Newspapers put future in the hands of the people

Newspapers put future in the hands of the people by Tim L. Waltner, Freeman Courier Knowledge, it has been said, is power.

Assuming that that�s true, it would be difficult to find anything that�s more important to our future as individuals, communities and a nation than our community newspapers.

Democracy � �a form of government where the supreme power is vested in the people� � requires that the people have information on which to make sound decisions.

Knowledge, placed in the minds and hands and hearts of the people, is a powerful force indeed. It helps us determine where we�ve been, where we are and where we are headed.

�Unfold Your Future�, the theme of the 2002 observance of National Newspaper Week being observed this week, provides a vivid reminder of the important role newspapers play in our lives.

The challenges and opportunities we face � as the people of a nation, as citizens of our communities, and as individuals � are inexorably linked to our access to information on which we make our decisions.

�Unfold Your Future.�

The word �unfold� paints a picture � opening the newspaper, turning the layered pages, separating the nested sections.

It is a word of action that connotes the process of development, of growth, of evolution � the future.

With each section we unfold and each page we turn and each article we read, we receive information � a collection of facts, stimulation, insight and challenges that provoke thought and contribute to deeper understanding and broader knowledge.

These simple actions place power in the hands of the people.

And it is that middle word of the phrase �Unfold Your Future� that is the most significant.

�Unfold Your Future� is a profoundly personal dynamic.

The pages of our newspapers contain information that helps each of us make personal decisions about our households and our jobs � the products we purchase and opportunities for employment.

Those pages provide details that help us make personal decisions about our schools and our communities � changes in our school�s curriculum and our city�s ordinances.

Newspapers help enable citizens to be involved in the affairs of government � helping decide who is elected to office and what laws are passed. And through the process of representative government, newspapers help shape our national agenda and foreign policy.

One of the most remarkable aspects of �unfolding your future� is that the pages of our newspapers provide unparalleled opportunities to share our views with each other.

Editorial and opinion pages offer a community forum in which citizens can voice their concerns and views on any number of topics.

It is an opportunity to �unfold our collective future�.

This is democracy in action, a discourse that is both public and personal.

Knowledge is indeed power and we enjoy the privilege of access to that.

Knowledge, in the hands of the people, is a remarkable resource that helps us set our course personally and as a society.

Community newspapers continue to play a central role in that process.

By providing information that enables people to make sound decisions, newspapers are committed to ensure that you � and citizens all across the nation � have the knowledge and the power to �unfold your future�.

Tim L. Waltner is publisher of the Freeman Courier. He was asked to write this column for national distribution during National Newspaper Week being celebrated the week of Oct. 6-12.

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