There was a time when community newspapers thrived and were of great importance to the area they served. People could count on their newspaper to give them what they wanted and needed to know. They depended on the folks at the paper to put out the latest important information about their schools, mayors, city councils, planning commissions, township trustee boards, crime and other serious news.
Readers also enjoyed lighter fare such as stories about community events, sports, births, weddings, engagements, feature stories and a lot more. Issues of the day were discussed and debated on the opinion page. The town newspaper was a pretty big deal.
Sadly, due to many reasons, the number of community newspapers in America has dropped like a bomb. And that bomb has been devastating.
Newspaper deserts have been created all over the country, leaving many communities without a paper. Most of the surviving publications have cut editorial staffing to the point where they only provide a fraction of the news they formerly delivered. Thus, a lot of people don't know what's going on where they live. Important stories that deeply affect their lives are not being reported. Public officials are not being held accountable.
Ollie Roehm was part of The Harrison Press for the better part of 25 years, serving as editor for most of them. It was during a time when the town newspaper was an important part of the fabric of a community.
The Harrison Press earned a combination of 30 national and state awards from 1997 until the time Ollie left in 2011. Sixteen of those awards were for his column, "From Here." Many of those award-winning columns are scattered through this book.