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Chester County Press

Editorial: Following the dot of its circulation

01/03/2023 11:02AM ● By Richard Gaw

It is a rare moment when this newspaper assumes the role of a cheerleader, and rarer still when it toots the proverbial horn of the place it occupies in the pecking order pantheon of journalism, but what recently transpired in the newsroom of one of our brethren deserves the entirety of this editorial.

In an article published on Dec. 26 edition of The New York Times, George Santos, the Republican U.S. Representative-elect who was elected this past November to represent parts of Long Island and Queens, confirmed to the newspaper that he had not graduated from college or worked at two major Wall Street firms, as he had previously claimed. Further, Santos had falsely claimed that he had a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties.

The New York Times has been quickly praised for its investigative reporting on the Santos story, but they are merely just another shark in the media feeding frenzy that has swallowed this story whole in the week since it was published. In fact, The Times and every other media source now on the case was scooped back in September by The North Shore Leader, a weekly newspaper that has been a valued source of news for the past 70 years to the residents of the North Shore of Long Island.

In an article written by Contributing Editor Maureen Daly, The Leader cracked open the truth behind Santos’ fraudulent act that refuted his claim of having assets of $11 million; in a financial disclosure report filed in September, The Leader wrote that Santos had no assets over $5,000, and had no bank accounts, no stock accounts and no real property. Because of The Times article, Santos is now under investigation and in the glare of public scrutiny, but it took a small newspaper with a 20,000 circulation and a staff made up of mostly retirees and part-timers to crack the story – four months before it became a national headline.

The breadth of The North Shore Leader’s achievement is further magnified when you consider they likely do not have access to the full media arsenal commonplace to big city dailies. Instead, their entire editorial staff is made up of an editor, a contributing editor and five reporters – an infinitely tiny team charged with the responsibility of providing hyper local coverage of a wide swath of the Gold Coast of Long Island.

And yet, they defeated NYT, the Gray Lady, the recipient of 132 Pulitzer Prizes that owns the mantle of being widely considered as the newspaper to the world, with diligence, care and determination.   

There is very little fanfare in quiet victory. Persistent professionalism does not warrant applause. Community journalism is the hybrid of both, achieved story by story and with no room for self-congratulatory pomp and circumstance. This newspaper knows all of this to be true; like The North Shore Leader, the Chester County Press is a vehicle of information whose focus is laser-pointed on a particular dot in the wide universe.

It is a smallish dot, but it is our dot to cover, and when we read of another member of this brotherhood of weekly newspapers following the dot of its circulation with excellence, it is a testament to the lasting meaning, value and importance of community journalism.

Bravo and brava to the staff of The North Shore Leader.