How do citizens in Lancaster County’s separate municipalities (one city; 41 townships and 18 boroughs) get local news. Certainly, Lancaster’s daily newspaper and television stations provide broad news coverage very well, though time, space and resource considerations generally do not allow them to provide regular “very local” news offerings. Many communities have blog sites and a few even have periodic community newsletters that may be mailed to citizens.
Of the larger Lancaster County boroughs, Ephrata, Elizabethtown, Columbia and Lititz, Columbia is the only one without a local newspaper. There was a time when Columbia had a daily newspaper. There was a time when Columbia had its own weekly newspaper. Combinations of circumstances coupled with high costs of production and distribution led to the demise of the daily Columbia News and a succession of weekly newspapers in the Columbia area.
“Hold it in your hands” newspapers are expensive propositions. Printed newspapers require a staff of skilled professionals, sophisticated production and printing resources. It is not an inexpensive venture to be able to buy “ink by the barrel.”
“These are tough times for newspapers and everybody knows it.” cites a 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. “The business model that Ben Franklin took for granted while cranking out his colonial broadsheets is now a money-losing anachronism.”
But Columbia should have its own local news and information source. And while this fledgling on-line effort is not a typical traditional newspaper, it is a step in that direction. As we go forward, we hope to produce and distribute a free news and information source; Columbia news, views & reviews will be the next step … a compact, abbreviated “hold-it-in-your-hands” local news and information resource for Columbia.
A few years ago, someone coined the term, “citizen journalism.” In essence, citizen journalism describes a news and information platform which is built when community members submit their articles, their coming events, their photos, their videos and their ideas to the information provider. In short, the citizens of the community are sharing their local news. This is not at all unique … it’s being done by the larger-base media, local television and newspaper now.
http://www.columbianewsandviews.com and Columbia news, views and reviews is looking for your input. Send your news articles, your opinion column, your pictures to us. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above cited Post-Gazette article continues by saying that as larger regional and national papers migrate to the Internet, “we might as well hand our republic over to the assorted scoundrels in business and politics who will profit from newspapers’ retreat into cyberspace.
“It may be an old-fashioned notion, but we need the shame and reward dimension that comes from the presence of newspapers in the heart of our communities.
“The accessibility, ubiquity and low cost of newspapers is, in itself, a positive social value that must be preserved.
“When the Pennsylvania Legislature votes itself a raise in the middle of the night, such brazen thievery needs to be heralded with banner headlines, in-depth reporting and excoriating editorials.
“When a superior athlete performs an amazing feat of athleticism or skill, publishing a photo of the event is part of the public celebration.
“When public transportation is threatened by shortsighted funding cuts, who will be the advocate the community needs and deserves?
“Newspapers provide communal accountability that comes from many sets of eyeballs reacting to the same headlines. Discarded newspapers on cafeteria tables and bus seats are as much a part of the dissemination of news tables and bus seats are as much a part of the dissemination of news and information as what high-priced anchors do on television every night — perhaps more so.
“Perhaps the total migration of newspapers to the Internet is already a done deal and nobody has bothered to tell me. If so, then it’s not too early to start complaining about the erosion of the rest of our democratic values and institutions.”
“To lead full lives in America’s democratic republic, citizens need two kinds of information: civic information and life-enhancing information. These may come from the same sources or through the same media. The same information sometimes serves both purposes, but they remain distinct categories.”
We believe that communities are strengthened when ideas are shared and we believe that Columbia news, views & reviews can serve as the connectivity source for Columbia’s shareholders. Time, of course, will tell.