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Monday, June 2, 1997


Rick Smith

Internet won't replace
local hometown paper

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Along with all the hype about the Internet come questions about
the future of newspapers. After all, the business of newspapers is to
deliver information, now comes this Information Super Highway. Some
people predict the Internet will eventually kill newspapers as we know
them today.

I don't think so. While I think the popularity and usefulness of the
Internet is still in the beginning stages and will become a bigger
influence in all our lives as time goes on, I also think it'll be a long
time before the Internet replaces the local newspaper.

At the Pecos Enterprise we recognize the value of an on-line presence
and we have a pretty good Website at A lot of people
from around the world access our Website everyday. But as it stands
right now I believe it will be quite a while before we quit printing our
daily news on paper.

There is something comforting about being able to go to your favorite
cafe, take a local paper out of the rack out front and read the paper
with your meal. Most people first glance over the headlines on the front
page, maybe read a few paragraphs of a couple of eye catching articles
then flip the newspaper over and check out the back page.

After a few sips of coffee, the reader then begins the time honored
process of looking through the paper, getting the pages to fold just
right like his father did and his father before him. Some people look
through the paper from front to back, some from back to front, starting
with the classified section.

I don't know why some people start at the back. Maybe they are looking
for a job, or maybe looking for garage sales. At any rate they might be
looking for some local opportunity of some kind.

Those who go through the paper from the front to the back probably
believe the most interesting information is found in the front sections.

Of course there are those who turn directly to their favorite section,
such as sports or the comics.

As it stands right now, reading an online newspaper is often just not
quite as convenient as reading news printed on paper. Unless you have a
laptop computer with a satellite connection through your cellular phone
it's hard to read an online newspaper at your favorite cafe. And even if
you do have all the high-tech wizardry to do that it's going to cost a
lot more than the 35 cents you pay for the paper version.

Printed newspapers have a lot of other advantages over an online
newspaper. Once you're done reading online news you cannot use it to
line the bird cage or wrap up your glassware to pack in boxes when you
move. Of course, if you have a printer you could print out the news and
use it like that but the cost of laser paper and ink cartridges makes
that a pretty expensive option for giving your canary something to read
during the day.

I believe that rather than replacing newspapers or magazines, the
Internet is simply another option that we have. It is an additional tool
that's at our disposal to gather information. In this time when we are
bombarded with more information than we can use on television, the radio
and in our mail boxes, the value of the Internet is that we can use it
to go find specific information that we want.

A good example is found in our new city manager, Kenneth Neal. After he
applied for the job here Neal accessed the Pecos Enterprise online to
get familiar with the town and keep up with current events in Pecos.

I like to check out the online presence of other newspapers across the
nation where I have specific interests. I have a daughter in Toledo,
Ohio so I check out papers in that area to see what's going on,
especially in the winter when it gets very cold and the snow gets deep.

Online newspapers are also good for reading about world events. By
accessing several different online newspapers you can see different
slants and angles on an event that interests you or is important to you
and thereby get a better understanding.

But for hometown news there is nothing better than the local newspaper,
on print, right in your lap.

I don't think that will change for some time to come.

So, while the Internet brings us more opportunities for accessing
information, it will be a long time before, if ever, it replaces the
convenience, effectiveness and comfort of the local newspaper.
Meanwhile, check out our Website. It's growing every day and offering
more opportunities to learn about the local area.

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is an Enterprise writer and city editor whose column appears each Monday.


Keeping area clean is combined effort

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Something has got to be done about keeping Pecos clean!

The Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to clean up our town but in
spite of those efforts, the highways and byways are littered.

What good does it do to clean things up when our residents and people
passing through town don't have any conscious about littering?

The police and sheriff's office need to get involved in enforcing
littering laws. Drive up and down a number of streets and there is every
kind of trash imaginable. The trashing of Pecos is more obvious around
and near some shopping areas.

The people who own the shopping areas aren't responsible for the fact
that some people simply don't care about trashing our town. Where is our
pride? It doesn't take that much of an effort to put things in the trash.

Come on Pecos! We can do better. If you see people you know throwing
things out of a car, do like they do in other countries and remind them
they "accidentally" dropped something.

It's up to us and let's hope law enforcement can give us a hand. Maybe
if people realize the fine is pretty stiff for littering, they'll get
the idea that it's cheaper to use a litter bag than the street for trash.

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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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