Our View: Embrace the future through our children


John F. Kennedy once said, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

As we struggle in today’s society with a lack of engagement, it can be argued the best way to fix the problem is to start from the beginning — our children. With a continuing and growing trend of misinformed and uninformed citizens in the nation, it is essential that children are taught to turn to newspapers to reverse this trend.

Newspaper in Education Week, an initiative of the American Press Institute, is celebrated annually during the first full school week in March, this year from March 3-7, and is a reminder to students, teachers, parents and others of the importance of reading the newspaper.

Unlike television and social media, the newspaper’s long-form journalism provides depth and history to topics that are decided by the voters of today and tomorrow.

As early as kindergarten, and before, children are taught the vital skills of reading and writing, and now that our primary communications are delivered through text messages, children are only getting snippets of what they should.

Each and every day teachers provide children with knowledge that will ideally help shape them into functioning, well-educated adults. Using the local newspaper as a resource is an opportunity to engage these children and teens in the news and information about their community and also show them how to get information themselves.

For the past several months the Herald has been on a mission to engage with children on their level through a monthly education page. Each month members of our staff go into the classroom and work with the students on a special page that appears in our paper on the fourth week of the month. We talk with the students about how newspapers work and their importance in a democracy. Most importantly, we listen to the students and their answers become the news on this page.

The role of a newspaper is to be a watchdog and keep the legs of government in check. A free press is guaranteed by the Constitution, but in the era of “fake news” with some government leaders calling newspapers the “enemy of the people,” it’s more important than ever to recognize the role newspapers play.

“Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates,” said Benjamin Franklin.

Without a free press, government is left unchecked, and a democracy cannot exist. This is even more important in a small community where without a local newspaper there is no one place to go to find out what is going on where you live.

Local newspapers foster a concern for community issues, and this extends beyond local government to the bustling volunteer activities, events and human stories within our community, many of which might otherwise go unnoticed without the attention local newspapers draw to them. Becoming acquainted with the heart of our community through the newspaper can give our future community members the passion that keeps local communities thriving.

Our kids are the future of this country, and our county. They will be the leaders who make the decisions for many years to come. It is important for them to learn the role that newspapers play, so they can continue to enjoy the freedoms we have enjoyed throughout our lives, and continue a legacy of community spirit.


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