Time is such unique concept. Most often, how we view time comes down to our own unique perspectives.
For instance, this month The County Journal is celebrating 10 years of serving Eaton County. As I reflect back on that, it’s both hard to believe 10 years has gone by so fast, and that it has only been 10 years. There are times I feel we’ve been in this community so much longer. Perhaps it’s because many of us at the paper grew up here and have been deeply committed to making our community a better place to live long before that first edition hit the press.
So what has changed in the last decade? Probably more than we realize.
In this business we have little time to reflect on what has taken place. As a small newspaper, a passing deadline simply means our focus immediately shifts to the next one. We are constantly moving forward.
But, in the spirit of reflecting on past successes, triumphs and tribulations, I took a moment to look back upon that first issue … April 1, 2006. I was immediately brought back to that moment when 11 individuals came together (with what would take a marathoner’s endurance) to put together our first edition.
Though we all had years of experience — and for a couple of us decades — in the newspaper business, we got off to a shaky start, at least in terms of production. We had been preparing for a month, working on local articles of interest, establishing relationships with customers and building ads that would be seen by thousands in the area.
That first paper was 52 pages and included advertisements from businesses covering every corner of the county. We had such tremendous support from the community from day one, and we needed to feel that support, because it took nearly 24 hours of straight pagination to get it to the press. We missed our press deadline by a mere 12 hours.
I remember wondering how long we could keep up that pace. Such a small staff would surely get burned out quickly replicating that effort every week. But, like anything else, you learn from your mistakes and gradually become better, more efficient. And while we haven’t published a 52-page County Journal since, the community has never wavered in supporting its local newspaper.
Some say the newspaper industry is a dying breed, and you can certainly see how a struggling economy has affected our advertisers. But, that has done little to deter our commitment to serve the community. If nothing else, it has strengthened our efforts as we look forward to the next decade.
Our pages are still filled with local businesses that continue to be the backbone of our communities, and we continue to be ever grateful for their support. It’s been a partnership with our advertisers and readers that has carried us this far.