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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: Buy the Cracker Jacks to get the prize

Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

Since I write for a newspaper, naturally I operate with a certain bias that news is the best when it comes from the press.

I believe all media has its place in the world and is necessary to an informed public. But I am confident that newspaper drives the vehicle. I am even more confident that a community newspaper should be in everyone’s household (that’s a bit of shameless promotion and job security).

Take this newspaper for example. The Manchester Times has been around for over 130 years and I am confident that there is something in this newspaper that is appealing to everyone.

Maybe you are a sports person? We have plenty of that. Do you want to know what’s happening? Check the community calendar on 7A. You love opinions and editorials. Don’t turn the page. You need to know if your brother’s baby made the birth announcements. Check lifestyles. So, you’re a fisherman? Check page 4B for lake reports. Maybe you like to keep tabs on local government. Well we have that news in nearly every week. Maybe your niece placed in the Miss Manchester beauty pageant. Then go to page 2A. Your second cousin by marriage had a son, who then got married and had a daughter who married and divorced twice but had a son with the second husband and that son was student of the week … so you heard, anyway. Well you need to cut out the clipping and mail it to her; if you’ve even met this girl.

It’s not just this week. I feel strongly that every week we have a little something that is worth 75 cents to everyone.

But we do have those who seem to refuse to keep up with the news. Here is one of my favorite comments:

“Can you call and let me know when my baby is in the birth announcements? I don’t want to keep buying papers to see.”

That’s like giving away the prize for free without selling the cracker jacks, isn’t it? The newspaper business is, after all, a business.

Maybe we are big ole’ softies around here – baby shakers and hand kissers and such – but we will usually respect those requests and call and let a parent know. We wouldn’t want them to miss the birth announcement of their child for our pride. That is one of the benefits of a good, community newspaper.

But we do ask for a little help in return. If you know someone who doesn’t read the Manchester Times, I encourage you to tell them what they are missing.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a desperate cry for job security because that certainly is not the intention. But an informed community is a better community, and that is our aim here at the Manchester Times.

If someone isn’t picking up the paper to read then they aren’t sure where their tax dollars are going, they don’t know to send donations to a memorial fund for someone they knew in high school who passed away, they don’t know to lock the doors because their neighbor is a crazy thief and they don’t know Billy up the street hit a game-winning home run for the high school and a congratulations is in order if he happens to be outside.

I’m asking you to be informed. It’s healthy for you. It’s health for us. It’s healthy for our community.


-Josh Peterson is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer and is the editor of the Manchester Times. He can be reached by email at or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29.