Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Week at the Newspaper - Part 2

Another paper is out, and I have a whole week to get the next edition's batch of stories ready! On top of that, the weather here is gorgeous and our trees are in full bloom, so I'm a particularly happy person. Here's the rest of my week at the newspaper.
Saturday, April 22
Saturday was a beautiful day. I read the whole gospel of Mark in the morning (it only took about one hour).
The only work I did was attending and photographing the Grand March at the Clarksville High School Prom in the afternoon. It was actually a pretty interesting event, because as each couple was announced, their comments on each other and themselves were read. 

I had some vague ideas about spending the evening writing, but those notions came to nought, as I completely lacked motivation and was a bit absentminded. So... instead I re-watched one of my favorite films, The Absent-Minded Professor (1961). 

Sunday, April 30
Sunday was time for a different kind of work--at Carson Welding and Concrete.  We mixed up a batch of concrete for the pads we make for propane tanks. I got to help with a little garden work.

I prepared the photos from Prom and the Swing Show and sent them to my designer. Then I wrote up the story on the Rock and Read program from my notes and a paper the instructional coach had sent with me.

Another article I wrote was about a Women's Connection Luncheon I had covered the Monday before for the Parkersburg Eclipse. At the luncheon, a lady named Polly Lilly spoke on how to reduce stress, and later she discussed "Bird in a Cage: What keeps you from flying." She shared her story about how Christ set her free.

"He said he would never leave nor forsake me. I was freed from the cage of selfish pursuit, and I found real joy," Lilly said. "Jesus is your only hope. He will give you real purpose. The truth will set you free." I thought it was a good message, so it was fun to type up a review on that.
At the office, we have newspaper archives going back to the 1940s.
Monday, April 24
My first stop was at the nursing home in Shell Rock. I interviewed a lady named Hilda Fedeler who is 105 years old. She was sharp as a tack and really impressed me.  She remembered the first and last name of each of her elementary school teachers and her first salary to the dollar. She has a cell phone, is an avid reader, plays the piano every day for the residents, and said she walks a mile almost every day. Her advice was, "If you want a good life, be a good Christian. Don't be afraid of work. Learn to work hard, but enjoy life at the same time."

I really enjoyed talking with Hilda, and probably spent over an hour with her. She reminded me a bit of my "Aunt" Esther, whom I have mentioned before, a family friend who lived with us from the time she was 102 till she died at the age of 109. Living in the same house as someone born in 1900 was quite the experience--one that, in retrospect, I'm glad my parents afforded me.

After interviewing one other lady at the nursing home, I headed over to Clarksville. Mary and I installed a cork board on the wall, and our vivacious sales rep, Cali, was we visited with her.

I sent all the news releases and such (which Mary had proofread earlier in the day) to our designer. Then I drove to the Allison office, and worked on a little writing there, before heading to a relatively new building in town, built by the owners of Integrity Site Maintenance, a business that does maintenance on hog and poultry confinement buildings.. At 5:00 p.m. I interviewed the owners and talked with several employees. 

My next stop was the Allison City Council meeting at 5:45. I took notes, but it was a pretty quiet meeting. I don't think I got enough out of it for an article--at least not now. There are a couple things that could develop out of it, but I won't know till next council meeting--the potential problems that were mentioned could just fizzle out.

After arriving home, I finished my article on the Shell Rock Swing Show and my Savvy Seniors article on Hilda Fedeler.

Tuesday, April 25
If Monday is hectic, Tuesday is crunch time. I work from home all day on Tuesdays, which is nice because I don't have to drive anywhere (unless there's some random event I have to cover). My deadline is noon on Tuesday, though, so working from home doesn't mean I get to watch Studio C all day (ha!).

I woke up at about 6:00 and wrapped up the story on Integrity Sight Maintenance in about an hour. I ate breakfast, and then finished the story on freelance writer Dana Hinders, the "Hometown Entrepreneur" of the week.

I had one last-minute news release from the school to add, plus a poem from a local retired pastor for the "Readers Write" column. 

The next article I typed was the one on the retiring teacher. I also wrote the North Butler addition story as a Q & A piece. Greg Forbes sent me his story on the bear which had been wandering in the area, and at a few minutes after noon I was officially done. The terrible person that I am, I tried to sneak in one more story--the story on Superintendent Foster--in, and my designer, Ana, graciously let me. 

Then, I took a break at about 2:30 to relax and run some errands, while Ana got the pages designed.

At about 5:00 p.m., I returned to work proofreading and relaxing intermittently, as the pages came in. I suppose I could wait till morning to proofread, but Ana slaves away all evening, and I'd rather get everything done if possible at night, so I can sleep in on Wednesday morning.  The paper hits the press as soon as the press operators in Hampton come in for work in the morning.

Proofreading is tricky. I try reading aloud to myself sometime to catch errors. I do catch most of the mistakes, but it seems something always slips by me. Hopefully with more practice, I'll improve. I finished up at about 1:00 a.m. Wednesday.

The next morning, I blissfully caught up on my sleep with the reassuring knowledge the paper was on the press! 

Stories about Kesley Electric Motor, the dairy farm, and the glass factory went into the next week's paper.
Every week, I'm looking for ways to improve.
  • I'm working to make my articles shorter, cut out everything unnecessary, and give people the best of each story!
  • We're also trying to figure out how to get more customers to come to our office (and buy papers). Mary and I are hosting a coffee and cookies event on an upcoming Wednesday.
  • Finally, I'm working on improving time management and fitting everything I love back into my schedule. I want to spend more time with family, and I'm starting to add running, blogging and music back into the mix. Hopefully I'll also eventually get back to chess practice and taking road trips! Sometimes it's hard to remember to keep a good balance, because I really enjoy finding good stories and very much want my newspapers to be the best. There's so much to learn.
Do you read any newspapers? If so, what's your favorite part of your paper?
What type of stories would make a small town newspaper interesting to more people in the community?


  1. 105 years old. I love it.

    I also love seeing your name in print. Super duper excited for you.

  2. This is SO neat! I am so proud of you and thankful you get to do something that God obviously SO gifted you to do. You are completely in your element, and it shows through your passion and excitement over doing your job! I love small town newspaper interviews of local people...just everyday people who are going about their lives and doing the best they can. That always draws me in...and, of course, the crossword puzzles are a major draw for me! LOL! God bless you, sweet friend, and give you wisdom in everything you do. :)

  3. So excited for you! Your work really fits you. ;-) We have a small town newspaper and my favorite part is reading about events before they actually take place (So-and-So event on 5/2017 at blah blah, come and join with your family, etc. - you get the picture). I would really like to be more involved in my town and this helps me plan.

  4. Very interesting! I do read newspaper. I read our daily news, but I really enjoy the small local paper that comes out weekly. I love reading the small town news and things like the interview with the 105 year old lady. If I lived in your town, I would buy your paper!

  5. Well done! I read the Oregonian and I especially enjoy the Home and Garden and Food sections...and the local and beyond news. I just read a blog post from a Colorado blogger who quoted the humorous police report incidents of a small town that left me chuckling more than the funny papers!

  6. I do read a daily newspaper. I like all the local articles and ours has an insert of USA today (the main section of that paper) so I get a bit of world overview, too.

    Hilda sounds like a really, really interesting lady. Love her attitude and her zest for life.

    You are right- balance in life is important. xo Diana

  7. Sounds like you had an awesome interview with Hilda Fedeler! Thanks for the peek into your life!

  8. Hilda sounds amazing! What an inspiration! I don't read a paper regularly. We do have the Edmonds Beacon, a free paper that comes out on Fridays and I only occasionally remember to stop at the store to pick one up. I actually like the Police Beat, reports on burglaries, thefts, etc. Not sure why I like reading those, but I do. I wondered about your stories, do you decide what stories you're going to write about? For instance, did you choose to interview Hilda and how did you find out about her?

  9. I also use the read-aloud technique for proofreading too and have also missed typos. Whoops! If you're looking for editing tips, Angela from Tea with Friends started a new blog called "The Writer's Junk Drawer" which offers tips on writing and editing (

    My childhood local paper had a Travel section where they would publish photographs of people posing at exotic locales (e.g., standing in front of the pyramids in Egypt) with the local paper in front of them.

  10. Wow this all sounds really exciting and interesting. You have had a busy schedule for sure.

  11. how lovely that you could be still and read an entire gospel in one sitting! what a blessing! :)

    thanks for the update :)