It is National Newspaper Week, and I have been asked, “What does a local newspaper mean to you?”

I had to ponder this for a brief period of time.

A newspaper is the go-to source for local, regional, and state news, as well as national and international news. Newspapers give a well-rounded overview of news, sports and current events, keeping a community well informed, educated and, at times, entertained. A newspaper can celebrate the good in our communities as well as point out issues within our communities. In terms of city government, county government, and the school board, the newspaper provides a platform for publication of the official notices regarding meetings, agendas, and meeting minutes related to the required public meetings these government agencies assemble.

Publishing this information is required by law, and the information affords the general public an opportunity to know what is coming before a governing body and when that meeting will occur, allowing the chance for the public to speak to the issues being addressed as the governing body conducts its business. The newspaper serves as a method of checks and balances for our various levels of government.

The newspaper also provides a forum for the general populace to voice opinions and editorialize their feelings or positions. It is a way to provoke thought, or possibly even action; at the very least, it allows an individual or group to vent frustrations with their surroundings.

Whether you are inclined to read the paper via a mobile app, or physically hold the large white paper sheets with black ink, the newspaper serves an important role in providing a day-to-day exchange of information. Consider where we might be without them. I hate to think what the world might be like if that were the case.