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Kelly Merritt: Support your local newspaper (Daily Mail Opinion)

There’s something about a daily newspaper that bonds a community. Actually, there’s a lot about the daily newspaper that binds a wide range of people — from policymakers to tradesmen and women to professionals and retirees to school kids — into a stronger community.

Today, with more information choices at our fingertips than ever in human history, folks can get news online and on 24-hour television. But newspapers, print and online, are still, in my opinion, the best place to read an aggregated version of the news in one package delivered right to your home daily or your electronic device throughout the day.

And for local news, sports, opinion and entertainment information, nothing beats the package assembled and delivered daily by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

But you’ve got a Facebook account. Maybe Twitter, Instagram, Reddit or another free platform. So why bother paying for a local newspaper subscription? Because you don’t know if you can trust so many online sources. Do you know who is putting that news into your internet stream and do you know their intent?

There’s no guarantee that the folks assembling some of those fantastic click-bait stories aren’t Russians in a fake news factory — or even American creators of fake news.

But you do know who is putting together your local newspaper. You sit near them in restaurants around town, see them at council meetings and public events, and one or two might live in your neighborhood.

With the newspaper, particularly with the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch and the other papers of the HD Media group, you know that the folks are local (find names, telephone numbers and email addresses at www.wvgazettemail.com) and you know they have the concerns of the community in mind.

You can call them and say, “Great job” on a story they wrote. Or you can call and challenge things in a story you believe to be unfair or inaccurate.

The point is, your local newspaper provides the content you can trust. And your local newspaper needs the community’s support more than ever. Especially now that ad revenue for newspapers is declining, even for local digital news, while ad revenue balloons for Facebook and Google.

So, as my parting shot on my last day of employment with the Charleston Gazette-Mail, I ask you, dear reader, to keep reading. Become a subscriber, if you are not already, and encourage your friends and co-workers to subscribe too. Print subscriptions include digital access, and there’s a special 99 cent digital-only promotion underway now.

Share Gazette-Mail content on your social media feed. Call to suggest story ideas when you think something is newsworthy. Notice the advertisements. Patronize the advertisers and tell them you saw their ad in the Gazette-Mail.

Encourage your employer and other businesses to advertise in the Gazette-Mail, as it’s a fine way to reach policymakers and customers.

The community needs its local newspaper. And the newspaper certainly needs its local community.

Since July of 2013, I have had the honor of being one of the professionals who work hard to provide quality content for our readers. As editor of the Daily Mail Opinion page, my task is to represent the conservative viewpoint of our community, sharing views, advocating on issues, and fussing over the views us conservatives don’t like.

I’ve met many great people, written some good editorials (and some lousy ones), edited many great columns from contributors, and learned so much.

Yet I recently accepted employment outside of journalism. My wife, Melissa, and I will be moving to beautiful New England to take on new challenges and enjoy new vistas.

To the readers — whether your political alignment is conservative, liberal or that wide range in between — thank you for reading and thanks especially to those who have contributed, called or commented one way or another on the Daily Mail Opinion page.

Since last June, I’ve also had the pleasure of overseeing a weekly feature section on economic and cultural topics important to West Virginia. I thank the many readers who read and have responded with kind words about the Friday Daily Mail WV section.

Thanks to the folks at the Charleston Daily Mail who gave me this unique opportunity five years ago, as well as to the Gazette-Mail owners, past and present, who keep Daily Mail Opinion going. But mostly, thanks to the many readers who have made the job worthwhile.

Keep reading. God bless you all. And God bless the state of West Virginia!

Kelly Merritt is now former editor of the Daily Mail Opinion page and Daily Mail WV section of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Follow him on Twitter at @EKMerritt.

Funerals for Sunday, August 18, 2019

Combs, Amy - 5 p.m., Bible Center Church, Charleston.

Michael, Sherry - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Morrison, Ray - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Smith, Robert - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Stump. Arleen - 1 p.m., Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Wright, Gary - 2 p.m., Preston Funeral Home, Charleston.