Mirrors can be dreadful things, can’t they? How many of us look into them and scorn what we see? Maybe there’s a few too many gray hairs or wrinkles. Oh, that crooked nose! What are you doing to me, mirror?
Like it or lump it, the mirror is only showing us what’s there. We don’t have to like what we see. We don’t have to agree with it. But it’s there, always showing us what’s in front of it.
Since joining The Paris News two years ago this month, I have pushed this newspaper to be a mirror for the Red River Valley. It’s even written into our editorial mission statement:
“The Paris News, as a bastion of truth, will strive for excellence, accuracy and fairness through objective news-gathering methods. We will be constantly accessible, but remain fiercely independent as we guide the Red River Valley’s deliberation of public issues and advocate for solutions. While serving as the area’s watchdog, we will report the good news happening in our neighborhoods every day. The Paris News will serve as a mirror for the Red River Valley, motivating people to celebrate what they like and to change what they do not.”
That statement is our North Star, our guiding light. Our staff is small, but dedicated to covering local government, businesses, churches, events and more. If it happens in the Red River Valley, it has a place in this newspaper. We can and do sometimes fall short; we are human, after all. But when we do, we tell you. We print corrections and clarifications. We change the story online and tell you what was changed. And sometimes we can’t get to everything that’s happening, but our emails and doors are always open for submissions, be it a photo, a write-up or a letter to the editor.
There’s a great deal of local news that goes into this newspaper. Through the June 25 edition this year, The Paris News published 1,452 staff-written stories, accompanied by 335 articles written by paid freelance writers and 580 submitted articles — and that goes up to 689 if you count letters to the editor and guest columns among the submitted. That’s a lot of voices.
“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself,” famed author Arthur Miller said. I believe that’s true, especially on the community level. But with a lot of voices talking, not everyone will agree with everything being said. Heck, journalists don’t even agree with everything they cover, but they cover it because that’s what’s happening here; those are the discussions going on in our community.
A newspaper isn’t your feel-good buddy telling you everything is all right while the barn is on fire. It’s a mirror reflecting the world in front of it. If you feel your voice, your point of view, is missing from that picture, take action. Reach out. Write a commentary. Take the reins — don’t just sit back for the ride and complain about how bumpy the path is.
There’s no cost for article submissions or letters to the editor, expect your time to do it.