No coincidence: good local newspapers = good place to live

There’s a basic human longing for a sense of place, some part of the world that’s home, a place where you are a part of something that feeds your soul. Find it, feel it, and you’re one of the lucky ones.

Do opinions still belong in newspapers?

“Not all opinion pieces have to be complaints or deal with issues. Sometimes it is enough to share old memories or new experiences with others. Sometimes, it is actually better as it brings us together rather than driving us apart.”

— SMN reader

This must be the place: Every day it comes to this, catch the things you might have missed

Feeling a bit deflated lately. It’s funny how one thing just triggers everything else, this domino effect that tumbles and echoes throughout the infinite physical and emotional chambers of your body, mind and soul. And usually (seemingly) out of nowhere. 

How valuable is the survival of local news?

“A democracy ceases to be a democracy if its citizens do not participate in its governance. To participate intelligently, they must know what their government has done, is doing and plans to do in their name. Whenever any hindrance, no matter what its name, is placed in the way of this information, a democracy is weakened, and its future endangered. This is the meaning of freedom of press. It is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.” — Walter Cronkite

SMN brings home 26 N.C. Press Awards

The Smoky Mountain News team won 26 editorial awards in the 2020 North Carolina Press Association News and Editorial Contest. 

Who can you trust to tell the truth?

Another poll, another reality check for the media: Americans don’t trust us. The question that comes to mind, for me, is who does the public does trust for reporting the news? 

A Gallup poll released late last year revealed that 60 percent of Americans don’t think the media accurately and fairly reports the news, and 33 percent have absolutely no trust or confidence in the media. Finally, a whopping 27 percent have “not very much” trust in mass media (newspapers, television and radio).

Cost-saving measure could lead to less government transparency

A bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that would allow local governments to stop publishing mandated legal notices in newspapers may save cash-strapped local governments a small amount of money in advertising expenses each year, but could also lead to citizens missing out on critical information while also damaging local newsrooms. 

Separating news and facts from opinions

A message came back to me from an advertiser via one of our ad reps. He said we needed to quit running so many “liberal” articles.

This newspaper has been my life and a 21-year labor of love, so I always listen intently to criticisms and critiques. Especially in cases like this, where I’ve known the business owner for years and know he’s no dummy. I feel certain the criticism is of our opinion pages, where the overwhelming number of letters this election season has been in favor of Democratic candidates for Congress and the state legislature or from those against President Trump.

This must be the place: Your neighbor isn’t out to get you, nor is your local newspaper

Stepping out of my pickup truck this past Saturday afternoon, I stood in the parking lot of the Maggie Valley Town Hall. 

In the front entrance of the building were an array of local law enforcement agencies from around Haywood County. Underneath the big trees in the front yard were Black Lives Matter protesters. On the lawn next door, with eyes aimed at those under the big trees, were the counter protesters. 

What we do to survive, and why

It seems every time I sit down to write these days, it has something to do with journalism and the state of our industry. Forgive me my obsession, but during this time of isolation it’s difficult to concentrate for long on any other topic. I am obsessed — a strong word, I know, but the truth —  with steering our company through this strange, once-in-a-lifetime business disruption.

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At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

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