Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, and on a happier note

Everyone welcome Travis Vaughn to the Herald staff. He's come on board with us as Advertising Director, and I hope I can twist his arm into writing a few stories for us from time to time as well. Travis' wife, Tiffany, is the Director of the Marion-Perry County Library. He holds a Master's degree in History and BA degrees in History and Philosophy from the University of Alabama and previously worked as a history teacher. Travis and Tiffany have a son, Isaac, and they live in Marion. 

Next week's edition will also feature a special outdoors edition, with original stories, important information, and columns from local outdoorsmen. Thanks to all the local advertisers who helped to make this edition possible. Before you head out to the woods, drop by these local businesses to make sure you've got everything you need. 

It's been a tough couple of weeks...

As our readers may have noticed, we've been having a few problems lately -- mostly having to do with lateness. Relations with our printing company are pretty strained right now because of this, but they're the only printing company we've got and we have to stick with them for the time being. 

I take full responsibility for all of this, and hope our readers will bear with us until we can come to some sort of agreement that suits us and our printers. Needless to say, we can't hold out much longer calling ourselves a Thursday paper and coming out on Friday or later. The economic downturn has hurt both us and our printers, and the belt-tightening they've had to do recently means we can no longer follow the printing schedule we'd grown accustomed to. I don't know what that will mean for us yet -- earlier deadlines for news and advertising submissions are probably imminent. I've been pretty lax on taking material that comes in on Wednesday mornings for the current week's paper. That's definitely going to come to an end. 

If you have news or advertising to submit to us, and you want to make sure it goes in on a certain date, please have it in our hands by close of business Monday, week of publication. I'm afraid this is the only way we can begin to rein in this streak of lateness and be able to print on Wednesday afternoons again. 

I know this has been an annoyance to our readers, and a problem for our advertisers. But it's been affecting me very deeply. To know that the paper's going to be late AGAIN this week and not be able to do anything about it is a pretty powerless feeling. To have to spend all day Thursday and Friday fielding phone calls from irate subscribers is no fun, either. 

Please, bear with us. Our only aim is to bring Perry County the local news coverage its people deserve. That may sound cheesy, but it's not meant to be. I really mean it. The opportunity to make a difference here in this county that has given me so much means the world to me. It's not always easy, and it's not always fun. But it matters. 

When the angry phone calls about late papers start flooding in, at the very least I can take solace in knowing it matters to you, as well. 

Thank you, and I hope to see you again next week. On time. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Welcome to our blog

Many of my colleagues in the paper business across the country (and even in Alabama, technologically backward as it is often portrayed) have turned to blogging as a way to augment their news coverage. Not a bad idea, I found myself thinking when I learned that Demopolis Times staff writers are now keeping their own weblogs. So I went out and got me one. This weblog, should it succeed, will just be another forum for me to interact with our readers, and one that I hope will allow us new ways to get to know each other. 

I'm not quite certain what it will ultimately turn out to be, but I hope to use this forum as an informal way to keep readers posted on developing news items in Perry County, and to give my own opinions on ongoing stories we cover in print. I also expect this will be a good format for news items that just don't "fit," either literally or figuratively, in the paper. 

Each posting will also offer a space for comments from readers (if there are any), and it is my wish that you, dear (potential) readers will have a chance to let me know what you think – about local and state news, about the paper, about Perry County, and about life in general. I'm actually pretty excited about the exchange this format promises. 

Finally, this is a new project. I can't predict, yet, how often I will update – though I plan to post stories throughout the week. I hope you'll join me here online as we continue our conversation on public affairs and community happening. Believe me when I tell you that there is no place in the world I would rather live than Perry County, and it's because of you. But in print, the conversation feels kind of one-sided. You get rather lonely. I invite you, then, to visit regularly, and talk back. 

See you soon.