Why do we do news?

As I close in on five months at the helm here at Winnemucca Publishing and National Newspaper Week looms, it seems like a good time to reflect. 

Why do I do this? Why do I come in each day and put these words on these pages? Why do I spend so much time trying to find the right stories for these papers? Working in newspapers was specifically what I did not want to do with my life. 

Most people don’t know that I didn’t want to go into journalism. I have an English degree in Writing. When I was asked if that meant I’d be writing for a newspaper, I told friends and family “no,” with force. 

I wanted to write novels. I wanted strangers to pick up my books and from them, learn something new about the human condition. 

Instead, I moved to Winnemucca and I needed a job. If I wanted to use my writing skills and make money, there were few options available to me. 

When I was offered a position as the government reporter at Winnemucca Publishing, I took it, hoping to learn more about the area and to learn a new way to write. 

I didn’t know, then, how much it would teach me about people. 

You can’t sit in a hospital board meeting, surrounded by angry residents and fail to see their love for this community. 

You can’t watch your commissioners agonize over how to allocate county resources and fail to see the care they put into each choice they are entrusted to make.

You can’t attend a Christmas fair and fail to see a community coming together in joy. 

And you can’t help but take what you’ve seen and hope to honor it. You leave the hospital board, the fair and the commission meeting and you worry over each sentence you have been entrusted to write. You stay up late nights over a burning laptop and listen to your recordings over and over. 

You get it wrong sometimes. You curse the misspelling, the wrong detail, the poorly-phrased description. 

You apologize. You work to get it right the next time. Most of the time you do, but there’s always a little bit of doubt, driving you to try harder, to go back and check your facts one more time.

As far as I can tell, these sentiments are shared by most of my journalistic cohorts.

This newspaper is our love song. While it is frequently off-key, like every dedicated musician, we are learning how to play the notes more skillfully.

There are plenty of places our readers can go for information, but we work each day to bring you quality community news. 

Each sentence we write is in dedication to the truth. We have the skills and connections to lay rumors to rest and we commit ourselves to doing just that. 

With passion, we dedicate our words to the page, in the hope that we might show our communities as they are — and by doing so, make them better. 

 Why do we do news? We do it for you, readers. We do it for you.

This article was written by Managing Editor Cheryl Upshaw for National Newspaper Week. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Winnemucca Publishing.