On My Soapbox: What if we didn’t exist?

Have you ever thought about what Taylor would be like without a newspaper? I have, and the imagery is not pleasant.

The town does not become post-apocalyptic or turn into a warzone (at least not right away), but the city would have a different tone. Mainly because there would be no accountability for elected officials, community members or public figures.

Imagine if the paper wasn’t here?

Social media is already insane, but as the only news source it would tear the community a part because of the how quickly false information spreads. Without a local newspaper that information can’t be confirmed or debunked.

We do have a social media presence, which is an extension of our newspaper. It’s also how we get out breaking news. Without a newspaper staff where does breaking news come from?

The city council meetings can get heated at times, but there are certain lines that are not crossed because it could be a headline in the next newspaper, elected officials know that. That headline could come from council members or citizens comments. The same goes for school board or any other public meeting in the community.

Without a local newspaper in a small town, situations can fly off the handle and it only gets covered if it is bad enough to reach a larger news source. An example is the ecstasy pill fiasco at Sonic. That was big enough to reach national news, so it got picked up. But, what about the social media squabble that caused a business to bring in their picnic tables?

One of those stories may not be seen on a larger scale, but both have an impact on the community.

In addition to that, what about local kids on the honor roll or students who achieve greatness on a consistent basis? These are all reasons why local newspapers are necessary.

Someone told just this morning, “a town without a newspaper is a dangerous town.”

There are several consequences for communities without a newspaper, aside from the inability to watchdog the actions of government and elected officials, there would be no real historic archives of the town.

The elected officials in Taylor will mention the newspaper in meetings. Mayor Brandt Rydell cited at least six articles in the paper about the tax rate discussion to explain the council’s transparency.

The school also uses our platform. We have an education page on Wednesdays and run quite a bit of school news on the front.

I’ve said it many times, the newspaper is here all the time, through the good, bad and the ugly. Why? Because we are the original social media and your connection to the community.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and go watch the Redskins and Dolphins. Neither team has won a game this season, so my Redskins are due for a win. If not, pre-season basketball has already started.

“When you see a big news story on TV, to get the truth, find the newspaper from that town and read it.”

- Jason Hennington

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