We’re committed to keeping you informed

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 1, 2018

Have you ever wished you could mute the world’s volume?

If so, don’t despair. You are not alone. Sometimes the noise is too much.

I understand. We all want to be in the know, informed, have the facts.

Information seems to be coming from every device and every direction, yet we feel less informed and maybe less connected than ever.

Distrust is common, and it’s easy to understand why.

Misinformation is passed off as fact, even as breaking news. Few have the time to separate truth from fiction. Many long for simpler times, when facts were verified, easier to understand and believe.

Tuning out may make you feel better, but you may quickly become the least informed person you know. 

That is a problem. We need to be informed. Progress is possible  when a community is informed and engaged.

An easy way exists to separate fact from noise and clutter, a useful tool for the informed citizen and great community. You have the solution at your fingertips right now, either  in printed form or digital..

Journalists have been working at the craft of separating fact from fiction and informing citizens since before Natchez was a city. And this newspaper has been informing the Natchez area and holding its institutions accountable for 153 years.

Like many long-established institutions in our lives, taking us for granted is easy.

Community newspapers are not “the media” that has fallen out of favor with many of us.

Community newspapers are vastly different. Far removed from Washington politics, they cover places such as Woodville, Meadville, Port Gibson, Fayette and, yes, Natchez. They are almost quasi-public utilities.

Community newspapers employ professional journalists who live in the communities served and are trained in and charged with finding and reporting facts..In 2012, when a deadly riot broke out at the Adams County Correctional Center, social media was rife with rumors and false information. We published up-to-the-minute, factual information.

Community newspapers hold people in power accountable and provide a window through which we can watch the work of our institutions and elected officials.

In 2015 and 2016, our investigative coverage led to the dismantling of an ill-conceived Town of Vidalia plan to use taxpayer money to buy private land for a speculative development. Ultimately the state shut down the plan and Vidalia citizens ousted most involved in the next election.

Community newspapers report on crimes and court trials, how leaders spend your tax dollars. We share touching stories of local people fighting horrible diseases, news of family reunions, church dinners on the ground and even the wedding(s) of Ferriday rock legend, Jerry Lee Lewis.

If it affects or interests our community, we print it: good, bad and, when necessary, ugly.

This week, we will change our printed newspaper’s frequency, no longer printing on Saturdays and Mondays.

The move was an economic one caused in large part to rapidly rising costs of producing printed copies.

But you can be confident in this, the professional journalists of this newspaper are still working for you every day.

This change makes us stronger particularly as our readers come along with us and do their part to help our community.

We see evidence of better times ahead for Natchez  — out-of-town investors are buying local landmarks and historic houses with plans of improvement, and oil prices are inching up to levels that should restart local production.

If you love Natchez your first obligation to it is to be informed. Misinformation and disinformation are enemies of progress. An informed citizen is equipped to become a productive citizen.

We know our role and obligation in that process and you have our pledge to fill and meet it. Together we all play important roles in improving the community in which we all live..

Subscribe to your newspaper  and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Encourage businesses to invest their marketing dollars locally, where it makes an impact on our community. And encourage your fellow citizens to shop for goods and services right here in the Miss-Lou.

You can help make the Natchez area flourish again and in the process, reduce some of the noise that gets in the way of having a happy, well-informed life.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.