President Donald Trump owes “the media” a big thank you for helping him get elected in November 2016.

Here’s why: He couldn’t have reached the highest office in the land without radio, TV, and perhaps most importantly, newspapers.

Throughout Trump’s campaign, newspapers small and large ran daily stories about the candidate’s unique approach to politics. Americans were either intrigued or annoyed by Trump, but before long, his “Make America Great Again” message was on the front page almost every day. His bravado stuck out like a sore thumb — but it made news.

Without the media’s attention, it’s unlikely Trump would have risen above 16 other Republicans, and ultimately past Hillary Clinton that November. The media made him a household name. A candidate can’t buy the kind of national publicity Trump received.

Yet, Trump regularly blasts the “mainstream media” for producing “fake news,” even as he constantly produces tweets that are more often false than true.

His presidency has created challenges not only for cable news networks, but for small newspapers as well.

There’s no denying some cable news channels and certain national newspapers have an anti-Trump bias.

The line between news and commentary has become blurred with the internet and social media. It started before Trump, but his anti-media rhetoric has made it worse.

The Courier does its best to keep its opinions on this page. The newspaper seldom weighs in on national or international topics in the Courier’s View, where most often the focus is on local or state issues.

Trump’s across-the-board criticism of the press has not changed the primary mission of small newspapers like The Courier.

To us, the role of serving our readers remains tied closely to the First Amendment and our responsibility to keep the public informed of the most important local matters of the day. Most people, we believe, care most about what’s happening in their community.

In recent weeks, editors have begun pushing more local content onto the front page of The Courier, where it’s impossible to miss. (Trump, of course, will still make the front page, but more often will be in the pages that follow.)

Like Trump, this newspaper is not perfect. But when we get something wrong we stand corrected. We also invite feedback, including criticism, on this page through letters to the editor. Tell us what you think about something, or what we can do better.

The role of a local newspaper may never be greater than now if it helps readers distinguish between real news and fake news.

Imagine, for a moment, a city like Findlay without a daily newspaper after nearly 200 years, and having to rely solely on social media for your news. If there were no reporters or editors, who would be the watchdog of local government?

Small newspapers are now fighting to stay relevant in a day where news sources are a dime a dozen.

Less advertising revenue means smaller papers and smaller staff. Against that backdrop, President Trump has imposed tariffs on Canadian newsprint companies, putting more financial pressure on newspapers.

The mission statement of the Findlay Publishing Co., which publishes both The Courier and the Fostoria Review Times, states: “Connecting our Communities through Content, Commerce and Conversation.”

That may seem simple, but it’s more complicated than ever in today’s divisive political environment. Still, The Courier remains committed to upholding the tradition of a free press. We just wish the president “we” helped elect was, too.

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