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.

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