A letter to the readers

By Jeff Smith


I have enjoyed going around to events the last few weeks and hearing all the nice stuff people have to say about the paper. I appreciate the support and people reading the paper.

It hasn’t always been effortless and it probably never will be but it is starting to get easier. It doesn’t seem to take me as long to put together the paper as when I started. Plus, this summer I should already know what different events are about because I was here last year.

The paper is by no means perfect or even what I want it to be. But each week we can keep striving to feature the best news in Hill City and Keystone.

I’m not trying to trick people. If what is on the front page doesn’t interest you look inside and maybe you will find something that does.

I like to have papers full of good information and eye-catching photos.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, recently said right now is one of the most energizing times to be in journalism. This newspaper in no way goes to the same depth of the New York Times but I think all newspapers want to inform people. There is nothing that stops us from impactful journalism like the Times does.

Baquet and the New York Times might be energized for different reasons but I think people are now understanding the importance of quality journalism.

It was nice coming into this paper that already had years of community-oriented stories. People know what to expect in the paper each week.

In the “post truth” age that many claim that we are living in it is nice to be able to see things like Memorial Day ceremonies and school awards ceremonies happening.

Even though there are still hundreds of thousands of people that come to the Black Hills every year, this is still fly-over country. Items that are usually in the paper wouldn’t get covered by any other news organization.

Even in areas with low population there is a lot of diversity and much more happening than people think. I think small towns are symbolic of America. The dark underbelly here is the lack of necessities like healthcare,  mental health facilities and many frustrated people, but there is also a lot of togetherness and willingness to help out. At the end of the day people come together and like to find solutions to problems.

I think newspapers across the country do a good job at pointing out problems in areas but they don’t often talk about the solutions.  It has been reported that President Trump and the talk of national dissension distracts from talking about real issues.

I think people do feed on that type of information.

There is failure everywhere. From the politicians we elect to cities not recognizing the type of problems that are present in their city.

Baquet said in the interview newsrooms are deeply flawed places.

There has been some type of mistake or error in every paper this month. But as long as that doesn’t get to three or four mistakes I think we are doing pretty good. As a weekly in a small town, word-of-mouth will take hold before the paper gets out. What is in the Prevailer will either solidify a rumor or disprove it.

I try to stay on top of what is happening in Hill City and Keystone. I was just as busy last week as I was in February too. I know talking to me can take up time many people don’t have and I am thankful for the interviews I do get. If you have a news story or suggestion send an email to [email protected]ernews.com.

I generally know what I am going to cover every Wednesday for the next issue. A good rule for sending information about events is to send it to us the week before it happens. I also don’t set the price for letters to the editor, classifieds and legals. I have a protocol to follow and even if the price seems absurd, I’m just doing my job.

Feel free to submit photos. In fact, please submit photos. If I can’t get something in for one week I will keep it and run it as space allows. If a couple weeks go by and you haven’t seen it then feel free to send it to me again because I probably forgot about it.