New publisher welcomes input
A few weeks ago I wrote a column introducing myself to the community as The Standard's new managing editor. I could not have guessed then that within a month I'd be writing another such column, reintroducing myself to our readers -- this time as the paper's new publisher.
It's been a reminder to me that life holds its share of surprising turns for all of us.
Though the opportunity to serve as The Standard's publisher has come out of the blue, it is definitely a welcome one.
The column I wrote in early October had mostly to do with the warm welcome I had received upon moving here and beginning work at the paper.
I could very well reprint excerpts from it here today, because almost a month later I wouldn't change a word of what I wrote then. If anything, every day that passes reminds me that moving to Brewton was perhaps the best decision I've ever made, in both my career and in my life.
During any type of transition, it's natural for people to wonder what happens next. I want to ensure our readers that I and the team here at The Standard will continue working hard to bring you fair, in-depth and entertaining coverage of what's going on in the communities we call home.
That means full coverage of city and county government, a breakdown of state and national trends that impact us here and features on the people and places that make up our communities.
All of that is very general, and much of what I write about here today will be. This isn't meant to be an issues-oriented column.
But there is one issue that is big enough – and its resolution near enough – that I would like to go ahead and address it. That is the upcoming vote on an ad valorem tax increase to provide local funding for city and county schools, which is needed to offset a loss of revenue from the state.
I believe there is no more important part of a community's foundation than its public school system, and that maintaining quality in local education should be priority one for all of us.
It's entirely possible that I'll never use this space again to write in favor of a tax increase, of any kind. Like most people, I generally favor requiring government to get along with less, not more.
But a great deal of my time at The Standard so far has been spent covering this issue, and I believe fully that this tax's passage is in the best interest of Brewton and Escambia County.
The paper's position on this will not change -- we still urge voters to vote "yes" on Dec. 9.
I would encourage those who don't agree to write in and make their opinions known, as one of this pages purposes is to provide for lively debate on the issues we all face. And that gets back to another request I made of our readers a few weeks ago, and that I would like to address again.
One of the things I believe strongly is that a newspaper benefits greatly from the input of its readers, both in print and through other outlets. I encourage people to write us letters to the editor, and I encourage our readers to contact me with their ideas, comments and concerns.
I would like people to freely approach me with story ideas, because that's how newspapers work. They find out what's going on because people tip them off, either about a news item or an interesting feature subject. I'd like to take this opportunity to state again how valuable that sort of community input is.
I want our readers to know that The Standard's tradition of working as an advocate for the communities it serves will continue. The paper will remain an active, leading participant in the lives of those who read it by striving alongside them to maintain and improve the rewarding quality of life enjoyed here.
I only worked with Bill Crist for about a month, but I got to know him as a dedicated member of this community, someone with a heartfelt interest in what happens here. I'm grateful to Bill for bringing me in, and for leaving the paper in the strong position it occupies in Brewton, East Brewton and Escambia County.
Along with everyone else, I wish him and his family the best.
I'm looking forward to visiting with you on this page in the weeks, months and years to come, and to meeting as many of you as possible.
Feel free to drop in and visit our office. Remember, this is your paper, and we want you to be a part of its future.