A newspaper is a business unlike any other. I can say unequivocally that managing editor is the most meaningful and enjoyable job I’ve ever had and one I look forward to every morning.
As a news outlet, we can only cover or publish so many news stories in our print paper, on our website or on our Facebook page.
We give to our readers as much as we can fit in the hopes that our readers and subscribers are as informed about what’s happening in Sedona as we are.
For the most part, the press releases we publish from readers are the ones that affect the most number of residents. Events that are free and open to the public get priority because they are most likely to attract the most number of residents to attend.
Events that benefit 501(c)(3) nonprofits also get priority because they help a worthy cause. We also publish releases about residents donating time to causes, getting promoted at their business, getting engaged or married and celebrating anniversaries. At the end of life, obituaries notify residents of the passing of our neighbors.
We consider the publication of these news items a public service to best inform our readers about their community.
The “hard news” stories our reporters cover are the ones that directly affect your tax dollars, like city, county, school district, fire district; or state projects and functions, like council meetings, expenditures and programs.
Our primary duty as journalists is to doggedly track dollars spent by government agencies so that taxpayers know their money is being spent frugally, efficiently and productively and if it’s not, to expose waste, abuse and occasionally, corruption, by those in power.
Other hard news stories include emergency responses to things like car accidents, wildfires and police actions — i.e., taxpayer-funded first responders doing their duty as agents of local governments to keep the public safe.
We also cover “feature” stories, such as new programs by local nonprofits that benefit residents here or those suffering around the state, country or globe; events like concerts, art exhibits and shows that improve readers’ quality of life; interesting residents whose stories we want to tell; and under-the-radar but interesting incidents that may fall through the cracks unless we were there to bring them to public attention.
Some of these stories come forward with plenty of notification, like published items on upcoming council agendas, others are passed to us by friends of friends, or a tip via a direct email or phone call.
I am more than happy to explain to those who call or email why we ran certain stories or press releases or why we sent photojournalists to cover an event.
For instance, last week, we ran a story about a city Board of Adjustment hearing involving a local fence. While this type of hearing is usually too insignificant to warrant news coverage, the nature of how that complaint — and 12 others that later proved to be without any merit whatsoever — even came to the city’s attention, turned a minor city function into a news story about someone’s abuse of the city’s public complaint system. In the end, the fence was merely a footnote in the bigger story.
If you want to send us a press release for publication, visit redrocknews.com and click “Submit A Press Release” at the bottom of the page for our guidelines and tips.
Christopher Fox Graham
Cover image is “Artist facing blank canvas (Deadline), 1938” by Norman Rockwell, a cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 8, 1938. Courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS