Be part of your community newspaper
By Rebekah Yancey
It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when the newspaper office was buzzing with people on a daily basis.
Actually, it’s not that hard to believe, because before this past year when Beth and I moved to our new office on Cedar Street, our old one was filled with the reminders of years gone by and the desks of more than 20 employees who once made up the Hartselle Enquirer.
Of course, that was well before our time. I have only been in Hartselle for four years, after all, and I was previously employed at a similar weekly publication with an even smaller circulation and no magazine.
Let me preface this by saying, I like things the way they are. I have no desire to chase crime stories or break news on a grand scale at a massive publication like the Times or the Post. I’m happy where I am.
Toward the end of our time occupying the Chestnut Street building, however, when the squirrel in the attic – who I named after my grandfather Ralph – was our constant companion, it nearly became depressing to think about the difference between what the office once was and what it had become. With only two full-time workers, the space, at times, felt like it would swallow us whole. It was also sad to remember some of the people I had known who had previously sat at a few of those desks.
You see, when I first accepted the job here and made Hartselle my home, we had several more employees – not including Ralph, of course. He was an unpaid intern.
The Hartselle Enquirer at one time employed a full-time lifestyles editor, sports editor, in-house advertising manager, editor, publisher and more. There were people at all the desks in that office, doing their jobs and some jobs they all shared.
Now, we very much rely on freelance writers and community contributions, and without those, our publications would look very different.
There are weeks I would feel lost without those in the community who are constantly there to help provide story ideas or content in some way.
One of the questions I asked in my interview four years ago was, “If I accept this job, how can I quickly get my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in a new city where I don’t know anyone?” I think that question got me the job, and I won’t tell you the answer I was given – because it turned out not to be the case – but after some trial and error, I think I figured it out.
Still, there is always room for improvement, and freelance writers, photographers and columnists are always welcome. If you want to be a part of your community newspaper, I urge you to reach out to me. Team work, after all, is how you make the dream work.
Our mission statement has printed in the right-hand rail of this page for, I’m sure, as long as there has been a Hartselle Enquirer. It says the newspaper will strive to be an integral part of Hartselle and Morgan County by being a leader and a positive influence in our community. We make a commitment to report the news and events honestly, fairly and accurately while promoting area commerce and business and operating by the Golden Rule.
Sometimes to accomplish these things, we need a little help.
The newspaper industry is not immune to how the world has and continues to change. Just look at how many desks are now in our office.