The ancient art of storytelling drew more than 300 people to a gathering at Trinity Oaks Thursday night to hear a popular purveyor talk about his craft. John Hart, who grew up in Salisbury, has written his most popular novel yet, "Iron House." And though written on a computer and available in audio and e-book form as well as hardback, Hart's works rely on the same principles as tales of old: plot, character, language, imagination.
Technology changes how we acquire information and entertain ourselves, but it does not diminish the craving for either.
So newspapers march forward in the digital age, knowing that the way people consume news will continue to diversify and change, but the basic need that news organizations fill is a strong constant: the thirst for knowledge of what is going on in the world, especially in our own communities.
Today begins National Newspaper Week, but the name only hints at what news publishers have expanded into. The printed newspaper is the core product, but just as consumers like to do their banking in a variety of ways - in person, at the ATM, online - they now get their news in different ways, too. Most newspapers, including the Post, complement the printed edition with a website, videos, mobile app, email alerts, Facebook fan pages, tweets via Twitter and so on. But they rely on the same principles as the newspapers of decades gone by, serving as both watchdog and mirror of the community, striving for accuracy, timeliness and fairness. The only thing that's obsolete is the notion that the local newspaper is only ink on paper.
And with countless media covering the world and nation on a 24/7 news cycle, the community newspaper is in the unique position of dedicating itself to one beat: local, local, local. If you want to know about the county school board, the American Legion team, local crime, property taxes or your 102-year-old neighbor, the only source that covers it all, day in and day out, is the local newspaper.
According to research from 2011 by Scarborough USA, almost 70 percent of Americans read either a printed newspaper or its online counterpart within the past seven days. Frequency of daily newspaper readership rises steadily with level of education, says the Pew Research Center's Project on Excellence in Journalism.
So we speak to a larege, literate audience, the people who read books and newspapers. But we serve the entire community, readers and non-readers alike, by holding government accountable, publicizing community events, recording history and telling people's stories. Time and technology march on, but the mission remains the same.