web1_ThomasonRickRGB

Publisher: Farewell LaGrange, keep moving forward

Rick Thomason

Staff columnist

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_ThomasonRickRGB.jpg

May 4, 2015. The sun shone bright that Monday morning in LaGrange as two strangers strolled into the offices of the LaGrange Daily News.

Civitas Media Carolina Region Vice President Kent Kilpatrick, who had corporate regional responsibilities for the Daily News, was making his first trip to LaGrange. The staff knew he was coming, so when he walked in and introduced himself there was no surprise.

Me being in tow and without an immediate introduction, suspicions immediately arose. A gathering of department leadership led to my introduction as the new publisher of the LaGrange Daily News. More suspicion. After all, there hadn’t been a publisher in LaGrange for a couple of years, and apparently no one in the building had any inkling there would be a publisher anytime soon.

Surprise!

It has been an exciting, interesting and sometimes trying 10 months. All of those adjectives describe the information business these days, no matter the medium. And no matter the locale.

As wonderfully unique as LaGrange is, the challenges of the newspaper business here are much the same as they are in similar-size cities throughout the country. What gave me hope – and still gives me hope – for the Daily News is three-fold. LaGrange and Troup County have a lot going on and that makes them fertile ground for news. For better or worse, there’s rarely a slow news day.

Additionally, in my opinion LaGrange and Troup County are on the rise. The growth will not be explosive, but I believe that over the next couple decades this area will see growth and development that out pace its neighbors.

The third positive for the Daily News is the staff here. You probably know the bylines of our exceptional news staff. If you are a business person, I hope you know your knowledgeable advertising representative. (If you don’t, then shame on us!) But you probably don’t know the dedicated folks in accounting/HR, circulation, the pressroom or the mailroom. They are as vital to our success as the Daily News staffers you do know. It’s a relatively small team, but one that believes in our mission to deliver you the best product with the most extensive reach every publishing day. There is much work to be done at the Daily News, but I am confident the staff at 105 Ashton St. is the team that can move this property forward.

Where is ‘forward’?

Forward is making the highest traffic website in Troup County (lagrangenews.com) even stronger and extending the reach even farther.

Forward is adapting at an increasing pace to the needs and desires of our readers.

Forward is expanding our already diverse suite of products for our advertisers, then customizing the suite to meet the individual needs of present and future advertisers.

Forward is continuing to grow our readership and continuing to outpace all other information and advertising outlets in LaGrange and Troup County, both digitally and in print.

Forward is expanding the Daily News’ involvement in this community.

New leadership takes the reins of the Daily News and will have his own vision for this property. I am confident our parent company has chosen an individual who will continue to grow this property with the city and county that grows around it. I will be watching from my new position in North Carolina and am already excited for the future of your city, your county and the only historical record of this area that is updated six days a week – the LaGrange Daily News.

On a more personal note, I want to thank those who were so welcoming on my arrival in LaGrange. There are far too many to name individually, but I will send special thanks to my Rotary brothers and sisters, leadership with the city of LaGrange, leadership at our local Chamber of Commerce, and management and marketing folks at Kia. You all are the best!

Thanks, LaGrange, for a great 10 months! I leave wishing you nothing but the absolute best.

Rick Thomason is publisher for the North Carolina group of Civitas Media newspapers. Reach him at rthomason@civitasmedia.com.