Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I think I have the best job in Mount Pleasant. I get to share in the joys of each and every parent who has their child's accomplishments highlighted in the paper. I have a hand in reflecting the current history of the community as it is made. We serve as the social and political voice of the community. This is what we do best and I love it!
I enjoy it when I go out in the community and people tell me, “I love my Moultrie News.” Who doesn't like to be appreciated for what they do? And when people say “my,” that tells me they take ownership of the paper.
I don't take full responsibility for the success of the paper, nor do I publish it in vacuum. The paper is made possible by the hard-working Mighty Moultrie team. Everyone knows and loves Sully Witte, the editor of the Moultrie News and writer of the famous Police Blotter. She does so much for the paper. You might see her at a city council meeting and then out in the plough mud. You never know where she will show up, but she always shows up where there is a story. She is a lifelong resident of East Cooper and brings special insight into her news coverage.
Sully has a staff of 1.5 reporters to cover all the print and web news. Frankie Mansfield came on board as the sports writer and hit the streets running. Sports fans quickly took to his Facebook and Twitter accounts to get the latest on local sporting events. He now has his own following.
Dustin Waters works part-time as a reporter and copy editor. He is an excellent addition to the team, writing, proofing and editing.
Christel Newton serves as the business manager. She and Sully were working at the Moultrie News when I arrived in 2002 and thank goodness they stayed!
We have a sales staff of four: Amanda Bush, Melissa Lemieux, Becky Tomlinson and Jonathan Owen. They do a bang-up job of providing good customer service to our advertisers.
We have a part-time web guru, JoAnna Eason, who keeps up with all the social media and our website.
I believe you are only as successful as the people you work with and I have the best team!
When I arrived at the Moultrie News in 2002, they were still putting the paper out by cutting and pasting copy. So we quickly bought computers and moved to computer layout. There have been lots of changes over the years and now we are virtually paperless until the paper rolls off the press.
As the community has grown, so has the circulation of the paper. We boast a healthy circulation of 28,243. And our readership is some of the best in the area. From the East Cooper market, 40,186 (52 percent) have said they have read the Moultrie News in the past week.
(Base: East Cooper area, adults 18 and up, 77,156. Source: Charleston Market Study, The Media Audit, Nov. 2012-Jan. 2013).
But the paper has always had good circulation. When I arrived in 2002, it was at 21,000.
We proudly serve a niche that no one else does. Where else will you see your neighbors' On Vacation photos or read about their children's accomplishments in the classroom and on the sports fields? We provide a local level of coverage you will not find anywhere else.
The press is the only business mentioned in the United States Constitution. This country was built on the yearning for freedom and free press is important to that freedom. Free is the key word. Power is historically corrupting, when not monitored. And no one, meaning the citizens, has the time to attend council meetings. We do that for you. Through the press, the public's questions are answered and the public's interests guarded, allowing the truth to come to the surface.
People talk about the power of the press. But we have no power except the credibility given to us by our readers.
Free press cannot guarantee wisdom, but it can provide the information that citizens need to make wise and thoughtful decisions. An informed public is more rational and more compassionate than one kept in the dark.
The Moultrie News is but a mirror, a reflection of the community it serves. And our biggest challenge is not to just do it right, but get it right. We are responsible to every single reader and advertiser. Thank you to all our readers.
We have another role and that is to serve as the marketplace in the community. And I have to say we have the best advertisers in the world. We could not publish a weekly newspaper without their support. Thank you each and every advertiser. Market studies say just as many people read the ads as read the news.
We believe our job is to inform, educate, inspire, entertain, and attack injustice through the editorial pages. And we work hard every week to accomplish this.
We have all heard that newspapers serve as the watchdog of the community and I believe that to be true. Good community newspapers will continue to serve as the soul and watchdog of the community. I hope you believe that the Moultrie News fills that role. I always enjoy talking to readers, so if you'd like to speak, please call me at 843-958-7480 and tell me how you think we are doing.
I like to laugh and say my goal is to print every person's name in East Cooper at least once. I am still working on it.
People ask about the future of newspapers and I don't have all the answers, but what I do know is that newspapers have withstood the changes of time. Newspapers and our country have changed and evolved together and both are better off for it because of each other. Good newspapers will continue to be the soul and watchdog of the communities they serve. We provide community news and marketplace information you cannot get anywhere else, so I believe we will be around for many years to come. The question will be how will readers get that information? As for that part, we will have to wait and see, but we will still be around delivering that local community news to you!
I have the best job in the world. Just look at the smile on my face!