ROSE NOLEN: The value of local news is often in the small details

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

One of the most valuable commodities people have at their disposal these days is the local newspaper. It’s something most people take for granted.

Usually, people look first at the front page. They want to know what has gone on while they’ve been asleep.

Yet it's not enough to know what has gone on in the world. Of course, that’s important, but people tend to be self-centered about information. They particularly want to know what has gone on around them, in their own neighborhood.

They’re not just looking for crime news to see if they have to worry about being harmed. They are looking for any kind of local news. They want to be informed about what is going on wherever they are.

That’s something you can’t always get in a big city newspaper. It may not tell you what’s going on next door.

The big newspaper isn't likely to tell you if your neighbor has won the lottery. It may tell you about the guy in the state who won the lottery, the one you've never met.

But the place where he bought his ticket isn’t where you buy yours, so what difference does it make?

If a new car dealer is moving into town and has all his new models on sale this weekend, that's nice, but it won't help if you have to work this weekend.

In other words, news isn’t news if it’s not news to you.

When I read the obituaries, I’m looking for people who happened to have passed from my community. I want to send condolences to my friends and neighbors. I want to be with them during the hours of their bereavement.

The newspaper from my community will inform me about this news. I can’t depend on the big city newspaper to bring me news from my hometown.

What about social events? Is a newspaper from somewhere else going to tell me that my daughter’s best friend is engaged? How are my friends supposed to know that I’m getting married if they don’t read the announcement in the newspaper?

My best friend’s birthday is next week and I’m throwing a party. Where am I supposed to find out who is having a sale on ham and chicken wings next week and where I can find an inexpensive birthday cake?

I’ll look for grocery ads in the local newspaper, of course. I can find it right there,  beside my front step. I don’t even have to wait for mail delivery.

All I have to do is reach down and pick it up. 

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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