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Newspapers: Dedicated to acting as a community forum

Each year, newspapers across the country use National Newspaper Week as an opportunity to talk to our readers about the value of what we do, our role as watchdog against increasingly opaque governments, our fight to report accurately and thoroughly the information you, our readers, need. This year the theme decided upon by the National Newspaper Association was a reminder to all of us that we do not stand alone. We are not just observers of our communities, we are PART of our communities. In choosing “Community Forum” as this year’s theme, the NNA was nudging us all to remember we are part of a conversation — one that gets more important every day.

Readers of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel are no doubt familiar with the dialog that arises when letters to the editor or guest opinion pieces prompt responses — counterpoints, questions … a conversation. Our opinion pages are one way in which we serve as a community forum. But it is not the only way.

Through tools such as our Virtual Newsroom — or simply emailing or calling — readers are a vital source of news tips, story ideas, press releases, meeting notices and photos we might never have had otherwise. You share with us your weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and birthdays; and you turn to our obituary pages to find out who has moved on from those milestones.

Reporters have gotten used to knowing that when they come up with a hard-hitting news story, a reader will contact us with more questions and ideas for a follow-up.

Our advertisers know they are reaching valuable customers when they showcase their businesses on our pages; and our special events, such as The News and Sentinel Races or annual Cookbook Tasting Party and subsequent publication give us even more opportunity to engage with our communities.

In examining our role as a community forum, the News and Sentinel continues to be committed to fair, accurate reporting that will spark conversations; and we are grateful to those of you whose ideas and willingness to share your own news mean we are so much more.

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