices and television are available now to furnish prompt news to many cities and are in use around the country. There is one question about prompt news. Its very promptness questions whether or not it’s been researched. At times it hasn’t, and indeed in some cases, is completely false.

Electronic news has replaced, or has certainly made a difference, in the big city newspapers. It has perhaps curtailed their circulation in many cases. 

My intention is to use my own experience to say what a small-town paper might do. I speak with authority because 70 years ago my husband and I founded one of these small-town newspapers, The Gainesville Times. In that year, Gainesville did not have a daily paper, just two weeklies, one of which was The Eagle. The Times was founded on its remains. It flourished and continues to be depended upon by more than 15,000 print subscribers. 

The Times carries news of local interest and articles about national and area events. It has columnists and letters from local residents. There are columnists who might voice their opinion. One such, published in the Sunday edition, is looked forward to by many subscribers, including myself. Johnny Vardeman’s column contains a lot about Gainesville history.

On the bottom of the front page appears a banner with recent deaths and ages, daily weather and a listing of various sections inside. The Times also carries obituaries, athletic scores, government meetings, events in local schools, churches and organizations and movie listings.

When I get my copy of The Times, after I have my coffee, it is the first thing I turn to. I want the local news, and I’m surmising that many who subscribe to the local papers do the same thing.

Electronic media will not replace  the circulation of newspapers. National and international news is important. Local news can be more important in order to know what’s happening here and if you want to know what your neighbors are doing.

Is print journalism here to stay? Yes! My prediction is that print journalism will be here for a long time.

Lessie Smithgall


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