Well, here it is. Welcome to the maiden issue of our weekend edition.
Many of you may wonder what’s up. “What’s going on with my paper?”
“First it shrunk, then they cut days?”
Change is not easy, especially when you’re dealing with 100-plus-year-old tradition, one that’s full of history. We have weathered through all of it. Wars. Floods. The Great Depression.
And we’re currently traversing the many complexities of COVID-19, the population’s resilience and the devastation it brought to many, many families.
Now we’re again making history by offering the region (western Kentucky and southern Illinois) an expanded weekend edition to include the communities of Mayfield and Princeton — we’ll also harness the stories coming out from our journalists in Benton, Eddyville and Metropolis, Ill. Those areas are bases for our newsrooms, but we’ll also continue to keep an eye for news from nearby communities.
As our publisher wrote, the intent of this endeavor is to offer our readers stories that resonate life in the region — be it full features, in-depth pieces, investigative articles, opinion columns and much more.
Indeed, our staff is small, but they are fierce and share the same love — the love of journalism and seeking the truth.
Each week we will strive to meet that challenge and deliver stories you can only find here.
The news business has changed a lot since I first started. Information nowadays is delivered in lightning-speeds; readability is measured through analytics; research is done without leaving the office, and getting it first, at times, is front and center rather than getting it right. Many news organizations resort to this tactic and would just emphasize correcting the “misinformation” later on. We can always take back what’s been posted online, right?
Not here. As long as I am editor of this newspaper, we better be sure the information we’re giving you is accurate the first time.
Here’s the attempt: This is your newspaper and your journalists will ethically try their best to make this publication sassy, hard-hitting, interesting and compassionate, among other things.
We’re not only going to highlight the problem, but at times offer solutions. We’ll find the best in our communities.
We’re going to encourage debate.
We’ll get back to talking to real people and try to stop making rock stars out of elected officials and so-called “experts.”
Indeed they are integral to certain topics, but I’ll be the first one to admit that we have forgotten the reader — how does a story relate to you? What impact will it have in your life?
We have a big area and I’m certain there are quite a few people out there doing things they shouldn’t be doing or are engaged in something very interesting that we should share with our readers.
No fear or favor, right?
When I first came here I asked my staff: When was the last time we rattled a cage or sank our teeth into something meaty?
When was the last time you filed an open records request?
For as long as I have been a journalist, I’ve always asked myself this question before writing a big story: Who cares about this, or who should?
Or: Will the piece use extraordinary storytelling to help readers understand a consequential societal issue in new ways?
I’ll say it again: Journalists are truth tellers/seekers.
This mission is not unique to journalism. It is a mission common to literature, to art, to science, and even religion. Where we differ from the rest is that we must form our own understanding under the pressures of deadlines.
And the sad truth is we are more often misled to overlook our own shortcomings since we are so frequently quite content with banal and routine standards; it is easier for a journalist to be a charlatan with a profound and mistaken belief in his knowledge and his powers.
With such standards it becomes possible to regard the work of the press as simply the mechanical one of writing news stories and slapping heads to them, which anybody in the modicum of training can do.
Recalibrating our priorities is key to the success of this “new venture,” this weekend edition.
To produce the big stories that matter to the communities we serve, we must be comfortable with the uncomfortable; ask tough questions and uncover the truth, no matter what.
For a very small crew, this is quite a feat, something we will labor day and night.
After all, we as a community have been able to achieve great things — all because we were informed.
John Mangalonzo is the editor of The Paducah Sun. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @jmangalonzo.