Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Newspaper is A Collaboration

In just one month, I will mark my one-year anniversary at The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader after serving as editor of the Chelsea and Dexter papers for six years. When I came here, I wrote a column about collaborating with the community to bring local news to readers every week and I held a couple "Coffee with the Editor" chats at the Drowsy Parrot in Saline, where I solicited information and encouraged people to share news.

Many organizations have been great supporters, sending press releases and information on a regular basis, particularly the Saline Area Historical Society, Saline Rotary Club, Saline District Library, Milan Area Chamber of Commerce and Saline Area Chamber of Commerce. A few teachers also have been helpful, sending information on the Homecoming events, activities in their classrooms, photographs of kids and special events.

My goal is to get these news items in as soon as possible, but sometimes that's not always feasible. Like many newspapers in the state, we're seeing a decline in ad revenue, with fewer ads placed as businesses tighten their belts, which results in a smaller newspaper. The more ads that are placed, the more pages we can add to the newspaper and the more local news it can feature. Unfortunately, as businesses in Michigan struggle in this economy and cut back on advertising, it affects your access to local news, as they're directly linked.

So, I ask for your understanding, particularly in Saline, when you send in a news item. It may not get in immediately; it could be published the following edition or the next, depending on how much space we have available and how much local news is coming in. But, rest assured, it will get in as local news is our No. 1 priority.

Because the Saline and Milan papers are mirrored copies on the press, they contain the same number of pages. Businesses, however, may choose to advertise in one or both. Saline seems to get more advertising than Milan, which leaves more news space in Milan. So, in particular, I am urging Milan readers to contribute more local news, story leads and photographs and asking Saline readers to be a little more patient.

If you submit photographs, please remember to identify everyone as it's our policy to identify those pictured and it creates a better sense of community as you recognize your neighbors and other people you see casually around town. This makes perfect sense to me, but today I had a conversation with someone who did not provide names of the buyers at the Saline livestock auction and I asked her to do so in the future. She wanted to know why, as she hasn't had to in the past. I tried to explain that it helps build community and is essential to a community newspaper.

So, please join me in this collaborative effort. Send your local news, answering the who, what, where, when, why and how, to or I look forward to reading it and sharing it with the rest of the community.

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