Who out there remembers the film, “The Post?” It was the story of how The Washington Post rose to meteoric heights by challenging the so-called bigwigs of the newspaper industry, a.k.a., The New York Times, in scooping hot-button stories.

There is a scene in the movie to which I can relate. Tom Hanks, playing the iconic Ben Bradlee, is complaining to his staff about how a newspaper a couple hundred miles away from Washington was getting the edge on the big stories, while The Post was devoting front-page real estate to the coverage of Richard Nixon’s daughter’s wedding.

Not that there’s anything wrong with covering a wedding, especially one involving the president’s daughter. But knowing the controversies that had begun to develop in the Nixon White House, and also knowing that they essentially had become hamstrung by the Old Gray Lady and other newspapers of national prominence for coverage, had gnawed away at Bradlee to the point where he did a 180 and took the newspaper off in a more “journalistic” direction ... and the rest, they say, is history.

While I certainly do not mention myself in the same breath as the great Ben Bradlee, I can empathize with how he was feeling at the time. There is a popular misconception that smaller newspapers cannot cover, or even break, really big news. A lot of that is stirred by the newsmakers themselves because they will always turn to the outlet that will offer them the biggest exposure to drive home their point.

In this area, we always strive to make our place in the sun, to somehow get out from under the shadow of the larger media outlets that routinely only seem to be interested in localities our size only when something major is happening, like a local politician on trial, a city council constantly fighting among itself, or even a police-involved shooting that always generates headlines no matter the size of the locality where it happened.

As a self-disclosed political-news junkie, I have noticed that our little corner of Virginia has drawn more than its fair share of national intrigue over stories of blackface and sexual assault among the top political brass. Being only 25 miles from that political ground-zero, I also have come to understand the impact I might be able to have on the conversation if only given the chance to speak.

I have reached out countless times to people, offering them the opportunity to sit down face-to-face and tell their stories to a journalist who is not always at the epicenter but close enough to know that he can make a difference.

But apparently, integrity does not often factor in to mass exposure. These people constantly turn to the larger outlets to say their piece. Yet at the same time, these are the same people who constantly are after us in the smaller markets to pick up on little tidbits of community service they are providing to their electorate.

You know ... fluff pieces. Almost like we are too small to handle the big stuff, but still just the right size to get their messages out.

That’s fine. Community journalism is the cornerstone of smaller newspapers. We live among the people we cover; the so called “big boys” don’t. However, they have a larger megaphone, so obviously they will make the loudest noise.

Obviously, my newspaper does not have the circulation numbers that the larger outlets do. It definitely is not due to lack of effort on our part.

But there is this little thing called the Internet that has put me on the same level as my counterparts in more populous areas. The World Wide Web does not discriminate in terms of news reach. In cyberspace, The Progress-Index is the same size as The New York Times.

Small newspapers can and should handle big news. We’re just as big and as competent as any other news outlet in today’s media world.

So I guess what I am saying is, don’t just think of community newspapers as fluff mouthpieces. We are just as hungry to break the hardest news as we are to break the softest, more feel-good news. I’m sure Ben Bradlee would agree with me ... if in fact he still were alive and actually knew who I was.

Whaddya think of that, Old Gray Lady?

-- Bill Atkinson is assistant editor and political columnist for The Progress-Index in Petersburg, Virginia. Reach him at 804-722-5167 or batkinson@progress-index.com. On Twitter: @BAtkinsonpi