This past week, a few of us from the Express headed down to Des Moines for the annual Iowa Newspaper Association Convention. This is a two-day event that gives newspapers from across Iowa the opportunity to come together, network with one another, participate in a wide variety of seminars from industry professionals and take all the information they learned back to the office and apply it.
While we were gone last Thursday through Saturday morning, the work at the Express did not come to a halt. Knowing there were a few things we would inevitably miss while we were gone, it was a relief to know there were others we could count on to cover events in our absence.
Last Friday, Feb. 8, state legislators Rep. Lee Hein, Rep. Brian Moore, Sen. Dan Zumbach and Sen. Tod Bowman all came to Monticello for a political forum on economic development, among other topics. Sure, just as the Express heads to Des Moines, our local legislators head to Monticello!
It was great to know the Midland Times was available to cover the event for both newspapers! Without their assistance and willingness to come here for that forum, those of you who did not get the chance to attend the event would not have the article inside this week’s Express to read about.
We also had a local community photographer, Dianna Rucker, save us in covering the Star Wars party at the Monticello library Saturday morning. Rucker is seen throughout the community covering sporting events and school activities, so she was a lifesaver in this instance as well! All of the photos on the Expressions page, A-13, are courtesy of Rucker Photography.
Saturday was a busy day for our newspaper (specifically our sports editor). With wrestling in Manchester, a girls basketball game in town and the annual Jones County Dairy Banquet also in town, we can’t be everywhere at one time. So, the Midland Times graciously sent us photos to publish from the Dairy Banquet. It is great to know we can work together with our county newspapers! It’s also a good thing when there are so many activities going on at once throughout Jones County!
During the INA Convention last week, I attended several seminars: “The Newspaper as a Community Leader,” “Creative Design Practices for Newspapers” and “To Pay or Not to Pay.”
Each seminar was inspiring and I came back to work with high hopes and exciting ideas to use in order to bring you the news, whether from the Express or online via our website.
From the “Community Leader” seminar, a quote from the moderator said it best, “Inspire readers like never before!”
That is our goal as a newspaper, aside from just bringing you local and countywide news. No one wants to pick up a newspaper and see nothing but mundane articles. That’s why we cover community and school events. That’s why we include coverage of local government meetings and feature stories on local people and events.
So if there is ever something or someone worthy of a tale to tell, don’t hesitate to let me know. While you may not think it’s newspaper-worthy, you’d be surprised!
One common theme from the majority of the seminars was that technology and times are changing, and more and more newspapers are now charging for online content. “To Pay or Not to Pay,” focused specifically on why newspapers have subscriptions to their websites. It’s not to make a ton of money, although it does boost revenue to an extent; but as writers, our work is valuable.
Like an artist who charges for their artwork, reporters and writers are not any different. One publisher commented that his staff is valuable and their work is just as important. So, there comes a time when paying an online subscription might be necessary down the line.
To that extent, the Express will be exploring different ideas to enhance not only our newspaper product, but our online product as well. So many exciting things to offer our readers!