(PUB. NOTE: The following article appeared in the Monday, June 3, 2019 edition of The Citizen-Tribune of Morristown.)

MORRISTOWN — The importance of community newspapers in the United States remains critical because of the unique role they play in their communities.

Lakeway Publishers, Inc. President R. Jack Fishman said that newspapers have an obligation to keep readers informed on matters that affect their lives and the cities and towns they cover. In addition, he said, Lakeway’s employees are vital in obtaining, producing and delivering the information, news and advertising in print and digitally that is necessary to any thriving community.

As such, Fishman announced the company is voluntarily restructuring and has filed for Chapter 11 protections.

“We greatly value our relationship with our readers, employees and customers. We are committed to maintaining this trust as we have filed to restructure and improve our internal systems, both in print and online,” Fishman said. “It is a challenge for small companies to adapt to changing market trends and our leadership has decided to tap into a legal safeguard to protect the company as we make these transitions. All publications and online platforms will continue to serve their communities. Restructuring has been of benefit to many companies and allowed them to improve and meet changing market trends.”

Lakeway Publishers was founded on the idea of providing the critical information for a community to thrive while enlightening its readers. And while the times have changed and the company is adapting, the mission remains the same, Fishman said.

“Newspapers, like many industries, must continue to react to new challenges in an ever-changing economic climate,” Fishman said, “but they still, first and foremost, must serve their community.

Lakeway Publishers, Inc. is composed of mostly smaller newspapers and websites in smaller communities in Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia.

“In our democracy, it is of vital importance that our citizens remain informed and we feel this process will ensure our communities, readers, vendors and employees an operation with renewed commitment and better flexibility,” he said.

Today newspapers are published on many platforms and the industry is going through an unprecedented transformation.

However, Fishman said, even in this time of great transition, the work of Lakeway Publishers’ journalists is read by more people, reaching a wider audience, than ever before.

“We are confident we will continue to be able to provide the very best local news of people, government, business, schools, sports and those things affecting our daily lives and, at the same time, remain a viable company with employees committed to our long history of supporting our local communities,” Fishman said.