Strong communities and strong newspapers go together

The Bloomfield Democrat staff is looking forward to a big celebration next week — the 150th birthday party of the Democrat, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 18.

We are pleased and proud that the Democrat has been able to serve the community for 150 years; yet we are humbled by the responsibility of carrying on the legacy of this publication by accurately reporting the news —week after week — on such important topics as:

• government affairs,

• public health and safety,

• political campaigns,

• agriculture and business,

• education, sports, and the arts,

• church and community events,

• the wonderful people of Davis County and their efforts to improve the lives of others,

• providing an open forum for public opinion on the editorial/opinion page.

Furthermore, we must never forget that today’s news is tomorrow’s history, and newspapers have a responsibility to accurately record history in the making. We take that responsibility very seriously.

The Democrat’s staff works hard to publish the information Davis County’s citizens need to be informed, actively-engaged citizens in the community.

Reporters spend countless hours attending meetings and events to gather first-hand information on the actions of government and community happenings. They take the time to go directly to the source and interview public officials and individuals with important and interesting stories to tell — gathering information the public needs and wants to know.  

In this time of turmoil when some communities across the nation are losing their newspapers, we are especially grateful for the support offered by community members and businesses.

With our small staff, we would find it difficult to offer comprehensive news coverage if members of the community didn’t alert us to newsworthy events and happenings. We appreciate those who call or email and offer news tips. Some of our best and most interesting stories have come from tips submitted by the public.

And let’s not forget our advertisers! The partnership between the Democrat and its advertisers provides mutual benefits.

Advertisers are able to disseminate information about their products and services to several thousand readers every week who eagerly await their newspaper and read every page.

In turn, advertising revenue makes it possible for the Democrat to publish and disseminate the news that all citizens need to be informed and wise decision-makers.

Without advertising revenue, newspapers cannot survive.

Strong communities and strong newspapers go together. Recent research by Columbia University and the University of North Carolina illustrates what happens when communities become news deserts and no longer have a local newspaper:

• The median household income in a news desert is 13.2% lower than the national average;

• The poverty rate in a news desert is 4.71% higher than the national average;

• The college graduation rate in a news desert is 10.17% lower than the national average;

• Broadband access in a news desert is 9.12% lower than the national average.

Furthermore, without local newspapers to hold public officials accountable, our democratic form of government would be jeopardized.

Andy Prutsok, a newspaper publisher in Montana, wrote in the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors May 2019 newsletter: “…the closings of small, rural newspapers across the country is a crisis for a democracy, which depends on transparency and sunlight to assure that the citizenry is informed with the actual information it needs to hold its elected officials accountable.”

The Bloomfield Democrat staff is grateful that Davis County continues to support its newspaper, which is one of few independently owned newspapers in the state of Iowa.

Being independent, the Democrat can make decisions based on the needs of the community, not the needs (or wants) of corporate executives who own and publish multiple newspapers in multiple locations.

The Democrat’s mission is to disseminate accurate information on public affairs, spur the community to action for the public good, preserve our freedom of speech, hold government officials accountable, and record the community’s history in the making.

We are extremely grateful to our subscribers and advertisers for supporting our efforts in carrying out that mission.

Remember…strong communities and strong newspapers go together.