By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Community finds its fortune in shared web of connectivity

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For 30 years, this space has featured variations of our long-running “Shop Local” crusade. We still have a passion for supporting local businesses, but this year our message is one even more interwoven into our shared communal fabric — that local people, businesses, institutions and organizations are, in so many ways, partners in their community.

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Jeb Bladine, third-generation leader of the News-Register’s ownership family, is a graduate of McMinnville High and the University of Oregon. He has played local and state leadership roles downtown development, civic ventures and social service agencies, and state and national leadership positions in the newspaper industry. He and spouse Michelle value a strong community that is home for families of their two married children. His hopes for 2020 include wanting to see the Duck men in the Rose Bowl and the Duck women in the Final Four.

Before explaining, here’s a thumbnail history of our campaign:

In 1990, we launched “Shop at Home,” a campaign embracing the economic, cultural and social reasons for shoppers to support local businesses.

When the Internet came of age, that name sounded suspiciously like an invitation to shop online. So in 2009, we renamed our campaign “Yamhill County Shop Local.”

In 2013, we rebranded as “Shop Local Advantage.” But each reincarnation retained all the basic elements of our decades-old shop local campaign.

Today, online Cyber Monday outstrips the in-store sales of traditional Black Friday. Supporting local businesses still is a central theme, but it doesn’t seem broad enough in scope.

The needs of a strong community go beyond simply encouraging people to shop local. And over time, that plea has become almost a cliché, making it easy to ignore.

So let’s talk about partners:

Sellers of goods and services are partners with their local customer base. Together, they help keep the community diverse and economically strong.

Engaged citizens are partners with public and private institutions, charitable and nonprofit agencies, and special-interest groups of all kinds. These individuals and groups need one another.

In all communities, progress requires an ethic of cooperation and a spirit of shared responsibility.

In strong communities, that spirit soars. It may occasionally wane, but always rises again at key times to move the community ahead in positive directions.

It takes all kind of partners.

As a communications hub, the News-Register is a partner not just with its subscribers, but also to the broader population. Newspaper readership may have declined as a percentage of citizens, but it remains a vital element of community connectivity.

A good newspaper works to sustain positive ties between citizens and units of government, even when acting as a critic. A good newspaper seeks to connect local people with important organizations and consumers with local businesses. A good newspaper seeks out shared efforts that help define and shape the best parts of its local community.

There are, of course, challenges.

Local businesses have lost revenue in the digital revolution. Almost 2,000 American newspapers have closed since 2004. A much broader list of closures includes tens of thousands of retail outlets throughout the country.

Compared to past decades, people engage each other more through social media and less through shared community experiences. More people are drawn to consistently biased communication media that helps fuel a bunker-mentality of public affairs. People focus more on their differences than their similarities.

Communities grow and change, sometimes dissolving some of the “glue” that once held many partnerships together. When that happens, even strong communities with vibrant traditional partnerships can encounter roadblocks to progress.

And so, this holiday season and beyond, by all means remember to support local businesses. They are year-round contributors to your community in so many ways, repeated so many times during our 30-year shop local campaign.

As 2020 draws near, we find ourselves thinking about ways to help strengthen all kinds of community partnerships — especially those involving local businesses and readers who make it possible to continue a community newspaper.

 

Comments

Christmas has Talons

I have to say in less than one year Heidi Parker a relative new comer to Yamhill county has done more to uplift local business and community morale than any prior campaigns to cajoling citizens to shop local. Prior campaigns were missing several elements that Parker has in spades and that resonate with people. First in order to be effective you can be or seem disingenuous and I'm sorry to without elbow grease and work behind the scenes that's all the campaign has been up til now. Secondly it can't seem as though there is any kind of objectivity especially in the case of local media to have people stay and shop local when county news media essentially helps create an environment that fosters and condones rampant drug use and homelessness that makes people want to shop elsewhere. Parker shops local business, advertises for local business for FREE and she takes pride in her community by helping to clean it up also for FREE. Take a lesson from her she has no hidden motives or agenda and puts in the time and effort.