A little history of the business
By By Jason Cannon
The week went by with little fanfare and celebration, but earlier this month National Newspaper Week passed. Usually held in early October, National Newspaper Week is a time for the nation to reflect on the importance of newspapers in our society.
The boom of newspapers in the mid-1800s is largely attributed to the growth in the literacy rate in the U.S. in the late 19th century.
Newspapers are also responsible for some of the most important public disclosures in history.
Most recently, a series published by the Birmingham News uncovered the rampant corruption in the state's two-year college system. If not for the News and reporter Brett Blackledge, this likely never would have ended. Assuming someone did uncover it, it may have taken several more years and millions of taxpayers' dollars would have been squandered.
Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to celebrate a special day, I thought I would take this opportunity to let you a little further into the Franklin County Times, your community newspaper.
The Franklin County Times is said to have begun publication in 1879. The fire of 1953 which destroyed the Franklin County Courthouse also destroyed files of Franklin County newspapers and much data must now be gathered from clippings and oral accounts handed down from generation to generation.
Boone Newspapers purchased the Franklin County Times in 1978. Boone Newspapers – the company for which all of us at the Times work for – is not some large faceless corporation, and it's based in Tuscaloosa.
My bosses and peers frequently visit the staff here in Russellville. They care about this newspaper and the community.
Mr. Boone – yes, there is a Mr. Boone – takes community journalism seriously and charges the managers of the newspaper with the responsibility of making sure our papers are an accurate reflection of the communities that we serve.
Mr. Boone also stresses the importance of community involvement and civic engagement. Currently the members of the staff here are members of many Sunday School classes, civic organizations, local farmer support organizations and other boards and committees chartered to make Franklin County a better place.
The Times is published by local residents for local readers. More than half of the employees here are lifelong residents of Franklin County and graduates of the city or county schools system.
The vast majority of us live in Franklin County. I moved to Russellville with my wife, Tiffany, and our daughter, Lizzie, slightly more than a year ago.
I'm a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in journalism. Basically, I went to school to learn how to work at a newspaper.
Myself and the staff here strive every day to put out quality, tempered journalism that keeps our readers informed about what's going on around them.
Sometimes that's good news. Sometimes it's not. However, I firmly believe that there's a little good news in everything.
If a local child is killed in a tornado, is that good news? Of course it's not.
But if just one parent reads that story and takes that as an opportunity to talk to their child about tornado safety and to practice their severe weather safety plan, then I think that's great news.
Happy belated National Newspapers Week.