There’s a lot of talk about fake news and a lot of criticism about how journalists are covering the current U.S. president. There’s debate over global warming and sexual harassment and foreign policy and terrorism.
Thank goodness no one expects me to tackle those issues.
I believe pretty strongly that we the people can accomplish so much more at the local level. President Trump is not going to fix your pothole, recruit a Chicken Express to town or decide whether your kids will be attending the new elementary school.
We get criticized sometimes, and some would argue that it’s a good thing; it means people are reading The Sealy News. We want to encourage healthy debate and we want to know what stories our subscribers like to read.
We do have to be diverse. We have some people tell us our paper has too much sports coverage, then within the hour we get a call from someone asking why we don’t cover more junior varsity sports.
The bottom line is everyone has different tastes. Some people want to read stories to be entertained; some people genuinely want to know the ins and outs of the Sealy City Council’s drainage plan.
We live in a world where a Kardashian baby gets more social media clicks than a White House press conference and online debates can turn downright nasty in a second. It is tricky business to make decisions on what we think the public wants to see in our paper; it’s not always reflective of the personal interests of those on our staff.
At The Sealy News, we try – we really, really try – to provide balanced coverage for all ages and walks of life.
Over the weekend we picked up a few awards at the South Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest and it sure does feel good to be recognized by our peers.
Our newspaper’s sports, news, opinion columns (both serious and humorous), headlines and layout/design were all recognized. It’s really an honor, and it’s humbling, but most of all it’s a reminder that what we do is so important.
Working for a community newspaper is truly the coolest job ever. Yes, you may have spotted me yawning at a city council meeting or caught an embarrassing typographical error. I’ve left a notepad behind at a banquet and shot dozens of pictures with no film in my camera. I’ve written things that were hated. I’ve also walked into a restaurant and seen my stories framed on the wall. I’ve gotten a few thank-you notes over the years and had an elected official or two thank me for my coverage. That means everything. Everything. You see, we are human beings with hearts and souls. We love what we do and we really do try to get it right. Nothing in this newsroom is done halfheartedly.
So I got to attend the STPA convention on behalf of The Sealy News. I was so proud to accept our awards and share the good news with our publisher, bookkeeper, sportswriter and page designer. We have a really strong team and are committed to excellence. We all have each other’s backs and want each other to succeed. We get excited “talking shop” and can spend quite a bit of time hashing out a headline or a lead paragraph.
And it’s fun. It’s the best job ever. Yes, there are days when we feel defeated, but those days are few. I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be an “Arthur” (I had a little difficulty pronouncing “author”).
It’s a good time to be a journalist, especially in a community like this.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.