I missed writing about National Newspaper Week during the actual week. It was October 7-13.
I guess I just got too busy doing other things – writing articles, selling advertisements, designing pages, running a delivery route, editing, selecting photos, covering events, and so on and so forth.
That’s what we do here at the community newspaper. No two days are the same.
But each year at this time I catch myself thinking even more about why I got into this business.
No doubt, it had a lot to do with my sense of community – growing up in a small town, smaller than Holly Springs.
A teacher or two thought I was a good writer.
And a guy at the local newspaper, after I asked if he needed help, sent me out to “do a story.” And he also handed me a camera and said, “Take a few photos, too.”
The degree came. I learned a lot at the University of North Alabama. But it was the on-the-job training – the learning by doing – that sticks out the most. I learned very quickly there was never a dull moment working at the community newspaper.
I’d be in the office working on a feature story. Then the editor would get a call about breaking news. He’d send me. I’d be gone an hour, and then have to come back and finish what I started, plus work on the crime story. Both had to make it in that week’s paper. And it was Tuesday – deadline day.
That craziness continues, not every week, but regularly.
Just a few months ago here at The South Reporter, we were wrapping up that week’s paper on Tuesday and got a call from the sheriff’s department. We changed gears and got it covered and on the front page that week.
That’s actually a big part of why I like the newspaper business – the pressure, the adrenaline.
But most of all, I like the people.
What we do at the community newspaper is for you – the community. It’s your newspaper, not ours.
I get asked regularly about the future of newspapers, due to the challenges being faced from the Internet and social media.
Here at The South Reporter, Marshall County’s newspaper since 1865 (that is 153 years), we primarily focus on continuing to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and at the same time, doing our jobs better and differently.
Twenty years ago, I never thought I would be Tweeting from a high school football game or putting a breaking news brief about a plane crash, with a photo, on Facebook.
Those things have helped a community newspaper be a part of your daily news feed, but our bread and butter, the newspaper, is still very much alive and kicking. In its pages, we provide something valuable to the people of our community.
We know that. The proof is in all those with 75 cents who wait on the paper each Wednesday, the ones who resubscribe, the new subscribers, the long-time advertisers and the new advertisers who try it on a consistent basis and see the results, plus all those who regularly feed us news and photos themselves because they want them in the paper.
We appreciate you, and for us, it’s all about you.