The Times’ first editorial


Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from an editorial printed on the front page of the first published MV Times newspaper. The paper came out on Thursday, May 3, 1984. We are republishing in celebration of our 40th.

The question, “Why another newspaper?” has been asked a number of times since the decision to publish The Martha’s Vineyard Times was announced. It was asked by reporters from the Boston Globe, a magazine called Advertising Age and another called Avenue, as well as other members of the media. It had been asked by a number of Vineyarders as well. 

The reason for the existence of the Times is that the people involved in the paper believe that there should be a newspaper on the Vineyard that is comprehensive and impartial in its coverage of Island news.

The Vineyard is a special place, set aside from the mainstream as well as the mainland. One eminent anthropologist called it a “benevolent pocket in a tough world.” It may be true; certainly the pace of life here is slower, more peaceful. The relaxed way of life is interrupted by a few brief months of intense activity.

Mostly, the Vineyard is a community, close-knit despite the splendid variety of the six towns. The closeness is demonstrated by a common front shown when there is some form of off-Island threat. 

It is a community that should be chronicled in a way that reflects the best traditions of journalism. No reporter should attend an event of any kind with a prejudgment of what is about to happen, or about those who are participating in the event. “I Am a Camera, with its shutter open,” wrote Christopher Isherwood. In this day, the reporter might say, “I am an audio-­video recorder in the operating mode.”

The happenings of the Vineyard, large and small, are of interest to The Times. Often, they are also of interest to much of the mainland, and this is a strong reason that the reporting closest to the source should be fair-minded and accurate. 

We will come to meetings carrying no baggage, only the tools of mind, ear, and eye, and the means to take down what happens, by pen, pencil, or recorder. 

The Times will, at all times, take the side of the Island and its residents. We will be as interested in the conservation of the Vineyarders as we are in the conservation of bird, beast, and plant.

We will be a voice for the Vineyard to be heard at county, state, and federal levels. Lawmakers and decisionmakers alike will be informed that they must be responsive to the needs of Islanders in things that directly affect them.