In our area, water is hardly ever in short supply. Droughts are a rarity in Central Appalachia and rain is usually never far from falling.

We require water for our daily lives — for cooking, for drinking, for cleaning and many other uses. However, wisdom dictates that not all water is good for those uses without some human intervention. Simply drinking water from any of our numerous water sources without filtration can be dangerous and can lead to negative consequences, including illnesses.

Water is good and plentiful, but not all water is beneficial for your health unless handled by experts.

The same is true of information. In the present time, information is plentiful. You don’t even have to work to obtain it. It’s often delivered in a constant stream via the airwaves, via print, via the internet to our phones and computers and delivered from those around us.

Information is good and plentiful, but not all information is beneficial for your well-being unless handled, treated and filtered by experts. And just because it’s free doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.

Local newspapers are vital in the economy of information delivery. Sure, you can get online and read for free about most things — politics, celebrity gossip, disasters and large events. However, just like with water, drink from the wrong stream and you may find yourself with a stomach ache.

Your local newspaper is the only agency dedicated to ground-level coverage of the day-to-day lives of the people in this community. The other sources may cover the “big deals” that steal headlines, but only one organization is dedicated to covering your community.

Our reporters spend their days — even in a pandemic — ensuring that not only are the “big deals” to many covered, but also that the “big deals” to you are covered as well. No other organization ensures attendance at the meetings of local governing bodies (even if it’s virtual at the current time) by professionals who can then filter through all the words and actions taken and attempt to paint for you a picture of what’s going on with your tax dollars.

No other organization essentially has people “embedded” in your local schools to ensure that we not only cover the controversial matters, but also regularly highlight the successes of individual students and groups academically and athletically.

No other news outlet is dedicated to bringing you vital information such as birth announcements, restaurant inspections, community calendar items and other information tailored specifically for you and your neighbors.

No other agency is working directly with local businesses to support their efforts to communicate with both their current customers and potential customers in a way to support commerce.

No other organization is dedicated solely to you and taking an in-depth look at the issues affecting your life.

Sure, some of these things may sometimes rise to a great enough level that the big guys take notice and cover them, and sometimes they do so ably.

But no other news outlet in your community is dedicated to serving you in this manner each and every day. We have no other focus than the communities we serve.

Across the nation, and even here in our state, community newspapers have taken a beating, especially in a COVID-19 world. We’re grateful for each of our readers and customers and thankful that they have participated in helping us to continue our mission to bring them the most credible and comprehensive coverage of their community, especially in a time where so much information is available and a great deal of it is “bad.”

We are working to ensure that we can continue to serve you. We hope that, especially in the past few months, you’ve experienced the importance of your local newspaper and benefitted in some way from the information we’ve been working to provide in a safe manner.

If so, we’d like to ask you to become a part of our mission. You see, subscribing to your local newspaper is not just something that benefits you or us, it’s an investment in the community conversation and civic well-being.

Social media, when used properly, is good, but it cannot, by design, unite us as an individual community because, underneath the surface, its delivery of information is determined by algorithms and other devices that ensure that, while you may see the advertisement for a particular product, you may not see the coverage of your local government body or the success your neighbor’s son or daughter has worked for in academics. You may see news regarding a huge chain store with no locations in your community, but the news of the expansion of a local business that could make your life better never gets delivered to your feed or wall.

In many ways, social media, while it appears to have connected us, has, in some ways, even resulted in us being further apart and no longer effectively connected by the ties which once bound us together. The community newspaper is dedicated to that mission and only that mission.

To subscribe, call, 1-800-539-4054, or visit our newspaper’s website to see your options. If you’re already a subscriber, we thank you sincerely for being a part of what we do.

If not, join in with us and invest in your community. Keep a vital part of your community going strong while at the same time you benefit from the information we provide.

Now, more than ever, it’s vital.

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