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Local Column

Solari: Local journalism requires local support

A community gets the newspaper it deserves. Gathering and accurately reporting the news is a time- and labor-intensive process. Reporters spend hours in city council meetings on weeknights, spend Saturdays at high school basketball tournaments, get calls in the middle of the night for breaking news. Photographers go to all of these events and more at all hours of the day and night.

And that's just to get the stories that go inside the paper. After a story is written, editors look it over, page designers lay out the paper, copy editors proofread. Then it's sent to printers, loaded onto trucks and delivered.

It's a 24-hour-a-day process.

The Daily Chronicle is fortunate to have the support of the local community. Everywhere I go in the area, either representing the paper or just grabbing a sandwich on my lunch break, I meet faithful readers of the newspaper, people who look for it every morning either on their doorstep or in their email inbox.

Some of the more encouraging encounters are when I hear about something that went wrong. We don't like getting something wrong in a story, and we don't like hearing about how your paper ended up on the neighbor's driveway – we certainly don't strive for those mistakes – but when someone lets me know, it tells me they care about their source for local news.

Then we do everything we can to make it right. We work for the community. Our No. 1 duty is to inform our readers so they can make the right decisions.

I was recently invited to give a presentation at the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club of DeKalb, recapping events of 2019 and looking ahead to what might be the top stories of 2020. I don't have a crystal ball so I think I'm already wrong on what the big news of this year is going to be.

Members at the lunch were polite, most of them telling me how they are loyal readers and what they like in the paper. But there were people that gave constructive criticism as well – stories we'd missed or didn't give enough coverage to, or angles we hadn't pursued.

I took all of that feedback to the newsroom and we're going to be working on that too this year.

If there is something happening in your community, tell us. Reporters usually have a curiosity that helps find stories other people might not, but it isn't a superpower. Sometimes we only find out about an event or a story because someone left a voicemail.

Holding an event or fundraiser? Call us. Something happening in your organization that you think deserves the spotlight shined on it? Tell us.

Kelsey Rettke is our DeKalb reporter. Over the past year, she's covered the city seal controversy at DeKalb City Hall, covered a plane crash on Interstate 88 and a series of fires through DeKalb and Sycamore. And these are just the stories that come to mind at the moment. Email her at krettke@shawmedia.com

Matthew Wells is our newest reporter, covering Sycamore and DeKalb County. He's an experienced crime and school reporter. He's been covering the expansion of recreational marijuana through the county and experienced his first Pumpkin Festival this past fall. Send him tips at mwells@shawmedia.com

No one else can do the kind of journalism a local newspaper does. From short stories on breaking news to lengthy, in-depth pieces on major issues and community leaders, the pages of a newspaper can't be replaced by TV, radio or social media. It's a community effort to support that kind of journalism, and we are grateful to have your support.

Kevin Solari is managing editor of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2221, or email ksolari@shawmedia.com.

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