May 2003
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Local Newspapers - a sense of connection
By Remzi Cej, Holy Heart High, St. John's, NL

Community newspapers play an important role in informing residents of weekly events and local issues facing the city. The nature of community newspapers focussed mainly on local news gives the reader an overview of what has been happening in the neighbourhood in the last week.

It is a tradition to sit in the family environment in the evening and read the paper. Also, the other media mainly concentrate on the national and international news, not giving enough time to local content.

Having come to St. John's two years ago, I was new to the city. The television did not serve much in knowing what was happening in the community since television seems to always report on events after they had happened, so I'd often find myself saying "Oh, if I had only known before."

I found my salvation in reading the local newspapers and listening to the local radio. Whether it was an opera night coming to St. John's, or the Human Rights Day celebration going on, I relied on the local newspapers.

Later on, it became a habit for me to read the events page every time I'd get the paper, to see if there were any interesting things happening in the city.

As time passed, I found myself reading editorials, articles on local artists and success stories of St. John's entrepreneurs. I'd often read the paper from the first page to the last to see if any people I knew were in it. It somehow made me feel much more connected to the community.

Community newspapers bring the whole family together. The paper has something for every member of the family ~ news, sports, lifestyles, travel, movie listings, and community events, to name a few. It is the community newspapers that indirectly contribute in alleviating stress by keeping their readers away from the stressful, modern day, self-centered world and concentrates them on local issues relevant to the readers.

Community newspapers also motivate people to get involved in what they are interested in. It was an inspiration for me to read about youth who became activists and had an influence on global issues by acting on them. I found out that it all starts here, that we can change the world, but it all starts from the place you live in.

Community newspapers have been, are and will always be something you will find in a household. It is what brings the news to a home, and this, better than anything else, mutually benefits not only the household, but everyone that put a part of their experiences into that newspaper.

For these reasons, I believe that community newspapers contribute and are much more knowledgeable of the current events in local communities, and will always be a much more important source in our secular, "I" centered world.

Community newspapers build on the 'involvement and belonging' feeling and makes us remember once again that this place is where we belong.


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