Harriet Freiberger: Live long and prosper

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— If you have picked up this edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, you should give serious thought to sustainability of something that has been part of our community for 124 years.

And, no, this is not a paid endorsement. Nor have I ever received payment for any words I have written for the Steamboat Pilot. Nor do I agree with everything the Pilot says or does. Nor is it the only newspaper to which I subscribe.

And, yes, I do read the "other" newspaper. I'm glad we have The Local. Another perspective is very welcome. We are fortunate, too, in having 30-year-old, award-winning Steamboat Magazine, an undisputable source of how our town has morphed from its '70s laid-back atmosphere into today's in-motion center of Western Slope interests.

However, when two weeks ago I read the final issue of the Rocky Mountain News, I thought about what it would mean to be without our own longstanding publication. The Steamboat Pilot's pages have recorded the foundations of how the town got to be where it is today. Birth notices and obituaries, election issues and results, facts and opinions, burning issues and subtle provocations all give shape to our history.

Yes, our wonderful library has all the old newspapers on microfiche, but who among us takes the trouble to comb through the back issues to figure out why or why not a law was enacted, who stood for and who against. The long-ago pages of the Steamboat Pilot reveal how old-timers managed to accomplish paved streets, build a hospital, open new schools, encourage a volunteer fire department and welcome, or not, newcomers. We depend upon the Pilot's staff to investigate and report.

When Tom Ross writes about something that happened 30 years ago, readers recognize his credibility and listen, thus avoiding the need to reinvent the proverbial wheel. When readers write in with a complaint about one-sided coverage, they usually gain publication of a different viewpoint. The newspaper serves as a conduit of ideas. It connects us to each other.

In the face of today's economic problems, sustainability is more than merely an option. It is rapidly becoming a necessity for personal survival, much as it was some 75 years ago when our grandparents and great-grandparents survived hard times.

If we want to sustain our sense of community, we'll support the publications that survive because we recognize their importance. If we can't afford to subscribe or purchase papers at the newsstand, we can tell local business owners their advertising brings us to their doors. Let's help our 124-year-old newspaper and all who are part of our Steamboat Springs business community "Live long and prosper."

Harriet Freiberger

Steamboat Springs

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