When I first moved back to the area in 2013, after having worked here 25 years earlier, I spent the first few months as publisher speaking with groups such as the Atlantic City Rotary Club, the Somers Point Business Association, Kiwanis and others about their concerns and expectations for The Press.
One of the things I heard repeatedly was that readers, particularly business and community leaders, thought The Press had a negative attitude about our region and its prospects and that we really weren’t that interested in making our communities better.
I told folks then what I still believe today: Nothing could be further from the truth, at least not for the past four years that I’ve been here. Think about it logically. I’m a homeowner with a wife and children in school, I sit on many boards of non-profits aimed at helping the area, I lead a business that depends on readers and advertisers to keep its doors open. To put it bluntly, I am in and I do care!
Every one of my employees lives and works in this area. Why would any of us want to see it fail?
The truth is quite the opposite. One of our core values is that we want to work together to see this area succeed. For The Press, we approach that in several different ways.
In our newspaper and websites, we work hard to provide coverage of positive stories, not just the negative ones. Our lists of high school all-star athletes, a recent story about improving foreclosure rates, and a profile of chefs cooking holiday meals for the needy are some recent examples.
But there are many other, less visible ways in which we support the community. We regularly work with nonprofits to help promote their fundraising events. We support United Way and many of our managers are on local, nonprofit boards.
The point that I’m trying to make here is not just the fact that we have a presence and a commitment to our communities. To quote an often used phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In our case, the “child” is the collection of communities that we all live and work in and the “village” represents all of us who have a responsibility to help those communities grow and prosper.
The Press of Atlantic City is a member of that “village.” Not only does it feel like we need to be a part of that “village” but we also have a deep desire and a passion to do what we can to be as influential and collaborative as possible in helping our communities grow.
It’s incumbent upon all of us in this area to be committed to doing whatever’s possible to make this a better place to live and work. There’s no question that we have our challenges but we can’t let that deter us from moving forward and strengthening the bonds that keep us all together. We can’t allow greed and politics to keep us from doing what we know needs to be done.
How do we do that? The answer is we do it together. The whole village has to be committed to it, not just a few.
As the medium through which many in our communities get their news and information, we have the ability and an obligation to do what we can to help educate people about what’s going on and to provide forums through which, working collaboratively, we can help facilitate getting things done.
That’s how I view our commitment to our communities and it has been my passion to do what I can to get that done these past few years. Clearly, we have a lot of work ahead of us but, rest assured, The Press and all of its employees are committed to doing our part.
Mark Blum is publisher of The Press of Atlantic City.