I’ve been asked why I haven’t been writing columns lately. The answer is simple.
I haven’t had anything to say.
It is time to change that.
Various recent situations have made me want to ask you, the reader, a couple questions. I’ve also been wanting to give you a few pointers on dealing with us.
What do you want to see from this, your hometown newspaper?
More feature stories? More pictures of your kids at school? More governmental stories?
Perhaps less — less governmental chatter, less news you can’t use?
I want to know what you want to see here. This is your paper.
When I do my job, it is with the understanding that I am here to serve the public. More to the point, I am here to protect the public interest, whether they like it or not. (And at times they don’t like it at all. Such is the nature of the beast.) Going into this, you must understand that, above everything else, I hold this sacred when it comes to my job.
That being said, I can’t promise I will write every single story idea that crosses my desk. Some simply aren’t newsworthy, and others don’t fit the concept of a family newspaper. Some are libelous, and some are dull. There are others that are outstanding, and those I can’t wait to write.
This selection process is a judgment call, really, and is similar for every reporter as well as for management. I can promise to hear every request and do my absolute best to see that they are fulfilled.
What I request of Daily Review readers is simple:
—If you have an idea for a feature, email me at email@example.com.
—If you have an event you would like a photographer to attend, call us at 384-8370. I can’t promise — for a variety of reasons, we can’t be at every single event — but we will be at everything we can cover.
For example, obviously we can’t go to every school and take pictures of what a class is doing just because they are making papiér maché dogs that day. There are 26 public schools in this parish, and we cover private schools too. Multiply that by the number of classes in each school, and you have an idea of why this is so.
However, we always accept submitted photos. Please submit them. You can send high resolution pictures along with caption information (please include first and last names and list people in order from left to right) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Please realize that because I am not the only person who puts information into the newspaper, I am not privy to the information contained in every story. When you call me to look up something because your dog has used that edition of the newspaper, please ask kindly, and please don’t act like I’m an idiot because I don’t have an answer for you immediately. You’d be surprised how often this happens.
—When we are working on your story, picture or other submission, please be patient. We can be a bit slow getting things in the paper for a number of reasons.
We are a small staff, and we have other photos to take and write about. We have meetings to cover. We only have a limited number of pages a day, and this limits the amount of information we can place in the paper. Sometimes your feature story on a monkey riding your freshly trained pit bull gets bumped if we have a helicopter crash. Again, this is the nature of the beast.
Please be patient. It will run. That being said, if your submission hasn’t run after a couple weeks, please call us to inquire. We are imperfect humans. Mistakes happen, or perhaps we simply never received your information due to some technical glitch.
—Just because you have money or a prominent last name, your child’s picture will not be placed ahead of others in the queue for inclusion. We run pictures as space is available unless there is a deadline for an event, in which case that item takes precedence. It is very much like triage in a hospital. You may have to wait your turn. Please deal with that patiently.
—If you want to talk to us, please feel free to do so. We don’t bite. You have several options to contact us. Call or email via the contact information above. You can comment on our website, www.stmarynow.com, or speak with us directly via facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dailyreview. I probably will see facebook comments before those on the website, as I administrate the facebook site.
It really sounds like I’m making a lot of excuses here, but what I’m trying to do is give you guidelines for interacting with us so that you can get what you want from us. Call it insider information.
With all of my guidelines laid out, I still want to reiterate my original request. Please let me know what you want me to write about. I’m one of you (bet some of you didn’t realize I am a native of Morgan City) and I want to work for you.
I’m being as plain and as honest with my dear readers as I can be so that we can open the lines of communication. I know that the perception of my hometown newspaper can always improve, and I want to be a part of that. This is my hometown, and you are my people.
Help me to make the best of what we have here.