Second Place Victory
When I took over as editor of the Dickinson County News-Times in 2017 I did so with a degree of excitement. Being my first go at being in charge of a publication read by more than just history students, my anticipation was high.
In December 2019, when previous publisher Kristi Lovett left The Herington Times, the responsibilities imparted to me as the editor of DCNT were increased drastically when those duties were folded into my position.
Over my tenure I have made friends (and a few enemies) by doing the job the only way that I knew how, with heart and by being as true to myself and these communities as possible.
I was always looking forward to the next challenge, the next story for our readers. The only thing that truly scared me about the job was the possibility of there being no “next”. Of being the person who had to write the end of the story.
Things had been going along rather well.
Plans to promote a younger generation of journalists to put their stamp on their local news were in development. With the purchase of The Clay Center Dispatch and the press located in that facility, there was talk of new ways to add pages and color. It was set to be a glorious new day at Flint Hills Media Group, the larger publishing company who owns both DCNT and The Times.
But then the coronavirus happened.
COVID-19 has knocked the world for a loop and no industry has been left unmarred, including local journalism.
Since the coronavirus began wreaking havoc on small town economies a war has been waging behind the scenes to keep these papers coming to readers every week.
As local businesses were forced to close, they stopped advertising, and when they returned, the economic strain made it too hard to resume their previous level of support.
As events were cancelled, less coverage was needed for the paper. As coverage waned, so to did page counts.
Fall sports coverage and the advertising it produces, a staple of any small-town paper, has yet to be confirmed to return. The looming financial loss could be devastating.
Now we face an uncertain future.
Every corner has been trimmed, every minor wound staunched… and yet we still find ourselves in the position of quickly entering a scenario where the continuance of the paper is not economically feasible.
In order to do what needs to be done I have personally sacrificed my time and effort. What once was one position is now three. I personally write, dutifully record, or carefully curate all of the news that goes into print in the News-Times. I provide a semi-weekly column and copy edit The Herington Times. Finally, I oversee the daily duties of editor and sole writer at The Clay Center Dispatch. Save for my first, each of these positions was taken on in an effort to keep the associated publications rolling with as few hiccups as possible.
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