Editorials, Opinion

You want to know? We will tell you

Sunshine Week celebrates how newspapers keep the general public informed

Today kicks off Sunshine Week, an annual national celebration of public access to information.

You, as members of the public, have a right to know what’s going on in your communities, your state and your county — and especially in your government. Newspapers play a large part in making information available to ordinary people. We shine a light on everything: Local businesses, school events, crime, community programs, health care, government and so much more.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago, we’ve kept up-to-date coverage and made it free to view. For months, we reported the coronavirus numbers daily, and now we have testing locations listed every day. We’ve kept you informed about changing policies, from CDC regulations to Gov. Jim Justice’s closing and reopening plans.

During election seasons, we interview candidates for public office so voters can be knowledgeable about the people running for election. We give candidates the platform to share their message, but we don’t shy away from asking the tough questions. We even compile the information into a Voter’s Guide to make staying informed easy.

During the 60-day frenzy that is West Virginia’s legislative session, we keep readers abreast regarding what is being introduced and how far each bill has gotten through the process. We also work to put legislation in context for you and translate the legalese into layman’s terms. We make sure you know ahead of time what legislation may impact you or people you love.

Our reporters attend city council and county commission meetings so you can know what decisions your local government is making and who is making those decisions.

 We also let you know what’s happening in your local schools. We report on national rankings and test scores, student achievements and educational policies.

Our cops and courts coverage notifies the public about accidents, fires, lawsuits, and past or ongoing crimes. We cover cases from start to finish to keep you informed.

 Newspapers don’t just shine a light on the dark corners — the hard news stories. Newspapers also share light with our readers. We bring you the inspiring stories, the heartwarming stories, the cute stories and milestone stories: Local businesses succeeding, organizations helping people, animal adoption events, ordinary people having fun or doing extraordinary things, important anniversaries        … the list goes on.

Newspapers exist to serve the general public. Newspapers are essential to holding public and private entities accountable and for keeping people informed. With a misinformation epidemic raging through social media, newspapers provide fact-based reporting and reliable sources.

We are proud to serve as your local paper. This Sunshine Week, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating all the good that news reporting does — for our community, our state and our nation.