The main reason I have been accessible is because I have had the good fortune of publishing small community newspapers. When one publishes a paper in a small community, one can’t hide.
During my years as a publisher/ general manager, I have always been accessible to the public.
If a person didn’t like something, they could always call me directly or come by and pop into my office.
In fact, at a few papers where I had considerable problems with delivery, printing and coverage, I actually think some of my former employees took great delight in seeing me squirm.
Occasionally, I actually received calls of praise, and to this very day I personally remember the names of those five people.
The main reason I have been accessible is because I have had the good fortune of publishing small community papers. When one publishes a paper in a small community, one can’t hide.
Sometimes I envy the newspaper publisher of a large metro paper, i. e., the publisher of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
It would be an extremely rare event to see him out and about, and probably most of the people who work for him have never had the benefit of his guidance and support.
But every once in a while, readers really do want to see the publisher/ general manager, and they want him to be accountable for his paper’s actions.
The large metro publisher’s answer to this dilemma is to hire a person who writes well, actually fooling the readers into thinking that the publisher really cares. That person is called an ombudsman or in the AJC’s case, the public editor
The public editor writes a column from time to time about how the AJC is really listening to its readers, which in itself is kind of funny.
From her picture, she looks like a friendly, downto- earth type of gal.
She is probably smiling because she makes a lot of money being the publisher’s front person.
I have to admit, I have become jealous of the ombudsman and public editors of large metro papers
I think that besides being the general manager of our paper I also want to have the title of ombudsman.
So now that I have given myself this title, I will — for you, our loyal readers — occasionally answer some questions.
So, here it goes.
Who writes the editorials at The Covington News?
Now that is a very good question.
If you like the editorial, the general manager or the editor writes them. If you don’t, a guy named Harry is currently writing them.
I promise, acting in my new capacity as ombudsman, if I get enough complaints about Harry, I will get the editor to fire him.
In the past we have had a Frank, a Lloyd, a George and a Nancy who have written bad editorials. Because we care about the complaints of our readers, they all have been fired.
So keep me abreast of your thoughts on Harry.
Who really is in charge at The Covington News?
I am going to let you in on a big secret: the person in charge of most small community newspapers is the person whose name appears second in the staff box on the editorial page.
The major responsibility of that person is to make the person whose name is first in the box on the editorial page feel that he or she
is the one running things.
How about the spelling errors in the newspaper?
I would like to blame our news department for all of the errors, and occasionally I do, but we honestly try to have several people proofread every article.
However, at the end of a long publishing day, eyes do get weary.
We have another culprit; his name is Spell Check. Truthfully, I have never seen him, but he hides deep inside our computers. Sometimes he makes the mistakes. I would replace him, but I can’t find him.
For example, we have Mr. Andrew Lachina who covers the arts, Mr. Dennis Pollman who covers auto shows, and Chef I. Lyka Dafood who does restaurant reviews.
How come the general manager’s picture is always in the paper?
Well, the general manager of this paper is a very important man (at least he thinks so).
But, the real truth is that his mother and father live in Pennsylvania and subscribe to the paper, and they like to see his picture to see how he is doing.
Well, that’s all the letters for now; keep sending them in and our new “ombudsman” will answer them honestly and candidly.