Share your news, opinions and springtime fun

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Every day, newspaper headlines and online outlets loudly proclaim the latest tragedies, scandals and outrages.

But, please remember, your Daily Independent covers more than just hard news; we also share personal interest stories, submitted poems and recommendations for entertainment and local amenities, relying in many cases on input from the reader community.

Spring photo tips

Spring is in the air and with myriad family and group outings and events in the works over the coming months, this is one of the best times of the year for you, our readers, to participate on these pages.

Wildflower season is in full bloom and — combined with occasionally sublime weather conditions — the myriad, colorful flowers make this one of best times to experience the best Arizona has to offer.

You can learn more about where to find the blooming bounty at: azstateparks.com/wildflowers.

When you get home, please take a moment to share a photo of you and your family or friends’ adventures. Those photos and a little information may inspire your fellow readers to get out and experience their own.

If you can, leave the photos you send in their original file size, just as they come off your camera, phone or device. We will edit and crop as needed and the extra resolution will ensure your artistic images look beautiful on the printed page.

Also, be sure to include names to go with faces, listed from left to right. In addition to who, tell us what, when and where the action in your images takes place, as well as who shot the photograph.

A picture is worth a thousand words, no doubt. But another dozen words in a descriptive, thoughtful caption can only make the experience more meaningful and informative for our readers and your neighbors.

Our news mission

With the elections cycle under way — as well as investigations, political debates and scandals upon us and hot-button issues forefront in much of the news coverage both locally and nationally — a slow news day may be a long time coming.

But while we continue to share the news, good and bad, with our loyal readers — we remain devoted to our mission of purposeful neutrality.

The Independent Newsmedia mission statement reads: “Our mission is to provide the information and understanding citizens need to make intelligent decisions about public issues. In doing so, we strive to report the news with honesty, accuracy, fairness, objectivity, fearlessness and compassion.”

As such, our news reporting is vital to the success of our newspapers and you will find our staff-written news articles on the front page of this newspaper throughout the week and on the pages of our website: www.yourvalley.net.

To meet our important mission in the community, we rely heavily on input from you, our readers.

Piles of news and article ideas come across our desks every day from dozens of sources, all of which compete for our limited time, attention, resources and print space.

But one singularly important source of story leads will always remain — you.

Be our guide, keep in touch and help us stay on top of the important news and issues affecting your lives every day.

And while unbiased news coverage remains our top mission, the Opinions section of the Daily Independent also ranks among our highest priorities as your community newspaper of record.

We envision this page as your forum to sound off on the issues and incidents, which effect your daily lives.

Join the discussion here because, even in this digital age, the Letter to the Editor is still a thing.

Online vs. print

So much of our engagement with issues and opinions in this new century has moved to the tiny screens on our phones and other hand-held electronic devices.

Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites are all fertile ground for discussion and debate.

But while digital platforms offer previously unimaginable convenience and flexibility, they fail the community in a variety of ways, including an overly broad reach, lack of moderation, and a seemingly institutionalized penchant for hostility.

Rather than thoughtfully discussing important concerns, cyber chatters often descend into unreasonable and deceptive arguments, hateful rants and — in the worst cases — threats.

Though we value and defend Free Speech, you will not find this kind of behavior printed on these pages. Readers may call out one another over differences of ideas or opinions. But we always referee those exchanges and we will not print hateful speech or threats.

While some online chat responders may actually be your neighbors, more often than not they’re just random trolls from anywhere on the planet ... literally.

Even when an online responder identifies him or herself as a local, how can you really know who they are, who they represent or where they actually live?

Too many online “debaters” are just in it to get a rise or intimidate you into silence, not to discuss or attempt to persuade you or (heaven forbid) learn something. And many local issues inspire discussions better left to those who really live in your community.

By contrast, this old-fashioned, paper-and-ink publication arrives six days each week at your home and to those nearby; and every edition is actually delivered here in your community.

Anonymous responses do not get printed in the Opinions section. If someone wants to take you on, they must step up with the courage and accountability of a real, flesh-and-blood human adult to do so.

As an added bonus you won’t see in online forums, we will not reprint comments containing ALL CAPITALIZED LETTERS OR DOZENS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!

What’s that about anyway?

It’s like joining a quiet coffee-table discussion with a megaphone turned up to full blast; the digital equivalent of an angry child wandering uninvited into a discussion while waving their arms and shouting non-stop at the top of their lungs.

Our letter policy states simply: “We encourage letters while retaining the right to edit for clarity, brevity, relevance and fairness.”

So, please. Check out our Opinions section daily if you don’t already.

Read it. Own it. Join in a civil and thoughtful discussion. Or start a new one.

Because, in the end, your voice will always be the most valuable and interesting thing we can print here.

Email your ideas, opinions, stories and photos to: wvnews@newszap.com.

Matt Roy is associate editor of the Daily Independent. Contact him at mroy@newszap.com.

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