Recently, our young editor seemed a bit chagrined because a reader mentioned the lack of local news in our paper. Editor Gragg then listed the local items that appeared in a recent edition and reminded readers that they could bring in or call in items of interest.
Yes, many of us would like to read more articles about the people in our county and what they are doing, but we need to remember that times have changed and that one young man cannot really cover all activities or even know the people in our county. He does his best to include news of general interest and to include items that other people provide.
As we look at newspapers of the past, we need to remember that several people were involved in gathering the news of the county. The society editor would write glowing accounts of weddings, teas and other gala events.
She also had a regular route she followed around town to gather news about county people. She would go to the courthouse to learn who had been in from the county, to check the happenings in all the offices, and to collect items from the district court. She would then visit city hall to do much the same thing.
By stopping at all the stores on Main Street, she would gather more items about people’s activities. The readers would look forward to learning who had taken trips, who had been seen shopping in Tucumcari and who had misbehaved according to the police reports.
Individuals in many of the communities throughout the county would also contribute items about their areas so that all of us knew what was happening. We could read about events from Nara Visa to Ima, San Jon to Wheatland, Forrest to House, and all the Quay Valley. Because we knew many people throughout the county, we read with interest all that was happening.
We knew when wheat harvest was in progress, who had branded recently, and what was happening in the schools.
With a number of people contributing items to the paper, we remained a close-knit county and were eager to remain in touch. We kept up with the happy times as well as the sad ones and would discuss various happenings as we met people in the drug stores on Main Street.
Saturday was a most special day for visiting with people from the county because so many of them came to Tucumcari to shop. We could commiserate with those who were troubled and congratulate those who had achieved honors. We could spend all Saturday afternoon on Main Street just watching people and greeting each other.
We’d even know some of the news that would appear in the next paper because we would see reporters collecting news.
Not only have we lost those gathering places on Main Street, but we have lost touch with many of the people throughout the county, and that is sad. We could still have items of interest from the various communities if someone were willing to gather the information. Without such help, our young editor cannot be expected to provide the coverage we had in the past. If any of you are interested in doing a little writing, you might chat with Mr. Gragg. You might even chat with the people at KTNM to see if we could have local news aired on occasion.
We are eager to hear about friends and neighbors and need to be just as eager to gather the items to be printed.