Newspapers have consistency that Web lacks

It's National Newspaper Week and a good time to set the record straight about South Carolina's 115 daily and weekly newspapers.

Your local newspaper is facing tight times, just like other businesses.

But unlike some highly‐publicized big city newspapers, your hometown paper isn't going away.

The newspaper in your hands now will keep coming to you next week and next year to tell you what's happening in your community. And we should be thankful for that.

If we, as a free democratic society, had to depend solely on the internet and blogs for news, we would be in a heap of trouble.

For more than 200 years, newspapers have and will continue to do the heavy lifting when it comes to news-gathering and reporting.

Newspaper journalists are there week in and week out covering city council meetings, school boards, high school sports, obituaries, wedding news, club events -- news that you need to know and news that you want to know. And newspapers are there with ads from local businesses to help with your shopping decisions.

Newspapers have always been the most‐trusted media, and there are a number of reasons why. Unlike on a blog or Web site, you know who writes for and edits your local paper. You know where they are located and their staff are in fact who they say they are. You know that they will be held accountable if they publish libelous information. That isn't the case with bloggers and Web sites.

Most S.C. newspapers now have Web sites, and these are almost always the most visited and trusted sites in their communities.

The Palmetto State's first newspaper - the South Carolina Gazette - was published in Charleston in 1732.

After the paper's first editor died of yellow fever, the Gazette was restarted in 1734 by Ben Franklin and Lewis Timothy.

In introducing himself to his readers, Timothy penned words about his newspaper's goal that are even more true today: "to sift Truth from Rubbish, I do what I can, and, God knows, if I err, I'm a fallible Man."

Newspapers are in fact the only true mass medium left. In South Carolina, newspapers have a combined circulation of more than 1.3 million.

Because most newspapers are read by more than one person, that means our state's newspapers have more than 2.8 million readers.

Thank you for being one of them.