Days like today are why I love this job

On days like today, being the publisher of The Alpena News puts a smile on my face.

While many would like to write newspapers off as being dinosaurs in the journalism industry, it is a newspaper like today’s that reminds readers of the important role community newspapers still play in the world.

And, for the record, I have news for those who wish to write the newspaper industry’s obituary — we are alive and kicking like never before.

First, on Page 1A, News staffers have begun an extensive series of stories entitled “This Is Us.” The series examines the attributes of the region, its goals and explores how those compare across the 45th Parallel to Traverse City. The series focuses on what makes Northeast Michigan unique and special.

Ultimately, readers will discover, the best way to prosper is by being true to your own identity.

The series launching today continues to the Sports pages.

The group of stories, photographs and statistics make for a very interesting read — one that will leave you pondering this place you call home. Our reporters have spent weeks interviewing sources, then writing and editing the stories to arrive at this point.

But the series won’t end today. It will continue Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as well.

It is the kind of reporting you only will find in a newspaper.

In my estimation, it is what separates newspaper journalism from all the others, as it allows readers to “deep-dive” into a series that is filled with solid facts and information.

I found the stories printed today incredibly interesting and thought-provoking. And the advantage I have is that I also have read the stories that will follow on the days ahead. And, trust me, you’ll want to read them as soon as the newspaper is delivered to your door next week.

Each of them is every bit as good as what you’ve read today.

Honestly, if all I read was this series, I would be loving the newspaper today. But there is so much more, as well. While every page is interesting, I will mention one other of particular interest to me this morning: the front page of the Northern Lifestyles section. There, Managing Editor Justin Hinkley has used his reporting skills to share with readers an interesting look into the world of “prepping.”

I admit to having known next to nothing about that growing phenomenon, but read with fascination the story of two brothers who are well-stocked and prepared to survive on their own in a long-term emergency situation. According to the story, 160 million Americans are “preppers” at one level or another.

Those are the reasons I love working for, and reading, a newspaper.

Think about it: for $1.25 today, or about the price of a cup of coffee, I already have learned so many new things, and I only have just skimmed a small amount to today’s pages. There still is so much more awaiting.

Without doubt, I am prejudiced.

Even still, my smile is wide, indeed, this morning as I read my newspaper.

I can’t think of a better way to start my day.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.