Sports Editor

You are reading this because you consider the Osceola News-Gazette a viable option and source for local news.

Knowing that competition for disseminating information is at an all-time high, we sincerely thank you for that.

Because people want their news five minutes ago at places that I, co-workers and colleagues around the country work at are less-appropriately called "newspapers," and now more like "news-gathering organizations." Phones and tablets are making the "paper" part of that word less widespread as it was just 10 years ago or so.

Whether in print or in digital form, it all carries the same relevance. One of a news agency's duties is to serve as a watchdog for government and others who are in charge of citizen's tax revenue and other resources. It's not meant to be "gotcha journalism," as often accused, but it serves a purpose. 

What I'm more proud of is that the News-Gazette has an incredibly long track record – 120-something years – of highlighting the positive things done in Osceola County. As the sports editor, coaches and players and parents are generally happy to see me at events around town. So to me, it will always be worth defending our work from people complaining about journalists, aside from providing me with a job I love.

I bring this up because, earlier this week, social media celebrated Love My Newspaper Day – it's really a thing. Three years ago, a Florida man who's family works in TV journalism – he works in public relations himself – saw a handful of social media messages critical of journalists. 

"It's a very easy, ill-informed thing to do to mock journalism, whether it's in a newspaper or on TV, and I heard it one too many times," Kevin Cate, the son of a Tampa news anchor, said in a newsletter he produces. "I figured I would let people know and have a chance to defend the things that they love."

He urged readers to use the  #LoveMyNewspaper hashtag in social media to share why they love and subscribe to their favorite or local papers. That impromptu thought to spur on some quick reader engagement has turned into an annual thing.

Those in the newspaper industry by the thousands expressed the love for their work, but many more readers did, too, as did public officials like one-time governor and now state Representative Charlie Crist out of St. Petersburg and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who said he delivered newspapers for a meager childhood income.

"We are a lesser democracy without a robust, healthy media and the printed press leads the way," Buckhorn said.

The 2018 version was Wednesday, and other people who used the hashtag said things like, " It helps me keep a pulse on my community," "Journalism rocks and a free press is a critical pillar of democracy," "we give thanks to the newspaper staff working every day to hold power accountable. It's a hard, often thankless (not today!) sometimes dangerous job, so thank you," "I grew up watching my parents read the paper every morning and I couldn't wait to be handed the comics section. I've always loved newspapers and still do," and the like.

I'll stop there because there were many, many more.

None of those comments, by the way, came from reporters or those related to one.

The economy has made what we do a challenge from a corporate aspect. But it's never been more important to feel connected to your community, when you don't have to ever leave your property to do so because of social media – or that newspaper that hits your driveway, like ours does on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Reporters, the militia and the president of the United States have something in common, aside from having their work criticized publicly on an almost daily basis – our jobs are defined in amendments to the Constitution. Like President Donald Trump, along with local public officials, we're not going anywhere.

So it's good, every once in a while, that people are looking forward to our work throughout the week.

Ken Jackson is the Sports Editor for the Osceola News-Gazette.