Sophie Nulph is a sophomore journalism major and writes “Open-Minded” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Sophie at email@example.com.
Growing up in Westfield, Indiana, I knew we had a newspaper, but I never read it. I usually just watched the local news in Indianapolis – which I don’t really constitute as “local” – and read about global events online.
But, this summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern for one of those newspapers I never really read – the Current.
While the writing in itself was awesome and taught me so much, the most important lesson I took away from this summer was the revelation of how important local news outlets are to their respective communities.
When I first began to write for the Current, I really felt like an uncultured swine. There were so many events happening in my community I never knew about. There were fundraisers, construction projects, grand openings, events and people I was given the opportunity to cover. I was truly angry at myself for how much I was missing in my own community.
One story I got to cover that I will always remember was an article about a tragedy that turned into an amazing fundraiser.
I wrote a story about Sit. Bark! Repeat, a fundraiser in the Geist community, that was put on at a local vineyard by an organization called Kassie Kares. Chalene Barun started the foundation in memory of her daughter, Kassie Barun, who died after falling 40 feet while hiking during her study abroad program.
I had the opportunity to interview Chalene Barun about the fundraiser, and she really tugged at my heartstrings. She spoke with such gratitude in her voice from the ways her daughter was able to affect so many people’s lives.
“Kassie’s life came to such an abrupt end,” Barun said. “She had so many plans to serve. That was, for me and my family, the biggest loss of all.”
After this interview, I felt compelled to make my audience see this organization as humanized. To me, it was not just a story. It was a way to keep Kassie’s name alive through telling people about this foundation and fundraiser.
I realized I don’t just live in a developing town; I live in a city with amazing people who have created amazing things.
Then, I began to think about local news outlets that are barely able to sustain themselves.
Why are we losing local newspapers when Americans trust them more? Where is the disconnect happening? I am lucky enough to live in a fairly wealthy county that can support its local newspapers, but what about all of the counties, cities and towns that don’t have that luxury?
Without local news outlets, people wouldn’t be informed about fundraisers that raise money for childhood cancer or about water exercises that help reduce stress and increase mobility and flexibility.
The importance of local newspapers still exists and is imperative in communities. Whether that be on television, paper copy or online, people have a right to know what is happening in their community.
I thought I knew my city until began to read the paper. I quickly realized, I only knew the parts of my city I had been exposed to by my school, peers and family.
I encourage everyone to pick up a newspaper, go online or listen in on local news outlets more often. Without them, information won’t spread and stories won’t be told about the amazing people and events around you.