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Column: In praise of the local newspaper

By Theresa P. Pierce
For the Salisbury Post
My brother-in-law works for a newspaper. He has been concerned recently that his job may be in jeopardy. His concerns prompted me to write this letter.
The reasons I think I need a hometown newspaper are numerous. (1) As a teacher, I follow my students over the years. (2) A very wise lady once told me the value of reading a newspaper. (3) Television and the Internet don’t fully cover close-to-home events.
As a classroom teacher with over 20 years’ experience, I have utilized my hometown paper to follow my students in sports, academics and marriage. When I first started teaching, a fellow educator modeled for me the joy of giving back to my students. She taught me to clip articles about the children I had taught, attach a congratulatory note and sent it to them. This has given me great joy. I scour the paper for names and faces I recognize.
Numerous students over the years have written back to say how touched they were to be remembered.
Before photocopiers, it may have meant more to get an extra picture from the paper to pass along to a relative. However, it surprises me that the students still like the extra clipping and word of encouragement. Thank you, Becky Sasser, for the inspiration.
A very wise lady once told me that “teachers should read the paper, travel and take the world to their classroom.” She also pointed out that “many children only see the world through their teacher’s eyes.” Over the years, I have clipped funny photos from the paper to post on my bulletin board. I’ve used the newspapers to spark debates and make students laugh. I was privileged to take part in a “Newspaper in the Classroom” program with other educators. We learned how to teach using cartoons for dialogue, dissect news into categories and create our own classroom version of a local paper. The program was sponsored by the Salisbury Post. Thank you!
The wise educator who inspired me to read my paper each day and to be well informed is Dr. Martha West. She still encourages me to this day, and I appreciate her wisdom and encouragement.
Lastly, I watch television news but rarely hear the good news about my hometown. Yes, the paper is on the Internet, but in a shorter version. Reading the paper for me is like reading a good book. I can pick it up and carry it on the porch, in the car or on a trip. Weddings, human interest stories and local sports are my favorites.
If I have been out of town, the first thing I read when I get home is the local headlines. I grieve over the obituaries of friends and acquaintances. I cut out coupons and recipes (some of which I never try). I follow the daily cartoons and make connections to my children, aunts and uncles. I check the movie listings and highlight shows I plan to watch. My husband patiently reads what’s left and never complains about the holes in the paper.
Finally, he takes them to the recycling center, and the whole process starts all over again. Thanks, Brad!
Local newspapers give us a sense of place. I hope my brother-in-law gets to keep his job. We need consistency in life. What a loss I would feel without the written words of the Salisbury Post, my hometown newspaper for the last 28 years.
– – –
Theresa P. Pierce lives in Granite Quarry.

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