A newspaper contains much more than news stories or photographs. Perhaps just as important is the central role it plays in bringing together its community.
I thought about this today because of a letter to the editor criticizing the Advocate for not covering a car show last weekend. Even though we can always do better with our coverage, I was pleased we had publicized the show in advance. Readers regularly tells us they want to be informed about what they can go and do.
A key way we support these community events is through our newspaper sponsorships. It seems as if the Advocate is a sponsor of every event I attend. The Advocate's family owners are more involved in and committed to the community than any newspaper I've ever seen.
I don't think longtime residents here realize this isn't the case at many newspapers. Across the country, many papers are owned by publicly traded corporations that don't care about the local Bach Festival or the zoo or the drill team's fund-raisers. They care only about the bottom line.
Sure, the Advocate is a business, too, but I can assure you the McHaney and Roberts families go above and beyond to make this the best possible place to live that they can.
I asked Emily Weissmiller, our community services manager, for a list of the community events the newspaper sponsored this year. If you're organizing an event, she's the person to talk with about a sponsorship. As a sponsor, the newspaper spends many thousands of dollars every year advertising these events.
We have to work within a budget and can't sponsor everything (even though it seems that way to me). Here's the list Emily provided:
- Presenting sponsor of such events and organizations as the Victoria Bach Festival, Keep Victoria Beautiful, Hospice of South Texas Living in the Light Run, The Victoria Builder’s Association Parade of Homes and Home Products Show, The Victoria Ballet Theatre, The Victoria Fine Arts Committee Jazz Festival and the Victoria Regional Museum Association (Polo at McFaddin event).
- Lead, gold or grand sponsors for Theatre Victoria, The Children’s Discovery Museum, The Texas Zoo, Adult Literacy Council, and Museum of the Coastal Bend.
- Major event sponsor, aiding events like Warrior’s Weekend, the Victoria Symphony’s Downtown Rhythms, Victoria Chamber of Commerce events, Texas Kicking Bull, Red Cross Bash event, Habitat for Humanity House Party, African American Chamber Gala, Family Outdoor Expo, Rotary Clay Shoot, Charity Concert Series, YMCA Corporate Cup, Knowledge Bowl, Perpetual Help Home Celebrity Waiter event, and Hispanic Heritage Month celebration events (part of the UHV Spanish Speaking Initiative.)
We also sponsor many non-profit organizations to help their message reach the general public. We have supported non-profits including, but not limited to, the Victoria County United Way, Bluebonnet Youth Ranch, Golden Crescent CASA, Hope of South Texas and Sure B.E.T. (Business and Education Together).
In February, the Advocate partnered with Victoria College to bring Stellar Brass Air Force Academy Band to Victoria and also sponsored the Break of Reality concert. We are also set to sponsor the Victoria 4th of July Blastoff City Fireworks Show and Concert.
Emily sums it up this way: "Our heart is truly in our community."
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