The Examiner’s Founding Editor Reflects

Martin Wilbur has been The Examiner’s editor-in-chief since the newspaper’s founding in September of 2007. Wilbur is an award-winning community journalist with more than three decades of experience reporting, writing and editing local news.

By Martin Wilbur

Since launching The Examiner nearly 13 years ago, when publisher Adam Stone had the audacity to think he could make a go of a brand-new newspaper in uncertain times, it’s nearly impossible to recall whether there’s been one article or even a few that have stood out.

Certainly, there have been those that brought a smile to my face or a tear to my eye. Many of our readers likely have their favorite stories along the way.

The task of covering local communities is not about sensational accounts of celebrities and eye-candy photos, as much fun as that can be in small doses, but rather to tell the stories of the real people who give the towns and villages in Westchester and Putnam counties their special character. The dedicated public servants, elected officials and school administrators, the sacrifices of scores of volunteers, the great work by local students and the innumerable talented and extraordinarily gifted residents who make this corner of the world a great place to work and live.

Perhaps what I am most proud of is that with an often-rotating staff and collection of freelancers, interns, contributors, graphic designers and advertising reps, without whom The Examiner would not exist, we have been doing our best to bring quality community journalism to our readers for what now is 659 consecutive weeks. 

It is a badge of honor to know that we have printed every Tuesday since Sept. 11, 2007, and as time has progressed, as often as needed online. 

At a time when our world has been turned upside down and seemingly every business is fighting for its survival and unemployment is skyrocketing to levels most of us have never seen in our lifetimes, there is comfort in familiarity. Some of our favorite eateries are still open for takeout or delivery, but there’s no place to sit down right now for a meal or a cup of coffee to socialize.

Too many other stores that I would have liked to visit or to look for a couple of gifts just in these past five weeks are closed.

For a small part of your week, we hope that The Examiner has been and will continue to be a small part of that comfort and familiarity. But there are no guarantees. Late last week, I read about the demise of three weekly community newspapers in southern California – the Glendale News Press, the Burbank Leader and the La Canada Valley Sun. The two former publications are ceasing operations after 115 years; the latter was founded in 1946.

For those communities, it’s a terrible loss. So many of the larger publications over the years, themselves fighting for survival, have curtailed coverage of the ordinary, yet extraordinary people who comprise each of our communities. That is not easily replaceable.

When Adam launched the Examiner – COVID-19 Local News Fund a couple of weeks ago, I secretly wondered who is going to reach out, with so much chaos and so many worried about their own health and finances. Thankfully, I was grossly mistaken. We have all been humbled by the hundreds of mostly small donations that keeps your community newspaper alive. No donation is too small. Every dollar helps and it gives each of us the boost we need to soldier on for the next issue.

We all look forward to the day, hopefully sooner rather than later, when we can visit and relax and see one another face to face again, whether at a board meeting, a coffee shop or just passing through one of the local downtowns. 

It will have been possible because of each and every one of you.

Our Examiner – COVID-19 Local News Fund online donation page is https://givebutter.com/theexaminernews and all contributions are tax-deductible as part of our partnership with the Local Media Association nonprofit.

 

 

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