Thankful to work with our newspaper staff

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2019

On Friday evening, The LaGrange Daily News was selected as the top daily newspaper in the state of Georgia with a daily circulation of less than 6,000. The recognition, which came as the proverbial ‘cherry on top’ of 33 total Georgia Press Association awards won in tandem by the advertising and editorial departments, signified the unofficial end of one era for the newspaper and the beginning of another.

The editorial staff won 20 awards, including first place in General Excellence as well as first place in the highly-esteemed Community Service Award competition and first place in layout and design, amongst a host of others. The advertising staff brought home 13 awards, including first place for best food advertising and first place in motor vehicle advertising. It was an impressive haul, and important recognition for a staff that works incredibly hard.

In moments of both triumph and failure throughout life, perspective and reflection are useful tools for growth. As such, I’ve spent time over the last few days looking backwards, reminiscing on the last 26 months. In April of 2017, I took a job in a city I had previously never heard of, working in a role I didn’t understand with people I didn’t know. The newspaper product that was produced at that point was not adequately serving the community and had lost the trust of those it was tasked with informing, thanks to many years of mismanagement. At 25 years old, I admit I didn’t feel up to the challenge of leading a tectonic shift in quality, culture and profits.

To a large extent, I wasn’t. Those first six months were something of a trial by fire, which left both me and the newspaper with some avoidable burns. However, through the missteps and mistakes, there has been one consistent stalwart that has remained through the smoke. Our people.

This small, community newspaper staff has more than its fair share of talent and elbow grease.

From our managing editor Daniel Evans and advertising director Jennie Overfelt, who directly oversee our editorial and advertising efforts, to our reporting and advertising staffs, business manager Donna Ennis and receptionist Maggie Langford, all play their roles incredibly well. We have been blessed with a talented group of people who enjoy each other and recognize the important work we are doing, thus are serious about their roles.

These awards, this recognition we have received from the state, reflects their work. The consistent, daily, honest and hard work that is easy to talk about in meetings but much harder to put into practice. We are far from a perfect or finished product and never will be, but the improvements that have been made in the last two years are significant and leave the prospect of what the next two years could bring as an enticing, exciting question. This optimistic outlook we have cultivated is due to the work of our people.

This work, while important, is not the most important part of our lives. No job or profession should be. That perspective is important. However, these are the jobs we are called to in this season of our lives, for however long they last, and as such we should strive to do the best we can.

Awards or no awards, I’m thankful for the chance to work with a group that does just that.