We plan to serve you for another 164 years

By the Advocate Editorial Board


When: 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: University of Houston-Victoria Multipurpose Room. Seating is limited.

For more information: Contact Advocate Public Service Editor Gabe Semenza at 361-580-6519, or gsemenza@vicad.com.

To view or take the survey: Visit VictoriaAdvocate.com/survey. The event also will be broadcast live at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

We hope you will help shape the future of your Advocate.

We thank you for the personal relationship you have formed with your hometown newspaper, which stretches back 164 years. We know we must protect and nurture this public trust.

That is why the Victoria Advocate joined the Associated Press Managing Editors' credibility project to study how trustworthy you find the print edition compared with our Web site. All news Web sites are infants next to the 350-year-old tradition of newspapers. The online presentation of news offers exciting new opportunities and unforeseen pitfalls.

Our best guide in charting this new territory is you. We asked you recently via a scientific phone survey to talk about several key questions regarding online journalism:

Is there a credibility gap between newsroom-generated content and user-generated content?

What content do online readers find more credible or less credible?

Does the credibility of one form of content affect the credibility of another?

We will share the results of this survey with you at a town hall meeting Tuesday in the University of Houston-Victoria Multi-Purpose Room. But the main reason for the town hall meeting is to dig deeper into these issues with you and map a possible course of action. We hope you will share your thoughts about what journalistic principles matter the most, regardless of the delivery method.

Our survey was conducted according to national standards under the guidance of the University of Missouri journalism school's Center for Advanced Social Research. We couldn't have managed this project without the center's staff and students and without the efforts of two hard-working University of Houston-Victoria students who placed the bulk of the 400 phone calls.

Of course, none of it is possible without you - our readers, our customers, our friends and our neighbors.

In reviewing the comments you made during the phone survey, we were heartened by how highly you trust both the newspaper and its Web site. We smiled at comments like these about why you trust news in the Advocate and VictoriaAdvocate.com:

"It's easily determined if it's true because I live here."

"It's more accountable because it is a community newspaper."

"Local news cannot get away."

We know we have challenges ahead, however. In the digital world, you have millions of Web sites at your fingertips. We want to strengthen our relationship with you and be your trusted partner in navigating the sometimes-confusing choices of cyberspace.

To do our job best, in any medium, we need to listen to you.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.