By Johnny Beaver
Even if you’ve never thought about it, you know it – the newspaper is always there. Though in general print media has fallen a long, long way from its height as a nearly intrinsic part of American culture, it’s still kicking (and screaming a bit). And the ‘alternative weekly’ as it is called, the parent genre to which the Corvallis Advocate belongs, has evolved over time to exemplify the human aspect of the newspaper, the part of it that strives to interact with the community as part of that community. With a choir of subjective voices that you either love or love to hate, it’s a platform that can still serve well as an essential part of the movement of information, especially so in a small town. The question is, how does one use it? This is vital because it’s quite uncommon that anyone actually asks it.
I’ll be as blunt as possible: if anything of interest is happening in this town, it’s our job to let readers know. And though we’re out there on a daily basis trying to ferret out every last event, release and initiative that we can, this is a community effort and without your help, we’re going to miss things – and then others will miss them, too. This means that the community can pick up the reins to a degree by actively connecting with us. That’s how this paper, and other papers like it, function not only best, but function at all. I’m the worst person on earth when it comes to the humdrum of public relations, so I completely understand, but the sheer number of events, charity start-ups, album and book releases, etc. that I see whizz by without a heads up from those behind them is astounding. Between our reach both in print and online, that’s many thousands of people that may not find out about any of it. Even a quasi-cynic like me will admit that a good number of those thousands will have been interested.
Are you an artist and you just put up a new website? Release a PDF (a popular document format) of a poetry collection? DJing your first gig? Releasing an album? Founding a non-profit? Your business about to open another location or expand in some other way? Notice something awesome going on in your neighborhood? Creating a community blog or Facebook group? Planning a belly-dance protest of the absence of Jolt Cola in Market Of Choice (I’m in)? Do you make awesome booties for dogs? It doesn’t matter how big or small, let us know. In fact, especially let us know about the small stuff. Who cares if your poetry book isn’t being published in hardcover? We don’t. And be it art, science, city, environment, we want to be all over it like flies on… fruit. Yeah, fruit.
While this piece may seem like a gratuitous advertisement to some, I assure you, we’re way too self-conscious to pull off anything that slick. However, this is indeed about the fact that we have a staff on hand of dedicated individuals that don’t commit a single word to the page for any other reason than their love of doing so. If that’s not a resource worth keeping on speed dial and / or abusing the hell out of, I don’t know what is. By fostering the sort of connections I described above, we can work towards a redesign of our culture, creating a new awareness of the community around us, even reminding ourselves of why newspapers were created in the first place.