Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been highlighting the bright spots I’ve witnessed over the course of this year. Since this is the last week of our newspapers for the year, there is no greater story for me to tell than that of the staff of Charlotte Media Group.
In late March, the impact of COVID19 shutdowns and government regulations became very clear to me. I immediately knew I would have to lay off a number of employees. Truth be told, it stung and it still stings as I type this. Those kinds of decisions are never easy. Who wins and who loses? How do you choose? The reality is, you have to manage to the money, and the money was quickly leaving our company. As you well know, we are 100% funded by advertising. And that quickly dried up on a local level. I am grateful we have many strong national and regional advertisers who have stuck with us over these long months. But, I knew I had to let some folks go and it was difficult.
Fast forward to now and our small staff of two writers, one graphic artist, and two sales people manages to produce three weekly newspapers in tandem with even more web/social content every single week.
Justin Vick and Karie Simmons continue to provide our community with trusted, local content week in and week out. I don’t know how they do it all, honestly. They not only write for our papers, but they provide so much more web and social content than we’ve ever had in year’s past. I’m proud of the both of them. They are hard working people who are invested in telling the stories that matter to the communities we serve. I am grateful for them and I know our community is as well.
Kylie Sark is our incredibly talented graphic artist and if you’ve ever placed an ad with us, you’ve most likely interfaced with her. She is one of the best in the business, and we are fortunate to have her. She’s faced a lot this year while being a mom trying to homeschool her children and meet all of our weekly deadlines. I am very proud of her and I feel lucky to know her.
Charlotte Conway is our sales manager and odds are if you are a business in Union County, you’ve met her. She is a bright light in any room she is in and I don’t believe I would’ve made it through the challenges of this year without her. She is my right hand gal and an incredibly intelligent marketing consultant and a trusted client advocate. I’m grateful to call her a friend.
Loura Hilliard is new with us and I believe she is teed up for great success in 2021. She began her journey here this fall and what a tough time to be in advertising. But, she is steadfast and fearless. I look forward to watching her soar in the new year.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kate Kutzleb. Though she is not full time with us, we lean on her for her incredible gift of coming up with exceptional promotions and events. My hope is we can get back to doing what Kate does best in 2021, and that is, without a doubt, events.
Lastly, I’d like thank you all, our readers, for sticking with us this year. I know it hasn’t been easy. We’ve cut distribution and we combined papers for a little while. I’m thankful that you continued to read our papers and write to us with your feedback and opinions. I feel such a deep sense of gratitude that you all let us in your homes each week and allow us to share the stories we feel are important in our communities.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you and I hope you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and a wonderful New Year!