In step with the times

In step with the times

When the news came out Thursday that the Herington Times had closed, the community reacted with confusion, anxiety, and sorrow.

Who now will promote local businesses and economic development with hometown advertising and news?

Who will follow and report on the activities of children, from academic achievements to sporting exploits?

Who will tell the stories of veterans, of entrepreneurs, of people with unique interests, talents, and inspirational stories?

What will happen to all of the history contained in the annual bound volumes of the Times that aren’t in the hands of the museum? And how will as yet unwritten history be recorded for future generations?

Those questions, and more, were gleaned from social media sites. Those users clearly recognize that trendy digital media can’t begin to match good old newsprint for reaching people, reporting the news, and defining communities.

We share a distant but common relative with the Times — an Osawatomie publisher once was a partial owner of both the Times and the Hillsboro Star-Journal. Step-cousins three or four times removed, perhaps, but kin nonetheless.

Our reaction was more subdued, focused as much on our colleagues as the paper itself. We know several of the people who worked like the dickens to keep the Times afloat in recent years, and it’s sad to know their efforts couldn’t prevail.

It’s sad irony that the town now without a paper owes its existence to an advertisement for land in Kansas that namesake Monroe Herington spied in an Illinois newspaper.

We know well the challenges of being a hometown weekly newspaper — we’ve been negotiating those waters successfully for 147 years, and we’re steaming straight ahead toward 148.

There’s no doubt the business has changed with the community, as well it should. Newspapers preserve the past by living in the present while looking to the future.

Our responsibility as the “newspaper of record” for the community is one we’ve never taken lightly, nor shirked. We tell stories that matter, that make a difference here on the banks of Luta Creek and elsewhere. We delight in telling the stories that highlight the best our community has to offer. We responsibly bring to you real news, sometimes focused on things which some would rather remain hidden, but which must be brought into the light if we’re going to have the quality of small town life to which we aspire.

We’re sad to see a sister publication meet its demise, even if it was owned by a Missouri publisher who abruptly pulled the plug on a 127-year-old community stalwart. Out-of-county owners can’t have the same respect as those who live and work in the communities they serve.

We’re also reminded of the responsibility we have to the relationships we’ve formed in nearly 150 years serving Marion and Marion County.

We’re your hometown newspaper. We cover people and stories that wouldn’t ever see ink in larger newspapers. We put businesses in touch with people interested in knowing what they have to offer. We preserve our history, with a commitment to our hometown future.

And we’ll continue to chronicle the happenings of “the best place I’ve seen” without skipping a beat.

— david colburn

Last modified Aug. 11, 2016