Published On: Fri, Jul 24th, 2015

The Relevance of Free Community Newspapers

This month, we in the newspaper business are observing Free Community Paper Month.

And while journalists often focus on telling the stories of others, it is important that we recognize our accomplishments and share our milestones with you – our readers.

For thousands of years, societies have recognized the importance of posting news for the public. Government agencies in the Roman Empire would scrawl notices and declarations on a large whitewashed board in the lead.

Shortly after the invention of moveable type, Westerners began printing the news. The development of newspapers has happened in a free and profit-driven society. It’s not surprising that the first “newspapers” were advertising notices.

Were you aware that letters to the editor and press releases are the oldest items in the newspaper?

It was not until about 200 years ago that we began reporting and presenting the news in a professional and organized format that we now know. That ended the old and dangerous practice of gathering news – by rumor, hearsay, gossip and letters.

That was when society became more literate and newspapers’ circulation skyrocketed.

In this Internet age, there are varied channels one can get information. However, in cities like Boca Raton and Delray Beach, the Tribune is still the best source for local news.

It has been  five years now since the Boca Raton Tribune began providing you a slice of what happens in City Hall, what is in the police blotter and what your neighbors are talking about.

We have made a great investment in this community and this industry to do so.

And while all across the United States, newspapers are hemorrhaging, thanks to our loyal advertisers, this publication continues to carry out its mantra of providing accurate, timely news that matter.

Let’s face it, people read their local papers for the advertisements and flyers as well as the news reports.  When you want to know what sales or events are going on in the area, you turn to you community newspaper. Community businesses need the paper to advertise effectively to their target audience. After all, a small business in Boca Raton or Delray Beach isn’t going to want to advertise their services to all of Palm Beach County because their target audience is only within this community.

The publishing industry of free community papers and newspapers, comprised of both small and large publication, is an important element in local communities throughout this nation.

Collectively, these publications disseminate important information to more than 50 million homes each week. The Tribune and other hometown publications are original and enduring hyper-local medium, carrying the torch of democracy as the town crier, fixed in print and shared with neighbors free of charge.

These free community papers proudly serve the information needs of their communities across this great land, while promoting local commerce, free enterprise, and public service. It is fitting that recognition be given to this special effort to salute these publications, their owners and staff for the continued contributions to the growth and success of local communities through their publications.

On behalf of the entire Boca Raton Tribune family, I encourage all our readers to observe this month by taking the time to read, recognize and acknowledge the importance of free community papers.

I also urge you to express your feelings regarding your free paper.

Throughout this month – as we do in each publication – we will continue to highlight the good and the bad news in our communities.

We also will recognize the author of a 300 to 350-word essay on how the Boca Raton Tribune helps the community or why a free press is important.  Deadline for submitting this typed essay is August 15.

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