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Our View: Newspapers are still important to communities

The National Newspaper Association finished a readership survey in 2013. The gist was that even in the electronic/digital age, two-thirds of small-town residents rely on their local paper for news and advertising information.

The survey noted this reliance continues even as more readers use mobile devices to shop, read and communicate -- 39 percent say they use smartphones to access local news.

Newspaper websites, the survey found, remained the leading provider of local news, followed distantly by an area TV station and national online aggregators such as Google and Yahoo.

NNA President Robert M. Williams Jr., publisher of the Blackshear Times in Georgia, said research consistently shows community papers are the dominant local news medium.

“We know that it is very difficult for a good community to survive without a good newspaper and vice versa,” Williams said. “The high levels of trust, the consistent pass-along rate and the desire to find the newspaper in whatever medium the reader wishes to use -- whether mobile, print or web -- demonstrate the value of good community journalism.”

As a community paper, the Hudson Star-Observer’s coverage is vast: Up-and-coming businesses, new businesses, such as the plans for a new Walmart Superstore; the accomplishments of business leaders and employees; political races for mayor, city council, village, town, county and school boards; new housing developments; major road and highway projects; exposing a rural intersection safety problem; weather-related frozen pipe leaks and other havoc caused by major storms; the local battle with heroin among our youths; local authors; obituaries; wedding and anniversary announcements; police, fire and court news; events like the recent Hot Air Affair or the antique appraiser at the library; continued local sports coverage of all teams; local sporting milestones such as Olympic participants; the school district’s accomplishments and struggles; Hudsonites' travels around the world -- all this and more, week after week in print, and hour by hour online.

That’s what you find in your local paper, the Star-Observer.

Major news outlets, especially in the Twin Cities, swoop in when there’s high drama or human tragedy, like the 2012 Schaffhausen triple murders, or the recent shootings in downtown Hudson -- but they then move on to search elsewhere. The Star-Observer, the local paper, stays behind to cover the local news -- from the provocative to the more mundane.

We’d like to think that recognition from peers during the annual Wisconsin Newspaper Association contest shows we’re on the right track. The Star-Observer often is ranked near the top among Wisconsin weeklies in WNA’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The range of news that we cover, including the partial and ever-changing list above, is what helps to shape and define the community we call Hudson. As we go along, we keep turning the page to see what the shape of our community becomes next.

Thanks to those of you who keep turning the pages with us.