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It's not MY newspaper, it's OURS

(Published April 5, 2006, in Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Bloomfield Free Press, Bloomfield, Indiana)
By R. Michael Johnson
  A community’s newspaper should be its best friend.
  It should be there to help you.
  It should be there to laugh with you in the good times, and commiserate with you in the bad and tragic times.
  It should cheer when something is right.
  And, like all best friends, it should point out when something is wrong.
  But, most of all, it should be honest and fair.
  That, in a nutshell is my theory of how a community-based newspaper should operate.
  As we begin this grand adventure called the Bloomfield Free Press, I hope our friendship will be long-lived and prosperous for all concerned.
  I promise you that we will be here to laugh with you, cry with you, and always have an open door and ear.
  From time to time, our readers are sure to disagree with a stand we take or statements we make.
  That’s OK. In fact, that’s one of the reasons our forefathers decided to break out on their own - for the freedom of expression and ideas.
  If you disagree with a stand we take, either write a Letter to the Editor (all of which I personally read), call me or stop by anytime.
  As editor of the paper, the one thing I am never too busy for is a chat with one of our readers.
  Also, just as we will act as a best friend, I ask you - our readers - to return the favor. If we do something you especially like or dislike, drop us a note or call.
  But even more importantly, if we make a mistake - no matter how large or small - by all means bring it to our attention. Call and ask for me personally, if you want to.
  I promise that we’ll fix the mistake as soon as is humanly possible.
  If there’s a story you think should be done, contact us.
  If you have a 10-pound turnip or a 30-pound catfish, bring it to the office at 38 N. Washington St., we’ll take a picture of it.
  If your daughter, grandson, nephew or neighbor has garnered an award or special recognition, call us - 384-8030.
  I guess the bottom line is that no news is too small or unimportant for us or the community.
If it’s important to you - the readers - it’s important to us.
  After all, this newspaper doesn’t belong to the "journalists" - it belongs to each and every one of our readers.
  Together, it’s OUR newspaper. Let’s work together to make it the best one we can.
  While on the subject of really beefing up local coverage, I need to get down on my knees and beg a little.
  One of the most often asked questions I have heard over the last couple of decades or so is, “Why wasn’t that in the paper?” or “Why didn’t you cover this event?”
  Well, nine out of 10 times, the answer is simple.
  We didn’t know about it.
  While it’s our job to sniff out news, keep the politicians on the straight and narrow, and try to keep everyone informed about what’s going on, we need your help.
  As I mentioned earlier, if you know of something happening, call us. If you see something happening, by all means call us.
  If it’s after business hours, feel free to call me on my cell phone - 381-3539.
  I can assure you that if you take the time to call, we’ll do everything we can to provide coverage.
  That’s our job.

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