As the Best of Richland County contest progresses, the Sidney Herald has been delighted with the number of nominations that have rolled in. Nearly 1,000 readers have logged onto their computers and submitted their suggestions for the best businesses in the county. However, conversations have sprung up surrounding the contest, with some area business owners concerned about the discord it may cause in a small town.

The Sidney Herald wants the Best of Richland County to be a light-hearted, fun way to engage readers and customers in the advertising process. We aim to promote local business and give our loyal advertisers a chance to earn some extra attention from the community. Small-town journalism is a vital community service and without the support of businesses here in Richland County, we wouldn’t be here to bring you the news.

The Sidney Herald hopes local businesses understand this is an opportunity to have some fun and isn’t intended to make anyone feel less than. We’ve heard rumors that in years past when the contest was held, a business withheld paychecks from employees until they voted. Rest assured, if we catch wind of any sort of that activity, we will be reporting on it. A simple newspaper contest should not be taken that seriously.

As the local newspaper, we are not only here to report news and write stories. We also play an important role in the promotion of local businesses. The advertising department and the publisher take that role seriously. We don’t want to offend or alienate any of our advertisers and we hope this contest doesn’t do either.

Stories of small-town newspaper closures are aplenty these days. The most common thread in all those stories is the loss of small businesses and ultimately the loss of advertising dollars. We believe in the partnership newspapers have with businesses they serve. Without those relationships, the Sidney Herald wouldn’t be able to cover local events and a world without news is not one anyone should want to live in.

We run these promotions like “best of” to think outside the box, allow consumers a chance to have a voice in advertising and to throw our advisers an awards party at the end of it all. We hope local businesses encourage customers to vote, but don’t take it all too seriously or too personally. Let’s just all have some fun together.

- Amy Efta

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