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A Blessed Effort PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 02:41

Over the past 14 years, the Reader has had its detractors, especially in the form of competitors, who have tried to pigeonhole this publication and dissuade readers and advertisers. Every criticism imaginable has been thrown our way - from too liberal to too conservative, too artsy to too literary, anti-development to anti-lower-income-groups, and from too diverse to not diverse enough.

For the record, politically, the Reader is neither liberal nor conservative. (These two labels have lost all relevance and accuracy within the hypocrisy that pervades today's two party political system). We are definitely about celebrating the value of the arts in all its forms. Our pro-business coverage has consistently explored the pros and cons of each issue with an outlook toward best practices for sustainable development. This is not to say that we are not biased; we do have certain values that we advocate, and those values are reflected in our coverage.

In short, we espouse capitalism and deride the forces, such as special-interest subsidies, that erode the model our forefathers envisioned. And if we advocate for any single group, more often than not, it is the taxpayers.

In the final analysis, the Reader is a blessed effort. It is a successful partnership of talented professionals who produce it, civically and culturally engaged individuals who read it, and savvy, dedicated advertisers who communicate through it.

This week's issue introduces a new printed format. While the changes are subtle (slightly shorter, a bit thicker, and a premium cover paper stock), it presents an opportunity to express my appreciation for all those who contribute to make this publication, in my humble opinion, so extraordinary.

A successful newspaper requires the efforts of so many different people. First, there are the writers and graphic artists whose combined efforts actually produce the pages. In the Reader's case, we boast the finest creative minds in the business. From concept to execution, our writers and designers operate under enormous pressure to produce an educational and entertaining publication that inspires our readers.

Second, there are our dedicated distributors who bring the Reader, whatever the season, to more than 800 locations throughout the region every Wednesday. Their efforts go largely unseen, but like many resources, when the Reader is not available, their presence is sorely missed. (We know because we hear about the rare missed delivery immediately.) And last, there are the hundreds of local, regional, and national advertisers who choose to make an investment in this enterprise called alternative journalism in order to reach you, the loyal reader.

We believe our readers are so loyal because they know the content and artistic contributions are pure and not influenced by commercial interests, setting it apart from most of today's mainstream media. So much of mainstream media's content is advertorial posing as news. This deliberate deception is undermining American democracy and trivializing our culture. I couldn't be prouder that we are not one of those culprits.

There is a palpable passion that defines the Reader - a commitment to truth and integrity no matter what content is delivered, from investigative news, features, and editorials to cultural reviews and calendar entries to advertising messages. Every effort is made to present accurate, relevant information to our readers with intelligent style and individual flare.

There is also a huge, meaningful contribution made by many citizens, who continue to inform us about important activities in the community, and who tirelessly stay connected and engaged in the civic process. You all know who you are, and words are insufficient for thanking you for your vigilant participation.

I believe our readership trusts our information because we consistently demonstrate our respect for their intelligence and ability to discern and synthesize information for themselves. Journalistically, the Reader adheres to the highest standard of veracity, and dedication to delivering fair and balanced articles. Editorially, opinions are informed with well-researched support data. While sometimes controversial, and not always agreed with, the facts upon which opinions are based are irrefutable. Every challenge to prove otherwise has gone unanswered for good reason.

We are to report verifiable facts and balanced opinions from all sides of an issue, allowing readers to make up their own minds. Media, traditionally known as the "Fourth Estate," has a profound responsibility to this nation's citizens. The media is an equal player in the checks and balances that allow democracy and capitalism to work. Without media doing its part, our republic will eventually fail.

It is no small thing, then, to support those publications that remain steadfast in performing this awesome task. Venues for independent voices are critical in sustaining freedom. Journalism that maintains the integrity of the Fourth Estate is absolutely necessary for capitalism to thrive. Publications that present advertising in the form of news are perpetrating a fiduciary betrayal upon their readers. And while some would argue that advertisers are not culpable for availing themselves to the most advantageous exposure, especially if they are paying for it, at the end of the day the practice is not inherently respected.

Advertisers in the Reader can feel good about communicating their messages in a forthright publication that gets them results because its readership represents the most desirable mainstream consumer group on the planet - loyal, educated patrons with higher-than-average income who are open to new buying experiences - while simultaneously supporting a media outlet that practices its patriotic duty to deliver relevant, need-to-know information that empowers readers, rather than manipulating or dumbing them down.

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