AFN Aniversary

BY STEVE STRICKBINE AFN Publisher

The truest friends are always there for us, whether the need is big or small. True friends have our backs. True friends get us, who we really are, right down to the bone. You might go years without a face-to-face visit, but then you hang out for a day or connect by phone and your friendship picks up like not a moment has passed.

Whatever life has in store for us – even when it beats us about the head – the trust forged between true friends maintains that connection across distance and time.

The older I get, the more I get it: Few things in life matter more than true friendship.

This newspaper has been a true friend to Ahwatukee residents for 40 years. Since July 1978, when it first landed on what were then about 1,500 driveways, the Ahwatukee Foothills News has been the community’s chronicler, watchdog, confidante and crier of truth. It’s been an institution Ahwatukee’s families have counted for nearly 15,000 days and thousands of editions. It’s been shared, talked about, yelled at and torn apart, and it’s made scores of friends and its fair share of enemies.

There’s an old saying in the media business: A good newspaper has few friends. Personally, I think plenty of you reading our paper today would say that’s too cynical by half. A good community newspaper strikes a balance between giving credit where credit is due and calling out the misdeeds of the powerful. It celebrates a community’s victories and shines light on its failures and shortcomings.

That’s what our old friend has been doing for the past 40 years.

For the record, I’m not here to claim credit for the friend this newspaper has become. Rather, I’m honored to be a steward of the trust built by the hard work and commitment exhibited by many who came before me.

As a newspaper publisher, I get asked for my opinion about the impact of social media and this or that glamour mag on community newspapers. It always strikes me as an odd question because it blurs the distinction between the newsgathering our reporters and editors do each week and the commentary that drives so many other public conversations. The bottom line? Community journalism exists to provide the facts our readers needs to form smart, thoughtful opinions.

Giving you the facts is what the dedicated team here at the Ahwatukee Foothills News is committed to delivering every Wednesday, as it has done for 40 years now.

Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for reading. And thank you inviting an old friend into your home so often for so many valuable conversations.

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