A publisher friend of mine, Dink Nesmith, wrote a column recently that appeared in the Georgia Press Association’s monthly news bulletin.
In the column, Dink talks about the Internet being both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing includes the fact that students, and people in generally, have access to more information than ever before.
I agree. Finding answers to questions you have is only a few keystrokes away. Additionally it has led to technology-led advances in medicine.
But there is a definite downside. As Dink says:
“….the Internet has significantly dragged us backwards. Civility is on the fast track to extinction. The Internet has birthed a legion of anonymous bullies who feel unashamedly brave to spew their venom. Call them what they are: cowards.”
He adds: “Facebook is irresponsible in the dissemination of false infomation. The proliferation of fake news has severely damaged the reputation of credible journalism.”
Internet shopping is another deterrent to small towns such as Hazlehurst, as so many people are shopping on line, making local merchants struggle to keep their doors open.
Locally, I’ve watched as a number of new businesses opened their doors in Hazlehurst and decided social media is the best way to “advertise” their businesses. And they have chosen not to support the local newspaper. And some of those businesses closed their doors in less than a year as they realized, too late, that in Jeff Davis County social media doesn’t reach as many people as this newspaper each week. Many people had no idea those businesses existed.
Lack of advertising has caused us great suffering but, somehow, we’ve managed to keep our doors open. But it hasn’t been easy and it will only get harder uless there are enough people that understand the value of a local, legitimate newspaper. If not, the day may come when the only news we get in Hazlehurst will be from Facebook and Twitter. With no one to verify that such “news” is true and reliable.