If we announced that the Buffalo Reflex was ceasing publication, would that concern you?
Where would people turn for real, honest local news. Sure, every government entity, school, club and organization has a Facebook page, but would you take time to browse each one to see if something was happening of interest?
Would you start attending each school board, city council or county commission meeting to stay up on how your tax dollars were being spent or if they were asking for an increase or a significant policy change?
When your son or daughter had a special acknowledgment or sporting accomplishment, would you rather it be broadcast in print to the entire county or would printing off a picture from a Web page and forwarding a link to a few family and friends be enough?
While your community newspaper, the Buffalo Reflex, is still strong and definitely not closing, we would like to take this opportunity on National Newspaper Week to ask you to think about not having a local newspaper for a minute.
Unfortunately, that reality has come to too many newspapers across our nation in the past decade. In communities where readers and advertisers don’t support the local paper, publishers have had to reduce publication days and even close completely when the red ink painted the bottom line.
That is not the case in Buffalo. While we would quickly admit that we would like to have that slice of the pie we once enjoyed back in the ’80s or ’90s, we are very blessed by above-average support.
But we often take for granted things until they are gone. Newspapers are often one of those things, and we don’t ever want that to happen here, under our watch.
Recently owners closed the local newspaper in Hope, Ark. The Hope Star had been published for well over 100 years. On the day of the announcement, social media exploded as if the town had lost their best friend. People bemoaned how they would get local news beyond state coverage or out-of-town media coming for a plane crash or tornado.
The advertisers had opted for sexier marketing options, and the paid subscribers had dwindled, settling for free news views on the paper’s website. Now it is gone.
In honor of National Newspaper Week, we ask you to consider a Buffalo without a local newspaper and how that would impact the identity of the town. If that thought makes you the least bit uncomfortable, we would ask you to subscribe, or give a subscription as a gift, and perhaps ask you to patronize the loyal advertisers who support us. If you are a business owner or manager, we would suggest having your message seen by our readers.
We believe in community journalism and the impact it has on life in a small town. We are the gathering place of ideas and discussion. The newspaper welcomes debate, but there is order and civility that is sadly lacking from social media.
Thank you for your support. We welcome your suggestions and look forward to a long tenure as your local newspaper.
Jamey Honeycutt is publisher of five Missouri newspapers, including the Buffalo Reflex, Bolivar Herald-Free Press, The Marshfield Mail, Cedar County Republican and Christian County Headliner.