Passionately local 

Editor's note: As part of Oklahoma Gazette's 30th anniversary year celebration during 2009, we reflect on our newspaper and publishing company. This commentary discusses our focus on local content.

As an Oklahoma Gazette reader, hopefully you've noticed our dedication to the quality of life in Central Oklahoma. We passionately strive to have a local perspective in every aspect of our newspaper.

Oklahoma Gazette recognizes the vital importance of media coverage of state and national issues, all of which are critical to the well-being of our readers. That we do not address these issues in our newspaper is not intended to discredit their significance.

There are many other forums and media to address national and state issues, but very few to provide local content, particularly with a spirit of independence and inquiry. With finite resources, we must choose what to cover. Our choice is local coverage.

That's been Oklahoma Gazette's mission from its inception 30 years ago. Our strength and vitality as a newspaper today depends on our commitment and loyalty to Central Oklahoma and our people, events and issues.

Our news articles and features focus on conditions and opportunities that relate to our local quality of life, recognizing and commending those who improve it and exposing and chastising those who detract from it.

Our commentary writers augment this effort by providing opinion and analysis about the local issues of the day and the actions of local officials, business people and civic leaders. In turn, their commentaries strive to engage our readers and stimulate them to respond with their own opinions in letters to the editor, making our commentary and letters section a dynamic forum to stimulate thought and action on matters important to Central Oklahoma.

Even the way we distribute Oklahoma Gazette reflects our local perspective. Our distribution racks are located in almost 1,000 local businesses throughout Central Oklahoma.

Because every copy of our newspaper is taken from its rack in an area restaurant or business by someone who wants to read it, Oklahoma Gazette readers are people who engage in their community's commerce, civic activities and entertainment.

Our articles on shopping and services are about local businesses. Our restaurant reviews and features are about locally owned restaurants and chains. Our annual Best of Oklahoma City readership poll and related special issues recognize only locally owned businesses.

It's a matter of mutual support and respect that we have for each other. Oklahoma Gazette recognizes that local, independent businesses are the economic engine of our community. We want to support them in every way we can.

In turn, the success of Oklahoma Gazette results from the advertising support received from local businesses. It is this local focus and the relationships we build that help shield our newspaper from the challenging forces that are more adversely affecting the mainstream media.

We cannot completely escape the economic adversity that surrounds us, but we know that the strong relationships and ties we have with our local readers, local advertisers and our community will help us ride out the storm and continue our high journalistic standards.

We've been your local newspaper for 30 years and, standing together in these hard times, we'll be publishing for the next 30 years with the same passion. Our goal is to provide you with solid journalism that will inform you, stimulate your thoughts and engage you in the greater community.

Bleakley is publisher of Oklahoma Gazette.

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