In a big city like Los Angeles, it is sometimes tough to feel a sense of community. Being active in your neighborhood, or local school, or being a member of the chamber of commerce is a great way to feel connected.
However, your local newspaper just may be the glue that holds the community together. Reporting on quality of life issues – like development, or crime – is important. Covering business and politics is also a cornerstone to community journalism. But one of the most rewarding aspects of publishing a local newspaper is profiling “Our People,” those who make significant contributions, especially those who do it without much fanfare.
We recently published a story about one such person – Julie Stromberg – who through her activism in her Windsor Village neighborhood, created a program to plant more trees on city property.
She discovered that when a dead tree was removed from city owned land by the Bureau of Street Services, the stumps were left behind, impeding new trees from being planted. Stromberg worked with the Urban Forestry Division to get the stumps removed so that they could plant new trees. This pilot project was such a success that the city is now analyzing it to adopt the program in other areas.
Another example is famed jazz musician, Corky Hale. Corky and her husband Mike Stoller have contributed financially to many charitable organizations, like Project Angel Food. When Corky read that the van used to deliver food to its clients broke down, she bought them a new van. Recently, she read about a high school senior hoping to go to college – he has the grades and the community service – just not the money. In the wake of the college admissions scandal, she wanted to help out. She contacted U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, who is the young man’s representative, and sent the student a check. Corky makes her name on the stage, but quietly betters the lives of others.
This focus on people who improve the Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Park La Brea, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills – the areas covered by the Beverly Press and Park Labrea News – is exemplified in our weekly newspaper. In our annual magazine, like “Our People Our Places” and “See, Sip, Savor,” we highlight the SALT of our community. “SALT,” as we defined it, “something that adds piquancy or makes something more interesting.” We profile men and women who don’t seek headlines and quietly conduct their businesses and endeavors with dignity and without fanfare. These are “Our People” – truly the salt of the earth.
We hope members of the Miracle Mile Chamber will continue to support community journalism, both by reading the newspaper and through advertising, which is vital to keeping the presses rolling. Running a weekly newspaper isn’t an easy job, but it certainly is fulfilling. We have several mottos hanging on the wall in our office:
“Newspapers are the acoustic guitars of journalism.” – Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times Columnist.
“It is a newspaper’s duty to print the news and to raise hell.” The Chicago Times, 1861.
And one we remind ourselves of everyday:
“I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.” Charles Foster Kane, “Citizen Kane.”
It’s been fun for the last 30 years, and we look forward to the next 30, with your help and support.
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