Whether newspapers deliver information to readers through ink on newsprint, or their digital products, the role they play in our communities is more important now than ever.

Today marks the first day of National Newspaper Week, a weeklong effort to recognize the importance of newspapers throughout the country.

The theme this year focuses on the five freedoms – freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble peacefully and freedom to petition the government – collectively known as the First Amendment.

Journalism matters. And the power of the press rests in the ability of journalists to be clear, concise, accurate, objective and responsive.

The newspaper serves as a government watchdog and is a nudge on public officials to remain transparent, accomplishing this through the landmark freedoms laid out in the words of that First Amendment.

The public has innumerable ways to access information about national and global events. But nobody can report or reflect the community the way that we as a local newspaper can.

A newspaper should go to as many different kinds of people as it can – the sports minded, the intellectual, the oldster who wants to remember, the youngster eager to learn. Each part of the newspaper has an eager audience somewhere. We bring readers the news they need, as well as entertaining and uplifting stories, coverage of community events, while engaging public opinion on matters of importance to our communities.

You don’t make a newspaper like you do a tractor or a piece of cloth. You don’t bolt it together with threaded metal or sheet iron. People go into a newspaper – people and life as it is from day to day.

We seek journalistic excellence so that we are better today than they were yesterday – a better lead, a picture that shows life more vividly, an editorial of higher caliber, more polished writing.

Along with this come the pressures and deadlines of every publication, the long hours when inspiration falters or production is stalled. The paper can’t be missed.

You build many monuments in the newspaper business. Your newspaper and energy leave a wake of new buildings, successful projects, guidance and direction. Helping others, boosting the community, the area, or the “cause” becomes endless.

As we begin National Newspaper Week, we reaffirm to you that we have a strong commitment to Northeast Mississippi. We are proud to serve our loyal and dedicated readers and will continue to strive for the highest standards of excellence in newspapering.

And tomorrow, there’s a fresh sheet of newsprint.

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