UC Ingalls Hospice ad 728x90px 102621 1
Thomas L. Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp

Give thanks to your local paper

By Thomas L. Knapp

Around Thanksgiving, I usually take a little time to think about who and what I’m thankful for. That seems to be the point, after all. This year, for various reasons, my thoughts and appreciation turn toward journalists, newspapers and other news media.

Sometimes the people and institutions we rely on to keep us informed get a bad rap, and sometimes they deserve it.

When the Washington Post and New York Times act more as stenographers for the political class than reporters of the facts, we all lose.

SWNH ThomasKnapp 092515

Thomas L. Knapp

When trusted (by their particular partisan audiences, anyway) sources of information like Tucker Carlson and Rachel Maddow. who pretend to seriousness but then answer defamation suits with the “Alex Jones” defense — that they’re just entertainers whose statements are hyperbole and should never be relied on as factually accurate — they embarrass an honorable and worthy profession. Even mere “opinion journalists” (like myself) should operate from a respect for fact and truth.

But the Post, the Times, Fox/Carlson and MSNBC/Maddow aren’t the institutions and journalists I’m thinking of in expressing thanks.

I’m thinking — of course! — of whistle-blower journalists like Julian Assange and foreign correspondents like Danny Fenster, cooling their heels in cells for bringing us the truth. And of the many journalists killed, accidentally or purposely, “in the line of duty” while covering wars and investigating crimes.

More than that, though, I’m thinking of America’s local and community newspapers, the dailies and weeklies scattered across the country which continue to do the job of keeping us informed and bringing us together (or at least facilitating our arguments). And, of course, the fine people who write and edit those publications.

Yes, I’m biased: I got my start in “hard,” just the facts, ma’am journalism more than 40 years ago, writing club notices for publication in my hometown daily, the Lebanon, Missouri Daily Record. I moved on to my junior high, high school and college papers, long before eventually finding my perch in opinion/advocacy journalism.

If you know how your local high school athletes are making out, or which local church is hosting an ice cream social, or which local hero had a birthday or went to the hospital, thank your local paper. If you know what your neighbors think about a pending bond issue or local scandal, thank that paper’s letters editor.

America’s local dailies and weeklies are supposedly dying. At the very least, many have moved entirely online or cut down the size and frequency of their print editions.

That’s sad. We need them, and we should appreciate them. They’re a key ingredient in the glue that holds us together, part of the mix that constitutes what Thomas Paine called “so celestial an article as freedom.” Discussing our problems may not solve them, but not discussing them certainly won’t. A free press is still largely where the productive substance of such discussions happens.

This Thanksgiving and in the days after, please spare a moment of thanks (and perhaps a subscription check!) for your local newspaper of choice.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Leave a Comment





Local News

The late CPD Officer Ella French.

‘They tried to taint Ella’s legacy’

Aldermen furious with mayor, COPA chief By Tim Hadac The three aldermen representing Clearing and Garfield Ridge are among 20 City Council members opposing the appointment of Andrea Kersten as the next Chief Administrator of Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Kersten, the current interim chief of COPA, came under fire recently for releasing a report…

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 4.30.36 PM

Roadrunners are state volleyball champs

Snack With Santa is an event founded by longtime Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Dybala near 40 years ago. It offers a bit of Christmas cheer for children and underscores the local business community’s commitment to the neighborhood. --File photo

Holiday warmth is straight ahead

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to it because it’s all about family, whether it’s family of blood or heart or both. People actually slow down and catch up with each other. It’s not about…

GSWNH_CityLeadersVax_111921

Pushback over ‘conscience’ law change

Measure would close vax loophole By Peter Hancock Capitol News Illinois and Tim Hadac A number of Southwest Siders are pushing back against a new state law designed to clear the way for employers to enforce vaccination, testing and other mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The measure, Senate Bill 1169, amends the Illinois…

GSWNH_BFEDM2_111921

Back in their dancing shoes

  After the pandemic forced them off the stage for more than 20 months, the boys and girls of Ballet Folklórico Estrella del Mar donned their costumes and dancing shoes last week and performed for Big Shoulders Fund representatives visiting St. Mary Star of the Sea School in West Lawn. Founded in 2015 at the…

Chicago Police Department

Warn of business heists in Wrightwood, Chicago Lawn

From staff reports A cluster of early-morning burglaries of businesses in Wrightwood and Chicago Lawn has prompted police to issue a warning. Crime scene include: 7800 block of South Oakley on Oct. 19. 3000 block of West 63rd Street on Oct. 21. 8200 block of South Kedzie on Nov. 7. 7800 block of South Kedzie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF November 24, 2021

Chicago Christian freshman Charity Love moves up court against Eisenhower in the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Basketball: Shepard, Knights among four area teams to open season at Bobby Bolton Classic

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Four area teams competed in the eight-team Bobby Bolton Classic at Richards, and each showed some bright spots and had some sloppy moments. That was to be expected. Richards, Oak Lawn, Chicago Christian and Shepard were all opening the season with young teams. According to their rosters, 15 of 54 players…

Ms. Xheraj's fifth-grade class at Wharton School. (Supplied photo)

Wharton fifth-graders take first place in math competition

By Carol McGowan A class at District 104’s Wharton 5th Grade Center in Summit recently celebrated a big win. Ms. Xheraj’s class took first place in the Region 7 Math Online Sumdog Competition. Sumdog’s free online math contests tout being a fun way to motivate students as they compete against other classes and schools, either…

Rory Dames, shown during the NWSL semifinals in Portland, resigned at the Chicago Red Stars coach a day after the team played in the league’s championship game. Photo by IMI

Pro soccer report: Red Stars lose Dames after losing in NWSL title game

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent After a bizarre season that saw many of their best players injured for much of the time, a 5-0 loss to open the season and the thrill of making it to the NWSL championship game, Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames announced late Sunday night he was resigning. “For 11 years,…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
USALiquidators WebAd
The late CPD Officer Ella French.

‘They tried to taint Ella’s legacy’

Aldermen furious with mayor, COPA chief By Tim Hadac The three aldermen representing Clearing and Garfield Ridge are among 20 City Council members opposing the appointment of Andrea Kersten as the next Chief Administrator of Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Kersten, the current interim chief of COPA, came under fire recently for releasing a report…

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 4.30.36 PM

Roadrunners are state volleyball champs

Snack With Santa is an event founded by longtime Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Dybala near 40 years ago. It offers a bit of Christmas cheer for children and underscores the local business community’s commitment to the neighborhood. --File photo

Holiday warmth is straight ahead

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to it because it’s all about family, whether it’s family of blood or heart or both. People actually slow down and catch up with each other. It’s not about…

GSWNH_CityLeadersVax_111921

Pushback over ‘conscience’ law change

Measure would close vax loophole By Peter Hancock Capitol News Illinois and Tim Hadac A number of Southwest Siders are pushing back against a new state law designed to clear the way for employers to enforce vaccination, testing and other mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The measure, Senate Bill 1169, amends the Illinois…

GSWNH_BFEDM2_111921

Back in their dancing shoes

  After the pandemic forced them off the stage for more than 20 months, the boys and girls of Ballet Folklórico Estrella del Mar donned their costumes and dancing shoes last week and performed for Big Shoulders Fund representatives visiting St. Mary Star of the Sea School in West Lawn. Founded in 2015 at the…

Chicago Police Department

Warn of business heists in Wrightwood, Chicago Lawn

From staff reports A cluster of early-morning burglaries of businesses in Wrightwood and Chicago Lawn has prompted police to issue a warning. Crime scene include: 7800 block of South Oakley on Oct. 19. 3000 block of West 63rd Street on Oct. 21. 8200 block of South Kedzie on Nov. 7. 7800 block of South Kedzie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF November 24, 2021

Chicago Christian freshman Charity Love moves up court against Eisenhower in the Bobby Bolton Classic. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Basketball: Shepard, Knights among four area teams to open season at Bobby Bolton Classic

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Four area teams competed in the eight-team Bobby Bolton Classic at Richards, and each showed some bright spots and had some sloppy moments. That was to be expected. Richards, Oak Lawn, Chicago Christian and Shepard were all opening the season with young teams. According to their rosters, 15 of 54 players…

Ms. Xheraj's fifth-grade class at Wharton School. (Supplied photo)

Wharton fifth-graders take first place in math competition

By Carol McGowan A class at District 104’s Wharton 5th Grade Center in Summit recently celebrated a big win. Ms. Xheraj’s class took first place in the Region 7 Math Online Sumdog Competition. Sumdog’s free online math contests tout being a fun way to motivate students as they compete against other classes and schools, either…

Rory Dames, shown during the NWSL semifinals in Portland, resigned at the Chicago Red Stars coach a day after the team played in the league’s championship game. Photo by IMI

Pro soccer report: Red Stars lose Dames after losing in NWSL title game

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent After a bizarre season that saw many of their best players injured for much of the time, a 5-0 loss to open the season and the thrill of making it to the NWSL championship game, Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames announced late Sunday night he was resigning. “For 11 years,…

CRR NH Airport Heating Cooling
CRR NH Les Brothers Restaurant House Ad