Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Week at the Newspaper - Part 1

What is life like as a small-town newspaper editor? In this post and the next, I'd like to invite you to join me for a week!  While, for most people, the week starts on Sunday, for me the week really start on Wednesday, the day my papers are printed, and I start work on the next edition of the paper.
At the Clarksville Star office: this is where the receptionist, Mary, now works...my desk is one table back.
(This was a convenient place to pose when I showed my family the office shortly after I started working here.)
I'm always learning something new! 
  • Holes/eyes in Swiss cheese are formed by carbon dioxide gas created by the bacteria that flavors the cheese. Micro particles of plant origin serve as nuclei for the bubbles of carbon dioxide. In Switzerland, the cheese suffered from blindness as sealed milking machines largely precluded the presence of microscopic hay particles in milk until scientists figured this out. 
  • Chickens used to wear glasses (see here for an explanation).
  • Cows at a local dairy wear pedometers much like runners wear FitBits or Garmins to count their steps.

Wednesday, April 19
Wednesday is probably the easiest day of the week for me. Currently I only *have* to be in my office in Clarksville at a set time for four hours per week on Thursday, and even then, I have flexibility to leave if necessary to get stories. The rest of the week I'm allowed to divide my time as I wish between the Clarksville and Allison offices, work from home, and traipse the countryside in Butler County looking for stories. Technically I'm supposed to work 40 hours per week.  The important thing is to  meet my deadline and get the papers out every week.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to finish proofing in time for Ana, my graphic designer, to make corrections and send the paper to the press in Hampton. This took me about an hour. Then I went back to sleep, woke up at 8:30 and ate a wonderful pancake breakfast created by my youngest sister, Sarah Faith.

At about 10 a.m., I left for my office in Clarksville. At 11 a.m. I interviewed a freelance writer at my office for the column I'm doing on hometown entrepreneurs. A lady came in with an obituary she wanted published. She wanted a photo from a 2013 edition of the newspaper to run with it, so I spent some time trying to find the photo. I ran to the post office to get the mail, and prepared to mail newspapers to some people who had specially requested them.

Next, I went to the elementary school, where I took photos of a Suzuki junior orchestra concert and relaxed to the beautiful music. I took photos at the blood drive at the school, and headed  back to my office.
The office assistant, Mary, and I worked on posting this week's news stories to our website and social media. I vacuumed the rug in front of our office door, and then hurried out to drive down to the little town of Kesley, where I had an interview scheduled with the Barters, who own Kesley Electric Motors. They told me all about their business repairing and selling electric motors, and I got to meet their two shop cats, which demanded my attention.

On my way home I picked up a turkey sub sandwich, as I had somewhat carelessly failed to eat lunch and was starving.

After I returned home, I caught up on emails, news, and social media, and submitted my FICS Team League chess teams for the next tournament. I ate cold cereal for supper and watched the Andy Griffith show (hilarious) with a couple family members. We read a chapter from the Gospel of Mark together.

It was somewhat late. I made my first couple minor updates as the new webmaster for the Chess Journalists of America. I wrote here...and at about 11:30, I went to sleep.
Thursday, April 20
I woke up at around 8 a.m., ate breakfast, and left for work around 9 a.m. On my way I stopped at the bank and post office.

My first interview of the day was at 10 a.m. with the Superintendent of North Butler Schools. People in the community seemed to want to know more about the new addition the school is planning to build, so I asked him about that, and then had a general interview with him about his life and career and the school district.

I stopped by the Allison office. Then I headed up to my office in Clarksville. On my way, I visited Heery Woods Nature Center to ask about upcoming programs there. I stopped at Casey's for a sub sandwich. One of the ladies there gave me a good story idea. Then I stopped by the police station to see if the chief was in, so I could talk with him about a potential story. The chief was not there, so I told the on-duty officer I would contact him. At the Star office, I ate my sandwich, responded to emails, did some research for upcoming stories, and signed a customer up for a subscription.

I drove to Greene, had some keys made for the office at the hardware store, stopped by the school there to see if the principal was in, and then went to the Black Sheep Coffee Baa at 2 p.m., where I ordered a peach smoothie, and took notes as the lady who owns the shop gave a presentation to locals about her recent mission trip to Haiti. In an upcoming edition of the paper, I plan to do a story on people who make a difference, and this will be a nice addition.

Afterward, I headed back to Clarksville. At 4 p.m. I interviewed a teacher who plans to retire. Then I went back to my office, swept the floor and did some "housework," emailed photos to my designer, responded to more emails, ate granola bars, and relaxed a bit.

At around 6:20, I packed up, locked the office and drove to Shell Rock for the opening night of the Shell Rock Music Association's Swing Show. I got my ticket (and a seat) and talked with some people. The show started at 7:30.
The swing show reminded me of the Lawrence Welk show, with the Shell Rock mayor as Lawrence Welk. There was a band and a choir, and different groups gave special shows throughout the program with a variety of singing, dancing, instruments, and comedy. 

I loved some of it, and disliked other parts. There was obviously something for everyone. One of the songs I especially enjoyed was I've Been Everywhere.  The soloist gave a very good performance.
There were also a couple other exceptional soloists and groups, and the rendition of Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First" was hilarious--perhaps even better than the original.

I photographed the show from the back of the room. It ended at about 9:30, and after picking up comments from some members of the audience, I headed home, arriving at around 10:30.  About an hour later I was asleep.

Friday April 21
After breakfast, I left for work at 8:15. My first stop was at the Clarksville office at a little after 9 a.m. Then I headed to the Old Glass Factory near Greene. The shop is located outside a private home in the country. The designer makes beautiful stained glass windows. He explained the process, told how he came into business as a creator of stained glass windows after owning an auto-body shop, and showed me some of his work.

After stopping in Greene, I headed back to Clarksville, picked up the mail, and ordered a roast beef sub at Caseys. After eating lunch at the office, I went to school to get photos of their Rock and Read program, where the students sit in rocking chairs and read. I stopped by a classroom to get a photo and visited the secretary's office to find what time to be at the school for prom Saturday.
I did some more work at the office. Then I headed to Snow Rock Dairies near Shell Rock. I toured the dairy and talked with the owners, who immigrated here from the Netherlands in 2005 to start the business. It was fascinating. I was impressed by how clean the cow barn was, and thought it was particularly interesting to learn the cows wear pedometers to count their steps, so the farmer can track their activity on his computer.

From there, I headed home, stopping at the Parkersburg Eclipse office on the way to pick up a newspaper and chat with my coworkers there. After I got home shortly before 5 p.m., I wrote thank-you cards for the people I interviewed throughout the week, visited with my family, ate supper, did my bookkeeping/paperwork for the week, watched an episode of Hogan's Heroes with some family members,  watched Studio C, responded to emails, read the news, browsed social media and went to sleep.
Half the week's work was done! What is something new you learned this week?

36 comments:

  1. Hearing about your job is interesting! You seem to be quite the busy lady with many responsibilities and places to go! Adventuring around your area and getting to meet so many people must be quite fun and rewarding. :)

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    1. I am still working on my schedule to come up with the best time management balance. Yes, it is fun. :)

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  2. Very professional and capable. I am so happy you love your job.

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    1. Thanks for your kind choice of adjectives.

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  3. Congratulations! It looks like you are having fun. Now you can officially cover and report on the area chess tournaments, and get paid for it

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    1. I would also have to run the tournaments myself. I don't know if there has ever been a rated chess tournament in Butler County. :D

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  4. Iam so glad to hear that there are still small hometown newspapers up and running. So many have been bought out by the big conglomerates and then they just disappear-swallowed up by the bigger marketing targeted areas.

    I love that you have a job that you love. Good for you! I knew your writing was good! xo Diana

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    1. The company I work for, Mid-America Publishing, keeps a lot of small newspapers throughout Iowa in print. It is a challenge though, I think, to keep up enough subscribers and advertisers. My papers have a great ad rep, Cali...and it's my job to produce interesting content to keep the subscribers reading. I think I probably need to work on a strategy to increase subscriptions somehow.

      Thanks for stopping by, Diana!

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  5. This week I learned the BBC has a program "Escape to the Country" that I can watch on Netflix or YouTube. Each episode features a portion of the UK, some history, three houses, and a native craft. I am enjoying it very much. I also enjoyed learning about your new job! Thanks for posting, Bethany.

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    1. Sounds like a very educational program! Thanks for stopping by, Gracie.

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  6. Bethany, I loved reading about your job!! You have such freedom with your schedule. I teach 2nd grade and am usually in the classroom, so I find your schedule interesting. Enjoy this time in your life and make the most of it!!!

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    1. It is a real treat to have a flexible schedule!

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  7. This was so fun and interesting! I think this is the perfect job for you and I know you are good at it!

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    1. I'm always looking for ways to improve. Thanks for stopping by, Mari!

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  8. You are one very busy young lady! It all sounds so exciting and I'm very happy for you. I can't think of a better fit for you than a job like this. It was fun learning about your week. What is something new I learned this week? Cows wearing pedometers and that chickens used to wear glasses :)

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    1. It's a lot of fun running across unusual and interesting facts.

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  9. This is so interesting! I don't know of any job that would be more perfect and fitting for you, sweet friend. I know you really shine in this. God has gifted you, then given you a job to match your gifts. Enjoy every moment!

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  10. how exciting!
    so wonderful to see you staying busy with good things. i hope you are enjoying it as well (which i think you are..)

    many blessings to you, sweet bethany.

    ashley

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  11. Wow, I didn't realize you were editor and reporter! You interact with a lot of people throughout your week and must know just about everything that's happening around town. Sounds like a fascinating job!

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  12. I love it! This is the perfect job for you! You are so nice and you listen and you try to be fair to everyone. Thanks for bringing me along on your week!

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  13. I've only really lived in a small town once, and then we were at the heart of that small town. I loved how it functioned--all the cool little events and how much of a community it was. But, I missed my restaurants and flashy entertainment. Reading this really took me back in time. =)

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    1. I love small towns and rural areas. Cities don't really appeal to me, but I am super glad other people feel differently! I wouldn't want the countryside to get too crowded!

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  14. Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it.

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  15. Wow, sounds like you have an awesome job!

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  16. Congrats on the new job, Bethany! The fun fact about the pedometer-wearing cows made smile. They get more steps than me. HA! I love how you send thank you notes to the people that you interviewed.

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    1. I figure if they can take the time to talk with me, I can take the time to write a quick note!

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  17. Although you have told us only of three of your work days, I think that you did a lot of work. I'm impressed how much you did in these three days and how much you learned, as you say. I see your job as full of activity and action, furthermore you meet many interesting people and locations and go to nice events. As for your question I'd say that I learned about the fascinating and great job of a young writer and journalist in Clarksville :).

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  18. Loved reading this!

    On a side note...
    A blogger I know ( Lydia Howe ) is about to publish her book " Where Dandelions Grow" and needs help with reviews. She is giving out free e copies right now to anyone interested. All you have to do is post the review on your blog. ^_^ I thought that I'd let you know in case you're interest. 😊

    If you do sign up, it will ask who referred it to you ( Maddy Crone )

    Have a great day!

    The sign up sheet :

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeKbYduG5Ts4nZx99d3y5h6dP86NlWQ2wWriWgZ4kfuwXZW9g/viewform



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    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Maddy! I don't have time for as much reading as I would like these days.

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