In Small Town, SA, nothing noteworthy really happens. We do have occasional offenses, minor political problems and some farm related issues. When these incidents occur, you can read about it in our local newspaper. 3 weeks after it happens or, most likely, not at all.
I recall the first thing I learnt about 'the news' in a Journalism lecture at university. That it's new, topical and based on current events that are significant to the society it is aimed at. That does not apply here in Small Town, SA. Our local and only newspaper has been running since 1903, and since then, the only thing that has changed is the introduction of colour photos. It comes out once a week, which is too often, as there is nothing relevant to fill the pages. Actually, there is, but you would probably hear about it from your next door neighbour, not your newspaper. I have no idea why they completely omit 'the news', as there is news to report on. Wherever you go, no matter how small or boring a place is, there will always be something to write about.
During the medical strikes of last year, our newspaper failed to report about the seriously ill patients that were turned away from the hospital, or the extent to which innocent people suffered. During the school strikes, there was no mention of the worried teachers, panicked parents or rebellious students. Nor the vandalism and intimidation that came with it. Two years ago, I heard over a national radio station about a major uprising against the mayor in our town. Our newspaper seemed oblivious to the riots and homes set alight. A string of violent crimes took place recently, but that too, of course was not important enough to feature in our local paper. So what then is?
Well, each week, the front page story will almost always have something to do with the local high school. Students that did well in exams or victorious sports teams, cheerleaders, concerts or any other trivial school event. The next page will be a religious note, followed by 2 more pages of school news. Then a 'Women's Page' with copied-and-pasted health articles and really unappetizing recipes. This is followed by the last few pages, which reports on local sporting events. By sporting events, I mean school rugby and hockey matches and weekly results from the golf club. In between all the 'news', there are promotions, classifieds and adverts, which finance this publication. There are more advertorials than there are editorials.
I shudder to think that if the high school or golf club closed down, we may not have a newspaper at all. Maybe that's actually not such a bad thought. Perhaps you're wondering why I never applied to write for our paper. When I completed my Journalism degree, it was the first thing I did. However, they told me that they didn't need any 'journalists' to write for their paper, and they were doing pretty fine just as they were. At least I tried, so now I don't have to feel guilty about not informing the community every time something newsworthy does happen. That's what we have neighbours for anyway, right? To tell us about the news. Newspapers are so 1903, they have become obsolete :P
So, as this farm-town newspaper has no real use, I have decided to collect my weekly copies and turn it into something fashionable. I'm going to use the picture below as inspiration ;)