"I'm Back"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

As I write this editorial, I am sitting in an office that is very familiar to me. The editor's desk at the Cassville Democrat was my home away from home for 14 years, and I am happy to report that I am back.

My decision to return as editor was motivated by my love for this newspaper. Mike and I both want to ensure that the Democrat continues to serve as this community's most trusted news source. We have a shared passion for newspapers, and it has always been our goal to produce a publication this area can be proud of -- one that serves its readers with well-written news, sports and human interest stories, and at the same time, provides an effective vehicle for businesses to reach consumers with their products and services.

Over the years, the newspaper industry has experienced major changes, but luckily, the smaller community newspapers have fared much better than our counterparts in larger markets. To make sure the outlook remains strong we continually look for ways to better serve our readers and advertisers, and we've embraced technology along the way.

In addition to our weekly printed edition, we also have created a lively, user-friendly website (www.cassville-democrat.com) where we post expanded photo galleries and breaking news stories. We hope you get in the habit of checking our website daily as we use this resource to deliver news to the community as it happens. For example, you won't have to wait a week to read about a traffic crash that occurred last Thursday. An in-depth story on the injury accidents that happened during the week will still be printed each week in the Democrat, but information about the crash will also be shared online the day it happens. One of my goals in the coming weeks is to post more content on our website on a daily basis.

We also maintain a robust Facebook page, which we use to remind our friends about upcoming events or let them know when breaking news is happening. We also want to use Facebook to gather news tips and share readers' photos. This page will not provide in-depth information but will be used as another way to guide people to the vital information they can find in our print edition or on our website.

Beginning this week, we are taking another step forward by joining the world of Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @cassvilledemo and we hope you'll follow us. Sports editor Jared Lankford will be tweeting scores and game updates, and I will be sharing snippets of news and sending out event reminders. This is just another way for us to keep in touch with our readers and provide them with information that is important to them.

All of these new uses of technology are not meant to replace the traditional newspaper but to enhance it. The information you receive online or through Facebook and Twitter is meant to supplement what we provide in our print edition. Twitter and Facebook provide news junkies with a quick fix - just the basic facts - while the newspaper content is aimed at providing a comprehensive account of what's happening locally.

A recent article in the Mizzou alumni magazine focuses on how technology is shaping how journalists deliver the news. Entitled "The Future is Now," the article takes a look at the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus, my alma mater. According to the experts there, technology has definitely changed media but the new technology seldom replaces the old, which in our case is the print edition of the newspaper.

Michael McKean, director of the Futures Lab at RJI, is quoted as saying, "All these media are merging. One's not killing the others, but it's changing the others. We're in this moment in time where nothing is certain, but everything is possible."

In other words, it's an exciting time to be in the newspaper business, and I'm excited to be back at the helm of the Cassville Democrat. As in the past, I remain open to feedback from our readers, and I look forward to a new dialogue as we experiment with innovative ways to deliver the news to our loyal audience. You can email me at lisa@cassville-democrat.com or feel free to drop by the office.