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Real newspapers, real news

Considering all the attention in recent months to describing and decrying “fake news” in almost all media, it seems appropriate that the theme for this week, National Newspaper Week in 2017, should be “Real Newspapers … Real News.’

Here in the Tri-State area, residents are fortunate to have three local papers, each owned by the same company with a single publisher and a regional editor. Each paper has a unique record of serving the Cumberland Gap area for years. The papers are The Claiborne Progress, the Harlan Daily Enterprise and the Middlesboro Daily News.

Senior among the three, the Claiborne Progress is celebrating its 130th year of service, having been established in 1887. Harlan’s paper dates back to 1907, with the daily edition starting in 1928. Middlesboro’s entry on the local scene was 1911. All of them, over one hundred years old, have established records of reliability, integrity, and enterprise with their readers.

Printing processes have changed. Modern technology has enabled these papers to advance so that it’s not just the printed page that is delivered to us. Now, the news is easily accessed on laptops, home computers, and smart phones.

The news is prepared locally for the local readers by real journalists. That’s an important factor here in the Tri-State area where many of those who work for the newspapers are known personally to the readers. They are carrying on a tradition that has valued for more than a century the connection between citizens and the communities around them.

Through two major World Wars, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and many other major national and international crises, the papers have kept readers informed of what is going on in the world but have consistently kept their readers informed of the important events and happenings in the local town, county or community and the wider Tri-State area.

Now, in print, online, and via mobile devices, it is perhaps easier than ever for the local citizen to keep up with the news that is more important locally for the families that live in the Cumberland Gap area.

From church programs and family reunions, to community calendars and the crossword puzzle, from news of action and plans by local government bodies, from legal notices and classified ads, from wedding announcements to obituaries, from entertainment to local sports scores and up-to-date school news, you can turn regularly to your local newspaper for “real news.”

William H. Baker, native of Claiborne County and former resident of Middlesboro, may be contacted at Wbaker@limestone.edu