By Paul Ruffins

The College Park Here & Now’s definition of good news is news, features and commentary that consistently feature good writing that underwent thoughtful editing. It doesn’t mean only serving up stories that make people feel good. That’s not reporting, it’s propaganda, and our readers would immediately set our ears on fire for neglecting our role as neighborhood watch dogs as well as community cheerleaders. Unlike the internet and social media, our writers use their real names, and when we print mistakes, our editors work to correct them. 

 Overall, we feel that 2023 was a vintage year for our brand of local coverage. In November, we reported that newly unionized workers were protesting against retaliation. Last July, we reminded readers that the Canadian wildfires were only one cause of the region’s chronically poor air quality. In May we celebrated as the University of Maryland welcomed back alumnus Jeff Kinney. Kinney drew a cartoon in The Diamondback before creating the blockbuster Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books and movies.

 Healthy communities require honest reporting to make important local decisions and need informed opinions to explore how regional issues relate to national concerns. That’s a tall order and a high expectation for a nonprofit, community-based publication. The only reason we largely manage to succeed is because you, our neighbors, keep offering us a high level of support.

 Last month, you generously opened your wallets and helped us take advantage of a matching grant from the NewsMatch fund to support investigative and public service journalism. Each month, it’s overwhelmingly volunteer writers who fire up their keyboards to craft our coverage. Every month, our unpaid board members and our part-time paid staff approach the next edition as a nearly full-time labor of love. After all, the real financial benefits go to the local businesses who understand the value of reaching every home in our town.

 You are why College Park Here & Now has been able to stay in print after most local publications have gone bankrupt. Your donations, your photos, your writing and your criticisms are critical to our success. Thanks again for letting us bring College Park the gift of good local journalism, whether the news is difficult to hear or a joy to behold. 

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