Need for local news has never been more important


The 24-hour news cycle makes my head hurt. No matter which side of the argument you fall on, the only effect the president’s impeachment will have on any of us is a guaranteed spike in our blood pressure.

Mass media, particularly newspapers, are becoming less important as millennials rely more on their cellphones and 140-character social media posts for their information. Sad but true, we used to joke 20 years ago that every obituary in a newspaper equated to another lost subscriber.

The result is a community that’s less informed.

The need for responsible reporting at the local level has never been more important. While we won’t feel the ramifications of an impeachment trial or understand how the trade deal with Mexico and Canada will affect our lives, we feel the impact of everything that happens in our own neighborhoods.

Local newspapers like the Clay Today is where you learn about your tax rates, schools and churches. It’s where you read about your neighbors. It’s where you find the tools and resources that lifts a community. It’s where you find out if your favorite team won or lost its last game.

More than 2,100 newspapers have disappeared since 2004, according to a recent study by the University of North Carolina. More than 50% of newspaper employees have been laid off. To make up the difference, too many newspapers have been forced to use stories from wire services and news services. Layouts, editing and printing often are done in other cities and states – and even further from any kind of significant local knowledge. Many of the newspapers in Florida are laid out in Texas. Did you know that?

Billionaire Warren Buffett said it best: “If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable… papers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to tightly bound communities and having a sensible internet strategy will remain viable for a long time.”

Local newspapers have been slow to keep pace with an evolving industry, particularly with digital platforms. We will continue to expand our website,, and our Facebook page, Clay Today Newspaper, to include more breaking news. We also offer a weekly newsletter every Monday that outlines some of the top stories of the week. To get the newsletter emailed for free, just contact me at We’ll add you to the list that’s already expanded to 13,200.

We aren’t going away at Clay Today. Our owners are a family who’ve been in the newspaper business for more than 125 years. They’ve stayed in business because they’ve stuck to a formula that won’t fail by being part of the community, not just reporting on it.

Our roots are local. Our focus is local. Our commitment is local.

New housing developments, the First Coast Expressway and new business are feeding the county’s amazing growth. With it will come good jobs, new schools and a greater need to know what’s happening in our own backyards. The cost of a subscription is less than an early-bird special, but its value is worth so much more.

Clay Today will continue to tell you about your neighbors. Now we need you to tell your neighbors about us.


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