No bodies in the street? What kind of newspaper are we, anyway…

Wrangler News Publisher Don Kirkland

We’ve been hearing a lot from readers about (a) all the political ads that have appeared in our pages lately and (b) how much those readers appreciated the generally more civil tone of discourse evident in Wrangler News compared to some of the other election-season messaging.

I’m glad that people saw it that way. To the best of my recollection, no political candidate during this campaign presented us with an ad layout that seemed inconsistent with our intent that this should be a community newspaper, with emphasis on the word community.

While we don’t (and won’t) shy away from controversy, we feel that our longtime readers see our role as trying to be mostly positive about what happens here rather than pursuing opportunities to sensationalize the occasional bits of intrigue that take place in and around our neighborhood.

For someone like me who has worked in the big-city reality of metropolitan dailies, where hardly a day goes by that something horrific doesn’t happen, it was tempting in the early days of Wrangler News to be on the prowl for those same kinds of juicy morsels.

After all, that’s what newspapers do, isn’t it?

But after settling in to what has become three decades of publishing this newspaper without heart-rending stories or gruesome photos of bodies lying in the street, I find that our approach apparently represents a welcome change for many. (And yes, I actually did take a date to such a breaking-news story in L.A. after being dispatched while we were on our way to a movie, a story she loved to recount in those days and perhaps still does).

I’m tempted to believe that our media’s seemingly wall-to-wall coverage of one disturbing news event after another can rest in part on the doorstep of us becoming a nation that relishes controversy, social upheaval and mayhem.

Here at Wrangler News, while we don’t ignore news that we know is of vital importance to our neighbors, our primary goal is to focus on the positives in our community whenever possible. Though we have no reliable data that validates this effort, we believe that newspapers like ours represent a welcome balance to the steady stream of bad news with which we’re otherwise confronted virtually every waking hour.

It is this theory that we’d also like to believe is responsible, at least in part, for the growing number of calls and emails we receive asking about the availability, cost and requirements for placing ads in our pages and the paper’s expanded online edition.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t have a band of salespeople knocking on the doors of local businesses to sustain or boost ad revenue. We don’t have seasonal sales campaigns and we definitely don’t take ads that we feel aren’t consistent with the interests and values of our readership, no matter how desirable those proceeds might be.

It is also why, over the years, we have invited our readers to mention us to the merchants and service providers with whom they do business—those in whom they have confidence and who they believe others would appreciate knowing about.

Again, while we don’t have verifiable stats to support our theories, we’re confident that a significant number of the recent inquiries comes as a result of readers like you telling business owners about the value they see in companies using Wrangler News as a piece of their marketing strategy.

There is declining evidence of Wrangler News-style publications being started in communities around the country, and that’s unfortunate. Unlike some of the more prominent media giants, they seem to be among the publications that are not only surviving but thriving.

If you agree with the community-focused commitment to which we’ve pledged ourselves these past 30 years, and would like to see it continue for future generations, your mention of us to a neighborhood business owner will go a long way to helping us achieve that goal.

And, of course, help to perpetuate the sense of community we hope we’ve been able to create thus far.


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