Editor's note: This article is part of a special series celebrating National Newspaper Week Oct. 6-12. The Week was designated in 1940 as a way to recognize the importance of newspapers to their communities.
As part of National Newspaper Week, we asked Daily Herald employees to share with you why they believe newspapers are important. Here are their thoughts:
"At Paddock Printing Center we take great pride in producing the Daily Herald print edition. Whether it's our press operators, distribution drivers or insert machine operators, we know we play an important role in getting a vibrant, content-packed newspaper to our readers each day."
-- Stefanie Anderson, Vice President/Director of Production
"Our readers relate to the Daily Herald on a very personal level. They think of it as their Daily Herald, which is why hosting events is so important. We get to know each other by meeting face-to-face, deepening the connection and the commitment between the journalism and the reader."
-- M. Eileen Brown, Assistant Vice President/Director of Strategic Marketing and Innovation
"A newspaper is the friend you turn to when you want to be informed, enlightened, amused, empowered or entertained or need something to cover the floor while you paint the kitchen walls."
-- Burt Constable, columnist
"Information is all around us these days, but more and more of it pushes a particular point of view. News reporters step into that fray, verifying facts, digging for truth, filtering out bias and seeking out different points of view. That's what we give readers every day. It's a serious responsibility, and people who work at newspapers feel it deeply. A hundred years ago, newspapers were virtually the only source of accurate and up-to-date information. What's added today is our equally important job of gathering all those megabytes of information, sorting out the spin and presenting you with what's really important."
-- Diane Dungey, Deputy Managing Editor/News
"So much work goes into the production of a newspaper, and in the end we rely on our carriers -- the unsung heroes -- to complete the daily cycle. No matter the weather, we expect them to meet the challenge and provide flawless delivery service seven days a week. The average carrier delivers 250 newspapers a daily, or 90,000 a year. We salute our carrier force and thank them for a job well done."
-- Jim Galetano, Senior Vice President, Circulation
"When you want to know 'What's good' at the movies, check out the reviews from your friendly neighborhood film critic, whether in print or online. Will Sylvester Stallone's hair ever age? Why do three-dimensional movies still have one-dimensional characters? Get the straight stuff from your favorite movie critic, right in your hometown newspaper."
-- Dann Gire, film critic
"The Daily Herald's marketing partners value our audience and their passion for our product. The printed edition of Daily Herald is part of a daily tradition for our readers. This is an audience of high income and strong buying power. In short, advertising in the Daily Herald drives results."
-- Jason Hegna, Assistant Vice President, Advertising
"Editing the newspaper and especially its front page, and now a news website and its home page, is a tough job, but it's a really cool job. People are always so wide-eyed and curious when I say that's what I do, and they're right to be. Because we are on the front line of history as it happens, be it the election of an American president or the debate of a suburban park district. And we become the source of information for people, be it where the flood is or what dates the big theater production runs. As such, we change lives. Ideally for the better."
-- Neil Holdway, Assistant Managing Editor/Copy Desk
"As not only an employee of this media organization, but also a reader and resident of our circulation area, I value the newspaper, in print and on-line, as a source of news and community events. I'm proud of our ability to help readers gather information they need to understand complicated issues like the Affordable Care Act. As a community volunteer, I appreciate the Daily Herald serving as a source of information alerting readers to the events we sponsor.
-- Betsy Kmiecik, Vice President, Human Resources
"There is this wonderful line written in 1928 by Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize-winning poet and author: 'Let me light my lamp,' says the star, 'and never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.' I love that line. It captures the whole of it. Ultimately, our job is to make the world a little bit better place."
-- John Lampinen, Editor
"The business pages of a newspaper have always provided information about the economic state of the country and the world and will continue to do so. But it's the local business news that will carry the newspaper into the future. People want to find out what the big local companies are doing, what coffee shop is opening downtown and look at the advertisements of local businesses."
-- Kim Mikus, Editor of the Business Ledger
"I believe the thirst for information -- local, national, international -- is greater today than it's ever been. There are so many complex issues in our communities and throughout the world that we need help in sorting out fact from fiction, and help in putting things in proper perspective so we can make intelligent decisions. Newspapers have always been, still are today and will be in the future, a prime source for doing that."
-- Pete Nenni, Lake County Manager and Editor
"Reflejos bilingual journal provides great value for our readers, because we provide them with a variety of community recourses related to health care, immigration, education, financing, well-being and other practical information to help Latinos improve their quality of life."
-- Marco Ortiz, Reflejos Editor
"Open your mother's recipe box and what will you find? Yellowed, flour-dusted, grease-splattered recipes clipped from the pages of her trusted local newspaper. For more than 100 years newspapers have been a front-line source of recipes and culinary know-how. Today newspapers continue to provide recipes and expert advice from around the corner and around the world. As Mom's recipe file has evolved from a box into a folder on a laptop, or maybe even cellphone app, our tools, too, have evolved to include videos and social networks of food enthusiasts with the continued mission of ensuring your success in the kitchen."
-- Deborah Pankey, Food Editor
"People want to drive on tollways and take public transit that's efficient, low-cost, and that works. It's the Daily Herald's responsibility to speak up for commuters and keep the transportation agencies that take their tolls and fares honest. Now, more than ever, that's a crucial job."
-- Marni Pyke, Transportation writer
"While we all know it's become an Internet world, I have yet to run across anyone in the high school sports world who doesn't enjoy adding photos and articles from the newspaper to their son's or daughter's scrapbook. The large majority of people in my world still want to pick up their newspaper every morning on the chance there's a photo of their kid, or a quote in a story from their kid, or anything about their kid they can cut out and paste into that scrapbook."
-- John Radtke, Fox Valley high school sports editor
"I grew up reading the sports section and I still look forward every morning to getting my paper to start the day. Regardless of how the world of newspapers changes, it won't change how much I look forward every day to perusing the box scores and reading about the world of sports that has shaped my life and my career."
-- Barry Rozner, pro sports columnist
"To know how our property tax dollars are being spent and how our elected leaders are governing, someone needs to be paying attention. And I've sat in enough half-empty government meetings through the years to know that newspaper reporters are the ones who have the time, ability and desire to keep the rest of us informed."
-- Robert Sanchez, Assistant City Editor
"There will always be a place for newspapers in our society, particularly if the storytelling is good. Sports writing will continue to take readers where they can't go, such as locker rooms, and let them get to know athletes as people and not just a uniform number."
-- Tim Sassone, Blackhawks writer
"I grew up in a journalism house -- my father was a broadcaster. I love newspapers so much, I used to say I was born with ink in my veins. That analogy no longer applies since I spend the bulk of my time working on digital products, innovation and newsroom training. But regardless of the platform, my love of the news has never wavered. A free press is the cornerstone of a free democracy. And an informed society is the one that can chart its own future. Our job as journalists is to bring people the information they need on whatever platform they want to receive it."
-- Teresa Schmedding, Deputy Managing Editor/Digital
"Good newspapers accurately reflect the communities they serve and pursue all stories, whether 'good' or 'bad,' with equal vigor. As our society becomes ever more specialized and complicated, there will be an increasing need for places where people can go to catch up on what's happening in their own community, to hear different viewpoints about local issues and perhaps to learn a little something about topics that have a direct impact on their families and towns. That's a role newspapers have always served and will continue to serve in the future."
-- Bob Smith, DuPage Editor
"Today, tomorrow and next year we'll continue informing residents of the Fox Valley of important things they didn't already know. There are lots of places to get information. We will to appeal to people's strong sense of community and to spark the suburban conversation by delivering information they can trust."
-- Mike Smith, Fox Valley Editor
"People forget sometimes that newspapers are not only a compilation of stories and information about where they live, but also an audience for business, including ads from local hospitals, restaurants and banks, colorful inserts highlighting sales at local retailers and classified ads offering merchandise and services for sale locally. Advertisers are our customers, just like our readers. So long as there is an appetite for news about our communities and our world, newspapers also will be the place where local commerce connects with an informed readership."
-- Scott Stone, Executive Vice President/General Manager
"Insofar as the arts in general and theater in particular encourage us to examine ourselves, our community and our fundamental beliefs, thoughtful coverage of the same makes for an informed, culturally aware populace. In that respect, arts reporting and criticism matters for the same reason government, crime, business, education, health, lifestyle and sports reporting matters."
-- Barbara Vitello, staff writer
"Many aspects of life and our society are changing. Yet I believe it's also true that human nature, our values and hopes often remain the same. The exciting part of Paddock Publications is that we continue to develop and adapt. Doing so, we work to maintain our core values which, interestingly, are the same practical balance of respect, journalism and business that my great grandfather put forth as his motto, 'Our aim: To fear God, tell the truth, and make money.' "
-- Bob Paddock Jr., Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman
"No matter how many bloggers start writing from their basements, there is always going to be the need for legitimate news sources, particularly those that can deliver local news. My women's sports column is the perfect example of a locally driven source of news that would likely never be replicated if the local newspaper that carried it ceased to exist."
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw, sports columnist
"In this day of tweets, sound bites, text messages and all forms of immediate communication, I believe there always will be a place for great storytelling, great writing and depth and substance. The only thing that's really in flux today is the way in which the message is communicated. The mission should always be to tell people something important and compelling. And to do so with great skill."
-- Jim Davis, News Director for DuPage and Fox Valley
"The Daily Herald strives to be a reflection of the communities we serve. We document history, spur debate and discussion and help communities educate their residents. We have done this for more than 140 years; and with energy and enthusiasm, we will continue to be here doing what we do best."
-- Stuart R. Paddock III, Vice President, Digital Technology and Information Systems
"As part of the Niche team I have the unique privilege of connecting with the community through a variety of special sections, magazines and community guides. Partnering with myriad sources, from local resients to chambers of commerce and area businesses, Niche products expand the scope of the daily newspaper."
-- Gerry Alger, Editer/Niche Publications
"Newspapers serve as the filter, translator and interpreter of government activity and spending. They provide a lasting, tangible analysis of what your tax dollars are paying for and how such funds are spent."
-- Jake Griffin, Suburban Tax Watchdog columnist
"We need newspapers because they not only highlight community events but serve as community watchdogs that hold public officials accountable. It's our job to ask questions of our public officials and expose corruption wherever it may lie."
-- Lenore Adkins, staff writer
"There's a lot of stuff in the newspaper, but we also give you wonderful, heartwarming, inspirational stories of young people who are doing terrific things. Those are the stories that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and give you hope about where our collective future is headed."
-- Elena Ferrarin, Suburban Standout columnist