Despite how we may feel about this year as it comes to a close, I am choosing to take a quick glance back to acknowledge and give thanks to all of those who helped family, friends and neighbors — as is our way — through the last nine months. Now is a good time to fix my gaze toward the future.

I’m not just hoping that 2021 is better, I am planning for it. And not just for me, but for our paper and the community. That plan for a better year includes being more involved, engaged and tuned in to our community.

As the county’s newspaper, we work hard to be in tune and represent everyone. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are founding principles of this country, and we plan to continue to ensure they are upheld — no matter the opinion, political or religious stance.

And no matter who agrees or disagrees with it.

Our main purpose is to ensure we provide you with local news, sports and more about Lufkin and Angelina County — stories written without bias or any hidden agendas by reporters who live in Angelina County. You will find new articles in the online edition every day, plus receive breaking news in your email when it happens.

We also offer national and world news produced by our colleagues at the Associated Press.

While a lot of readers do not agree with some of the AP headlines and stories we offer, we feel it’s our responsibility to our community to not only keep you informed but also educated on what is happening. Between 1,500 and 2,500 stories and photos are released by AP every day. All of that content is free to subscribers. We do not and will not censor any AP articles; doing so would go against everything we subscribe to as journalists.

As is evident with the coronavirus, we are a global society and, as such, are susceptible to what happens no matter where in the world it occurs.

We believe by providing our community with all types of articles, some of which you may not agree with, we are giving you the opportunity to know what is going on so you can develop your own informed opinions using the tools and information we provide.

Where would any of us be today if we only printed one side, one person’s view, of every story?

What I can’t understand are those who are so closed-minded they will not even listen to someone else’s opinion.

Listen, agree to disagree, and move on.

We all have a stake in the success of not only our community but our country. We don’t have to agree on everything — or for that matter — anything. We are all entitled to our opinion. That is what this country was founded on, and we are all proud to live in this country.

Because of our founding fathers, we have a free press in which you can express your opinion to anyone who chooses to read it.

Again — anyone who chooses to read it.

So, if you see a headline and story you don’t agree with, read it or don’t.

Simply put, we want you to have the option. We represent the entire community — not just one “side.”

So, while we sometimes print articles you disagree with, that is by no means the majority of the articles you will find in The Lufkin Daily News. I would even venture to say that we probably print only one or two stories a week that some in our community call too “liberal” or too “conservative.”

That is why we say this newspaper does not lean either direction. We seem to equally offend all sides. That is not by choice and not by design. That is by simply trying to offer all sides and giving you, the reader, our friends and neighbors, all the information available so you can make up your own mind.

Jackie Zimmerman’s email address