Tuesday, July 05, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Our readers help us win

For the eighth time in nine years, The Leader has been named “Best of the Best.”

What makes this newspaper so strong, packed with news, features and editorials, that it is a winner in the eyes of the judges, who come from a variety of states?

That’s simple: The reporters and staff and you, the reader.

Unlike many other media in the area that has a new anchorman every week or a new editor, people tend to stay at the Leader.

On the reporting side, senior staff writer John Hofheimer has been with the paper for 14 years, writer Rick Kron for close to 20 years, creative editor Christy Hendricks for 15 years, photographer David Scolli for 14 and reporter and photographer Jeffrey Smith has nine years under his belt.

And editor Jonathan Feldman, well, you can say he was born to be the editor, having been hanging around the newsroom since birth.

What this shows is a dedication to the communities we cover. These reporters have an in-depth knowledge of local government operations. They know who the movers and shakers are and have built connections of trust with the local leadership and area residents. They have compiled volumes of phone numbers, names and sources to call, even when something hits at midnight.

It is nice that the mayor, aldermen and department heads don’t have to start from scratch each time they talk to the newspaper because some new person is in place.

Having reporters, photographers and design people around this long shows the strength of this family newspaper, which will mark its 30th anniversary next spring.

Longevity goes beyond the news side of the paper as John Henderson, our general manager, has been here for 23 years, account manager Susan Swift for a decade and publications manager Matt Robinson started here as a teenager pushing a broom.

Our layout and design experts Clayton Knupp and Lisa Tigue have a combined quarter century here. The advertising department has also been honored for general excellence, along with news and sports.

For a family-owned newspaper, it works out to more than 200 years of experience and that’s not counting the office staff, pressroom or carriers.

It’s that experience and commitment that has given The Leader a dozen blue ribbons in the past 10 years with expectations of a few more down the road.

But none of it would be possible without you, the reader, picking up a copy of our newspaper twice a week or reading the highlights on the website and responding both positively and not so positively to the news.

It is that interaction that keeps us motivated and on our toes to do better every year.