Community is heart of the newspaper

Published 12:08 am Sunday, September 27, 2009

The other day, I had someone ask me a question about the newspaper business that I honestly had a hard time both answering and explaining.

It’s not very often that after nearly two decades in this business I have been confronted with a question that almost caught me speechless.

“So, just how do you come up with all the stories that you publish in the newspaper,” this person asked.

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At first glance, such a question would appear to have been an easy one. But, the more the thought about, the more difficult it became because, the answer just isn’t an easy one.

In serving the Suffolk community, the newspaper first must rely on talented individuals who come to work each day with a singular mission of providing this city the best possible newspaper.

Without that drive, without that goal, any well-conceived business model just wouldn’t succeed.

Even more important, a newspaper such as the Suffolk News-Herald must rely on the partnership with our thousands of daily readers and the thousands of residents who call Suffolk home.

It is their phone calls, their news tips, their little “Hey, did you knows” that lead us to many of the news and sports stories we publish each and every day.

Through emails, phone calls and even random posts on our Web site, we are given important news tips that we often times would not know of.

It is this relationship between a strong, community-minded news staff and a public who feels they have a stake in their community newspaper that leads to many of the stories we accumulate each day.

Suffolk is far too big of a place to do this alone. There are just so many miles of road that we often times just don’t have enough time to get to. But, with the support of our readers and our neighbors, we try to ensure that every area of Suffolk feels they have a hometown newspaper in the Suffolk News-Herald.

A very wise newspaper veteran once gave me a piece of advice that has provided me great direction throughout my career, and it is a piece of advice that I often share with our staff and have probably written about in a column or two.

This newspaper philosophy has been one that will continue to drive me as we work to further improve the News-Herald and one that perfectly epitomizes the relationship we have with this community we serve.

“This newspaper, this community newspaper, is the community’s newspaper,” my friend once told me. “We are simply the current stewards of their newspaper.”

All of this goes to say that we truly value the input of our readers. We value both the criticism and the praise, because it allows us to know where have succeeded and where we must continue to improve.

It is my hope that you enjoy your newspaper today, and I look forward to getting those important tips in the future.