My job as publisher for TSB runs the gamete - hiring and firing, talking to the public about who we are and what we do, managing customer and employee needs, ensuring that we have consistent, quality content, monitoring the budget and overseeing the sales team. And, because our staff is small, doing interviews and covering breaking news. Whew! It's sometimes enough to make my head spin like Linda Blair's in the movie The Exorcist.
But when push comes to shove, my job as publisher is exciting, extremely diverse, interesting, and, at times, quite trying.
That being said, I thought I'd share some personal confessions around my job as publisher of TSB.
Confession #1: I love my job. (Really! I swear!)
Yes, my job affords me the opportunity to meet new people in and around our community almost daily. Embracing the philosophy that "everyone has a story" encourages one-on-one dialog and allows me to nurture new, as well as old, relationships with the individuals, groups and organizations in our community. I love sitting down with the people who make up our community and giving them a voice. We can help people make decisions and we can be a conduit for change and for social consciousness. How cool is that?
When I'm heading to the gym, I often wear a T-shirt emblazoned with "News Junkie" - that's what makes me tick. I'm a sponge for information and always want to learn new things. The printed word feeds my mind. Can you think of a better way to do that then running an online news company?
Yeah, I admit, we occasionally get the letters chastising us for typos, broken links, or for not being fair (verbalized by "you're so biased!") but in the whole scope of things those are few and far between.
Confession # 2: I read/watch TV with my iPad or iPhone or computer near me at all times
I want to have easy access to information at all times - don't you? If I want to search a subject that I can't remember because my own hard drive is broken or simply because I'm not familiar with a subject, I can't help myself - I'm a Google addict.
Confessions #3: I have ADD. (I think)
It's often difficult to focus and finish a task. I have projects that don't get finished at the end of a day. My February editorial calendar is still half filled in and waiting to have the remaining assignments put into place. It will get finished - it's just that it often takes a few days because my focus is pulled away time and time again. It's the nature of the job, but I'm working on it.
Confession # 4: I have a love/hate relationship with breaking news that happens in our community.
It's important that TSB is here to deliver the story to our citizens from the perspective of staff who live and work right here. I hate that breaking news always happens during a meal, a meeting or in the middle of the night. Really? Couldn't the perpetrators at least plan to do whatever it is they are going to do when most news media could get there?
Confession # 5: There is no such thing as being unbiased.
Reporters, editors and publishers are human. We have feelings and often it's impossible to completely remove our opinions from a topic. That said, as professionals we strive to write just the facts and to tell both sides of the story, unless one side is unwilling to cooperate. We don't make the news, we simply report it.
I'm often reminded of the TV show Dragnet's Sergeant Friday saying, "Just the facts, Ma'am."
Confession # 6: I love that TSB is a community watchdog.
It's our job, readers, and it's one I take very seriously. The press holds public personalities and institutions accountable. After visiting places like China, I am very, very grateful for our freedom of the press - a right to publish, a right to access and a right to confidentiality for our sources. (I suppose most of us support this until someone posts something we don't agree with!)
According to the First Amendment Center, "In the national survey conducted in June (2011), 76% agreed it is important for our democracy that the news media act as an independent “watchdog” over government on behalf of the public."
Confession # 7: Contrary to popular belief, I don't jump for joy when TSB has to report a story that reflects negatively on our community. (Seriously!)
It's our job to give the public the facts. We don't portray news as negative or positive. What kind of integrity, or lack there-of, would we display if we only publish stories with a positive spin? Would that be telling the truth? What kind of faith would our readers place in TSB if we only write and share stories that are all positive, or if we choose to ignore publish anything that could be perceived as "negative press?" I think you know the answer to that question.
I live here in McKinney and I have to face the "bad or embarrassing news" right along with everyone else and that is never fun!
Confession # 8: I embrace change. (Is anyone out there with me?)
It's the 21st Century - another "brave new world" if you will. Part of this world is open, two-way communication between the public and various entities or individuals in positions of leadership. Technology keeps people engaged more than every before. People "talk" about issues, rumors, etc. via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking outlooks and look for responses from those in the know. It's exciting to be part of this and as we move into the future, I believe that transparency will become more and more important.
Confession # 9: I'm a chocoholic. What does this have to do with being a publisher? Technically nothing, but, I admit it - a little slice of Scharfenberger dark chocolate comes to my rescue when I'm super stressed, hands down. (try it with a little peanut butter)
Confession # 10: I love my job!! Oh, I already said that, didn't I?
Angie Bado is owner/publisher of TownSquareBuzz.com