Letter from the editor: A little bit of competition and a lot of collaboration
As the calendar turned to August, our office manager, Kevin Granquist, mentioned that we would soon be celebrating three years as the Hub City Times.
I am the latest addition to our now staff of six at Hub City Times that produces a publication that we hope has become an important source of news and information over the past three years. As I celebrate one year on staff, I felt it was time for a little reflection.
The “small-town newspaper” — one under 30,000 in circulation — has a significant presence in America’s history.
These publications, originally created to communicate among common language and heritage, later focused on hyper-localism while promoting citizen journalism and community advocacy. Over time these aspects have shifted as many small-town publications have been swallowed up in the modern world with the ever-changing means of communication.
The Hub City Times and its parent company, Multi Media Channels, hold tight to small-town ideals in focusing on local news, citizen journalism, and advocacy while providing this publication free of charge.
The first aspect where collaboration comes into play is advertisers. Advertisers are the largest and certainly the most important aspect in the equation. I will not hesitate to say that without them, we could not provide the product we offer each week in print and daily online for free.
In addition, those working in rural Wisconsin media today often wear many hats. What were once staffs of 50 have now become staffs of no more than 10. Media organizations continue to shrink as online eyewitness coverage becomes more common.
Yet, walk into any city council meeting or school board meeting in Marshfield, and you will see a minimum of three local media reps covering these affairs.
As many of these media outlets have been condensed to a minimal news staff, we often rely on the help of each other to gather, distribute, or capture what others might need. We are all out there to bring awareness, and we are few in number.
It is through collaboration that we can provide the best for the community and fit its needs. Working with WDLB and other media outlets on interviews makes it easier for those we are interviewing and opens the doors to information we may not have obtained had it not been for a second questioner.
Our most recent media collaboration with MCTV has resulted in two monthly television programs that will be offered online and on Charter channel 989. Each month Hub City Times’ Breana Lokre will highlight local individuals, groups, and organizations doing charitable acts in the community through the MCTV/HCT “Local Matters” program and will focus on a portion of local history in the “Hub City History” program.
While the local media sources work well together, there is still a desire to place our own publications first, which keeps us all on our toes.
In a town the size of Marshfield, the people you are writing about are often related to those you are working with. There is a delicate balance between what the public wants and what it needs. Sometimes this causes conflict as at the end of the day, a news outlet’s sole responsibility is to build awareness and make people aware of their surroundings and what is taking place. That is Hub City Times’ purpose.
Informing the public is not always possible unless community leaders and residents make themselves available to those trying to report on them. As a community, we are fortunate when a phone call is all that it takes to discuss the issues that affect us or give us a look into what might not be readily accessible.
Collaboration is an everyday occurrence right here in the Hub City Times office. As a staff of six, we each have our main responsibilities, but we are in a constant state discussion on what we can do for our readers and supporters. No resource will ever be untapped if it benefits our customers.
From Circulation Manager Kurt Dovenbarger to Sales Consultant Peggy Sue Meyer-Miller, there is not a single day when someone does not go out of their way to do a little extra for someone else.
Possibly the most important collaboration happens right here in the editorial office. Though he is rarely heard from and seldom seen, Assistant Editor Eric LeJeune is truly every bit as important as the stories that come out of this office. He is the one holding things down at the office so I can be out in the public seeking what the community wants and needs so we may bring it to their homes.
As for myself, I feel my purpose is to collaborate with the community in all areas to help foster awareness and need. I am thankful for the friends that I have made throughout the past year that have guided or assisted me in filling this role.
Collaboration is the fabric that holds our rural community together. It may be seen everywhere: among realtors, businesses, politicians, and beyond. Working together is what creates the sense of community and what makes us feel that we belong.