I’ve been meaning to write a column this year explaining what I was thankful for, but I was too busy going door to door asking people if they had any leftovers they wanted me to help them eat.
Aside from holiday potlucks, I’m thankful to work for a company that not only produces community newspapers, but also believes in their ability to empower communities.
Growing up, my dad would always bring home three newspapers each week. We’d read the big city newspaper, but we’d really consume the town and county newspapers.
My dad would carefully scan each page of the local papers, looking for his neighbors and my classmates. He’d save a couple of the copies of the editions I appeared in and show them off to friends and relatives.
It’s no surprise that I would eventually work for a newspaper. I never expected to enjoy working for weeklies. I’ve worked for corporate-owned dailies, but they just didn’t have that same type of connection to the communities they serve.
I want to bring the best experiences I’ve had reading town, county, city and national newspapers, as well as magazines, websites, blogs and professional wrestling newsletters, to encapsulate what goes on in the communities in southern Mecklenburg and western Union counties.
Inside this week’s edition, you’ll find a letter from Charlotte Media Group President Jonathan McElvy explaining our Voluntary Pay Program. This program allows readers to support what we do by donating any amount to help us continue to bring you local news. Every little bit helps.
This year has been one of tremendous change for our newspapers.
Not only have we transitioned from a tabloid format to a larger broadsheet, but we’ve also changed our printer, design, processes and staff. It has taken us a few months to adjust to some of these changes.
Then there are changes you can’t plan for – like when sports editor Andrew Stark had to go to the emergency room last week (flip to 1B to read how he’s doing).
But things are looking up.
• I conducted a national search for an education reporter that has generated a lot of interest. I hope to make the hire very soon.
• We continue to develop relationships with college and universities as we improve our internship program. We connected nine youth to internships this summer and fall.
• We launched a freelance program that has brought familiar names like Lee Noles, Crystal O’Gorman and Janet Denk back to the fold.
I am working hard to make our newsroom more efficient and effective. Some of my goals for the coming year include more “big picture” stories on the front page, more interaction with readers, more online and social media content, and more reasons to pick up the newspaper. As you can see – more, more, more …
Thank you readers for the continued support of our newspapers. I also appreciate the companies that realize the value in advertising and help us bring you the news.
Want to help?
You can support Union County Weekly in one of the following ways:
• Find the letter and addressed envelope inside this edition and mail it back with a cash, check or money order to our office at P.O. Box 1104, Matthews, NC 28106. The letter includes a short credit card form, too.
• Visit www.unioncountyweekly.com and click on the “support us” button.
Short on cash? You can provide moral support by emailing editor Justin Vick at firstname.lastname@example.org