This community newspaper is owned, written, produced, printed and distributed by Beaches residents proud to be celebrating more than five decades together. That tradition of local people producing a local community newspaper has been The Leader's hallmark since its founding.
A local newspaper, doing its job, is the voice of the community. It presents the universal store of information that gives people a sense of the place where they live. It is, or should be, the organ that connects people to each other and to the town or village they call home. A good local newspaper will also supply the institutional memory that gives the community continuity.
Bob and Ruby Scott said it very well when they introduced The Beaches Leader on page one of the first edition in June 1963. They proclaimed that the Leader would be "a real voice of the people, a newspaper dedicated to presenting all the facts, pro and con, on civic issues; a newspaper helping neighbors to become better acquainted with each other."
The Beaches community is a far cry from the Norman Rockwell village it was when Bob and Ruby founded The Beaches Leader, but our role has not changed. When we are deciding what to put in The Leader we are guided by one imperative: Provide the local news and information that our readers consider important.
Local is our beat. But we try hard to be more than hometown refrigerator-door journalism. Beyond the youth soccer, dance recitals, fishing success stories, famous cooks and local heroes are hard news stories that need ink.
The Leader has covered the hurricanes, fires, police blotters and tragedies that befall us. We have also covered the festivals, concerts, parades and everyday activities that make the fabric of beach life so rich. We have covered sewers, taxation, roads, and schools. We have attempted to keep you informed about development, redevelopment, rezoning, and street closings.
The advertising on our pages has provided a catalog of items for sale by local merchants and by local professionals. Classifieds have supplied jobs, service providers and garage sales. For the last century, advertising has been among everybody's top five reasons to read a newspaper.
Since a good newspaper is a community talking to itself, we have printed thousands of your letters. Before any one ever dreamed of talk radio or "chat rooms," Leader readers were writing letters to the editor. We want to print them and stimulate discussions and public debate.
In all this we have fallen short of our readers' expectations many times. But it has not been because we were not trying. In 1986 we decided to make a formal statement of our mission. What we adopted back then follows:
Our mission is to publish distinguished community newspapers. Among our overall goals are the following:
- To publish products that are of high quality in terms of news and advertising content, reproduction, and service.
- To maximize profits consistent with product quality, but in no case less than required to assure long term growth and our editorial independence.
- To be fundamentalists in our support of the public's right to know and the right of free speech and press.
- To maintain competitive market leadership in the communities we serve.
We are using the technology of the web for delivering Beaches news and advertising, through beachesleader.com and pontevedraleader.com as complements to the printed version of our newspapers. Our mission statement will continue to provide a roadmap for the future.
-Kathleen Feindt Bailey