Experience is everything

I have neglected my blogging lately. Between the newspaper, work, and family, my spare moments are spent either reading or sleeping, neither of which have been getting much attention.

My newspaper is gaining popularity, though not as quickly as I would like. I keep reminding myself that it’s a work in progress and if I can just hold on a little longer…

Somehow I do, and I keep moving forward, learning as I go.

It’s a tough job, trying to make everybody happy, and I need to keep that in perspective. The truth is, I won’t, and don’t, and have to fight my battles as they come. Honestly, I have not had many issues with irate customers. Most complaints have come from not getting their newspapers.

I remember hearing someone say at a media workshop a few years ago, ‘Some people believe the popularity of newspapers is declining. But forget to deliver their newspapers just one day and you’ll have customers calling you, wondering where their papers are.’ Proof that people still read the newspapers.

It’s true that my readers are older folks and those who have time to read. But they are also the moms who slip the newspapers into their bags and read it while their kids are at dance lessons or playing T-ball, and dads who are waiting to get their cars worked on or waiting at the dentist office.

As often as I can, I’m out talking to my customers and potential customers, trying to find out what they like and don’t like about the paper.  Most people won’t tell me what they don’t like outright, so I have to pay attention to our conversations.

Those who are community-minded like the idea of the newspaper. They are quick to praise the variety of stories and the valuable information they find among the pages.

But I feel like a broken records sometimes, explaining over and over to those who don’t feel as strongly, why community newspapers are important and why Hiawatha needs a newspaper of its own. But if that’s what it takes to convince the community, I will keep doing it.

It’s hard to believe that I have come so far, but I still have so far to go.

People ask me if I knew it would take so much work, would I do it again?

Of course I would.

The experience I have gained is worth more than I ever imagined. Not only has it helped my writing and editing skills, but it has also raised my confidence and self-esteem. I have walked through many fears, and I continue to challenge them head-on.

There have been times when I have thought about going in a different direction. But as long as there are people who like my newspaper, who have come to depend on it week after week, I will keep going.

And there may come a day when I realize that I have done all I can, cut my loses and move on. But today, I will pick up my camera and notepad and travel to Hiawatha, where a Halloween Bash is going on. It’s what I do. And I love it.

How many people can say that?

Yes, I am a lucky woman. And wherever this takes me, I will always remember that.

Opening our minds to a better understanding

We have been subjected to negative ads for months, with presidential candidates trashing their opponents and twisting the truth into what they want it to be.

If you can look past the immature games and look deeper at the true character of the candidates, you will see a distinct difference, and it is dividing the country into what people believe is right or wrong.

Obama followers appear to be more compassionate, empathetic, and want everyone to get along.

Romney followers see those traits as a weakness and are more interested in running the country as a business, rather than focusing on the well-being of the people who live here.

There is nothing wrong with either position; it’s a reflection of who you are and how you see the world.

If you believe that we all need to do our part to help take care of others less fortunate and social programs are important in which to do that, you are probably an Obama fan.

If your focus is more on the finances of the country and finding a way to make the government run more like a business,  you might be a Romney follower.

There is nothing wrong with either position.  However, we need to stop seeing things as all-or-nothing and understand that each candidate does have some good points.

Both candidates want to create more jobs, reduce the debt, and put America back on top. The only difference is how they propose to do that.

The presidential debate will be interesting, to say the least. But I think we should all keep an open mind, listen to what each candidate has to say, and try to understand why they feel as they do.

Being able to open your mind not only eases the negativity that surrounds the differences that are created in life, but it also enables a line of communication that wasn’t there before, which is the first step in solving any problem.