This job is about community, a community I love and call home
Published 2:27 pm Friday, February 14, 2020
As many of you know, I was gone from The Post. We never left Vicksburg, but I stepped away from the life of a daily newspaper to work with some other media outlets around the country.
During that time, I had the chance to work with groups in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Minnesota, as well as a few here in Mississippi.
And regardless of the state — or region of the country – there was a common thread between the work the companies — mainly newspapers — and the people who worked at those operations had in common.
It is a sense of community. And for those companies that were truly successful, their success was directly connected to how entrenched into their community, how much they cared for that community’s success and the steps they were taking to help their communities succeed.
This is why newspapers like The Vicksburg Post have continued to not only survive but succeed and thrive at a time when newspapers as an industry have seen such challenges.
Just this week, one of the larger newspaper companies in the country, McClatchy, declared bankruptcy. They were the owners and publishers of such newspapers as the Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee in California and The Sun-Herald in Biloxi.
Economic forces were cited as many of the reasons for this company’s challenges, but there is a more basic issue these newspapers, and other larger newspapers have had for far longer. They lost their community. They failed to cover those things readers wanted to know and stopped covering things that were of importance to their readers.
They stopped reporting about youth baseball leagues and the high school bowling teams. They stopped doing stories on the valedictorians at the local high schools and of the upcoming benefit barbecue dinners at the local church.
Their opinions became slanted too far to one side of the political landscape and failed to realize that readers want to be heard and valued, not ignored and taken advantage of.
As I have said quite often, this job is far different than the one I started with now almost 30 years ago. As editors and reporters, we are asked to cover all of those things that are important to our readers but tasked to do it with fewer at our side.
That said, readership and interest have never been higher.
And while there are those who want to claim whatever figure makes them happy, we have proof. We have industry-standard data that shows the readership of products that come from this staff at The Post has never been higher.
Is printed circulation down compared to 10 years ago? Yes. It is. But today, stories that are being written are reaching an audience well in excess of 30,000 each day when our printed and digital products are combined.
As for the community, this is where I call home. This is where my family calls home. This is where my children go to school and play softball, baseball and soccer. This is the community where I and my wife take walks when we have time. And, more importantly, this is where my family has found an amazingly loving church family.
Vicksburg is home. Vicksburg is my community and it is a place where I not only work but live and pray each day that it not only survives but also thrives.
This job is about community and how to help that community find success.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.