Just a thought… t
The job of a newspaper writer is an interesting one. On the one hand, every week, we are given a blank page(s) to fill with all the possibilities that blank page offers. On the other hand, we are given a blank page and we have to try and fill it with something interesting enough for others to read. It’s a challenge.
Some weeks ideas flow and we can’t write fast enough to keep up. Other weeks, we are all out of fresh ideas, not much is happening in the community that week, and every issue we can think of has been covered to the nth degree.
One of the most important points for a writer of a weekly newspaper to remember is ‘know your audience’.
Become familiar with who you are writing for. For instance, this is an agricultural area, a prime hunting area, a place where city and county governments are at a grassroots level, activities often center around the local schools here, and an ever-growing population in the senior sector. In a rural area like this one, there are a lot of different types of people to please.
It is wise to remember that one writer can’t please all of the different types of people all of the time. But rest assured we do our best.
We do our best to provide needed and timely information on meetings and activities in the community. We report on happy news like new babies, engagements, marriages, milestone birthdays, special achievements, and the list goes on. We mark the passage of time with obituaries, flashbacks, and old photos of earlier times.
We note changes, openings and closings of local businesses, celebrate a large number of years in business, and ask residents to remember to support these local businesses so that we can retain them in our community.
We help people find jobs, locate housing, offer services, thank others for kindnesses, sell items, again the list goes on.
When we get to thinking about what all a newspaper provides for the residents of a community for only a buck a week, we start to feel good about our jobs.
We keep the public informed of everything that is going on here.
For me, not only do I love to write, but I love hearing all of the stories. Every person has a story to tell. A newspaper job allows the writer to meet many people in all walks of life. We do research on numerous topics and learn something new every single day. Some subjects we would have never pursued on our own, but because they are subjects of interest to others, we gain knowledge.
For a lifelong learner such as myself, this is the perfect job.
And contrary to popular belief, we don’t really try to make errors… for any reason. We are human, therefore not error-proof. In fact, we try really hard as a team to provide the best product we can, after all, our names are on our work and the readers are our neighbors and know where to find us.
The best thing about a newspaper for our readers is that you can express your frustrations, even about us, in a letter to the editor and we will publish it.
Barta is The Tribune’s editor.