If you read the front page of this newspaper, you’re probably aware that The Jessamine Journal placed first in the Weekly Class 3 division in the Kentucky Press Association’s annual Excellence in Newspapers competition.
As managing editor, I am pleased that we continue to be among the state’s top three large weeklies.
Much of the thanks goes to the editorial staff. Without their commitment to producing a top-notch product week in and week out, receiving awards from our peers would not be possible. I read a quote by staff writer/page designer Jonathan Kleppinger where he spoke of carrying over a design tradition.
It reminded me of the first column I wrote as editor of this paper. Here is a snippet of that column:
“Tradition can mean many things to different people.
For those of us who are sports fans, tradition might mean the success or failure of our favorite teams.
For those of us in the business world, tradition can mean the bottom line which pads the old wallet.
For a community-based newspaper, tradition should mean its commitment to the community the paper serves.
After interviewing for the editor’s position at The Jessamine Journal in November 2005, I was immediately sold on its tradition of being the community voice of Jessamine County.
A paper should be a voice of its community, but it also should be a leader in its community.
Unlike the larger metropolitan papers, which have a broader focus, a community paper should be designed with the community in mind.”
In my seven-plus years at this paper, we’ve fared well in the annual KPA competition. But winning awards isn’t what it’s all about. It’s not why we are here. Serving the community that we live in is satisfaction enough.
That, in itself, has multiple meanings.
News — whether it’s an early-morning fire, a game report on the sports page or a feature on someone who has a special talent — must be reported without bias.
In my career, I’ve had run-ins with folks who believe a hometown newspaper should report this or shouldn’t report that.
Unfortunately, not all news is nice, neat and pretty. Sometimes bad things happen and we — your community newspaper — are required to report it in the afore-mentioned unbiased fashion.
I’ll be the first to admit we are a small outfit, and we depend on tips from the community. We are but a small handful of people living in a community of more than 42,000.
I am proud to be the managing editor of this paper. An editor friend of my once asked me, “What is your secret?”
It’s simple. Put people in place who know what they are doing and take care of them, and they will make you look good. This certainly holds true in my tenure as managing editor.
So I end this column with the following: Thank you Jonathan Kleppinger, Jonathan Stark, Kelly McKinney and Benjamin S. Rossi for all your hard work and for helping make this paper among the state’s best.