Shame on you if you did not vote



I was predicting about 22 percent for voter turnout in the April 9 election. How pathetic is that? It is low but the actual turnout was even lower; 17 percent for the Webster Area School board election, 26 for Webster Ward III and an astounding 65 percent for Pierpont.

Bad weather can not be blamed – or, for that matter, good weather putting our farmers in the field. I thought the school board election and city having an election in Ward III would have helped bring out even more people.

A lot has changed over the years when it comes to elections. Maybe it is even people’s perceptions on voting. While the last presidential race was a tight one, it was controversial and the controversy over who was elected continues to this day.

It could be that people are fed up on the bigger picture and do not care. People should care, especially when it comes to local elections. Yes, who we elect as president and congress does have an impact on all of us, but nothing like our local elections.

We see these men and women in the streets, and the smaller the community the more you know about them or hear about them – the latter take with a grain of salt because with small towns come small town rumors.

Voting is a right, just like free speech, the right to bear arms... You get the point. Men and women fought for many of the rights we take for granted today. This has included fighting in other countries to protect the right of other human beings and help gain them the rights that we have come to consider as privileges.

Maybe that would get the people riled up enough to get out and vote, by threating to take away those rights. Maybe people just need to take a look at why they did not vote and remember it come future elections.

Congratulations to Mike Dunse, JaDee Dwight, Joel Shoemaker and Tom Sannes on your elected positions and kudos to Joe Valley, Salina Pena, Wayne Schmidt, Josh Atherton and Megan Moen for having the courage to run for political office. Kudos also to the voters in Pierpont on an astounding 65 percent turnout.


New website highlights the state of newspapers, not always pretty



A friend of mine in the newspaper industry started a website the other day called where he posts stories and links to stories about stuff that’s going on in the newspaper industry. It’s probably one of those things that’s more interesting to me and those in my industry than to anyone else, but if you can, you should check it out.

It’s through this website that I became aware of the plight The Denver Post and many newspapers find themselves in which highlights what some have called a crisis in American journalism.

The paper’s Sunday issue featured a series of editorial pieces by staffers that amounted to a call for action within their industry. The paper, since hedge fund Alden Global Capital took ownership five years ago, has experienced drastic cuts in their newsroom in the form of layoffs.

At first glance, this story would seem to add credence to the narrative that newspapers are dying, but that’s not what’s happening here.

“The cuts...are a mystery, if you look at them from the point of view of those of us intent on running a serious news operation benefiting the city that bears our name,” wrote the Post’s editorial board last week.

Even media experts are questioning why the Post’s future looks so bleak when many newspapers are enjoying double-digit profits and management reported solid profits at the publication last year.

The editorials are meant to be a plea to Digital First Media – one of the largest newspaper chains in America. Staff are asking owners to rethink their business strategy to allow for good journalism or to sell the paper to owners who will.

Staff accuse Alden of using profits from the paper to invest in shaky, non-journalism industry related deals. Essentially, they’re bleeding the paper dry.

As a journalist who has worked her entire adult life in the newspaper industry and with many friends who are also newspaper journalists, believe me when I say we take great pride in and are passionate about being the watchdogs of our communities. We tell the stories – good, bad and ugly – as the permanent record, holding government officials accountable for their actions through stories that reveal the truth – even if some people don’t like it.

When a newspaper’s quality is slashed through reduction of local news coverage, readers lose trust in the publication. That is hard-fought trust to gain. We don’t take that lightly.

If The Post continues on the track that it is on, it’s a sad disservice that is being done to the community of Denver. In a city where population is booming and everyone is looking towards the future, there should be no reason for such severe newsroom staff reductions.

In the sidebar on The Post’s website where I read the original editorial, there were nine more editorials listed related to the issue, all more staff opinion pieces. One headline that caught my eye was, “Love us or hate us, you’ll miss us when we’re gone.”

Everyone has a different opinion about what news a paper should cover, but the fact that remains is, without us, none of it would be covered.

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