|The Good Life: Thanks for reading|
|December 02, 2016 Lisa Betz|
Iíll always remember the day it all started. While sitting in the North Platte Valley Museum, wearing white gloves and poring through old bound copies of the Gering Courier, Jim Headley, then president of the museum board and editor of the Courier, wheeled in several boxes on a dolly. Then Museum Director Barb Netherland, volunteer Pat Meyer and I asked what was in those boxes. He explained they were Gering Courier artifacts. ďTheyíre moving the paper across the river and nobody cares about this stuff, so Iím bringing it here,Ē he said.
The news of the Courierís move was a shock, and one that got me wondering about what it meant for Gering.
In 2009, newspapers all around us were falling like dominoes; a new one closing each day, it seemed. I recently had returned to the Valley, and worried that Gering might lose a valuable part of its identity should the Courier go the way of so many other newspapers in those days.
I decided to do something about it; so, I reserved the basement in the Gering Library for a public meeting, then I created an ad announcing a town hall meeting to discuss our community newspaper.
When I contacted the Gering Courier to run the ad I found myself explaining the purpose of my meeting to then Star Herald publisher Jim Holland. Holland appreciated my zeal but refused to run the ad, saying I could have my meeting but would have to find my own way of getting people there. He graciously agreed to speak to those of us who would attend.
His response fueled my efforts and I spent the next couple of weeks talking to everyone in town about my meeting. It was well attended by all accounts. My goal was to educate the community on the importance of its newspaper as a reflection of its identity. Without a newspaper to record the communityís activities, to tell its stories and discuss its important matters, how would we know who we are as a community?
In this digital age, nobody has to think anymore. If you read something you donít like in the newspaper, itís easier to toss the whole piece out as biased, rather than put in some effort contemplating why someone else believes differently than you do. Though our world has changed in the 7.5 years since I helped to start this newspaper, I still believe in the idea that prompted me to join Headleyís dream as he created a new one called the Gering Citizen.
Newspapers are a lasting legacy of each generationís image, ideals and industry. They are an ongoing conversation within the community. They are the watchdogs of your government. There is a reason the Nebraska State Legislature requires your government entities to publish legal notices in a newspaper and not on the radio, television or internet. Newspapers are forever.
Though we are closing this one, the Gering Citizen will live on in its bound copies, eight of them, held in trust at Legacy of the Plains Museum, and at the Gering Public Library.
Itís been an honor to publish this newspaper. The experience has taught me a great deal about our community, and about myself. Iíve made mistakes as publisher. There are things I wish I could have done differently in hindsight. Overall, Iím proud of what we achieved here at 1447 10th Street.
One of the reasons I believe so strongly in Gering, is I am never far from the shadow of my ancestors, and of your ancestors. They built this place from little to nothing into a real community. They were tougher than nails, and that must never be forgotten.
Thank you for allowing us to serve you and this Valley from the pages of the Gering Citizen.