Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Memory Lane

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Memory Lane

Article excerpt

Last month, I took a trip back to the Midwest to visit family in Ohio and in Michigan, my home state. I looked forward to meeting my new niece, eating some good food, and catching up on sleep. But I also made a special trip to Allegan, Mich, where I spent four years as a staff writer for the Allegan County News, a weekly newspaper that comes out every Thursday. The company also publishes two other weeklies in the area and several supplements.

It was my first newspaper job out of college, and like many other small, community newspapers, everyone on staff had to wear different hats. I covered city and township meetings, took photos at holiday parades and other gatherings around the county, edited press releases, laid out ads and copy on production day, and helped unload the track when the newspapers and mail bags arrived the next day. When I left in 2009 for warmer weather in California, it was a bittersweet feeling. When you work for a small newsroom, it starts to feel like a family, and you don't want to leave family behind.

Over the years I kept in touch with my former co-workers. Some have left the newspaper; others are still there. I learned the paper had been sold to a new owner who also became the new publisher. The paper also recently moved into a smaller building downtown. They were doing more video now. They had raised newsstand prices. They had changed printers. They were hosting more contests in order to attract more subscribers. They were producing more supplements. They put ads on the front page now. They redesigned the website and got a Facebook page that currently has more than 4,000 followers. It's not the same publication it was when I left in 2009, but then again, what newspaper is the same as it was eight years ago?

I'm sure if you were to return to your first newspaper job, the office might look different, there will be faces there you don't recognize, or faces that aren't there anymore, but the mission of the newspaper is still the same: to report the news and to report it fairly and accurately. …

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