Shout out to the Democrat staff

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Next week we'll be celebrating National Newspaper Week and I thought I'd use this week's editorial space to mention that fact and take the opportunity to praise my staff for their hard work and dedication week in and week out.

There's nothing relaxing about publishing a newspaper. It's a business driven by deadlines and breaking news stories, but for all its challenges, it's also a very rewarding career. The rewards for me come from my belief that our newspaper is an integral part of the communities we serve and it really does make a difference in the lives of area citizens. I also believe newspapers are part of the foundation of our democracy. The vast majority of the investigative reporting that goes on in this country is undertaken by newspaper journalists. The tradition of watchdog journalism made famous by Woodward and Bernstein is still alive and well today, and I believe the strength of our democracy is tied directly to the strength of this nation's newspapers. I know I have personally spent many evenings over the past 15-plus years covering city council and school board meetings so that our readers can stay in touch with the decisions being made by their elected officials.

Here at the Cassville Democrat our strength lies in the staff we've assembled. I've always known their worth, but over the past six months since we added The Monett Times as a sister newspaper, this group has proven it. The Cassville Democrat is a team of professionals who are very good at what they do. They work tremendously hard to make sure Barry County has a newspaper they can be proud of, and I am continually impressed with the product we put on the streets each week.

This week you will probably notice that the Cassville Democrat feels more like the Sunday edition of an urban daily newspaper. The larger paper is due to the fact that we are publishing our 2009 Progress Edition this week. This edition requires a lot of additional work for our advertising sales representatives, our graphic designers, our reporters and our editors. It's such a big project that we begin working on it three months before its publication date. Our annual Progress Edition not only showcases all that is great about Barry County but also highlights the immense talent of our newspaper staff. Over the past several years, this special publication has earned a number of state awards for its design and content. We're proud of that fact, and we appreciate all those businesses, industries and organizations that chose to participate in this year's edition.

In this business you usually hear from people when they are upset and have something negative to say about an item that's appeared in the newspaper. I encourage our readers to change that perception and take time to say a kind word to one of our staff members. When you see one of them out covering some community event, take the time to tell them you appreciate the job they're doing. I know each member of the Cassville Democrat staff is deserving of every compliment they have coming their way.

Lisa Schlichtman