#Editorial #OurVoice #SpotlightNews
“All the news that’s fit to print.”
You recognize the slogan. It’s the New York Times’ concise mission statement. It’s a promise its editorial staff has made to its readers each day for more than a century. That’s how long those seven words have appeared on the front page of The Grey Lady. It speaks of integrity and something everyone in our industry respects, and the benchmark we measure ourselves by.
Drill down into that statement a bit further and you will see something more that goes beyond journalism. It’s a declaration that defines someone’s, or something’s, place within a neighborhood. It speaks of community. Despite the immense size of the Times’ community, which reaches well beyond the island of Manhattan, the belief behind that slogan has kept the paper from being lost in the world. It is a community newspaper.
We are a community newspaper. And, something beautiful happened in our offices the other day. A gentleman walked in with little more than a memory from his childhood. He said he was reminiscing about his childhood here in town. Days spent playing sandlot baseball in a vacant field. It was his Fortnite. It was the place he and his friends went to every day with bat, mitt and ball. He remembered how he and his friends made it into the hometown newspaper, and he wanted to find it.
Behind stacks of old newspapers, the gentleman quietly sat in our lobby to leaf through the pages, as our staff buzzed around him. One by one, our employees would take a break from their respective task out of curiosity. It wasn’t uncommon to find one of our readers seated in our lobby with a nose in the latest edition of our paper. It was, however, unique to find someone plowing through newspapers from more than half a century ago. The mission to find his name in the paper was hindered by little nuggets of discovery. News articles of events long forgotten. Advertisements of stores long gone. Each had a story or two with familiar names and landmarks that now stand in their place.
Finally, the article was found. The man’s 12-year-old self was captured deep in the middle of a large Little League article featured on the front page. Pictures of batting leaders, statistics, and names by the droves. With the copy of the article in his hand, he went back to sharing the story about that sandlot field. He recalled how an older man would take the time to mow the grass on that field so the kids could play. Remembering, now, as a gentleman who appreciates the value of expressed gratitude, his story ends with a somber admission. “We never thanked him.”
Our adult selves are often burdened by the memories of our youth. We cringe at our mistakes, laugh at our ignorance, and cry over things lost. It’s all a part of growing up and learning how to be the men and women we ultimately become. Those who are blessed to walk this earth long enough understand this growing process. Sometimes, it’s entertaining to watch as it plays out upon the freshly cut grass you just mowed for a bunch of kids to enjoy.
Being a part of a community is also a gift. Taking a place within a neighborhood and providing your town with a helpful deed is a job allows for a sense of pride. Sometimes hard work doesn’t need to be followed by someone else expressing his gratitude. Simply knowing that you’ve worked hard and completed something your neighbors could use and appreciate is all you need. We take pride in being a part of this community, we enjoy being your neighbor, and we thank you for taking the time to read this newspaper.