All politics – and the news – is local

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Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill is credited with saying “all politics is local.”

The same can be said about news.

We sometimes are intrigued by what’s going on in Washington, if for nothing else than to laugh at the absurdity of it all. The name-calling and posturing, whether it be on Capitol Hill or a network newsroom, no longer is entertaining, and it’s certainly not informative. And lost in all the bickering is nothing gets done that benefits the country.

That’s why it’s especially important to be involved in local politics, as well as your local news. After all, what affects you more: your child’s education and safety, or another Congressional committee subpoena? You can watch Democrats and Republicans argue 24 hours a day on network television or read about it in national publications. But when it comes to the education and safety of your child, that’s a local story.

A recent report by the Federal Communications Commission found local newspapers are the best medium to provide public service journalism. Local newspapers raise issues that affect communities and they provide readers necessary information to solve their problems.

We are lucky in Clay County. The Clay Today, along with its sister publications Clay Leader, Keystone Heights Herald and The Oakleaf, remains, and always will be, open for business. We focus on Clay County, because it’s where we live. It’s where our children play. It’s where we pay taxes, vote and worship.

It's an easy formula for success, but one that’s too often derailed by corporations too occupied by numbers than issues. It works because reporting news creates profits. Others have failed because profits too often determine how, and if, news is reported.

Most local newspapers aren’t doing well. Many have been consolidated – at the sake of reporters and the readers – to protect their bottom lines. There were approximately 74,000 people in the business in 2006 with a combined circulation of 52 million. Now there’s 39,000 in the newspaper business with a circulation of less than 31 million.

We will stick with what works. We don’t endorse candidates because we have faith in our readers’ ability to understand the facts and act accordingly. At the same time, we will hold our officials accountable without any partisan conflict.

Several studies have found that for a community to reach its full potential, it must be civically healthy and inclusive. Good journalism is the type to relays pertinent and truthful information that helps the community make its own decisions.

It’s not enough to get information over social media. Networks clearly have their agendas. And too much news on the internet isn’t vetted.

Local newspapers historically have played an important role in the community. And we plan to keep it that way.

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