Helping readers sort through ‘infobesity’
Every week we work to craft a newspaper that readers find both interesting and informative, and I wanted to call attention to one of our features that seems minor at first glance but actually carries quite a lot of importance – our events calendar.
In this week’s paper, in addition to our regular Community Calendar and Out&about nightlife calendar, you’ll also see a special list of goings-on called “Holiday happenings” where we’ve compiled the dozens of special events, from parades to opportunities to spend time with Santa to Christmas cantatas and much more. We’ll be presenting that calendar and updating it in the weeks ahead as we count down to Christmas.
In the pre-Internet era, a newspaper’s calendar section was a chief means of providing a heads-up to the community. Now of course, there are many ways to get out word of a special event.
It’s quick and easy to send email reminders or forward a pdf of a flyer or create an event description and plop the details on Facebook – but we know it’s also easy to feel absolutely bombarded. (In his 1970 “Future Shock,” Alvin Toffler popularized the term “information overload”; the malady also has been labeled “infoxication” and “infobesity.”)
With so much information swirling around, it can be tough to find time to process it all – and without some help in staying on top of everything, days zip past and we realize too late that the special lecture or meeting has already come and gone.
That’s where the Spirit comes in.
We’re happy to deal with the flood of raw information –from chili cook-offs to special church events to theatrical performances to workshops for veterans – and organize it all into a bite-sized nuggets so that our readers can tell at a glance what’s on the horizon.
We see it as a community service to wade through the myriad flyers and sometimes-confusing news releases. Often, we make calls and go online to fill in any missing information so that our readers get the scoop.
Rather than each of you spend your valuable time trying to track down the cost of an event or the street address of the site or to find a phone number to call for details, we spend our time gathering the information for you. We want to make it easy for our readers to get their hands on information they need to make the most of life here.
We do count on you our readers to help us as we go about this work. When your school, church or community group is organizing a special event, we encourage you to build in time to notify us so that we can include your news in our calendar. Our deadline is at 2 p.m. Monday for that week’s publication.
Email is the easiest way to get information to us (send the particulars to Christine Miller Ford at Christine@spiritofjefferson) but you also can mail or drop off notices to our newsroom at 114 N. Charles St. in Charles Town.
Generation after generation, newspapers have played a vital role in providing the public with news they need and we’re intent on continuing to give our readers what they need, from calendar news to coverage of local and state government and much more.
Even as the Information Age deluges us with more and more to sift through, we’re focused on getting news of community happenings to you in an easy-to-read format. We’re grateful to each of you for making the Spirit part of your busy week.
— Robert Snyder