I’m in a rut.
Well, not really a rut, perhaps distracted. Maybe it’s the newest incarnation I took on earlier this summer when our Circulation Manager of 16 years retired. Yep, you read right. Ready for a new challenge and new adventure I trained for her position and now split my time here between two worlds. I’m still dedicated to telling stories, but now I am also responsible for making sure those stories make it to our Dealers, Racks and Mail Carriers.
To say that I have weathered a number of jobs or ‘incarnations’ in my eight-year tenure here at the paper would be an inaccurate statement. While my comings and goings have done a great job of keeping the reader wondering — my role has remained the same.
Since I first stepped in to this building in early 2002 I have been the girl behind the ‘Living’ Section of this newspaper. In the past I have shared how much I love the ‘fluff’ I am allowed to provide for our readers. Human interest stories, well, they interest me and apparently a few of you as well.
But I digress … I mean I really am a bit distracted these days.
Anyone who has taken on a new role in some capacity in their life knows this story. You start each day with a grand plan. It all lays out in your head perfectly, however, once the day gets started before too long you are off track.
This has happened to me a lot in the past three months, but I’m fighting to make my way back.
The ‘spark’ I guess you could say, was recently relit after I covered the musical “Annie.” So many of you called to express gratitude, as well as share with me how much you enjoyed the production.
I must admit, eight years later I still have yet to get used to people thanking me for — well, doing my job. But I am still grateful to know people are reading my words.
But … back to my rut.
Something tells me our coverage of “Annie” was just the beginning of so many opportunities we are missing.
As the Circulation Manager I cannot help but wonder what our readers feel we are missing in our paper. Sure I think we do a good job of covering a pretty wide cross section of information, but what’s missing?
The thing we have recently come to realize as an editorial staff, is that we are good at ‘anniversarying’ ourselves with varying events. We’re a small town weekly paper and typically cover the same events each year. All the while scratching our heads and asking our colleagues for help finding a ‘new angle’ to the same old story.
So lately I have been wondering, what do people wish we had more or less of? Better yet, what would prompt a person to entertain the idea of actually committing to a weekly subscription. In other words, what would the non-subscriber like to see?
When I first entered the business world I worked for several companies and managers who were big on ‘coffee meetings.’ It was all the rage for businesses in the ‘90s and as a verbal/opinionated person I liked it. I enjoyed having a voice and weighing in on what I felt we could do better as a company.
So … now … here I sit wondering about each of you, subscriber or not. Remember, I’m in a rut — so I really am interested.
Do you have a neighbor who bakes cookies for soldiers? A grandchild who partakes in unprovoked selfless acts? Or perhaps a best friend who gives his or her all in spite of their own misfortune?
The beautiful thing about a ‘community’ paper is this really should be the ‘community’s’ paper. We should be the paper you turn to with the good news and the bad. Not just because the banner at the top of the page reads The Oakdale Leader, but because we as staff are part of this very community. The majority of people who occupy our building live in the cities we cover. Their children attend and have attended our schools and a few are OHS alum. Those facts alone make us unique.
So now quite simply I am asking for your help. Let me know what we need to do to keep you opening and reaching for our paper. What do you want to read about? Who do you know that we don’t?
We may not be able to be all things to all people, but if we don’t try — well, then we are not doing our job.
There you have it. Help me end this rut. Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, reach me by phone at 847-3021 ext. 8131 or post your thoughts on Oakdale’s Mommy Musings Face Book page.
Looking forward to talking to you.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.