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A MATTER OF OPINION: In need of good news

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By Robin Bass

Last week, when the stock market jumped 300 points and some analysts claimed that the end of the recession was near, I felt my heart skip a happy beat. How wonderful it was to hear good news for a change. Instead of the steady drumbeat of low quarterly-revenues and high unemployment, here was finally some hope for better days ahead. It made me realize how hungry I was, and perhaps many of you are too, for positive reports in the media.

For six months now, all we have heard is how hard our country, our state – our hometown has been hit by the current recession. Foreclosure rates are on the rise. Businesses are laying off workers or simply closing their doors. People who are unemployed are struggling just to put gas in the tank and food in their bellies – let alone pay mortgages, car payments and utility bills. We are all being asked to do more with less, and that includes the Spencer Magnet.

As local advertisers tighten their belts, sometimes placing ads in their local paper is the first budget line item to disappear. Experts on the subject will be quick to say that is a mistake. Businesses need to make sure their brand is foremost in consumers’ minds. They need to insure when purchases are made, it is their establishment that consumers visit. But not everyone heeds such advice, and as a result newspapers across the country are suffering – some even closing.

According to the reports I’ve heard, the Spencer Magnet is holding her own. Sure the papers are smaller these days, but that is just the nature of this business. As editor, I just have to make sure we are covering the news the best we can with the space we have available.

Recently, I wrote a column appealing to residents who might be interested in writing for our hometown paper. I know you read it because the response was incredible. Many talented locals were interviewed for the position, then just when we where narrowing down the candidates to one – our corporate office declared a company-wide hiring freeze. No one could have been more devastated than I.

How was I going to single-handedly report the news in a manner that is both thorough and engaging? Sometimes, two reporters can not fully cover all the issues that are occurring in this little county.

Once I knocked my ego down a peg, I realized that at no point does any small town editor do anything single-handedly. The Spencer Magnet has always been dependent on our readers to provide news and photographs. That is what a community newspaper is all about. It is about printing photos of your daughter’s first turkey hunt, your son’s soccer team win and the top three students in a 4-H demonstration. Now with one less person on the editorial staff, that dependance will likely grow stronger.

My challenge to you is to embrace this opportunity. Pick up your digital camera, jot down a few notes and help provide our community with the good news that it hungers for.

To submit editorial copy for sports, news or features, please send to Robin Bass at editor@spencermagnet.com.