May I impose upon you for a moment to tell you a story? Back in the 1950s, since I was a third grader delivering the Las Cruces Sun News in New Mexico, I have been involved in the newspaper profession.
Initially, it was for the money. Delivering newspapers was a job little boys could do back then. As I grew up and grew older, I continued in the profession for that same reason – it put bread on the table for my growing family. However, with the passing years, my outlook on life has materially changed; instead of looking on work as a means to provide, I have come to view work as a context for interacting with others with whom I share life on this planet. Things, the necessities of life, have a greater alure when they are in short supply, but when the children are grown and the desire for a new car loses its shine, other thoughts begin to consume a larger space in ones mind.
For me, those other thoughts focus on the importance of the work which engages me, begging the question, Does my work matter? To answer that question, let me first say, I fully recognize how fortunate I am to have been born in America, and my gratitude for that fact pushes me to do my best to give back where I can. My history lessons taught me how much others did to establish this country, and to work and die to preserve it. Their sacrifices and efforts now enable me, my family and us all to live this wonderful life. What others paid forward drive me to do strive to do likewise.
How do we do that? Bloom where we’re planted. So, I ask, how can I use the newspaper to serve others? I read that communities which have locally owned newspapers thrive better than those which do not. I see that; I see how people turn to us to bring issues to the public’s attention when they do not feel that they are getting a fair shake. For that matter, the public being informed on happenings in general helps to ensure that matters are handled in the proper fashion.
So that keeps me at my keyboard and helps me continue to feel fulfilled. Staying on task enables me to work with talented and applied people here at the paper and in our community. I know that there is a lot of discouragement about the situation of our nation, but that does not rock my core. My interaction with others has proven to me that most people mean well, mean very well, and behave accordingly.
So what? Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to understand how we view our work, what we are here to accomplish, and to lay the groundwork for some changes we are instituting so we can continue in our mission and get better at it.
In 1979, when my wife and I purchased the Herald from Dr. & Mrs. John Cunningham, then located in Avalon, it was a free publication. My background had been at paid newspapers. We chose to stay with free distribution. Now, some four decades later, we are having to rethink that because our advertisers are being squeezed by the pandemic economy. Further, advertising dollars today are spread more thinly among both local and national media, leaving fewer dollars to cover costs of local journalism. To do our work and continue to strive to do it ever better, we are asking you to help carry the load.
When you go into select local stores and see a $1 sign on the Herald, that is because that store is working with us to help finance our costs. While the Heralds have been distributed on Wednesdays over the decades, they would rapidly disappear, and then they could seldom be found anywhere. We will continue to distribute the Herald free at many locations on Wednesdays, but when they are gone, select stores will continue to have them available for $1.
Here is thanking you in advance for your understanding and support.