September 24, 2012 | Back to: Columns

More than ever, The Union is your newspaper

I’m told there was a time when newspapers weren’t so interested in “your news.”


It was apparently an era in which editors and reporters felt they knew best what readers wanted to know, which left “your news” often dismissed and destined for the circular file.


I say “I’m told” because that certainly has not been the approach here, at least for the better part of the decade I’ve been with The Union. In fact, more than ever in its 148-year history, The Union is your newspaper.


When our readers, aka our customers, call and ask us to do a story, we do our level best to honor that request, whether they seek information on a government issue or a feature story on a giant tomato displayed at the county fair. And though it’s true we might not be able to assign a staff member to write an exposé on that extraordinarily large fruit, it does not mean we don’t want to share the story.


With a little help from our friends, we can still find a way to say “yes.”


Through reader-submitted content, no longer are community newspapers limited to providing coverage by the number of journalists working their beats and the hours they have available to do so. The Union has been very successful in cultivating such sources of community news in recent years, whether through a nonprofit volunteer submitting a brief on an upcoming fundraiser, a high school coach calling in a game report or the vast volume of letters to the editor arriving in our in-box each day.


As we’ve recently re-launched TheUnion.com, we also seek to reaffirm our commitment to bringing our community into your newspaper each day.


There are myriad ways of joining that cause, including a direct portal to providing your news to the community at the bottom of the home page of TheUnion.com, where you’ll find the heading “Reader Tools.” Click that link and you’ll be able to directly contribute community news, likely to be published in sections such as TownTalk, Learning, Business or Sports in the print edition of The Union.


You can also announce your family’s moments in life — such as births, weddings, engagements, anniversaries or graduations — you seek to share with the community.


We’re also creating new ways of participating, whether entering the “Me & My Dog Photo Contest” at TheUnion.com or taking a shot at winning a free pizza in our weekly “You write the caption!” contest on our Facebook page.

We also intend to return a comments feature to our website, although third-party vendor issues have caused an unanticipated delay on that front.

Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, also offer an opportunity for readers to become potential sources, as we share some of the stories we are working on and how to contact the reporter responsible for the coverage of that topic.

Of course, we continue to encourage readers to send us a Letter to the Editor or an Other Voices guest column on community-relevant issues or, perhaps, a “kudos” letter giving that much-deserved pat on the back to a member of the community.

An editorial page is a good measure of the diversity of opinion and level of passion within a community. Clearly, there is no shortage of either in western Nevada County. And with our soon-to-be launched feature “That’s Debatable,” we’re seeking to provide the kind of pro-and-con conversations that delve deep into issues relevant to our community.

Should Grass Valley and Nevada City school districts consolidate, as members of both boards have begun discussions? Should Nevada City consider outsourcing its police coverage, as some council members suggest they’re willing to take a look? Has the county’s marijuana cultivation nuisance ordinance gone too far, as one group of residents has challenged in court?


We’d like to hear your thoughts on local issues like these and others with hope of fostering a productive forum focused on solutions in “That’s Debatable.” Send your guest commentary to Letters@TheUnion.com or make use of the aforementioned Reader Tools on TheUnion.com home page.


Finally, The Union will soon be offering another opportunity for readers to participate on our opinion page through the paper’s editorial board. We’re seeking subscribers who can commit to a one-hour weekly conversation on issues affecting our community in order to help form The Union’s stance to be stated in our editorials. Contact me directly if you’d be interested in representing our readers in such a role.

We look forward to discussing the issues at hand on these pages and continuing to provide comprehensive coverage of our western Nevada County community. And now, more than ever, we invite you to join The Union in that effort.

Contact Managing Editor Brian Hamilton via email at bhamilton@theunion.com or by phone at (530) 477-4249.

With a little help from our friends, we can still find a way to say “yes.”



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The Union Updated Nov 16, 2012 12:01PM Published Oct 12, 2012 10:36AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.