Editorial 7-31-2013


keithFrom the Editor

by Keith Stewart

Wait. I can explain. Or should I just apologize now?

Change. If I weren't so tired, or tardy, while writing this little editorial, I'd invoke some two cents about how change is good but hard to handle for many. But you've heard it before.

And if you are the diligent reader that we envision you to be, you must have read the article at the bottom of page one that goes to great lengths, if not too many, to explain why we did this; by the way, the guy that wrote that article has a tendency to be quite, well, windy. My apologies.

And not to discount any of what he wrote, it's genuine, and it's true.

But a column tends to grant a little more creative license, or at least in my opinion.

I'd be amiss if I didn't say that we really hope this change was for the better. I realize that word may bring mixed emotions for some since 2008, but we really do mean it.

It's our hope that you open this paper and feel a new level of admiration for your little community newspaper, that it reflects both the will of the communities we serve as well as the work we put into it each week.

Yes, we took the crossword puzzle out altogether; to my knowledge, only my grandmother and a few others filled it out each week, and even she admitted lately that it had gotten quite difficult, and that's coming from one smart woman. And I'll probably regret even pointing its absence out, but it was just one of the many decisions we made in an effort to tidy things up.

But please, this isn't completely over. We'll keep an ear to the wind and if you have something to say about the new design, by all means, let us hear it.

Obviously, this doesn't mean that one or two complaints will result in a change, but if it appears that an overwhelming majority like or dislike a certain aspect of this new design, we'll listen and we'll change.

And by no means is this redesign a false move meant to be all the progress we intend on making. We look to have our reporting become stronger and more focused, our use of photos more diligent and purposeful–this is still, but one more step in what we feel is the right direction for us and for our readers.

As a still relative newcomer compared to the rest of the staff here at the NP, I am still overwhelmed at times. So much of what we do is steeped in family tradition. I didn't know the late Bob Best, and I knew Marion for what was a short and cursory period of time. But I can't help but feel the roots they laid here some 50 years ago each time I walk into the office. And as such, I couldn't help but shudder at the first thought of redesigning their newspaper. Would they be proud of it? Would they agree with our decisions? If I dare mention legacy, are we doing it justice?

I don't care that we're a small newspaper serving just under 4,000 people a week. When I was a kid, I played basketball all the time, and for being a 4 foot, 8 inch runt, I was rather good. Granted, not as good as my telling people that I would one day be the next Michael Jordan–true story by the way–but nonetheless, quick, nimble, and optimistic, to say the least.

I've always been for the underdog. Heck, when I was still of the age to frequent the seat of a swing, I loved underdogs and probably would still now. But childhood yearnings aside, I see our newspaper as just that.

I see how hard our little staff works week in and week out, the willing contributions from those within the community to us, and I think it every bit as emblematic of the communities we serve, who, yes, struggle to keep their share, to make improvements, to give their residents a sense of purpose and a sense of home. And so if I had to knock the now dozing reader upside the head, I'd say that in this sense of being the underdog, we're in this together.

But that's enough touching, personal digest for one editorial.

But while I'm at it, I do have another explanation I'd like to provide.

Below, I've chosen to spotlight, if you will, a very good cause. Please read it, and if you have time, attend the start in Mattoon or the lunch break in Findlay. But to explain, typically, the area below would feature letters to the editor. Now whether unfortunate or not, we didn't have any letters this week, but should you decide to send one in that abides by our guidelines, that's where it'll be.

And lastly, a quick public announcement: as if it hasn't been written enough already, we work hard to deliver a product to you every week. Now it has come to our attention that some individuals who enjoy the sound of sliding quarters into our dispensers around town, are in fact taking more than just their $1 share. Please don't cheat us of our pittance, our small salary, our Kumquat. If you want more than one paper, then pay for more than one paper.

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