Inside the Newsroom

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Election Day Exciting

For those in the newspaper business, Election Day is full of excitement. We scramble weeks in advance to provide election previews and profiles, so citizens have the knowledge they need to make an informed decision, and on the big day we wait. Sure, sometimes we take photos at the polls and if it's a hotly contested election, we may call poll workers midday to see what the turnout is like so far. But then we wait -- wait for the polls to close and the ballots to be counted. And that's when our job heats up and gets exciting.

On Tuesday, reporters Brian Cox and Jerry Hinnen had the distinct pleasure of covering the polls. I stood by my computer and cell phone waiting for their calls to assist them and get the information online as soon as it broke. Shortly after 8 p.m., Jerry called to announce that Kym Muckler, a former reporter at The Milan News-Leader, had won the mayoral post in Milan. I quickly wrote up something and posted it under "News Update" on our Web site.

A short time later, Jerry called with the vote tallies for the three candidates on the ballot for Milan City Council, but was still waiting for poll workers to count the write-in ballots. Brian updated me a few minutes later with the final tallies and gave me the totals for Saline, as well as news straight from the school board meeting, also held that night, that Saline Superintendent Beverley Geltner, who is on paid administrative leave, reached a settlement with the Board of Education that she would resign effective June 30, 2008, forgoing two years of a three-year contract, in exchange for the board dropping its investigation (See related stories on our Web site and posts on our blog from October). Both stories were posted that evening on the Web site, with the final posts around 10 p.m.

Just as I shut down my computer and headed off to bed, Brian's job revved into high gear as he wrote more extensive stories -- three election wrap-ups (Milan mayor, Milan City Council winners and Saline City Council winners) and the superintendent's settlement -- for our print edition. He wouldn't tell me exactly how late into the night, or how early into the next morning, he worked, but I am sure it was grueling. At the same time, though, I know he loved it because of his passion for community journalism.

Our ability to bring readers breaking news via the Web is exciting and something we will continue to do as technology evolves in our industry. Readers should check our Web site several times a week, if not every day, for news updates, videos, photographs and posts on our blog, as we strive to make The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader your source for local information every single day, not just in print once a week.

In fact, expanding our delivery of local news with a limited staff was the topic I had the pleasure of speaking about last month at a newspaper conference organized by our parent company, the Journal Register Co. I told editors at newspapers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio and Michigan about our efforts in Saline to blog, break news online and, in particular, post local videos. We have been uploading videos of local festivals, football games, athletes, political candidates, business leaders and various local events since April.

Many editors asked me how we did it with such a small staff, already stretched thin, not only reporting the news, but taking photographs, designing pages and proofreading. All I could say is that I've been lucky. All three -- Jerry, Brian and Sue G. Collins -- have been enthusiastic about shooting video, blogging and posting breaking news stories.

At the conference, we were also encouraged to solicit more content from the community and share it with online readers. To that end, I encourage you to post your own videos and photographs at, which can be accessed through our Web site, as well, by clicking on the button in the top, right-hand corner of our home page. Also, please post your comments on our blog, write letters to the editor, contribute guest columns, submit news from your community groups and organizations, and help us continue to be the best source for community information.

Remember, the newspapers and their Web sites serve as a forum for local residents to express their views and concerns, share their successes and discover news about their community they might not know of or are not getting the full story about. Help us make the excitement of Election Day every day for us and readers.

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Blogger dadcss said...

Good luck to you Kym,

The previous Mayor and Council jumped on the housing boom band wagon.

At the time,they were warned that it was speculator driven not demographic.

Now the taxpayers of Milan are looking at even more increases in fees and taxes.

The schools having over built are struggling too, at a time when the taxpayers are maxed out.

Again, best of luck.

November 26, 2007 at 4:21 PM  

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