EDITORIAL: Happy 133rd birthday to us! And stop governing by Facebook!

Forgive us, if you will, for a moment. A couple of days ago — May 14 to be exact — The Observer turned 133. On that day in 1887, The Arlington Observer, a one-page broadsheet newspaper began with minimal coverage of Arlington, Kearny, Harrison and East Newark.

Since then, we’ve expanded to cover North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Belleville and Nutley and we’ve also covered towns such as Bloomfield and Rutherford in the past.

We remain one of the oldest businesses in West Hudson and make no mistake about it — despite the misnomers, we are, indeed, a business, though there are some who think we’re operated by the government.

We’ve survived two World Wars, a depression, several recessions and now, it seems, a global pandemic. And we hope to be around to serve this wonderful community 133 more years.

However, we’ve come to a stark realization. We’ve known it a while. We’re sharing it now.

While this newspaper has adapted to a fast-moving technological world, there’s still nothing like an old-fashioned print newspaper.

In fact, many of our readers, including people of all ages, only read our print product. And in the last two months, they’ve relied on our print coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep up with what’s going on locally.

Which leads to the point of this editorial.

Without naming names, there are numerous people out there in elected office who have come to the conclusion that use of technology, namely social media, is the most effective way to communicate. And while it has its distinct advantages, social media only reaches a limited audience.

There have been some in leadership positions who have tried to imitate the President of the United States by only reaching out to the populous with social-media posts.

Indeed, this is a good thing for those on social media, but in doing so solely, thousands of people are being forgotten by leaders. Ask anyone who lives in a senior citizen building in any of our towns if they’re on Facebook. The numbers who are will be extremely low.

So as we pass our 133rd birthday, we offer this simple reminder: If you think you’re reaching people by social media alone, think again. You’re ignoring thousands of people. There’s nothing like a good old fashioned newspaper to get the word out to the masses.

Then again, maybe there’s a reason why some only communicate by Facebook.

We just can’t think of one that’s legitimate.

Learn more about the writer ...

Editor & Broadcaster at 

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.