Focus on local news still fresh after 30 years as editor PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Dave Miller - Editor   
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 11:06
Thirty years ago this week I took over as editor of the Sentinel-Tribune.
The job continues to be something I look forward to every morning while driving to work. Not knowing what news will be in the finished product only hours away makes it anything but routine.
I have been blessed with a talented, diverse news staff that is committed to our collective mission of emphasizing local news for our readers. Maintaining a virtually all-local-news page 1 in addition to an all-local page 2 day-in, day-out is something few newspapers of any size come close to accomplishing. We've been doing it for years with no plans to break that tradition.
The proudest days of my professional career were when the staff won general excellence honors on two consecutive years in the state AP awards competition. It's the highest award any news staff can win in its circulation category.
The vast majority of our page 1 stories are positive stories about Wood County residents - such as the recent gala concert at the new performing arts center of Bowling Green schools - or stories that we feel residents need to know about - from swine flu clinics to news about levies facing residents of different parts of the county.
Many of the stories touch heartstrings, such as when local military units deploy to or return from war zones. One of my favorites was a story and photo of a local Navy Reservist returning to Toledo's airport and seeing his 5-month-old son for the first time. Other personal favorites are stories and photos about World War II veterans going on Honor Flight trips to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Our Saturday features are good examples of our positive news slant. These have been a weekly tradition since May of 1980. They are stories about the interesting jobs or hobbies of people that usually do not make the headlines. Instead of a story about Scott Hamilton, these stories focus on the person who for many years has made the costumes for local ice skating shows. They tell of our neighbors' dedication to their communities. They are the stories that might end up being "featured" on a family's refrigerator door for months or years to come.
Another local news tradition, which started 25 years ago this week, is our Familiar Face photo on page 2 of each Saturday's paper. The idea was to tell our readers some information about people that they might see once or twice a month when they do their shopping or go to community activities.
Some negative news does end up on page 1 due to its news value, such as the closing of a local plant, a tuition increase at Bowling Green State University, the loss of a school levy or the embezzlement of funds from local community organizations.
And while they do not appear on page 1, our very popular Cook's Corner features capture the essence of what separates the Sentinel-Tribune from other newspapers. There are hundreds of great recipes in newspapers throughout the country every week, but only our Cook's Corner stories feature Wood County residents' favorite recipes.
At 62, I haven't even begun to think about retirement. I'm still too focused on meeting that next deadline.

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