Inside the Newsroom

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

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I am a fan

I am a fan. I am not a fan of a Hollywood actor, famous musician, celebrated author or Noble Peace Prize winner. I am a fan of Tim Dellot in Saline and Martha Churchill in Milan.

Do you know them? Readers in Milan are probably familiar with Martha. She's everywhere. She writes the "Past Tense" history column for The Milan News-Leader, and serves on the Milan City Council and Milan Area Historical Society. But what about Tim? I didn't know him personally until I received an e-mail from him last week after announcing our staff lay-offs to some sources listed in my e-mail contacts.

"I'm sorry to hear about the cutbacks at the paper. I don't have a submission at this time, but would be willing to assist, as a volunteer, with proofreading, editing, follow-up calls, and the like," he wrote. "My job was recently eliminated and for the near term, I have a free afternoon or two each week..."

What a great guy, I thought. A lifesaver. Someone who cares enough about his community newspaper and its future to lend a helping hand.

When Tim came into my office yesterday, we chatted a bit while I gave him some potential assignments. I gave him information on the Moonlight Madness Craft Show and Holiday Tea in Saline. No pressure to cover them though because, after all, these are freebies and I have no right to make demands on his time.

Today, I opened my e-mail and there they were: a series of e-mails from Tim with about a dozen photos attached and captions identifying everyone pictured, as well as information about the event. He did just as good of a job as anyone I've worked with.

Just as impressive, for the last two weeks, Martha has been sending e-mail after e-mail with photos of various events in Milan. She was at the Thanksgiving Dinner at the Milan Senior Center and Open Mic Night at the Lighthouse Coffeehouse in Milan.

What's impressive to me is that they're both doing it from the kindness of their hearts. There's no financial incentive. They're doing it as a way to give back to their communities, capturing the events of today that will be tomorrow's local history, and recording it for eternity. These images capture the heart of two small towns. Their towns. That's why I am a fan.

If you know Tim or Martha or see them taking photos for The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader, shake their hands. Become one of their fans, too. They're helping us continue to produce two local newspapers filled with familiar faces and providing a record of local events and history.


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