A Small Town Newspaper

I'm working on a Father's Day post, but I wrote this a few days ago, and since it's timely in nature, I'm sharing it now. Happy Father's Day!

I could write a book on all of the things I've learned the last four years about living in a small town.

One of the first and most painful lessons was: Journalism is vastly different in a Small Town than in a Big City.

This grabbed me by the throat immediately because, when we moved here, I had just recently left my job with NBC to become a stay-at-home mom. I'll never forget the first morning I turned on the "Today" show, and I happened to see the local 5-minute news segment at 7:55 AM.

It was like a car accident one can't turn away from. The broadcasters looked like teenagers. Their reading was stilted and dull. They were scared -- scared -- to look at the camera. They blushed when they made a mistake. They were reporting mostly on local crime ("A perpetrator broke a window on a car on main street last night. The police are searching for the perpetrator.") and on the prices for corn and pigs that day. And the weather forecasters couldn't even point to the map without looking confused. "Um, did I point to the wrong place there? Because they aren't getting rain today. Just sun."

That was the last time I watched local TV news. I understand the kids are young and they are just getting started, so I forgive their lack of expertise. But it was just too painful for me to watch. (Although, coming from Southern California, I did appreciate the fact that Paris Hilton or Michael Jackson didn't automatically lead every newscast.)

The local paper is no better. In fact, it might be worse because it's run by people who are older and who should know better. But it's truly just a gossip rag that occasionally reports a fire or a drug arrest. They have very little news judgment.

Let me offer this as an example. This was the picture on the front page of the paper the day after Flag Day.
It's a picture of the local Elks and American Legion clubs disposing of retired American flags. So technically, it's accurate. But do you think a picture of a man burning a bunch of American flags is really the best option to celebrate the day our flag was created?!?



  1. It reminds me of my hometown newspaper.

    It was called the Hustler.

    I'm not kidding either.

  2. We recently moved from a town of 400 to 35,000. I feel like we are in the big city now. We quit getting the local newspaper (in our little town of 400) because it's only purpose was for teaching the children how NOT to write. It was filled with grammatical errors.

  3. Small town girl here as well...one who grew up in the big city, but now LOVES small town life! I dearly love to read our paper, if for nothing else but to know who died and what's on sale at the grocery! However, I am one who hardly ever watches the news, but for slightly different reasons than yours: it depresses me. Who wants to hear all the horrible, fantastic things people can do to one another? Now, politics is a slightly different story... :-)

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  5. Hey Kelly! Did you ever think of sending them a resume and helping them out!? :) PS)Sorry about the previous deleted comment! I tried to just edit it, but I couldn't do it, so I just deleted it :)