“There’s nothing in that newspaper.”
I’ve heard it dozens of times. The comment has been made to me not just about this publication, but several for which I have written.
Most of the time, I politely smile. Depending on my mood, I’ll either respond that I disagree and suggest the individual look again, or I’ll agree some improvement is in order. After all, there is always room for improvement and a newsroom is certainly no place for complacency.
Like every new editor, I began this position with some goals in mind. One of those goals is to fill these pages with local stories. Another, which I believe will go hand-in-hand, is to increase circulation for the three newspapers this office produces.
The latter goal has led me to initiate conversations with residents. Thus, some of their responses have inspired this column.
There’s “nothing” in this newspaper. Really?
Allow me to briefly recap The Madison Press so far this week:
Tuesday’s front page led with a peculiar story about a London man who has been ruled incompetent by the judge after refusing to eat in jail for 36 days. The centerpiece story featured a local charity event held last weekend to benefit brain cancer research, Rockin’ on the Run, which raised $15,000 in London. Other front page stories included a decision by county commissioners to give raises to employees at Job and Family Services, London High School kids volunteering at the London pool in preparation of its opening and coverage of a Mount Sterling business winning a state grant for improvement.
On Wednesday, we reported a Turkey Hill gas station/mini-mart may be coming to the West Jefferson area, perhaps solving the village’s need for a nearby grocery store. Other articles included a drug bust in London, coverage of the Heritage Days festival in Plain City, news that a well-known city employee had resigned and a story describing the health fair at the Madison County Senior Citizens Center.
Thursday’s newspaper tells the dramatic tale of a demolition dilemma between a London property owner and city and county officials. The piece, which was carefully researched, explains the meaning behind the attention-grabbing signs posted in front of a West High Street home for the past several weeks. We also reported Madison-Plains schools will be raising its lunch prices, West Jefferson is buying more trees after the last ones died from improper watering, and a campaign has been launched by Madison County law enforcements to “Click it or Ticket.”
That’s just the front page. Inside, pages are stacked with stories from our local educational institutions, businesses and artists. And, of course, local commentary on political and social issues and full coverage of sports events from around Madison County.
Want to know where all of the yard sales are this weekend, which local businesses are hiring and the latest auction listings? Check the classifieds section, published every day.
As I write this column Thursday morning, I know our newsroom is planning more local articles featuring the unique and wonderful stories of Madison County which affect and interest our readers. But, since in the world of news we often cannot predict the future — forget the coming afternoon — I’ll stop short of describing Friday’s front page.
The point I’m trying to make is that there is plenty in this newspaper if you’re looking for a publication which intensely covers Madison County. Most of the time in our publications, you won’t find news about the latest international scandal, fashion faux-pas or celebrity endorsement. We know that if you want to learn about those things, there are literally thousands of other mediums providing that information.
But, if you want to know about Madison County, there are few. And this newspaper is one of them. There’s plenty in it.
Andrea Chaffin is the editor of The Madison Press, Plain City Advocate and Mount Sterling Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.