MURPHY'S LAW Recording history and still creating memories

By Patrick Murphy

135 years old.

Not me, the Humphrey Democrat.

The latest issue starts the newspaper’s 135th year of publication.

People come and go, but the paper has been here to record their history.

That’s what newspapers do, they record history of people, towns, events, life-changing and even world-changing happenings.

While newspapers are no longer the sole provider of news they used to be, they do provide the best source of news.

While so many people flock to 24-hour news channels and social media to hear what they want to hear, newspapers remain the source for facts, regardless of political leanings.

Whether people realize it or not, it is newspapers that keep their memories. 

Scrapbooks and keepsakes are filled with newspaper articles because those papers recorded the history. Pictures, columns and stories hang to refrigerators. 

No one is recording radio or television newscasts to keep and replay for their children and grandchildren years later, but they do have old newspaper articles and entire newspapers to show important news from events both beautiful and tragic. They have the pictures from the newspapers when their children did something funny or cute or important. 

No one knows better than the owner of newspapers that times have changed.

Adapt or die isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s how we live our lives every day.

Newspapers have had to implement elements of television by offering video, and to keep up with those who get their information from their phones or pads, newspapers offer electronic editions.

While my newspaper’s bread and butter is print, the E-Edition has kept subscription numbers consistent, and that helps keep the business going.

Of course advertising revenue is the difference between hanging in there and being profitable.

Newspaper ads are permanent. Need a plumber or a job, grab the newspaper; want to know what services are available at area hospitals or clinics, it’s in the newspaper.

Regular advertisers are seen and noted by readers for future needs. 

The newspaper industry continues to change, and there are more and more papers ending their runs and newspapers, once independent, are being swallowed up by large corporations, which is nothing new to people in all professions.

The landscape used to be dotted by family farms, but now have been eaten up by large corporate farming operations.

It’s that way all over the business world, and newspapers are not the exception. They are being scooped up by hedge funds who cut staff, cut services, cut print editions and move everything online to save money and build profits.

Do you think any of them care about recording your history?

One hundred and thirty-five years and counting. Make sure the next time you decide to ignore your local paper, post your goods on Facebook or decide not to subscribe or renew your subscription, remember the history you are missing out on.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.