We have come to realize in The Republican Journal’s absence something that many journalists may take for granted — the importance of community support and contributions. While appreciating sentiments expressed by many regarding the importance of a community newspaper and concern for the loss of our jobs, it was not until we returned to the business of collecting and producing content that the full impact of assistance of the community was felt.

Calls on social media platforms, by email, phone calls and in person netted photographs of events that had taken place while TRJ was out of publication, as well as upcoming events and numerous heads-ups and filling-ins. Were it not for the phone’s constant ringing and people sticking their heads in the door of the office, last week’s first edition would have been all but impossible to produce and we’d like to take this opportunity to echo the many thank yous we’ve heard in the past two weeks.

Moving forward, we know the adulation will cease and people will get back down to the business of asking questions like “why didn’t you cover this?” and “why didn’t you cover that?” Truth is, we can’t be everywhere. We depend on members of the community to let us know about events and happenings, to submit photos and to let us know if there is a story angle we’ve missed or should further pursue.

As many community members have noted, life was not the same without a newspaper; for our part, the newspaper is not the same without an active and involved community. Nothing reflects this more than TRJ’s many town columnists, who provide a vital — and often humorous — take on happenings in many of Waldo County’s 26 towns. If not for those contributors, a chunk of community news would be missing and each contributor’s style brings more diversity to the paper.

Newsrooms all over the country are seeing shrinking staff sizes and TRJ is no exception. As much as we would like to cover every single school spelling bee or municipal meeting, we are not superheroes with unlimited time and energy. Consider becoming a superhero to your community and contribute — write a letter to the editor, send a photo of something happening around your town or city, submit a calendar item about a community supper — either directly to TRJ at news@villagesoup.com or reach out to your town columnist. Don’t have a town columnist in your town? Why not try your hand a writing it yourself or make it your mission to find one?

Above all, let’s keep a dialogue going. We want to know what you enjoy about the newspaper and we also want to know how we can serve the community better — we’ve all learned our lesson about not knowing what we have until it’s gone.

Republican Journal staff can be reached at 338-3333 or news@villagesoup.com.