10 Years A Newspaper Because of the People

By Katie McFadden

5,258,880 minutes…how do you measure 10 years in the life of a newspaper?

In advertisements? Absolutely. This newspaper wouldn’t exist without them, and we are forever thankful to our advertisers for their support over the years. The awards? Those are pretty great and we’ve somehow managed to win some from the New York Press Association every year since we’ve been in business. A big social media following? For a print newspaper, we’ve done pretty well online, amassing more than 50,000 Likes on Facebook and more than 16,500 on Instagram. The news? We include plenty of that every week, but let’s be honest, most of us, hopefully, will likely never see as big a news story in Rockaway as Hurricane Sandy was. It was the news that keeps on newsing, for several years, even though it happened before The Rockaway Times came to exist. Anniversaries of that storm and continued discussion of U.S. Army Corps plans to shore up our little peninsula to make sure we’re protected from another storm making Rockaway newsworthy, still make headlines in our paper. But it isn’t just the ads, the awards, the online presence, and the news that keep The Rockaway Times going. It’s the people of this community. Without you, our readers, the local business owners that take out the ads, the ones that give us something good to write about, The Rockaway Times simply wouldn’t be here for one year, never mind 10.

When Kevin Boyle started this little newspaper 10 years ago, they called him crazy. Why would you start a newspaper at a time when people rarely read newspapers in this digital age, and newsrooms are closing around the country? Boyle tuned it out and forged ahead, even with longtime competition already established here, and we all know Rockaway doesn’t like change. But Rockaway is a special place.

And maybe it was change that was needed at a time when most of Rockaway and Broad Channel’s residents were still trying to rise above the storm that left us devastated. We just needed a bit of good news. They say, “no news is good news,” and yet at The Rockaway Times, we’ve always strived to find good news wherever we can, on a peninsula that seems to be in a constant battle for something—sand, jetties, a hospital, adequate transportation, for the city to stop dumping things here that nobody else wants…you get a gist.

And it is the people on this peninsula and in Broad Channel, and in these communities, that give us that good news despite the bad. It’s the business owners who fought so hard to bring their destroyed business back after Hurricane Sandy. It’s the locals who turn their passion into developing a nonprofit or an event that is made to help others. It’s the neighbors who light up their homes to bring joy around the holiday season. It’s the locals who took lessons from Sandy and brought what they knew to places like Texas and Florida when they faced their own devastating storms. It’s the people who pass through Rockaway or make it their starting point for an epic journey on foot, on bike, on boat. It’s the kids here who make huge achievements, academically, athletically, or simply in everyday life that inspire us all.

It’s the people who send us incredible photos every week for Local Color, and even better ones every year for The Rockaway Times Photo Contest. It’s the people who send us letters to the editor, sharing their passion for this community, in their own words. It’s the people who let us know we accidentally left out Facts You Probably Don’t Need or made a mistake in the Word Search. We appreciate that. It tells us you’re reading, and you’re really, really paying attention. We’d like to think we’ve made something pretty great here at The Rockaway Times, but there’s always room for improvement.

But we couldn’t do it without you. What makes a newspaper survive in this day and age is the people of a great, supportive community, who are always giving us reasons to highlight good news. Not many places could do the same.

We are grateful, we are honored, we are humbled to serve this community of great people. We’re The Rockaway Times, and we’re happy to be here for 10 years, and hopefully 10 more (at least!)

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