I can almost imagine the scene last week when a reader picked up a copy of Thursday’s newspaper, peering at the small photo printed below the front page headline, “Chaffin named Madison Press editor.”
“She looks familiar,” perhaps you said to your spouse. “Do we know her?”
You may have seen me at the grocery store in London, where I’ve been known to spend too much time comparing a few bunches of fresh cilantro in the produce section, or talking myself out of a box of frosted cinnamon rolls in the bakery. A food fanatic, I often make multiple trips to the store a week, and sometimes even bring cinnamon rolls back home with me.
Perhaps it was at the gas station. For the last seven years, I have lived in Madison County, but driven to Franklin County, Clark County and, most recently, Clinton County for work. I’m on a first-name basis with the gas station attendants.
Conceivably, you may recall my face and alarming dance moves from the Madison County Arts Council’s production of “Once Upon A Mattress” a few years ago. I played the riveting role of “extra.”
Possibly, you remember me from Ronettis Pizza on South Main Street, where I worked as a night-shift waitress for nearly five years. Thank you, by the way, for those tips — even the small ones. Each dollar helped add up to buy books, tuition and gas money I spent to attend The Ohio State University, where I was studying journalism and politics and hoping to one day serve in this position.
On a side note, you can tell I’m an OSU grad because I capitalize “The” before the university’s name. It’s only correct, you know.
But anyway, if you recognize me, chances are I recognize you. If you didn’t recognize me, let’s get to know each other now.
I’m originally from Clark County. I grew up in the South Vienna area and graduated from Northeastern High School. I guess London seemed like a far-off city to me, because I vividly remember one of my first trips to town at the age of — believe it or not — 15. It was then that I got my first job dipping ice cream at the London Dog Dairy Bar near the corner of Center and Maple streets. Maybe you remember me from there?
I moved to London with my fiance, Madison County native Danny McKinney, after high school. I’ve commuted to college and worked from here since, despite being asked hundreds of times, “Why don’t you just move closer?”
Truth is, I didn’t want to move. I like it here. So, there.
You should also know that I love community journalism. I spent nearly the last three years at a community newspaper in Wilmington, Ohio, where despite being an “outsider,” I earned a reputation as an investigative reporter, skilled feature writer, and, most importantly, a member of the community.
I believe the only way to run a community newspaper is to be part of the community. That means stepping out of the office to attend events, learning the names and faces of local folks and contributing to the greater good of Madison County by producing a quality community-oriented newspaper, which includes social media and website offerings we can all be proud of.
Speaking of online offerings, you should also know I’m a social media addict. If you follow The Madison Press on Facebook and Twitter (please do!), you may have noticed an increase in posts and breaking news elements. I, as well as our entire industry, understand the newspaper is now a multi-faceted organization, delivering your news in both print and online platforms. It’s something I plan on continuing to build.
Now, it’s your turn.
Although I’ve lived here for years, serving as the editor of the newspaper is an entirely new experience, and I want to get to know all of you. Specifically, I want to know what things you like in your newspaper, and what things you don’t like. I want you to send me your news from your businesses, schools and clubs.
Please, come to the office and introduce yourself. We’re located at 55 W. High St., at the corner of High and Oak streets. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me at (740) 852-1616. “Like” my Andrea L. Chaffin page on Facebook, /www.facebook.com/andrea.l.chaffin.5. Tweet me on Twitter @AndeeWrites. You could even try shining the Batman signal in the sky; I’d certainly try to find you.
And, if I already know you, please tell me when we’ve met. If it’s from the restaurant or ice cream shop, quiz me. I might even remember your order, but don’t expect a reprise of the moves from the musical.
Andrea Chaffin is the editor of The Madison Press, Plain City Advocate and Mt. Sterling Tribune.