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I believe in what I do

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

I was out doing errands Thursday when I got a text from friend and former co-worker, Lou Jones.

"Shooting at Annapolis paper," it read. "Several shot."

My heart dropped.

Once I returned to the office and was able to check into what was going on, I was numb.

I've been in this business a long time – and I've known journalists who were targeted for their reporting: Tires slashed; a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window of a newspaper office; telephone curses and in-your-face screaming.

My own car was keyed two years ago as it sat in the city hall parking lot. Over 20 years ago, I required a deputy to escort me to my car each night due to threats I received after a series of articles I wrote.

The risk is real. Most of us in this business know it. We accept it and we push forward. Why? Because we believe in what we do.

Those of us in small towns may not ever win Pulitzers or have our stories made into movies, but let me assure you what we do is as important as any paper that circulates 200,000 newspapers a day.

Small town newspapers are the breath and history of your community.

We are a generational business patronized by your grandparents, your parents and now you.

It saddens me when someone tells me they don't read the Williston Pioneer.

It hurts when I overhear someone call my paper a mullet wrapper.

Like those journalists in Annapolis, most of us – me included – continue to work in a thankless arena because we believe in what we do.

We cover our communities and through our efforts, we like to believe we make our communities better. We know we make them better.

No matter where I've moved, I always purchase the local paper first. I read it cover to cover. Doing that made me more involved in my town before I ever met the first person.

Because of a local paper, I knew who was president of Rotary, who was ill and needed a transplant, how progressive the school was, how the city council spent my tax dollars. All relevant to a newcomer – and a longtime resident, as well.

Newspapers are part of the foundation of this country. Men like Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin helped shape this republic, just as the Williston Pioneer has helped shape Williston since 1879.

I chose to be in Williston. My company offered me options but this is where I wanted to be. I have no regrets about that choice.

And despite the risks – even in a small town – I'll continue to do it.

Why?

I believe in Williston. I believe in newspapers. I believe in what I do.