Fair becomes testament to wonderful readers
It has become an annual tradition for our newspaper that puts us face-to-face with our readers.
For the past nine years, the Steele County Times has enjoyed getting out into the community by having a booth at the state’s largest county fair, Steele County Fair. We typically offer newspapers, fans on a stick and great subscription specials. But all that aside, the best part of it is meeting our readers. We get to interact with those who pick us up every week. I love the fair for that reason!
With the constant pressure of putting out a newspaper every week, it’s difficult for us to get into the community for an extended period of time to simply promote ourselves. It’s something I wish we could do more of during the year, but for some reason that pesky deadline comes calling when we need to have everything together for another week’s paper.
Even though we have been a countywide newspaper for the past five years, we’re still finding people that don’t know about us. And what better way to make ourselves known than being at a fair that attracts several hundred thousand people each year.
The fair is a great opportunity for us to hear what’s on the minds of our readers. They come to share the good, the bad and even sometimes the ugly of what we’ve done in the newspaper and our overall operation.
We enjoy an incredible relationship with our readers. I can’t ask for any better readers than what we have.
Our readers are wonderful. They are beyond complimentary about what we’re doing with the newspaper. One woman came up to me and proclaimed, “I love your Hot Pursuit column. It’s the first thing I read every week.” I must admit it’s inspiring to hear comments like those and it gives me the energy and enthusiasm to keep doing what I have come to love.
Some readers pointed to our excellent coverage of hometown news and sports. They seem to like the balance of news we provide to all areas of the county.
Other readers are genuinely concerned about what has taken place with our paper over the past couple years. Namely they’ve expressed disgust and anger over the embezzlement involving a former bookkeeper. Listening to some of these people you would have thought the embezzler took funds right out of their pocketbook.
Several readers wondered what happened to the Golden Link, a common shopper inserted into several newspapers across the area. We stopped putting the Link in our newspaper in July because of budget concerns. People felt like they were missing something near and dear to them. I’m happy to report that because of people who spoke up and expressed their desire to see the shopper, we have begun putting it back into our newspaper this week. It’s a perfect example of how we try to be intentive to the needs and desires of our readers. We may not always be able to satisfy everyone, but we do listen to what you want.
Producing a weekly newspaper is no easy task, especially given the challenges we’re faced with in the newspaper industry. We take our job of keeping the community informed seriously. It makes it all worthwhile when we hear from our readers like we did at the fair.
After spending nearly a week at the fair, I came away recognizing one thing. We have the greatest readers of anywhere in the state. There is definitely something special about this area and it starts with the people.
We can’t wait to get back to the fair again next year.
Until then, it’s putting the fingers to the keyboard and going in hot pursuit of producing quality hometown stories that readers can’t find anywhere else.