“To have the highest award in journalism come to Sonoma County for such a monumental and tragic event, I think really goes to show the amazing work that everyone did during a time of crisis.” So spoke Steve Falk, publisher of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat after his local newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for its indefatigable reporting during last year's wildfires that devastated Santa Rosa.
When a town needs news—hometown news—it turns to its hometown newspaper. The difference was this time the whole country turned to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat to get the facts, the shocking, humbling, terrifying facts. Facts that could have just as easily been about their hometown. What will this country do without its local papers, the community watchdogs, the eyes and ears of a nation? Where do we turn when we need to know what's happening if our local papers go the way of the legendary Oakland Tribune, the Albuquerque Tribune, and the Tampa Tribune?
That's exactly what Patt Morrison addresses in her new book Don't Stop the Presses!: Truth, Justice, and the American Newspaper. An award-winning Los Angeles Times journalist who's been part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, Morrison knows the value of on-the-spot reporting and life-saving local news, plus she's seen the dedication that reporters and readers have for getting the facts fast. She traces the history of newspapers in these United States and makes the case that without our American newspapers, democracy is on a dangerous cliff. In his incisive foreword to Don't Stop the Presses!, New York Times Editor Dean Baquet implores readers to understand that we need our news people and the newspapers they produce more than ever.
When we hear that the Press Democrat wins a Pulitzer, we're prouder than ever to be the publisher of Patt Morrison's Don't Stop the Presses!
Read your local newspaper today. And read all about what the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reporters and editors did to keep their neighbors safe. Please, please don't stop the presses!
- Read Kevin McCallum's coverage of his paper's award here.
- Then read all of the Press Democrat’s wildfire coverage here.
- And subscribe.