Brewton already feels like home
Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2003
You expect there to be a transition period any time you move to a new community. And you doubly expect it when that community is located in a state you're totally unfamiliar with. It almost always takes a little time to get your feet under you and become completely comfortable in your new surroundings.
I'm moving here from Mississippi, where I was editor of several newspapers in the central and southern part of the state, and also worked briefly in the public relations field. Naturally, I came here expecting something of a struggle as I went about getting accustomed to a new environment.
But so far that hasn't been the case with my move to Brewton. Everyone I've met has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and at home, and so one week into my stay here in town I feel as though I've been here much longer.
That's not to say that I really know the community, or that I have a firm handle on all the issues I'll be dealing with as editor here at The Standard. Far from it. What it does mean -- at least to me -- is that investing the time and energy it will take to learn those things will be a much more enjoyable experience than it might otherwise have been.
It's certainly not that way everywhere. In the newspaper business, you tend to move about a bit, at least during the early part of your career, and you learn quickly that there are good and bad places to do this for a living. And it never takes long to figure out which situation you're in.
That realization usually makes the difference between a new town being just a brief stop along the path your life and career will take, and a place where you can make a home for yourself. I can tell already that Brewton belongs in the latter category. So I am looking forward to covering and presenting this community's news in these pages for a while.
I believe that means thorough coverage of city and county government, analysis of statewide and national trends that impact us here, and in-depth features on the people and places that make Brewton the place it is.
The schools are a big part of life here, and coverage of what's going on with them is also a must. That entails governmental and administrative issues that have an impact in the classroom -- such as the funding crisis that's currently putting many programs throughout the county in jeopardy -- as well as the achievements of students and teachers.
I think that the paper benefits from inviting those in the community to be active participants in its coverage of local events. As such, I want people to feel free to approach or call me with story ideas. That's how newspapers work -- very often we know what's going on simply because someone has tipped us off or clued us in, either about a breaking news item or a person or place that would make an interesting feature subject.
Another way in which we at The Standard want to involve the public is through regular meetings of our reader advisory board, something we plan to get up and running in the near future. We'll be asking members of the community to work with us in shaping the tone and direction our coverage takes, and to bring new ideas to the table with them.
A newspaper should be representative of the community it serves, and an active part of it. The paper should be a defender of the people's interests, as well as their beliefs and values. I am happy to play a role in The Standard's adherence to these ideals, and I hope that you as readers will also feel free to take part.