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Stop the presses!

Stop the paper. There really is no valid reason to subscribe to the increasingly weak print edition of Lakeland’s last newspaper. Call and cancel today. It would probably save them money.

However, it does make sense to pay for digital access, now that it costs about ten cents a day, which is what the paper version cost when it contained real news of use to Lakelanders.

But that was then. This is now. And there’s nothing much there anymore. Once you subtract content from other sources, including comics and feature syndicates, what’s left is only a fraction of the product lying on your driveway which was delivered primarily to carry preprinted advertising inserts that are better delivered by the Post Office.

The chaos of the colliding forces that started the industry disruption at the turn of this century have conspired to make almost every aspect of it worse, and weaker. Most leftover newsrooms are straining to produce an internet-worthy version of themselves but are still falling further behind. A ten-percent news staff cannot hope to be everywhere it needs to be. It’s simple math.

Perhaps if they focused on the most salient topics that affect the lives of our community and fueled interest among the citizenship, some redemption might be made. But they won’t. They don’t know how.

The prime mission of any community government is public safety, followed by quality of life and economic stability - and sustainability.

The prime mission of professional news gathering is to observe and report on the forces that affect those missions, and to inform the citizens regarding remedies for shortcomings and failures.

The prime mission of the citizenship is to be informed. It’s an obligation actually. A requirement of all members of a democracy. Thankfully, it is an obligation that is easily met now. The disruptions wrought by rapidly evolving technology have provided opportunities for communities to know more about themselves than ever before.

The City of Lakeland has worked diligently to increase its contact and communication with its residents and now publishes video recordings of all public meetings, allowing all of us to sit in at our convenience and be apprised of the City’s actions directly and unfiltered. It’s Facebook presence offers an informative recap of the regular Commission meetings along with notices and reminders of City events and activities.

But of course, a community needs a voice that will ask “is that so?”

Individually, we might challenge what the City intends, but without some public notice regarding such concerns a worthy challenge might just fizzle out. We need and depend on the professional observers who dedicate themselves to deliver the news and information we all must have to make sure Lakeland is the place we want to live and work in.

Being well informed is a DIY project. Here is your toolkit:

The City Zen Ship provides contact and access data for the political entities that govern us. Ask them what they are doing, and why!


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