Larry Banman " The Internet is a tool, not an icon
Grand County, Colorado
I use the Internet for a number of tasks. It is an absolute necessity for my line of work. In addition, I do a little shopping online, I check the weather and road conditions on online, I keep track of the stock market and I have been known to receive live updates for certain games.
The Internet has become a vital part of most of our lives. Even though most of us can remember life before the Internet, it is sometimes hard to imagine how we accomplished some of the tasks we do prior to the ease and convenience of Internet.
The instant gratification that is provided by technology as well as the access that most of us have to the benefits of technology threaten to change the way we receive and transmit information. It is likely one of the main reasons that our traditional forms of publishing the news are suffering.
When I started in the newspaper business back in the Dark Ages of 1989 it was with the Middle Park Times, a small weekly in Kremmling. When it came to breaking news, the best I could hope for is that a story happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday and that people could read about that event on Thursday morning. The rumor mill is faster. The goal became to confirm the facts and perhaps lend another perspective to the event. I learned quickly that a small weekly couldn’t adequately fill the need for instant information.
I also learned that community newspapers can offer something larger venues are either unable or unwilling to provide. The Denver Post, CNN and msn.com don’t care about most of what happens in Kremmling, Granby, Grand Lake or Fraser. They pop up on our doorsteps for the occasional bulldozer rampage but they don’t care if Middle Park High School wins a state Nordic ski championship or if local contractors are suffering from the economic downturns or if the local newspaper editor announces an engagement. But, the people in those towns do care. And, the only place they can reliably read about those events is in their local newspaper, whether it be electronically or in print.
I attended a recent awards ceremony at West Grand High School. There were a number of copies of the West Grand and Middle Park high school graduation advertising special publications available. Included in the newspaper version of this special section were pictures and bios of the graduates of each of the two county high schools. You would have thought people had stumbled upon the Holy Grail. There were probably 100 people in attendance and the vast majority of them were paging through the supplement. They were enthralled. It was a reminder to me that people want to know about their neighbors. Life is still about relationships.
I applaud the local newspaper establishment for continuing that tradition. I encourage the Sky-Hi Daily News and Middle Park Times to continue the mission of connecting communities.
I know that I will always prefer to snap open a newspaper and spread it out under a cup of coffee. Others do basically the same thing with a Blackberry. I just hope that both of us can still read about the first snow in Old Park, the passing of an acquaintance from Grand Lake and the start of a new housing development in Winter Park. I believe a community newspaper is the circulatory system that helps keep that community alive.
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