Opinion

From the editor's desk: Beautiful mountains, local paper call editor to Carroll County

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Kristal Kuykendall is Managing Editor of Carroll County News.

I have a confession to make: I've never been much for beaches. The sand is, well, extremely annoying to me. When I'm at the beach, I enjoy the noise of the waves but not the strength of them, so I don't even swim in the ocean much at all.

Instead, I'm much more of a mountain-lover, I've come to realize these past several years. And it hit me all over again when Carroll County Newspapers Publisher Bob Moore invited me up for a visit a few weeks ago.

On the drive up, somewhere after I passed Marshall but before I hit Harrison, I actually had to pull over while driving -- because the scenery of the mountains and the low-floating clouds and the sun peeking through literally was taking my breath away.

I again pulled over in southeastern Carroll County to take photos of gorgeous landscapes that included even chicken houses that looked nice. (!!)

That afternoon, before I even arrived, I knew I was supposed to come here.

A little bit of research into the Carroll County News and its parent organization confirmed my hunch. This would be a great opportunity and a wonderful new home.

Now that I've arrived, I'd like to share a few editorial policies and plans with you all in hopes of helping you understand how we operate, and how we intend to incorporate more participation from members of the community into our news organization -- both the print and the online editions. I've got lots of ideas and plans to tell you about, but for now I'll stick with the basics:

* We want every resident of this county, regardless of age or anything else, to feel like they are a part of this newspaper and participate with it in gathering and reporting the goings-on in this county. That's how we make it the best newspaper possible!

So, to that end, I invite you all to send in your story ideas, your suggestions, your photos of anything and everything, and your organizations' happenings for consideration for publication.

* We plan to soon begin publishing a Reader Photo each edition. Some of them will even be printed in color on the front page! Any photos taken of people, places or things in Carroll County are eligible for consideration. The only requirement is that you MUST identify each person in the photo, with their age and hometown included, and explain what is happening in the photograph, and give us the photographer name as well. Email your submissions to me at ccneditor@cox-internet.com with the words "Reader Photo" in the subject line.

* Society news such as weddings, engagements, birth announcements and the like will now be reserved for the Weekend edition that hits newsstands on Fridays. The deadline to receive these submissions at our office will be noon on the Tuesday prior to the Friday of intended publication.

* Business news will now have a page dedicated to it whenever possible, including news of local promotions, new hires, etc. If your business has added a new staff member you'd like to tell our readers about, send us a couple of sentences telling us about them, their job title, job description, hometown, immediate past job title and place of employment, and a photograph. Email it to ccneditor@cox-internet.com.

* We intend to print all the news, all the time, as much as humanly possible (we are a small staff, after all, but we work very hard!). It makes not one whit of difference to me (nor to our publisher, he has assured me) whether that news is positive or negative, or whom it offends or pleases or puts in a positive or negative light. If it's factual and we have proof that it's factual, and if it's newsworthy, it's fair game for publication.

What makes something newsworthy? That's a judgment call that will often be made by me and our publisher in sticky situations, and a topic for a different column and a different day. But I promise I will lay down the guidelines for you soon, just as I learned them in journalism school and while I was studying for my master's degree.

* We intend to vigorously uphold the citizens' right to know about what their government is doing, and that means we will serve as watchdogs as well as reporters of your government business. We will not overlook secret or private discussions of the people's business -- which amount to illegal meetings -- by public officials, whether they are occurring over fancy dinners to which the public is not invited, or over private card games that include a mere few members of a local city council. (I'm not insinuating this is happening here, but it has occurred on my watch as editor in other cities, and was reported as an illegal meeting in the newspaper until it stopped.)

* We intend to make much more frequent use of our website as well as our Facebook page, and we will be starting a Twitter account soon as well. We already have posted breaking news on our website, www.carrollconews.com, that wasn't yet in the newspaper. We will be doing this on a regular basis, and on a daily basis in the next couple of weeks. You'll have to be a subscriber to get the "full story," though. The online version will just give the very basic information in most cases. Be sure and "Like" us on Facebook so you will see our posts with links there anytime we put up new articles on our website.

* Lastly, I intend to be extremely accessible to local residents who may want to discuss something they've seen in our pages -- or not seen there -- or who may have news tips or story suggestions to pass along. I prefer email, but if you cannot email me, or if it is at all urgent (i.e. breaking news such as a fire in the middle of the night), please feel free to text or call my cell phone at 479-981-9419.

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Carroll County Newspapers Managing Editor Kristal Kuykendall can be reached via email at ccneditor@cox-internet.com or via telephone at 800-524-2087 ext 34 during regular business hours or after hours at 479-981-9419.