What would you like to see?

Published 9:00 am Saturday, January 5, 2013

If I have learned anything about the newspaper business, it is that the old adage about only pleasing some of the people some of the time is mostly true.

Invariably, we’ll cover a story that some people think we shouldn’t, then turn right back around and not cover something that some people think we should. I can assure you that none of this is by design.

We actually do set out to cover stories and print information that readers find useful and informative. We also strive to write about people and organizations that do extraordinary things or make a difference.

Unfortunately, things do happen in Western Tidewater from time to time that aren’t so pleasant. People hurt other people. Government makes poor decisions. Natural disasters happen.

And, in spite of occasionally being told that we are too negative and should print more good news, part of the responsibility we bear in publishing a newspaper is that we report all of the news that affects the community, even if it isn’t always positive.

I get stopped in the grocery store all the time by readers who like to share their opinion on what we should print, and I love that they do. It’s given us several great ideas for stories and features, some of which we have written and implemented, some of which we haven’t quite gotten around to yet, but are working on.

And I also enjoy it because it reminds me just how important this newspaper is to the community and how much it is valued by those who read it.

A community newspaper, unlike big metro daily newspapers, is much more a part of the social and cultural fabric of the community. Photos and articles are clipped and saved, posted on the refrigerator or mailed to friends who have moved away.

Almost every issue contains a story about, or a photo of, someone you know. Parents and grandparents look forward every year to the Santa letters and graduations issues.

If your child plays youth league ball, or is in a scout troop, there’s a good chance their photo has been in the paper. If they make the honor roll or principal’s list, their name will be right there in print — and up on the fridge it will go.

At The Tidewater News, we take seriously our role in the community and the responsibility we bear for being fair, timely and accurate. We also strive to be better, and as the calendar turns to 2013, it is the perfect opportunity for us to examine how we can do things differently and what different things we can do.

As our readers, you are our first priority. We have to report the news, but also want to make sure that we are including the types of features and information you find useful and entertaining.

If you have any ideas, let us know. If you see us in the grocery store, walk up and say “hi” and tell us what you think.

If we can do it better, let us know how. This newspaper is yours; it’s our job to write it and get it printed. And we want to make sure that we write and print more of what it is you want to read.