Community newspapers are an integral part of our lives | Opinion

Local news seemed to be falling on the minute last Monday.

First, Northumberland County declared a state of emergency at its jail in light of the retirement of superintendent Bruce Kovach and too many openings for correctional officers.

Also at the jail on Monday, a probationary corrections officer was fired after an investigation showed the guard used a racial slur in an online post.

As the day progressed, we also reported:

  • A Florida man had been captured in Sunbury for kidnapping.
  • A fire truck had been involved in an accident on Routes 11-15 near Selinsgrove en route to a fire.
  • This same fire in Selinsgrove had severely damaged a house, a garage and several vehicles, but fortunately the inhabitants escaped unscathed.
  • Several deaths and injuries had resulted from a snowy pile-up of dozens of vehicles on Highway 81 in Schuylkill County, with Shamokin’s AREA Services Inc. and Northumberland County Fire Police among the agencies providing assistance.
  • A crash had blocked Route 61 near Stonington.

These are just some of the stories we published online and later in print over the eventful 24 hours. If there was ever a day that clearly demonstrated the importance of having an engaged community newsroom to keep you informed, this is it.

Days like this are not unusual. Judging by the growing traffic on our website, the people of Susquehanna Valley have learned that we regularly publish the news of the day quickly and correctly.

Breaking news is just one of the reasons local newsrooms are so essential to our daily lives, our democracy and our communities.

In-depth reporting on key community issues, like today’s start of a year dedicated to mental health, is another. In the past few months alone, we have produced equally in-depth reporting on topics such as post-pandemic education, health issues, childcare availability, public safety, availability of Broadband internet, business development and more.

Monitoring reports that keep the community informed about how the government serves us and spends our tax money is another part of our mission that we take very seriously.

Good community newspapers like this are also a reflection of the places and people who live in their markets.

From sports scores and honor rolls to group meeting schedules, memorials, restaurant inspections, weather forecasts, court and police reports and much more, everything on our pages and on our website is important to the people who live here.

You can find out what caused this backup on Route 15 and learn more about the musical your local high school is performing.

You can learn more about the people who make this community what it is and find out what’s to come.

None of this is available on CNN or Fox. The New York Times and other national news agencies do not report this news.

We do. Every day, all day.

As I wrote in this space last week, I am moving into a new role with CNHI, the company that owns The Daily Item, where I will work with its newsrooms nationwide. This is my last weekly Sunday column here, although I expect to write occasionally for all of our papers once I get settled.

Daily Item editor Fred Scheller – a great guy to work with and with – named Bill Bowman as the paper’s new editor on Thursday. Bill has been invaluable to me, and therefore to you, during my time here and I know he will do a fantastic job.

My best wishes to all of you. I’ve had the pleasure of being here for the past six and a half years. Keep reading and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

We need your support to continue to serve you.

Email your comments to [email protected]

About Erin Redding

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