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Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbit shares her thoughts on the value of community journalism.

Here's an idea: Give a newspaper subscription for Christmas.

I have a friend who regards herself as informed because her TV is on all day blaring the headline of the moment. Much of it is uncooked news, raw scraps of visible violence without the preparation of fact checking, context or confirmation.

Sharon NesbitBecause violence sells, television loved it that two good citizens in London recently fended off a killer with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk.

But where, I wondered, does one get a narwhal tusk in an emergency?

Read deeper in written news from real reporters and you learn that it was on display in Fishmonger's Hall and the fellow who grabbed it used it as a 5-foot sword. I envision myself, 5 feet, 2 inches, with a 5-foot weapon defeating evil on the London Bridge. No telling where a good news story takes you.

I expect, if they are nattering about this on social media, it will have become a unicorn horn. With sparkles.

Other things I learned in print recently — concert choices this week at Mt. Hood Community College. Need music? Close by. And free.

And in the Sunday paper, people wandering old homesteads searching for ancient apple trees with varieties that were thought to be extinct. Homesteaders would take a start from their best apple to begin their lives in a new place. In many cases, the apple tree outlasted them.

And then news in this paper that the Fairview City Council is considering a roundabout at Fairview Parkway and Northeast Halsey. What a hoot, our first real roundabout.

Once mastered, the roundabout is a vast improvement. But it's a learning process. I was in Sisters recently when their first roundabout opened, big pickups and trucks all over the place. This is gonna be fun.

And less fun, this paper reported how many "unhoused" students there are at Reynolds High. I read every article in every paper on how to deal with the homeless problems. It is complex and hard, and solutions do not exist in sound bites.

This week in the newspaper, I learned of the demise of the Apostrophe Protection Society, run by a cranky fellow in Britain who, along with me and a few others, still understands the purpose of the apostrophe.

So, as a beat-up old journalist, let me repeat: Newspapers have been reporting news for a long time. We have a weird way of making money. We sell ads and copies of newspapers. We do not just write something, push a button and send it out there. Every writer at our paper is subject to the critical eyes of an editor, sometimes two, and finally, when the paper goes to the central desk, the eagle eyes of folks who can't wait to pounce on a mistake. That way we do not print the false news/hogwash that keeps parents from immunizing their children.

We still make mistakes. I was wrong last week in the history column. You will see a correction coming with credit to a couple of guys who pointed out my error, happy to know that their noggins are still working.

I have heard people say they don't read our paper because they disagreed with an editorial opinion made 30 years ago. I wonder how they deal with friends with cockeyed opinions? But if you do not agree with our editorial pages, we have a whole page devoted to letting you state your case.

People who have a local newspaper are damned lucky. You can give a real printed paper or a digital copy. Either way works for us. Our circulation number is 503-620-9797.

Visit this link to help SAVE community journalism.


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

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