By Larry Penner
Congratulations upon celebrating your 110th anniversary this past September. You remind me how fortunate we are to live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available. Sadly, most American cities, suburbs and small towns are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper.
Newspapers and magazines have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution, along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership due to competition from the Internet and other new information sources.
Great Neck residents have a number of daily newspapers to select from including the New York Daily News, Post, Times, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, along with freebies such as AM New York and Metro New York. Decades ago, we also had both the Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Press.
Daily newspapers concentrate on international, Washington, Albany, city hall, business and sports stories. They have few reporters assigned to cover local neighborhood news stories. These reporters have to compete against colleagues for limited available print space. As a result, daily newspapers miss significant news and political stories from our local villages and neighborhoods.
Weekly newspapers fill the void for coverage of local community news.
I’ve been grateful that for more decades than I care to admit, the Great Neck Record has afforded me the opportunity to express my views via letters to the editor, along with others who may have different opinions on the issues of the day. Thanks to you, an ordinary citizen like myself has the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of various elected officials at the city, state and federal level. Public officials are powerful with easy access to taxpayers dollars used on a regular basis to promote their views. This is done via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or ghost written by campaign or office staffers paid for by taxpayers on public time. Ordinary citizens only have the limited ability when we can to find the time and just submit a simple submission.
Local neighbors need to continue supporting all our weekly community newspapers. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the necessary revenues to help keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing. In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including the Great Neck Record and others.
Larry Penner has been a faithful reader since 1970.