From the Committee President to the Editor
As The Pawling Record celebrates its first issue, I would like to share with readers a few comments about how it all started.
Over the past few years, not having access to a reliable, regular local news outlet to inform me about what was going on locally bothered me in several ways. As a Village Trustee, I was concerned about the lack of public participation at our meetings. As a citizen, I wanted to know what was going on in the community and what events were being held by our community organizations. As a member of the Pawling Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, I felt that local businesses, especially the small ones, did not have a means to make themselves known. I knew there were a number of home-based or internetbased businesses that were unknown in the community, and I thought of how they could benefit by having a voice in a local paper.
About two years ago, I contacted my friend Chris Wood, who formerly operated The Pawling Press, to discuss possible ways of starting a new publication patterned on the traditional small town newspaper. Long-time resident Jay Morales, of Morales Communications, soon joined in the conversation, and a group was formed to put together the framework for a paper. We looked at a number of business and editorial models for disseminating community news and determined that our best format would be a “free” paper supported largely by advertisers. We believed that a publication free to average readers would increase circulation and consequently enhance advertising revenues. This approach is successful in many local communities. We also determined that the paper must not have political bias or commercial interest to ensure decency and respect for individuals, institutions, and viewpoints. To that end, we chose to form a not-for-profit entity that will be managed by a board of trustees selected from local charitable organizations. Within a matter of months, the Pawling Community Newspaper Committee grew to more than a dozen members of equally concerned residents who gave time and talent to a dream that has now come true.
Now that the day has arrived, we hope that everyone in Pawling will enjoy and give real support The Pawling Record.
Pawling Community Newspaper Committee
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Pawling Record, a local newspaper that celebrates community, culture, and commerce. As its name implies, the Record is a non-partisan publication that intends to record news and events in an unbiased fashion without pronounced political slant. If there is an editorial slant to the publication it can be summed up in one word: balance. The principal purpose of the Record is to celebrate what’s good about Pawling and its remarkable surroundings in the Hudson Valley.
We will naturally cover conflict, as needed, but always and only in the spirit of civil discourse that promotes balance, not agendas. Most of all, The Pawling Record is Pawling’s newspaper. It will need all of Pawling to lend support through advertising, contributions, information, and enthusiasm, and by making the new local paper a centerpiece of community conversation.
Letters to the Editor
Today we welcome the inaugural edition of The Pawling Record and celebrate the contributions of many community members who have offered time, money, expertise and, importantly, moral support for this venture. It is five long years since we have had a traditional local newspaper.
If you want to know what is happening in China, Venezuela, Syria or within the DC Beltway, a few taps on your iPhone or tablet will get you the latest and greatest. If you want to know what is happening in your community, that is another matter. If you have the time you can attend the municipal or school board meetings or listen to a podcast. If you are short on time you can, and many do, rely on social media. The problem with that, of course, is that anyone can post and there is no curation of the content. The term “fake news” has now entered the common vocabulary, and with 140 characters at your disposal how can one convey the nuances of so many critical issues?
Over the last couple of years, a group of dedicated and concerned local citizens has been working, pro bono, to re-invent the idea of a local newspaper. Readers now hold the product of those countless hours and dedicated effort in their hands.
This newspaper is founded on a number of principles including nonpartisanship, integrity, and the search for truth – qualities that are seemingly out of fashion but are fundamental to the mission of the paper and the well being of our community. The paper is a record of happenings not an opinion – hence its name.
There are three legs that support this newspaper’s mission – Community, Commerce and Culture. They are inter-related, and their development is vital if we want to meet the challenges of the future.
This newspaper will only survive if it is embraced by the community as a whole. That means that we need advertisers to advertise to provide the revenue stream that will sustain this venture. It needs the community to support those who advertise with their patronage. It needs readers to subscribe and donate to the paper although they can pick it up for free at various points in the community. It needs contributors who will provide content on the whole range of subjects that constitute the community.
If all of us really want this venture to endure, it will take the concerted action of us all to achieve that.