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Black, White and in the Red

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October 27, 2011 by wcobserver

We received a general letter today that hit us pretty hard. The Siloam Springs Journal announced on Thursday, Oct. 20, that it was suspending publication after six months and 21 issues.

The primary reason given by Steve Milbourn, the Journal’s editor-publisher-and-general-jack-of-all-newspaper-positions was several personal health issues. From one person to another, we wish him a speedy recovery.

And the same goes when speaking as one editorial board to another. That’s because the Journal is just one of the few, small independently owned publications in Washington County, much less the country.

We see the Journal almost as brethren. While the big boys sit in their big towns with their big papers covering all the “big” issues, the Journal like the Observer is down in the trenches covering that which is slowly being forgotten – the community. We — i.e. the community newspapers not the “royal” editorial board — cover the small city governments, the local events and the local sports. It doesn’t take much to pick up the paper or flip on the computer to get news and information about Wall Street or the White House, the Hogs or the Fayetteville Bulldogs. But it does take a lot to find those willing to go out on a limb (a rotting industry in a suffering economy) to provide a service for their community.

As mentioned above (and in Mr. Milbourn’s letter), it’s not easy. The big boys can buy up what they want, get the manpower they need and have access to a lot of places. The community paper requires just that to survive – the community. Be it for financial reasons, information, helpful eyes and ears, copie editting, even flat-out content, that small-town paper needs the community.

That’s why we’ve taken the news of the Journal’s suspension to heart. It could mean Siloam Springs losing the little evidence for the outside world that it’s more than just some pit stop between Tulsa and Bentonville. Like the towns we cover as best we can, Siloam Springs has its own stories worth telling and the Journal was helping to do just that.

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