It is coming up on one year since I returned to the media and while most of the time has been a lot of fun and very rewarding, there have been frustrations.
When I left the Daily Herald more than 20 years ago, the newspaper was still a major source of information for most people. A lot of people relied on the paper to get up-to-date on what was going on in Prince Albert, but that has changed dramatically.
I know the Herald has had a lot of staffing issues over recent years, but I would like to think what I have done has restored a bit of faith in the Prince Albert readers. I have heard a lot of positive comments from people and received some nice notes either by email or regular mail. But, I also hear a lot of people saying that we are not current so why read it?
Well, therein lies the Achilles heel of the newspaper industry. Because there is one time each day that the paper goes to print, some things do get reported after the fact, but it does get covered.
There is still a deadline each day that we have to meet to get our stories to the people that layout the pages and these deadlines can not be challenged. When I was with the paper before, our deadlines were early the next morning so that the paper could be printed in Prince Albert for an afternoon delivery time.
I had a lot of time to sit around after various events and wait for a comment from a coach or a player because I did not have to rush to get a story written. Now when an event is being held in the evening, in order to make the story as current as possible, I have to have my product sent to Moose Jaw by no later than 10:30 p.m. — earlier if at all possible.
A lot of people don’t understand that or respect that. Writing a story isn’t that hard, but it isn’t something that can be done, or should be done, in six minutes or less, and lately I have had to do that on occasion because some people just don’t respect or appreciate this form of media.
Listening to the radio ads for a competitor all you hear is them slamming us and claiming we are a dinosaur product and a lot of people have bought into that. That’s enough already! I understand the newspaper is archaic in ways, but it still serves a very valuable purpose to the community and although there was a stretch where the criticism was deserved, we have a great group of people in place that are working their butts off to make sure that this form of media stays in place.
Getting to where we are now takes a lot of work because public faith and trust had to be restored, but I think we are moving in the right direction. I know something is going right because I have had people go out of there way to come over and say thanks for what I have been doing. Still there are others who just don’t appreciate it and that is the frustrating part because they are the ones that I have spent the most time with and want to support, but I’m starting to think the effort is wasted.
No, I will continue working my part-time hours and trying my best to do what I love to do. It is the rewards of the people who appreciate it that make it worthwhile. I just have to get thicker skin I guess, but then that is why I pulled myself out of the managing editor’s chair, because some of the complaints and challenges made no sense and maybe some day the bigger players and our competition in the city will give the newspaper some respect.
Maybe not, but I certainly hope those that do appreciate the newspaper continue to provide us with leads on stories because we want to be of service to everyone. Maybe more people will want the product again — one can only hope. Thanks for the great year and let’s see if this next 12 months can be even better.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.