Flipping through a year’s worth of weeklies recently, my mouth began watering more than it does when I stare at a Waffle House menu after an adventurous Saturday night. I can just taste opportunity … and it’s juicy!
2018 was an eventful year for our newsroom, but it wasn’t easy.
Sports editor Andrew Stark missed the first quarter of 2018 due to his cancer battle. We hired longtime sports editor Paul Nielsen to fill in during Andrew’s absence and retained Paul to write news and sports when Andrew returned in April.
My beloved MacBook died soon after. I’ve replaced her with Lenovo, but she is quirky and shuts down on me unexpectedly.
The nature of our work changed as our company began hosting community events. We organized senior citizen expos in March and September, as well as a women’s empowerment lunch in May.
Stone Theatres began sponsoring a monthly Arts & Entertainment section in the spring. Those special sections, combined with our high school football and basketball season previews, summer camp guides and glossy private school magazine, allowed us to create more specialized content than ever before.
We opened the doors to five college interns and provided mentorship for a high school graduation project.
We did all of this with a skeleton crew – a crew capable of adjusting to expedited deadlines whenever a hurricane or winter weather threatened the completion of a given week’s edition.
While I feel accomplished, I’m not satisfied.
Our newsroom has to aggressively expand our brand beyond our distribution map. With 80 percent of our copies going directly to homes, some of which have been receiving our newspapers for several years, we have to continue reaching new audiences through our website and social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
This has to go beyond sharing the same link on every platform. We have to focus on engaging with the different audiences that each platform attracts.
The challenge is doing this without spreading ourselves too thin and compromising our print publications. We’re adding new resources and tools to help us do this. Feel free to like and subscribe!