This is the final issue of The SUN for 2013.
As always, the year produced a remarkable amount of newsworthy material, of all kinds — from controversies to celebrations, from kids’ events to senior news. The SUN has attempted to deal with as much of that material as possible, week in and week out.
The enterprise is also now into its 106th year of operation in the community.
The staff at this newspaper continues to work hard to produce what is increasingly a rare item: a newspaper. The value of an established and legitimate news source cannot be underestimated and, in a small community, we believe that value is magnified. Should such an asset be lost, should citizens be left only with the rumor mill of Facebook and other Internet sources, with commentary delivered in the checkout line at the grocery store, they will be much the worse for it.
During the past year, reporters at The SUN have brought a significant amount of information to the reader, all of it delivered with the intent to be as accurate and fair as possible. Most of the time, this is the case and, when it is not, it is regretted and corrected. The SUN has also made an attempt to deliver as many statements of opinion as possible to the public. The very few letters to the editor that were rejected were either totally incoherent, exceeded the word limit, were not signed, were without information allowing for verification, or were clearly libelous. The political inclination of the author did not matter; if we cannot consider a point of view different from our own, if not one that is outright offensive to us, then we cannot do this business well and readers cannot accurately plot a course in the community.
The problem is there is too often more content than there is space to print it. Pagosa is a small community, but there is a great deal of information that people and organizations consider to be of utmost importance. Sometimes, we can’t fit it all into a given week’s paper. An attempt is made to push items forward and most eventually find their way to print. On those occasions when this does not happen, an apology must suffice.
The range of what interests people is extraordinary, and a small town newspaper must attempt to represent as much of the spectrum of interests as it can. We believe it is done well at The SUN, and will continue to be done well in the future.
The SUN is a mirror. It is, as the late David Mitchell said, “An institution” of which we — whether we are owners or staff members — are only caretakers.
No doubt, those who remain with The SUN during the year to come will continue to approach their jobs with the same attitude as did caretakers in the past. They must, and the reading public must demand it. The reading public must also demand that The SUN and small papers like it continue to serve their communities. Transitions must occur in the future to keep institutions like this in line with changing habits, with different ways of receiving and digesting information. Technological and stylistic changes are necessary, but the mission will stay the same. If longstanding, legitimate institutions like The SUN fade away, think for a moment where one could collect the kind and breadth of information found in today’s paper. Here’s to the survival of this small town American newspaper — may the institution change as needed, and may it continue to serve the community for another century.