This is National Newspaper Week. The theme is “Journalism matters now more than ever.”
This weekly column titled “Local matters” is written out of my love for community news. Telling the stories of the community is our job at the Pleasanton Express. We tell the good news, the sad news and when necessary the bad news. We may be a weekly newspaper, but our job is 24/7 news gathering of all the information that deserves to be told in print, digital and via social media to the 49,000 people that make up Atascosa County.
We are staffed by real journalists reporting real news. The combined years of the staff working at the Pleasanton Express is over 200 years. I could not be prouder of the group of individuals that help put out the news at the Pleasanton Express. Their dedication and talent never cease to amaze me. Their interest in this community is vast and rich. Everyone that works here lives here. A majority of the staff went to school here. Their knowledge of this county, its history and its stories go deep. We love when we hear from our readers how much they enjoyed a story or how an advertisement brought them more business or how an article helped a non-profit fill up an event. As I have said before, I even appreciate the complaints we receive. I take them as compliments because I know that a reader cares enough about our paper to make that call.
We strive to bring a newspaper that contains something of interest to everyone in this community. I feel the way Matt Geiger, Executive Editor of News Publishing Company feels about his paper, “Everything in this newspaper is important to someone.”
There are many newspapers who rely on canned stories. I would wager a big bet that the Pleasanton Express has more local writers on its opinion page than any other newspaper in this state. On Tuesday nights, we are upset when we run out of space to tell all the stories because there is so much news in our community to tell. When we cannot fit all the news in our print version, we will put it on our digital version at www.pleasantonexpress.com which is averaging 3000-page views daily. Last Wednesday, we reached 5,800-page views on our digital version. For the period of September 11-October 8 our Facebook which has 13,800 followers had a post reach of 86.9K and 92.3K post engagements with 223 new page likes. All of this was garnered from local stories we posted about our community.
According to Mike Hodges, President of the Texas Press Association there are only 153 single family owned newspapers left in Texas. Virtually all of these newspapers are located in rural or small communities. The beauty of a family owned newspaper is that no corporation tells us what we can and cannot report. We live by the laws of community journalism by simply telling the facts of the stories happening locally. Some of our stories recently have been heartbreaking such as the recent death of the 12-year-old boy from Jourdanton. While nothing will make the heartbreak of that tragedy go away, the Pleasanton Express will in honor of Joe Rudy Alvarado use our pages to help educate and inform ourselves and the public on what bullying is and how we can all become a part of the solution to end bullying in our community.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.