Boots Cook was a great news man. He has long passed on, but his news reporting lives on. The Roane County News was historically owned and operated by many local people before being bought by the large out-of-state business conglomerate Landmark. Local people like Boots built the paper based on his love of reporting about his community. Times goes on and time does change the world. It has changed our news and media choices.
Around 2008, the RCN was for sale along with other Landmark businesses. Since they never sold I still wonder what their future will be? Since Landmark still owns what should be our local paper, I hope that they someday step up to be a positive force for the community: honest news, investigative reporting, community interest, pride, and our voice to ask the tuff questions necessary to keep the government accountable. If others would also expect better from the paper and this community, then we can rise to the future. If the Roane County News doesn't step up to the challenge, then I don't see a future for them with the changing technology of the years to come.
In essence the paper serves as an extension of our elected representative government. State laws give the major print newspaper in the county certain rights such as being the media of record for legal notices, etc. With that paid service handed to them by our own laws to print our own government notices, I would have hoped they would also work towards overall public good for the people. If they are not interested in serving the public good, then hopefully we have a few elected statespersons willing to looking into those laws to meet the changing landscape of technology. Today, just maybe the government's website may be adequate for public notices. This would save the taxpayer valuable dollars.
While I believe local residents want the Roane County News to be positive force in order for them to either continue reading or return as readers, I know local advertiser demand a strong return on their investment to continue advertising. Local advertisers will no doubt adapt to the changing environment as time goes forward. They will determine if the paper is continuing to provide their businesses an adequate Return on Investment. Currently the paper must be doing an adequate job as this large out-of-state business conglomerate is still here in our small community. Conversely, I have heard people say that they purposefully don’t trade with businesses that advertise in the Roane County News because of their poor news coverage. Adequate is not good enough. I strongly believe if the paper stepped up, then they could reach more readers, thereby increasing their sales today to better position them for the future. Without the investment of hard work for the local community, then I fear the future of the paper is bleak as the world continues to change. The world finally caught up with the unhealthy twinkie. The world does change. Roane County News - it's time you either stepped up or moved on.
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