DOWNEY - On May 3, 2002, the late John Adams published the first issue of The Downey Patriot newspaper. It was 16 pages of hyperlocal content that kept readers up-to-date on Downey happenings, from City Council meetings and politics, to wedding announcements and obituaries.Since then, this newspaper's mantra has never deviated from "Local! Local! Local!" If you wanted a recap on the latest budget squabble in Washington, D.C., you picked up the L.A. Times. But if you wanted to know how long road construction on Lakewood Boulevard would last, or what the late night police activity was all about, you turned to The Downey Patriot. What's that old saying, "If it bleeds, it leads"? We don't necessarily subscribe to that theory. Articles on crime and devastation are newsworthy, of course, but we also regularly include features on seemingly ordinary residents who do extraordinary things. We think that's newsworthy, too. So what's the point of all this? This issue marks the beginning of our year-long celebration marking the Patriot's upcoming 10-year anniversary. As part of the celebration, we will unveil a new feature every 10 weeks intended to enhance and improve the newspaper for the benefit of readers. We can't get into specifics, but think technology, design, reader interaction, etc. For old time's sake, throughout the next year we'll also be reprinting some of our favorite pictures and front pages. These are tough times for the newspaper industry. An increasing number of people are receiving their news on computers, smart phones and tablets, making print newspapers appear ancient by comparison. Many believe print newspapers will go the way of the dinosaur. I'm of the belief that community newspapers will never go away because they fill a very specific niche that appeals to readers and advertisers. Technology is fueling the public's thirst for information and newspapers can stand to benefit. That's part of the Patriot's goal going forward; in essence, giving readers what they want. More details to come. Also helpful is the vast relationships we have worked hard to foster over the last decade. The Downey Police Department, led by Police Chief Rick Esteves (a believer in technology and innovation), has made fantastic strides in crafting press releases when crimes of significance occur in the city. They also contribute the weekly Crime Report so popular with residents. The city of Downey now has a public information office, a boon not just for local media, but residents as well. It's our job to cover City Hall, and we take that responsibility seriously, but we also enjoy a mutually beneficial working relationship: the city can use our newspaper to effectively communicate important and sometimes critical information to residents. (Mark Sauter's articles on emergency preparedness and water barrel distributions, and then-Mayor Mario Guerra's monthly columns, filled rich with information and directed squarely at residents, are good examples.) We're particularly proud of our blossoming relationship with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Greg Waskul, executive director of the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, has done an extraordinary job sharing the daily miracles that occur at the county hospital. It has been our pleasure to give Rancho an outlet to share their stories of hope and inspiration. In short, it takes an involved community to create a quality community newspaper: more news, less bias and for the residents. We hope to be around for a long, long time.
********** Published: April 21, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 1